The British band Frost* acts as the musical outlet for keyboard player and vocalist Jem Godfrey in order to write, record and produce prog rock tunes. With guitarist-singer John Mitchell (The Urbane, Kino, It Bites, Arena) he found a friend who was willing to become his musical partner. So far they recorded - with other musicians on vocals, bass and drums − three albums: the two amazing sounding studio albums Milliontown (2006) and Experiments In Mass Appeal (2008), and the live album The Philadelphia Experiment (2010, see review). On several occasions the band disbanded and re-formed again, so you actually could never tell whether the band still existed or not. However, with this new live document on DVD and CD they give a life sign showing that Frost* are still alive and kicking.
This new record was recorded at the famous Rockfield Studios hence the title The Rockfield Files. Both the CD and the DVD were produced and filmed by Rob Reed (Magenta, Cyan). The DVD contains the video footage of the recordings that were made in this Welsh studio. I guess it won't be a surprise that the CD contains the audio of the same recordings during which Godfrey and Mitchell got musical assistance from Craig Blundell (David Cross, Bruce Dickinson, King King) on drums and Nathan King (It Bites, Level 42) on bass and vocals. Obviously most of the performed songs already appeared on the band's aforementioned albums. However, some new pieces were done as well.
The first disc contains the video footage. It's divided into two parts: one with the full setting of the electric band and the other with only Godfrey and Mitchell playing acoustically. When you see the intro for the complete band studio sessions you might become a bit confused, because it shows a picture on which Godfrey plays the bass guitar, Mitchell sits behind the keyboards, Nathan King behind the drums and Craig Blundell holds an electric guitar. If you continue with the footage you'll notice that you can't rely on this picture. It shows the line-up as stated above, which was really great during the time they performed the six songs in a cosy setting featuring candles, spotlights and the Union Jack.
From the moment Hyperventilate started until the dying notes of Milliontown, I couldn't sit still on my couch in front of the TV screen. Both the music and the performance of the musicians immediately grabbed me by the throat. In between those mentioned tracks I saw a band perform with lots of passion and making jokes at the same time. During Heartstrings, a great sounding new song, I couldn't notice any nervousness at all! The funny side of the band can either be noticed on the other two features of this DVD. The acoustic sessions were shot at a kind of dusty office. Godfrey and Mitchell wear strange hats while excellently playing two songs on the piano and acoustic guitar: the new piece Lantern and Black Light Machine. Also the interview with both musicians in the back of a Rolls Royce is sometimes hilarious. They talk about the new musicians in the band, the vocal lines, the writing process, James Bond, Quality Street, the Urbane and Kino.
As for the CD, I can be brief because it contains the same tracks that can be seen on the DVD except for the interview of course. By including an audio disc you get the opportunity to listen to the band in your car, bathroom, toilet or any other location you prefer! As you already expected from Frost*, the sound of the audio disc is excellent. All in all I can only be positive about The Rockfield Files. Being a lover of music DVDs, I just had the time of my life watching this band in action and this also applied to the great sounding CD. So no complaints at all!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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