Out now on Avenue Of Allies

“Ahead Of Time” arrives four years after the self titled debut album and marks the second chapter in the history of Frozen Rain. In 2008 the dream of the Belgian song writer & multi-instrumentalist Kurt Vereecke became reality when the first album of his AOR / Melodic Rock project was released. Positive feedback has led to a second album in “Ahead Of Time” and is rather impressive indeed.

Some band line-up changes have happened over the last 4 years with most notably guitarist Rik Priem joining the band and one of German rock’s most distinctive voices handling all lead vocals, namely one Carsten “Lizard” Schulz.  The two additions have paid dividends as this is a very strong slice of AOR/melodic hard rock in the vein of 1987-era Whitesnake, Journey and some hints of mid/late 80’s Bon Jovi.

Essentially this highly melodic fused hard rock, with strong hooks, guitar work that scream’s 80’s and parping keyboards along with a driving rhythm section.  Nothing is breaking new ground but who cares when its written as strongly as this and performed with gusto.  Guitarist Rik Priem comes across as a hybrid of John Sykes and Neal Schon and has the fine line between melody and speed down nicely; albeit with a very fx heavyguitar tone and over-reliance on the tremolo bar for vibrato.  Carsten Schulz sings in lower more smokey timbres than heard on other recent works from him off late, with these being well suited to the material and show his skill at delivering outside his more traditional heavy metal genre.

Highlights to these ears are opener “Believe It Or Not” which is equal parts Blue Murder and East Coast AOR and home to a superb feel and melodies.  The great melodies rear their head again on “Breaking Out” where the keyboards yield pomp style majesty and whilst a throwback to yesteryear it’s done as well as any of the major names still going.  Likewise the power ballad “Too Late” is everything you’d want in such a number with Schulz even going all Jon Bon on us whilst “The Way That You” begs for the Californian highway in a convertible car.

Elsewhere everything is still of a strong standard with good melodies and overall good performances and it all adds up to a very good album indeed.   Sonically there are no issues either with a big sound courtesy of mix by Alessandro Del Vecchio (Eden’s Curse) and mastering by Dennis Ward.

Overall “Ahead Of Time” is a throw back to the glory days of AOR, and one of the best examples of the genre you will hear in 2012.  Check it out.

Rating – 90%


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