Frost* is an UK neo-progressive rock super group, formed in 2004 by Jem Godfrey and the members of Arena, Kino, and IQ. Frost* released their first studio album, Milliontown, in 2006, before splitting up. In 2008, after their reunion, the band released their second album, Experiments in Mass Appeal. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frost*, 2009).
1. Who is the band? What is their history? What motivates them?
As mentioned in the Wikipedia overview at the top, Frost is a “super group”, made up of successful artists from other famous Neo – Prog bands. Although these super groups a great opportunity to bring together the best talent in a genre, they often do not come off well. The last pairing of most of these members, Kino’s album Picture, was one of my favorite albums of 2005. So this was sure to be amongst my first choices to review.
This is a group of individuals who love to create and play music. They have not achieved enough fame with their main bands to do it full time, so these side projects offer the members a chance to keep producing music, when their regular bands are not creating or touring.
Their recent teaming with Dream Theater, a full time band, on tour this year, shows they may be getting closer to that status. Their drive may be to always have another outlet to express their personal creativity which may not be fully appreciated by their regular bands.
Their past history with other bands provides more than adequate support for their abilities. The motivation to keep these side projects going while working within some top bands provides me proof of their desire to make great music.
2. Why did they make this album? What was the passion or message that forced them to produce what they have? Or, simply what was their motivation for the themes they chose for this album?
The title, Experiments in Mass Appeals gives away some of the motivations for this album. The opening lines, “I don't care if you don't mind. Modern life's the mocking kind.”, speak to a desire to comment on the coldness of our modern world. Another strong line in the opening title song is, “Victims of demography. Just product in a category. Testing what you think and feel. Experiments in mass appeal.”
3. What message are they delivering through their lyrics and music?
“Caught in the process. Of mass separation. Victims of progress, and mute isolation.” and “Everybody got an explanation, for a world that has lost sensation. Nothing saves the feelings we forgot to feel”, are good summaries of the general feeling of the lyrics in the album. The cold world isolates us and we don’t even realize we continue to contribute daily to this mind numbing isolation by the actions we take.
Luckily for the listener, the lyrics are not reflected in the powerful and dynamic music that supports these lyrics. The music is very interesting and full of power and passion. It’s a nice contrast.. Desperate isolation teamed with music that strains for passion.
4. Does this music improve, change, or add to the genre? What does the listener receive from listening to the music?
This music is harder edge and less commercial than Kino, which is wonderful. Nobody wants to listen to the same music re-packaged. It is faster paced, but retains all of the elements you expect from the Neo – Prog environment that all of the band members earned their stripes within. It doesn’t move the bar far as being experimental, (no pun intended). However, it is good straight ahead rock delivered with confidence and passion. That is enough to satisfy me and probably most people searching for new music in this genre.
While some bands have experimented with grunge, metal, and other genres, these guys stay comfortably within Neo – Prog, but they are masters and do it very well. Sometimes it’s better to stay within your element if you are at the top of your game. They have delivered another spectacular Neo – Prog album, delivering what their fans want, while others are out trying to find a new self.
5. Does it have longevity? Is it something a fan will like to play again and again?
Definitely! This is a powerful album delivered by some of the leaders in the genre and they do a great job of delivering an interesting and passionate album. I have listened to it several times before preparing this review and I plan to go back and listen to it many times in the future. It is one of the best Neo Prog albums of 2008!
Looking forward to most of these guys re-uniting for the Kino follow – up to Picture! Keep up the good work!
7 of 10 points
Reviewed by Prof on April 15th, 2009