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Frozen Tears – Brazen Whisper

Frozen Tears
Brazen Whisper
by Mark Machlay at 08 December 2021, 6:29 AM

A blast from the past, the Aussie melodic rock band FROZEN TEARS returns with their first release in over twenty years with the 7-song EP “Brazen Whisper” released in August of 2021. The band began back in 1996 when close childhood friends Thanis Akritidis on vocals and Jon Powers on guitar and keyboard would be assigned to write a rock anthem for Australia’s biggest football club, South Melbourne. The following year in late 1997, the pair released their full-length debut album “Silence of the Night” with a massive 15 songs and great reviews in an age when the marketing power of social media was not yet available. Their debut was a pleasant mix of no-nonsense hard rock with strong melodic sensibilities and a heavy influence of classic AOR sounds of such bands as KISS, WHITESNAKE, DOKKEN, and WHITE SISTER. The album was so well received that it garnered them popularity overseas, especially in Europe where it continues to sell thanks to the popularity of the musical style in that part of the world.

Unfortunately, not long after the release of their debut and local tour to promote the album, the FROZEN TEARS would go into an extended hiatus. They affirm that the group had never officially broken up and continued to work on the follow-up to their debut. Things started to come together again in early 2020 and the band would start laying down tracks for their self-produced sophomore release. While the world would head into isolation and enter an uncertain future due to the pandemic lockdowns, the band instead refined their cuts of “Set Me Free”, “Love Can be Real”, “Hold on Tight” and the eventual title track of the album, “Brazen Whisper”. For their new release, the band enlisted notable session drummer Glenn Wellman from the UK who has been featured alongside Jordan Rudess of DREAM THEATER and fellow keyboardist Adam Holzman. The band also enlisted the talents of Ty Sims to both engineer and co-produce the album. Ty Sims recently worked with AOR powerhouse House of Lords on their last few albums as well as the likes of TANGO DOWN and BOMBAY BLACK.

One thing that is clear, FROZEN TEARS modernized the production as the sonic quality of “Brazen Whisper” is excellent and a pleasure to the ears, despite some tape hiss on the ends of some tracks. The latter explains why I think a few of the tracks hit a little stale and possibly were recorded a bit ago. This makes me wonder why fans of the band waited 24 years for only six new tracks. The opening title track features some sublime lead guitar work from Jon Powers, showing that he clearly has some amazing lead playing chops. The song itself is a bit bland outside of the anthem ready chorus. Fortunately, with more excellent lead work, a cleanly picked intro and playful softer melodies, “You” is an early notable track on the album with a soft piano outro as a cherry on top. “Hold on Tight” is a nice slice of anthemic AOR hard rock, glistening and sparkling with heavily singable leads, making it a perfect earworm. “Love Can Be Real” is the midpoint ballad of the album, but was pretty formulaic and a bit repetitive, while the production had all the 80s glitz and sheen to make it sound good even if it didn’t really catch my ear. “Set Me Free” sees the band getting a bit funkier and possibly a bit progressive with some creative riff work and “Can’t Stop” is the final original, going out with a bang featuring a an almost flamenco sweet guitar solo. Unfortunately, they continue with a cover of the KISS classic “C’mon and Love Me” – a glimpse into their influence – and while it’s decently executed, the world doesn’t really need another cover of this song. Overall, I wish they could’ve cranked a few more original tracks for a complete album to judge. As it is, it has great production and features a few standout tracks but seemed a bit uneven.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 7
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Brazen Whisper
2. You
3. Hold on Tight
4. Love Can Be Real
5. Set Me Free
6. Can’t Stop
7. C’mon & Love Me
Lineup:
Thanis Akritidis – Vocals
Jon Powers – Guitars, Keyboards and Bass
Record Label: Independent
     


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