Released: Janu, InsideOut
Frost* is the brainchild of British composer and producer Jem Godfrey, who is responsible for several best-selling U.K. pop music singles. Despite his portfolio as a pop music mastermind, this attempt to branch in to the progressive rock genre is actually an admirable one. While it may appeal more to the mass market than the metal underground, EXPERIMENTS IN MASS APPEAL may hold some amount of interest for fans of more progressive music styles.
On first impression it would be easy to mistake Frost* for being very similar, as the album's title track kicks off with an acousit guitar intro followed by the inclusion of some piano and distorted clean vocals which sound like they could have all been ripped from any number of Opeth's songs. The song continues like this until finally the electric guitars and drums kick in, but we are never treated to growling of any sort. Still, the piece could be mistaken for some of the prog-metal masters' work as it drops in and out of the acoustic and electric sections at a moment's notice. "Experiments in Mass Appeal" is probably the strongest track on the album, and if the rest of the CD continued like this it would probably be worth recommending to any progressive metal fan.
Unfortunately, the rest of the album isn't quite as strong. On the song's second track, "Welcome to Nowhere", the deceptive Opeth-like qualities are toned down a bit but are still present at the beginning of the song, but by about a quarter of the way through the track it is evident that Frost* really isn't quite as much Opeth as we were originally led to believe. In fact, the rest of the track feels more like Dream Theatre, which is different but definitely still acceptable.
By the time track three, "Pocket Sun", rolls around, it seems that Frost* loses more of its sense of identity. There's still a bit of Dream Theatre there, but it sounds more like a song from Threshold of Vanden Plas, with much more electric keyboard fueling it. After "Pocket Sun" the music takes a slower turn with "Saline", which is filled with pianos, keyboards, and stringed instruments. It could still draws some similarities to some of Dream Theatre's slower pieces, right up until it breaks down in to a bit of an emo piece.
By track 5, "Dead Days", the album has lost just about all of the appeal it may have ahd left to any metal fan. It is an electronic keyboard-heavy piece which ends up sounding more like a mix between industrial rock and something akint o Linkin Park. The CD never really recovers from this point, seeming to only degrade in to a more popppish rock feel. It's not necessarily bad music, but it doesn't break any new ground and isn't particularly interesting either.
EXPERIMENTS IN MASS APPEAL has its definite moments, and the first foru tracks on the album are worth listening to at least a few times if you're interested in progressive metal/rock, but on the whole it is difficult to recommend to any self-respecting metalhead. Jem's history as a pop music specialist definitely shines through here, making his foray in to progressive rock feel more like an effort to do just what the album's title suggests: appeal to a mass audience.