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Articles Home » 2008 Articles » Frozen Rain - 2008 Frozen Rain
 
Frozen Rain - 2008 Frozen Rain



ARTIST: Frozen Rain
ALBUM: Frozen Rain
LABEL: Avenue Of Allies
SERIAL: 08-01-0001
YEAR: 2008
SPONSOR: Gregor Klee

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Kurt Vereecke - keyboards, synth bass, rhythm guitars, drums, drum loops, backing vocals

Guests: Lead Vocals - Johan Waem, Maurice Saelmans, Ollie Oldenburg, Peter De Zutter, Dirk Cauwels * Background Vocals - Johan Waem, Maurice Saelmans, Ollie Oldenburg, Peter De Zutter, Dirk Cauwels, Guido Priori, Jo De Boeck, Eva Vereecke, Willem Verwoert * Lead Guitar and Solos - Tommy Denander, Dan Palladino, Jim Santos, Sven Bauwens * Rhythm Guitars - Tommy Denander, Dirk Cauwels, Steve Newman, Erik Van Bers, Ward Snauwaert, Alan Williamson, Luc Van Thuyne * Acoustic Guitar - Alan Williamson, Luc Van Thuyne * Piano - Frank De Lobel * Keyboards - Jurgen Vitrier * Bass - Vincent De Laat, Dan Palladino * Drums - Daniel Flores

TRACK LISTING: 01 Waiting For You * 02 Wire Of Love * 03 Music Keeps Me Alive * 04 My Heart Believes It's True * 05 Red Light Zone * 06 On The Run * 07 Park Cafe * 08 Never Be A Fool Again * 09 Your Love * 10 Say That You Love Me * 11 Little Angel * 12 Tomorrow

RATING:

WEBLINKS: www.frozenrain.be


Background
Over the last few years, the name Kurt Vereecke has reverberated around the Internet/AOR community thanks to his Frozen Rain project. More than just a presence on MySpace, Kurt has now managed to transform potential into permanence, with the manifestation of mp3 samples into a full-blown first album - released on the new German label Avenue Of Allies. It's a very happy sounding variant of AOR - more so than what I've heard in recent times. Musically, I'd say it's a melding of Radioactive, Lec Zorn Project and a guy like Ralph Van Maanen, all three are highly melodic acts in their own right. At this early stage it would be difficult to say that Frozen Rain has forged it's own identity, purely due to the sheer number of different personnel involved. Perhaps in time that might happen, but as of now, the music on this album will have pure-bred AORsters salivating in anticipation! Attention to detail is obvious right from the outset with this CD, all songs lovingly cared for over the duration of a couple of years. Not quite up there in terms of a late 'estimated time of arrival' as we got with last years Lec Zorn Project, but certainly, Frozen Rain and LZP do have a lot of similarities.


The Songs
There are some very familiar names onboard. Tommy Denander (Radioactive), Steve Newman (Newman), Jim Santos (Norway) and Daniel Flores (Minds Eye) all spring to mind, plus Kurt has bought in many of his musical cohorts from within his native Belgium to help out. All do a remarkable job. Let's throw the pen at the songs then.

Perhaps the best known track is the opener 'Waiting For You'. This one has been the most familiar excerpt on Kurt's Frozen Rain MySpace page. I can envisage AORsters wetting their pants listening to this.. It really does take us back to the glory days of AOR in a heartbeat!

Shuffling on a restless set of rhythms, 'Wire Of Love' is a mid-tempo delight. I'm listening to this and comparing it to Ralph Van Manen's debut 'Face The Feeling', an album given a huge rap on this site. Kurt is in very good company then!

The happy theme whistles dixie on the lovely 'Music Keeps Me Alive', particularly that infectious chorus. No half measures on this track, the beat is relentless, pumping all the way to the end.

'My Heart Believes It's True' is the first of the ballads to appear. It's predictably emotion-soaked and displays all the pre-requisites that a ballad requires. Tommy Denander's solo is very nice, matching the mood of the song perfectly.

'Red Light Zone' is not too dissimilar to ''Music Keeps Me Alive', perhaps a shade heavier, but that chorus is happy-fever again, with the tempo at a similar speed.

Some interesting lyrics pervade 'On The Run'. It sounds as if the protagonist of this song is suffering from sleep deprivation and dementia.. 'You have to run, you have to hide, from the creatures deep inside'. With another very simple chorus 'On the run.. on the run', the fact that this one is played out in an AOR style makes for an unusual combination.

Nothing too complex with the arrangement on 'Park Caf‚'. I think many of us have heard this musical structure many times before on other similar songs, but this one has a load of charm, notwithstanding another spot-on solo from Denander.

'Never Be A Fool Again' is delivered in the purest form of AOR possible. It's another track that time-warps us back to the mid 80's, except the production is far superior. I'm sure many of you will enjoy this track.

Rhythm guitars take control on the very pulse-driven 'Your Love'. This one has a Toto feel to it, but Tommy Denander's superb solo sends this one over the edge. Though the chorus is very straight forward.. 'I want it all - your love', it's another choice song!

Fans of Dutch AORster Ralph Van Maanen will delight in the tune 'Say That You Love Me'. All of Ralph's trademark sound is resurrected here, probably more out of coincidence than design. Very smooth AOR is what it's all about with this one.

Without doubt, 'Little Angel' is one of the album highlights for me. Those awesome sounding keys provide the tether for this song to float on a blanket of sugary melodies, but always kept anchored by some tempered rhythm guitar. Great chorus too.. just thought I'd mention that!

The album exit point is the ballad 'Tomorrow'. This one has a very sentimental vibe to it, and is closest to the ballad material heard on the beautiful 1993 debut album from Ralph Van Maanen. A little bit laid back when compared to the rest of the album.. consider it a winding-down process.


In Summary
A very classy effort all round. True, there are lots of contributors to the album, but Kurt has hovered over these songs for awhile now, and the end result is a testament to the care and attention given to the final product. Funnily enough, the songs which didn't quite hold my attention as much as the others were the two ballads. But ten exceptional tracks out of twelve more than makes up for it. For all of us AORsters, we are quite spoilt for choice in the early part of 2008. Some very good releases have graced us, and within that you can definitely include Frozen Rain. It gets my full AOR seal of approval.


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Tags: Frozen Rain 
 
Comments
#1 | gdazegod on May 06 2008 08:03:32
I notice Urban 'Wally' over at Rock United gave this album a right slagging. If I took any notice of his reviews I'd be a millionaire, because I'd be saving all my money because of all the crap reviews and ratings, he gives out - I wouldn't be tempted to spend money on anything! pissed
#2 | jeffrey343 on February 04 2009 18:32:52
I got this in December 2008, after having it on my list for a while. It's definitely a good album, on the cusp of greatness. It may end up in my revised top 10 of 2008 at some point. I'll agree with George that the ballads are the weak link here.

I think what keeps it at the level just below greatness is the lack of one primary vocalist for the entire album. Some of the vocalists work out better than others. If one guy handled all the songs (and of course it was the right guy), I think this would have been even better. And some of the songs could use a little more variety internally - not much, but maybe a little something to bump it from very good to great. But as it is, this is good stuff.

I read the Rock United review that George mentioned. I'm not sure what Wally was thinking. I'll agree with the multiple vocalist thing. But even though this doesn't really break any new ground, it is quite classy.

This became available late in 2008 on the three online music stores I regularly check out (Rhapsody, iTunes, and Amazon), so you can get the mp3s for under $10. And you can get lyrics at the web site that George included in the review.
 
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