REVIEW: FROST* – “Day And Age”
They may not release new material often, but when they do Frost* usually makes waves throughout the prog-rock community. It is good therefore to see them follow up their EP of last year with this year’s ‘Day And Age’ in less than a year. The band is now a working three-piece, with guest drummers throughout, and have come out with a very solid new release.
The album kicks off with the title track, which runs at nearly 12 minutes is the longest on the album. The song begins with a little girl saying hello, and welcome to life “you scum” and quickly becomes classic Frost*, melodic, yet hard-hitting musically. Heavily atmospheric as well, the lead vocals are for the most part handled by guitarist John Mitchell, who is perhaps better known as the creative force behind his own Lonely Robot project. In the past, the majority of vocals were handled by bandleader/keyboardist Jem Godfrey who has a bit more “bite” to his voice. The results are a good song, but one that sounds a lot more like Lonely Robot, than it does Frost*. And that bite, and extra edge to his voice, has always been one of the key sound points for the band.
Jem is more noticeable on “Waiting For the Lie,” which begins as a more quiet and meditative song, before slowly building in volume and intensity. This is immediately followed by the rather quirky “The Boy Who Stood Still,” a slightly longer song, it is largely dominated by spoken word rather than singing. It tells the story of a boy who discovers he has the ability to achieve perfect motionless, and then invisibility when motionless. He works on his skill to achieve invisibility to escape unpleasant situations and eventually becomes a watcher who survives throughout time. Around the three-minute mark the “regular” song begins, resulting in sharp vocals, and some fantastic guitar work from Mitchell, who doesn’t solo a lot, but when he does it’s always well worth hearing, and blends brilliantly with the bass of Nathan King.
Jumping ahead we come to my favorite song from the album the nine-minute “Kill the Orchestra.” Beginning quietly with just Jem singing his slightly bitter, cynical lyrics over his piano. After two minutes the rest of the band comes in, and the song takes off from there. It contains all the hallmarks of a great, and signature Frost* song, the aforementioned cynical lyrics, great melodies, and slashes of heavy, aggressive music that borders on the metal territory. And of course, it just builds and gets better as it goes along.
The album closes with “Repeat To Fade” which works rather well as a closing number. The beginning is heavily electric in sound, and the first vocals heard are John screaming “ENJOY YOURSELVES YOU SCUM” echoing the little girl at the beginning of the album. The song morphs throughout, growing in intensity, but the solid foundation of electronics and solid drum beats remains, holding everything up. The screaming is again heard in the background as an echo during the last minute or so, and the album is wrapped up quite nicely.
‘Day And Age’ is the fourth full-length release from English proggers Frost*. They didn’t set out to reinvent the wheel, or even their own sound with this album, but have provided fans of the band a very solid new release. Though lacking some of the bites, and punch that has made earlier releases so special, and exciting, it should nonetheless please longtime fans of the band, and provide a good starting point for anyone new.