Reviewed by Nuno on 10 Jul 2007
I think that Phideaux
has just achieved maturity!
After a growing up process where the true potentialities of the band were already well defined and obvious, the new album by Phideaux, named Doomsday Afternoon
is a pearl of modern progressive rock, airy, smooth, emotional and simple in its art-rock architecture with more than one foot on the purest prog rock.
The melodies achieve a lightness and harmony of the same caliber as Blackfield, while the band unattached itself from all conventions and begin its search for a very personal sound that can be placed somewhere in the crossroads between (mid term) Porcupine Tree and Blackfield, between a more art-rock version of Echolyn’s Mei and something from Guy Manning, with a cared symphonic that is almost naïf at the same time, mixing Scandinavian-type orchestrations with Sympho Italian keys and even some sparkles of Pink Floyd in their more direct Meddle tracks.
Even when listened for the first time, the album immediately sinks in and promises many more little discoveries with future listens. It’s an unveiling of ideas, some already known, but constructed with the care of those who have evident talent and that have finally figure out where their main target public may lie – those who continue their in-love relationship with the aesthetics of symphonic prog rock.
One may easily be impressed with the simple formulas used here, which accurately transmit emotions and construct instrumental parts of huge sensibility. Phideaux has finally assumed a much more progressive registry than ever before, and are now a force to be reckoned in this style. Kudos to them and congratulations on this really smooth soundtrack for an outmost enjoyable Armageddon…!
Reviewed by ProgCat on 11 Jul 2007
Maybe the best progartrock album of the year !
This is Phideaux
's 6th and most symphonic album and maybe the best.The album finishes the trilogy that started with the previous albums The great leap
and it's an impressing concept album with influences like Pink Floyd
, David Bowie
, Porcupine Tree
and at times The Enid
. Arrangements are most varied,creative and beautiful.
Phideaux is assisted by an orchestra which contributes to the highly symphonic sound. Besides the orchestra there are many guest players - most well known being Matthew Parmenter (Disciline) and Martin Orford (ex.IQ.).
The album is divided into two acts; each of these has 5 songs:
- Micro Softdeathstar - 11:13- A melodic,symphonic piece clocking in at more that 11 minutes. Matthew Parmenter's vocals recalls Bowie's Ziggy Stardust/Space Oddity period. Creative orchestral arrangements all over with violins,violas,cello, french horn, flutes, oboe and clarinet makes this an excellent starter.
- The Doctrine of Eternal Ice-pt.1 - 3:01 - starts with Xavier's piano and moog voyager. The orchestra comes in and gives the nice, symphonic setting.Good Oldfield-ish guitar playing.
- Candybrain - 4:06 - Johnny Unicorn performs excellent hammond B3 and moog sounds.Together with Xavier and Linda and Molly Ruttan, he contributes to the strong vocals. Excellent vocals are also added by Valerie Gracious. The flutes by Rob Martino give an extra flavour to this track which on the vocal side recalls Barclay James Harvest.
- Crumble - 2:55 - a nice,short piece with Xavier on piano, with viola,violins,flue,cello being added. A mysterious,lush feeling that may recall the excellent group Not Drowning, Waving.
- The doctrine of Eternal Ice-pt.2 - 8:06 - Another truly excellent track. Mark Sherkus on Arp string ensemble and moog voyager gives a rch sound. Valerie Gracious adds angelic backing vocals at high class. Good guitar playing by Joel Weinstein. Domsday Afternoon has lots of dark,frightening themes and you can hear lyrics like "Satan has come again bringing some of his frends" and "Satan's angels"
- Thank you for the evil - 9:16 - Matthew Parmenter (Discipline) on vocals on this excellent track. Actually vocals not unlike the ones of Xavier Phideaux. Again Pink Floyd comes to mind. Excellent moog and synths by Sherkus. Neo-prog art rock at high class!
- A wasteland of memories - 2:33 - short and highly orchestral,symphonic piece.
- Crumble - 2:54 - Xavier starts this piece with his piano. He's backed nicely by Valerie Gracious's heavenly voice. Excellent!
- Formalehyde - 8:17 - again Matthew Parmenter on vocals.Nice moog and flutes followed by Valerie Gracious's outstanding vocal performance. Martin Orford(ex.IQ) plays solo synths on this track. Another very strong, varied, symphonic track!
- Microdeath softstar - 14:48 - the longest track is closing the album. Highly symphonic and creative.Parmenter on vocals and violin. Out of a bunch of excellent tracks, this is maybe the strongest. Johnny Unicorn and Xavier Phideaux add great moog and organ sounds. Good Oldfield-ish guitars by Gabriel Moffat after some 10 minutes fits nicely in.An excellent end of the trilogy.
An excellent album. Phideaux
deserves a wider recognition. If you don't know the group, start with this album. 9/10