Album review: Frozen Factory - Planted Feet (2020)
Though the band is on the post-rock side of prog, Frozen Factory does have an interesting prog connection; like Wigwam from prog’s golden era, the band is a Finland-UK collaboration where Steve Baker provides vocals and Tomi Hassinen, Mici Ehnqvist and Eetu Pesu provide the instrumentation. Influenced by a wide range of acts, Alice in Chains, Depeche Mode, RATM, Steven Wilson, Pink Floyd, Muse and Iron Maiden, they class themselves as alternative rock/heavy rock and though there are heavier moments, they mix moods and tempos, melody and riff, all carried by good vocals and good playing.
The album’s title refers to those who defiantly stick to an opinion, refusing to explore other viewpoints, either as a matter of choice or because of peer pressure, and part of Baker’s stated aim is to expose those who wish to profit from more people being closed off to new ideas. It’s not set out in classic song-cycle style but there are thematic bridges linking the songs, enhanced by some well-chosen segues, and where the last track suggests an answer to the title track, the album opener. Whatever the precise genre, this makes the whole enterprise totally worthwhile, questioning whether the pursuit of economic growth is a satisfactory venture when you take into consideration what humankind is meting out to fellow citizens and to the natural world.
An example of someone who does think that the economy should come before health and wellbeing is explored in Numbered, where the protagonist emerges from a tough childhood and is offered an easy road to power. He behaves destructively at a great cost to others but there comes a time when the patience of the populace reach breaking point. The Truth Is So Dead is inspired by this very sort of politician, the Donald Trumps, the Boris Johnsons, the Vladimir Putins, masters of misinformation who repeat known lies until they believe that they become the truth, and also touches on the perils of anti-science.
The stark choices facing the world are further explored in Hammer, which points out that we have the choice of how we impact everything we touch, for better or for worse, and the greatest threat posed to the poorest countries from global heating in I Caught the Sun and End Me, along with what the Earth might say to us in By The Way.
Fantastically Incorporated looks at our reliance on tech. It may be a good thing or a bad thing but it quite reasonably concludes that it suits those who wish to use you as a source of income. Quit is an extrapolation of that line of thought. Democracy is dead and political power across the world is concentrated amongst a small number of individuals, groups and corporations, which leads us to the contrast between mass migration caused by famine and war and the tech entrepreneurs chasing the fantasy of leaving the dying planet and finding a new world to live on in Life Found Away.
Final track Uproot may not be defiantly optimistic but it does offer hope if we follow the simple message to question our stance, where small steps can lead to a reduction of our impact on the world around us.
It’s political and it’s urging us to consider better ways of living for everyone. What’s not to like?