Releasing a perfect sounding AOR and Melodic Rock album with songs that are full of memorable hooklines, big guitar sounds, tasteful keyboard accents backed by a strong rhythm section with real live drums was Belgian born Kurt Vereecke's dream for many many years. With the release of the first “Frozen Rain” album this fantasy finally became reality in a big way.
Kicking of this circle of 12 masterfully produced tracks is the pure AOR bliss of “Waiting For You”, featuring the voice of Johan Waem, a great new talent having the pipes to deliver an amazing AOR vocal performance. Well known already is the talent of Tommy Denander (Radioactive, Deacon Street) who adds the lead guitar solo and a signature rhythm guitar that is prominently featured after the solo section which is opened by Jurgen Vitrier's synth solo in classic Gregg Giuffria style.
No time to breathe for AOR lovers with “Wire Of Love”, another stunning AOR hymn giving singer Johan Waem again the chance to shine. This time the solo guitars are played by Sven Bauwens, leaving no doubt that he has the chops to deliver the goods. Back in the old days “Wire Of Love” would have been a staple on Rock Radio stations being the perfect soundtrack for a ride in a convertible on a hot summer day.
To keep up the good feeling “Frozen Rain” adds a third rocker to the perfect opening trio of songs called “Music Keeps Me Alive” with the lead vocals of another great singer called Maurice Saelmans. Slowing down the pace for a softer moment is the smooth ballad “My Heart Believes It's True” sung by Ollie Oldenburg (Ex-Zinatra), who has a higher pitched voice matching the songs feeling.
An AOR hero from the U.K. steps into the light on “Red Light Zone”, Steve Newman (Newman) took over the mix and added some rhythm guitars on this tune that is opened by Sven Bauwens' guitar leads while the spotlight for the lead solo is on Dan Palladino. The bridge before his guitar solo will inspire many AOR fanatics to play some “Air piano” when they hear the very tasteful piano runs of Frank De Lobel.
“On The Run” is a rockin' duet between the singers Ollie Oldenburg and Dirk Cauwels, while the following visit in the “Park Café” has more of a Westcoast AOR feel that is perfectly matched by another Denander lead solo. This midtempo song is the only one to have Peter De Zutter on lead vocals and he does a great job just like his four colleagues.
“Never Be A Fool Again”, “Your Love” and the slower paced “Say That You Love Me” are three Melodic Rockers adding the mixing touch and some guitars of American Jim Santos of the band Norway to the record. And just like on most of the songs of the “Frozen Rain” project you will hear more solo work on guitar from Tommy Denander. Another fabulous guest musician is Daniel Flores (Mind's Eye) whose virtuoso druming is heard throughout the album. Other members of the “Frozen Rain Musicians Club” are Guido Priori (Myland), Ward Snauwaert and Alan Williamson.
Before the album closes with the Westcoast styled ballad “Tomorrow” you will be carried away by “Little Angel”, another amazing AOR track sung again by Johan Waem and being another highlight on this very consistent album of high calibre AOR and Melodic Rock with an occasional Westcoast touch. The musical result was certainly worth all the long hours picking the right singers and players for each track and working on the perfect song arrangements in the studio.
While listening to the “Frozen Rain” album you will be wearing a smile on your face when you are reminded of the Good Old Times and you will realize that Kurt is a perfectionist when it comes to keeping up the spirit of some of his favorite bands like The Storm, Giant, Harlan Cage, Fair Warning, Heartland, Signal, Drive She Said, Boulevard, Skagarack, Treat and Bad Habit that carried on the torch of mighty icons like Journey, Foreigner and Survivor.
Review by Gregor Klee - Avenue of Allies