Before The Frost...Until The Freeze review by The Black Crowes

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  • Released: Aug 31, 2009
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.8 (27 votes)
The Black Crowes: Before The Frost...Until The Freeze

Sound — 9
After last year's Warpaint, which was met with severely mixed opinions throughout the Black Crowes fanbase, the Crowes return with what I believe to be their best album since 1997's abandoned Band (which was eventually released as the first disc of Lost Crowes in 2006). The songs sound complete and the band appears cohesive, characteristics that some suggest Warpaint was lacking. Both parts of this double album- the released Before the Frost... and the free download ...Until the Freeze -were recorded live over the course of five sessions in front of a studio audience at Levon Helm's barn in Woodstock, NY in February and March, 2009. The music captured at these sessions covers a wide variety of styles, ranging from the rousing rock and roll of Good Morning Captain and Been A Long Time (Waiting On Love), to the disco beat of I Ain't Hiding, the middle-eastern vibe of Aimless Peacock- sitar and all -and the country pickin' of Garden Gate. Larry Campbell was featured as a guest musician at three of the five sessions, and his impact can be heard all over both Before the Frost... and ...Until the Freeze, where he plays violin, banjo, and pedal steel guitar. One of the album's many highlights, in my opinion, is the vocals, which often contain harmonies from rhythm guitarist Rich Robinson, keyboardist Adam MacDougall, and bassist Sven Pipien, and for the first time ever on a Black Crowes record, lead vocals compliments of Rich Robinson. Also of note is bassist Sven Pipien, whose bass parts are high in the mix and rightfully so, as his performance is very, very good.

Lyrics — 7
After reading the lyrics to both Before the Frost... and ...Until the Freeze, my overall impression is that they are decent, but nothing too spectacular. There are some great lyrics on both albums (I like Last Place That Love Lives on Before the Frost... and Fork In The River on ...Until the Freeze) but there are also some lines that I think Chris and Rich could have done better (see the entire And The Band Played On). That said, I think most of the vocals on this album, whether it be from Chris (who sounds great in my opinion), Rich, Sven, or Adam, are very good. Also of note- Before the Frost... features three songs written solely by either Chris or Rich (Chris wrote I Ain't Hiding and Last Place That Love Lives while Rich wrote What Is Home). This is the first time to my knowledge that a Black Crowes song has been credited to Chris or Rich (or anyone else for that matter) individually.

Overall Impression — 8
Overall, I think this is a very good, and most certainly diverse collection of songs between the two albums. Is it as good as The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion, Amorica, or Three Snakes and One Charm? In my opinion, no, but it's hard to compare it to those albums, because of how different these two discs are. The Black Crowes have taken a turn in somewhat of a new direction, that started with Warpaint and has now continued nicely with Before the Frost...Until the Freeze.

4 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I'm of the opinion that Warpaint ranks with Southern Harmony as there two best albums. Every track is a winner. The new album continues in that vain, still digesting it, so far I am very impressed. Saw them on Letterman last night performing "Good Morning Captain." Have tickets to see the Milwaukee show, Crowes always deliver live, guarantee!
    I saw them on David Letterman last night and they sounded really good. I forget the name of the song, but it was a bit happier and up beat than anything I've heard them do in a while. I saw them a couple years ago at the Fillmore in SF and I was thoroughly disappointed. After their performance on Letterman, I'm thinking of picking up the album.
    What a bonus, just spotted link on the news page here that the Crowes had just released a new album!! Had no idea one was even due let alone its been available for a mere 48 hours so cheers for the comments so far and I have promptly downloaded from the tunes of I.. Loved the Black Crowes for years and seen them do a couple of blinding gigs in Glasgow over the years, one in a small university hall QMU in 99 and maybe 3 years before in the Scottish Ex and Conf centre playing with Page and Plant....both amazing performances the sound of this album after listening to the first 4 songs it takes me back to that Rock N Roll heaven. Girlfriend at the time who 11 yrs later is the Mother of our magic wee boy Struan even planted a kiss on Chris's cheek after the Uni gig. As this is a review for the album Ill kick off.. Good morning Captain. Blinding upbeat happy Crowes, a great start.. Been a Longtime.. Classic Black Crowes builds up and up Apaloosa... Im a loser, or so I thought it said hearing it before reading the tracktitle, it is akin to She talks to angels in its harmony and my favourite so far! A Train Makes a Lonely Sound Great lyrics great sound.. I aint hiding..... whoa disco beat kick off! its a beauty...funk it kept my soul..... Oh yes. Listen to that bass..... ok 6 in and loving it I'll not spoil the surpise anymore but I would say get down to your record stores and buy this album now...or I got a great deal online for it through itunes. Great to see the Black Crowes doing what they do best and rolling out a 20 track album for us to get our teeth into following Warpaint last year.. Get back on the road to the UK guys and make sure you do Scotland again the new Carling Academy would be perfect, great acoustics and a proper theater for music.. and yeah Id love backstage passes..
    warpaint was a great album... i'm still trying to et my hands on this new one though...