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Phideaux - Doomsday Afternoon CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

4.22 | 904 ratings

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5 stars There are not many albums and performers who can provoque only positive emotions. It’s quite more frequent that you find a music more or less pleasant and no more. But sometimes you discover a real treasure – such as Phideaux –number one of the year 2007- as for me, and David Sylvian who follows –but helas that’s all. So I cannot recollect any other name which would be more important for me. Unfortunately progressive rock is not well known in our country that’s why the official release in Russia of the independent progressive music’s representative was quite a surprise for me. A pleasant one. I know many people who firmly believe that the music may be considered as really progressive only if it is intentionally complicated as for its technique and if –it’s desirable!- every track sound not less that for 10 minutes. I don’t agree with it. Very often the excessive complexity has a very bad result: it’s very boring to listen to such a music – just scarps of “look what I can do”. There are very few musicians who are able to create something that sound more than average and not to become boring be the 3th minute. In my opinion Xavier Phideaux’ music can be characterized by two words: Integrity. Variety. Quite a few musicians are able to step over genre borders, to combine skillfully different styles and – as a result- to create something unique and suitable for listening. That’s in my opinion the real transition from the prog-rock to the art-rock. But very often the album’s concept is its weak point. (Though there are very pleasant exeptions such as Doomsday Afternoon –D.A). It’s an ungrateful task to try to make the prog more popular and comprehensible to a non-specialized audience. The connoisseurs of the genre will treat with mistrust all the singers who will try to do it, subconsciously believing that is only a kind of some pop- music. And those who are not familiar with the genre will not for certain understand this music. They simply don’t want to make an effort just to feel it. I made an experiment once: I let a person whose musical preferations were opposites to mines, listen to Doomsday Afternoon. (So to say it was a girl.) I have to admit it: I didn’t expect her request to copy this record for her. “It’s hard to make music that is too prog to rock, and too rock for prog.” Phideaux’ music deserves the prefix “art” first of all for its many-sided nature. No doubt that the classics such as Peter Hammill, Ian Andersen, Peter Gabriel, influenced it but I would not compare their music with D.A. First of all, it’s Xavier Phideaux and C* - unique, many- sided, able to rethink the classic rock and to create their own music without falling into imitation. The participation of the orchestra is one of the main advantages of this record. I must say that many musicians came already to the similar decision. The last DVD concert of Dream Theater ( and I am their fan for a very long time) is the most spectacular illustration of it because their music is also interpreted by a symphonic orchestra. As for D.A. all the musical instruments are always appropriated without interfering with the general harmony. You may listen to D.A. for many times in succession and be sure to find more and more new nuances on each listen. I’ve got a lot of pleasure from the wind’s part in the The Doctrine Of Eternal Ice (Part One) the fervor as one of distinctive lines of Phideaux’ music, is clearly felt in it. And this one orchestral fragment – A Wasteland of Memories-is simply magnificent! “There is no escape…” “Formaldehyde”- I do not like to make comparisons but this music would honor even Jethro Tull, especially its first part. The second part is more aggressive and sharp with folksounding flute and violin giving way to a very modern and hard electro guitar. (Though there isn’t so much of a “hard” guitar as it was on the previous albums.) The keyboard on the foreground forces to recollect classical music and the sounding of the Italian Prog-Renaissance’s Creators. The nostalgic “Candybrain” is also a tribute to progressive music of the 70th. I’m not a big admirer of the female vocal but on D.A. it’s pertinent and in a right amount. In this connection I’d like to note a little bit gloomy “Crumble”. This record has turned out to be much softer that “Chupacabras” (“Ruffian in the Stars”), “Ghost Story” and even The Great Leap – the first part of trilogy. It’s more soft but not more light. The gloom and some ”sinisterness” of Xavier Phideaux’ performance reminds of the well known “optimist” Peter Hammill. You may not agree but, as for me, D.A. is the number one album of this year 2007. Like all the Phideaux’ works, it’s always on all my play-lists. And now I’m waiting with impatience for the last part of the trilogy started by “The Great Leap”. As for “Doomsday afternoon” – five stars! “Fear leaves a trace of something stale, A wasteland of memory of how we failed, All we need is time, all we need is time, But time’s too damned unkind.”

p.s. sorry for my english)

gothicelk | 5/5 |


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