*Frost are one of the more mysterious, yet praised bands in all of progressive music. Giving a very unique sound to the masses with lots of variety in their output is one point that gives them universal acclaim. Yet the various stages of band hiatuses and member changes since their 2006 debut “Milliontown” has left fans happy when the promise of an album can be delivered. With a eight year break in between this new album and “Experiments In Mass Appeal”, some fans would be hard pressed to think that with too long of a lapse in recordings that the quality and drive wouldn’t be there anymore. Hardcore fans will have faith that the talent and creativity was merely on hold.
So with the band’s newest effort “Falling Satellites” becoming available, fans can be at ease with the current lineup. Longtime members Jem Godfrey (vocals, keyboards, Railboard, guitar) and John Mitchell (vocals, guitar) return, and joining these two are Nathan King on bass (Level 42) and drummer Craig Blundell (Steven Wilson). This lineup represents the longest solid lineup in group history (performing since 2010), yet it’s the first recorded album by this version of the band. And with everything cemented group-wise, let’s see how this album stacks up in todays progressive climate.
“First Day” starts things off with a chorus of angelic voices. Short and sweet, and a nice way to start things off. “Numbers” takes us to the energetic pulse we were waiting for. With crazy syncopated instruments, this is a technical feast that will have longtime fans excited. It’s very upbeat and energetic with a bit of an eighties vibe to it. “Towerblock” starts out laid back and serene, then goes into an erratic dubstep-like stance. The middle part of the song starts to build on the beginning of the song and makes it bigger and more technical, with layers of jazz fusion and general prog goodness woven through seamlessly. “Signs” contains a bit of a harder vibe with a dominating synthesizer output, while “Lights Out” could be the pop-type single of the album, with female vocals interspersed throughout. This track is a nice, light piece to help simmer down the technical flow of the album.
The last six songs on the album comprise a 32-minute suite entitled “Sunlight”. Guitar legend Joe Satriani guests on the album within this suite (although it’s not mentioned for which track). Starting with “Heartstrings”, the band starts ramping up the energy once again, with flashes of technical prowess from all involved helping to propel the solid song structure. “Closer To The Sun” features dance beats and pounding drums to start off the song. This song is atmospheric and big in delivery with dueling guitar and keyboard solos (I think I’m safe to assume that this is where Satriani’s guest spot is contained), woven together masterfully. “The Raging Against The Dying Of The Light Blues in 7/8” is a great composition with plenty of twists and turns. It’s all over the map aurally to be honest, and a great representation of where the album can go and how it delivers with beautiful balance. “Nice Day For It…” picks up where “The Raging…” left off, continuing the musically pleasurable journey. And with “Hypoventilate” containing an atmospheric calm that helps wind the album down, “Last Day” closes out the suite and album with a simple piano and vocal piece that is peaceful and serene.
With this album clocking in at almost an hour, we get almost everything we’d expect from this band. Album-wise, “Falling Satellites” contains the best moments from the previous two studio albums in this current package, which I believe will satisfy both longtime and newer fans alike with something to offer everyone. As for myself, I’m a newer fan, but I completely back up my statement of comparison regarding the sound. It’s an excellent album that contains some of the brightest prog moments of 2016 so far, and I expect it will go down as a real classic in the grand scheme of things. This style of music is it’s most exciting when it’s ambitious and risky, and I think the band came through with that expectation and has made something truly worthy and memorable.
01. First Day
05. Lights Out
07. Closer To The Sun
08. The Raging Against The Dying Of The Light Blues in 7/8
09. Nice Day For It…
11. Last Day
Playing time: 55:46
Release date: 27 May, 2016
Label: Inside Out Music
Website: *Frost Official Website