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Frost* - Day and Age CD (album) cover





4.13 | 200 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
Special Collaborator
PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic
3 stars I hate punctuation marks as a part of a band's moniker so i admit i have a chip on my shoulder about FROST* right from the getgo. It irritates me to no end not knowing how to pronounce a band's name. Is it just FROST or is it FROST ASTERISK? Ultimately i don't care enough and have just avoided this artist altogether but having an insatiable musical appetite dictates i finally check out an album by this London based band that has been around since 2004. Best known for making neo-proggers go gaga with its debut release "Milliontown" in 2006, FROST* is back with a new album.

For those who don't already know this band, this has basically been the solo project of vocalist, keyboardist and pop song composer Jem Godfrey. The FROST* project has been his way of crafting his pop hooks with more textural complexities and oft overwrought production techniques. DAY AND AGE is the fourth album to emerge and sees a new set of cast members joining ranks. Arena's John Mitchell has been with Godfrey from the start and returns as the guitarist. Bassist Nathan King of the 80s synthpop band Level 42 sticks around for his second album.

With the departure of drummer Craig Blundell, FROST* now features three guests drummers which includes Pat Mastelotto (King Crimson, Mister Mister), Kaz Rodriguez (Chaka Khan, Josh Groban) and Darby Todd (The Darkness, Martin Barre). Jason Isaacs appears as a second vocalist along with Godfrey. The band's last album "Falling Satellites" appeared all the way back in 2016 but the EP "Others" appeared in 2020 and signaled that the band was still alive and kicking. Together these guys keep FROST* alive with another installation of its classic Genesis meets 80s Peter Gabriel sound forged with catchy pop hooks and atmospheric rivers of ambience.

This is somewhat of a bouncy sort of sound for neo-prog. You can certainly hear the 80s synthpop connections with those famous drumrolls that appeared in all those synth-based hits of prog's least productive decade. Basically the eight tracks that add up to over 53 minutes showcase keyboard overload with guitars, bass and drums somewhat as a backdrop. I'm not sure how many layers of synthesized parts are involved but they mostly dominate the album's entirety. To my ears this sounds more like a more complex Peter Gabriel solo album than anything in the world of neo-prog. Despite the Arena connections, nothing about FROST* resembles that band's cleverly crafted complexities.

Perhaps this an acquired taste that i've yet not acclimated to but i find this style of symphonic prog to be rather saccharine and uninviting. I'm not sure who sings where but the exchange of vocal parts sounds like a tradeoff between classic Gabriel inspired vocals and Neil Morse. The slow parts are in sappy ballad formats while the heavier uptempo aspects of the album sound like a better produced pop rock hit of the 1980s. While not my cup of tea, i have to admit the complexities of the keyboards are the highlight of the album's production heavy sound. I find the longer tracks such as the opening title track and the near 10-minute "Kill The Orchestra" to be the most redeeming however some parts actually remind me of George Michael songs with more guitar heft. There are several spoken word parts as well.

While neo-prog has always been the poppier side of the prog universe, FROST* seems to take this to the ultimate extreme almost sounding like a progressive version of 80s synthpop music only with a bit of guitar heft thrown in for good measure. When all is said and done this isn't horrible but neither is it the type of album that makes me want to return. The album is just too sappy and happy for my tastes. There is no diversity in emotive tapestry weaving and it's all a bit too one-dimensional for my tastes. I honestly don't see the appeal of this band but no matter how hard i try i guess i can't like everything!

siLLy puPPy | 3/5 |


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