CD review ‘Grande Rock’

Frozen Rain, the European AOR / melodic rock act, is finally back with their new studio album in 11 years, “One Mile from Heartsville”, via their new music label, Lions Pride Music. Founded in the early 2000s by multi-instrumentalist & songwriter Kurt Vereecke (keys, bass, clean guitar, backing vocals), the band’s self-titled debut was released in 2008, followed by “Ahead of Time” in 2012. Kurt eventually revived Frozen Rain and released their third album, “One Mile from Heartsville” in 2023. The line-up includes Hans Vereecke on drums, Jurgen Vitrier on keys, bass, clean guitar & backing vocals, and newcomers Lars Edvall on vocals and Jens Ambrosch on guitars. The album also features guest appearances by Roy Nichol (April Wine) & Daniel Trobell on drums, Fran Alonso (Hackers, Eddie Vantez), Roger Ljunggren (Grand Illusion, Niva, Peo), Morris Adriaens (AOR, Christian Tolle Project, Chasing Violets) & Mats Nermark on guitars, Don Lecompte & Glenn Vandorpe on bass, and Josefine Wassler & Joke Vereecke on backing vocals.

“One Mile from Heartsville” is a pure AOR / melodic rock album with a few Westcoast touches here and there. The production is full and neat, with a contemporary vibe. From the first note, it’s clear that Frozen Rain has poured their heart and soul into creating a melodic and mellow album that honors their AOR & melodic rock roots while having a fresh sound. All the performances are excellent, and the melodies are really good. Lars sings passionately, and his silky voice is perfect for AOR and melodic rock music. Actually, this kind of music can be easily overlooked if the singer is not particularly gifted. My only complaint would be that the album is quite lengthy for an AOR / melodic rock album. It contains 12 songs in total, not including the two Japanese bonus tracks, and lasts around an hour.

The album features songs for all kinds of tastes, like the catchy opener “One Mile from Heartsville”, the Journey-like “Move On”, the pleasant “Fire”, the up-tempo “Let Me Love You”, the Toto-influenced “One of These Mornings”, the pleasant Westcoast “More Than a Friend”, the stirring tech-AOR “What’s It Gonna Be”, the tuneful rocker “Ready for Tonight”, and the lively “The Waiting is Over”.

It ain’t easy to return to the music scene after 11 years with a strong album to reclaim your spot in a music industry that has changed drastically. Frozen Rain has managed to do so, and I’m sure they feel more confident than ever before. Now it’s up to them to be more consistent with the album releases and to keep up the good and professional work on every level. AOR and melodic rock fans should check out this album.

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