FROST* Milliontown (A “throw-back” review)

This album might well have slipped between the cracks and never have been heard were it not for John Mitchell’s blindingly good new CD, Please Come Home just released from his latest project LONELY ROBOT. Yes, of course I’ve probably heard a track or two from his other projects over the years (no doubt on the Dividing Line Broadcast website) or seen an ad for one of them in the pages of Uncut or Mojo, or one of the other glossies before the advent of PROG magazine, but those brief encounters just didn’t stick in my memory bank. So, thanks now to Wikipedia and YouTube I am aware, familiar, and in love with Mitchell’s other two stellar projects KINO (R.I.P.) and FROST*

With no further adieu, a “throw-back” review.

 FROSTMilliontown_cover

Milliontown is a well crafted and crisply produced affair. The mixing is clean and upfront with superb musicianship from some of England’s best Prog players. John Mitchell is truly an underrated guitarist while drummer Andy Edwards turns in a blistering performance, especially on the final track. But at its heart, this is a keyboard and synth driven opus that lays at the creative and compositional feet of wizard of the ivories, Jem Godfrey!

From the first few seconds of tinkling piano (I call the sound ‘ambient owlwind’) on the opening track Hyperventilate to the final piano coda of track 6, the listener is marinated in a wash of melodies and buoyant themes of cautious but optimistic striving and rebirth. Godfrey and company do an admirable job of mixing and matching (and mashing) the louder and more raucous hard-rock elements with the delicate and intricate interplays between guitar and keys. No Me No You has a real SPOCK’S BEARD/Neal Morse vibe but with a twist of electronica and processed background voices. Snowman has such an infectious and gossamery—like opening, that this ‘dreamprog’ has one forming mental images of a sonic snowman and making beautiful comparisons to even Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band!

Even my least favorite track (but still a solid “B/B+”) The Other Me has a great give and take between heavier metal rock with industrial discordant stabs of rhythm and some delicious quiet vocal passages.

Track 5, The Black Light Machine, which clocks in at 10:06 is worth the price of the whole album. The harmonies between Godfrey and Mitchell give this a TRANSATLANTIC (there’s that Morse again ;)) feel. Mitchell just “kills” this track with his finest axe shredding. The album closes out with a mammoth 26 minute colossus titled Milliontown. This is a song of great melodies, beautiful vocal harmonies (again), triumphant soaring themes, and a flower-like resilience of stubborn perseverance and growth after a long thunder storm.

FROST* is bracing and exhilarating and never numbing. With Milliontown, these musicians thaw the spirit and freeze out boredom and mainstream sameness.

This album should in the collection of anyone who appreciates PROG music.

The album can be listened to in its entirety at bandcamp: http://frost.bandcamp.com/album/milliontown

But should be purchased then immediately: http://www.amazon.com/Milliontown-FROST/dp/B000G04UYG/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1425324615&sr=1-1&keywords=frost

Mellotron On!

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One Response to “FROST* Milliontown (A “throw-back” review)”

  1. bradbirzer Says:

    Reblogged this on Progarchy: Pointing toward Proghalla.

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