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Frost* - Milliontown CD (album) cover

MILLIONTOWN

Frost*

 

Neo-Prog

3.83 | 447 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Hello, good evening, and welcome

Frost* (the asterisk is part of the band's name) are the brainchild of noted producer Jem Godfrey. While Godfrey is probably best known for his work with the girl band Atomic Kitten, he has a longstanding passion for progressive rock. He sings and plays keyboards on this album.

In 2006, Godfrey contacted guitarist John Mitchell of Arena (although it was Mitchell's work with Kino which attracted Godfrey's attention) along with John Jowitt and Andy Edwards of IQ with a view to forming a prog supergroup. John Boyes, a former bandmate of Godfrey, also appears on the album. "Milliontown" is the band's only official release to date, although at time of writing they are working and touring together.

The album opens with the 7 minute "Hyperventilate", an instrumental track which begins rather like the title track from ELP's "Trilogy" album, before moving through some fine Yes like sequences. "No me, no you", the first track with vocals, reminds me a lot of Porcupine Tree's more recent work, especially vocally. John Mitchell also brings with him a fair bit of Arena/The Urbane here, the guitar riffs bearing Mitchell's distinct trademark.

"Snowman" is the shortest track on the album at just under 4 minutes. The song is relatively light, with a strong bass line and plinking keyboards supporting a distorted vocal.

The opening riff of "The other me" sounds very like Tubeway Army's "Are 'friends' electric" before Mitchell's distorted vocals take us in an altogether heavier direction. The 10 minute "Black Light Machine" returns us to an Arena style, Mitchell's fine guitar work once again being a feature. The track weaves through a variety of styles and moods from the rather light pop style opening sequence to gentle waves of atmospheric keyboard backed vocals and thundering bursts of guitar.

It is though to the sprawling 26 minute title track that we look for our prog masterpiece. Nominally in six sections, this monster may borrow heavily from both classic prog and neo-prog epics which have gone before (including "Close to the edge" and "Duke's travels" to name but two), but it still makes for a fine way to spend half an hour. The overall sound is actually quite similar to that of the other recent prog supergroup Transatlantic, the vocals being particularly reminiscent of Neal Morse. The track is as ambitious as it is pompous, with soaring symphonic sections, lush keyboards and plenty of lead guitar breaks. A new prog classic indeed.

In all, a refreshing and reassuring hour of neo-prog performed by a group of highly talented craftsmen. This may be Jem Godfrey's baby, but it is apparent throughout that this is very much a band effort. Any album which features a 26+ minute prog epic cannot be all bad, but in this case it is pleasing to report that the album works well as a whole too.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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