Robert Sall has established himself as the most prominent songwriter in AOR sector since the release of Work of Art's debut in 2009. Not only he magically succeed to extract his optimal capability of writing splendid music into their sophomore work, but Frontiers also managed to ask his help to write many songs for various projects they've been releasing this year.
The trio's history went long way back to 1992 when they attended the music school before people got the chance to listen to their outstanding works, so after heavily haunted by Toto in their debut, 'In Progress' moves in a more original path, although the trace of those legends still obvious in many of the songs. 'In Progress' also shows maturity and applied tempo diversity in this album, and they only put out 3 ballads, which is unusual for AOR that mostly introduced more slowtempo tunes.
'The Rain' is an instant fave when it breaks out with shrilling melodies and fast-paced rhythm. 'Nature of The Game' slows down a bit and this is a debut-flavored track. 'Once Again' is an AOR perfection and 'Never Love Again' is a melodic rock masterpiece, definitely the best track here. 'Until You Believe' is definitely the better ballad compared to 'Fall Down' or 'One Step Away', but all of them are awesome tunes anyway.
'The Great Fall' is the first single and I wonder why they didn't put it as starter, but even though I like 'The Rain' better, but this one is marvelous too and influenced by Toto especially on the keys part. A very nice song to begin the second half and followed by another gem, 'Call On Me', with its powerful riffs and pretty chorus. 'Emelie' sounds very 80s and together with 'Castaway', both has impressive chorus but patchy verses, still a top notch tracks though.
With outstanding academical musicianship, they're like the Dream Theater of AOR and exactly knows what they're doing. Lars Safsund vocal is simply brilliant and he sways from low to high range with ease. Despite some minor flaws, I still think this record deserved a full five stars, a 100% record, and the album of the year for me.