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Phideaux - Doomsday Afternoon CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

4.22 | 932 ratings

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5 stars By the time this was voted #1 album of the year - by various sources including friends - I had finally acquired my copy. After unworthy prospects burned me in the past, I feared it would not live up to my expectations. With apprehension, I played this allegedly resplendent disc.

Honestly, I was slow to absorb this highly-touted article of trade. I was perplexed as this commodity had not immediately reached me, and I soon began to doubt my reliable sources. In the opener - sticky tagged with the name "Micro Softdeathstar"; it seemed as if it were Gazpacho without the Salsa Verde.

Admittingly, the inclusion of a special guest in the preface was a plus. On loan from Eyestrings, Matthew Kennedy expelled benevolent vibes. He would later be munificent in other key places. Even so, his sapid bass didn't exactly bridge the gap here.

To give it to you straight, I was dumbfounded at this songs lack of depth. The drums were awfully simplistic and the beat was so sparse that it failed to even live up to a fraction of those pledges to engulf me - at least that's what I thought at first.

Obviously, this was not an album that planned to get you with the initial listen or for that matter, the hundred foremost bits in the preamble. To tell you the truth, it could be a letdown to someone like myself who read the puffery long before participating in the ballyhoo.

Notwithstanding these squawks and gripes, let's consider the highlights before any of us join the dissenting minority.

I had a sneaking suspicion that the group would eventually spackle on the layers. Twice it didn't get me. Over and above the icebreaker, "The Doctrine of Eternal Ice (Part One)" was nice, but it didn't blow me away either.

In the third movement however, "Candybrain" gives us harmonies, flutes, keyboards and guitars. It has so much that we often yearn to swoon over. Suffice to say, this should have gotten the number sequence to the safety lock that safeguards the starter pistol. In other words, this song should have led the preemptive charge.

Besides the progressive elements and the worldly influences, I can hear Simon & Garfunkel and The Beatles in this eclectic mosaic of creamy yogurt and crunchy granola.

Incidentally, the name of this virtuous psalm is quite appropriate if you transpose its lexical counterparts or to put it in plain terms; place the very last syllable in front.

Charily, the compositions continue to expand upon their market share. With "Crumble" and "The Doctrine of Eternal Ice (Part Two)", the musicianship improves throughout an upwardly mobile curve. Due to this economical advancement, I had decisively surmised at this juncture that the material was really above-average. Still, I was yet to believe the hype.

Adding salt to whatever laceration I've insensitively picked, one song is nearly repeated. We get "Crumble" in the both the fourth and eighth time-slots. The difference is mostly with an angel who rears her voice in the subsequent collapse. While it's fine to repeat useful material, each occurrence deserves its own label. When it comes down to it, these are not identical twins, and that makes it absolutely hammy for them to use the same pseudonym.

Persevering into the next phase, we're privy to criterion akin to Genesis and Jethro Tull. When they borrow, it's for the greater good. In one such example, "Thank You for the Evil" closely resembles Pink Floyd's "Hey You". When comparing the carbon-copies, the clones stand on their own as they're not entirely literal facsimiles of the laudable originals. On the other side of the mirror, "A Wasteland of Memories" demonstrates Phideaux Xavier's ability to write a motion picture score. It also shows a capacity to seamlessly integrate antithetical alloys into the manifold.

Later, "Formaldehyde" is soaked in an excursive solo from Martin Orford. Also floating in the pickle jar is a flute that's gingerly shorn from a wistful fairy-tale. For me, this visceral web of magical instruments is the climatic point of the album. Afterwards, we keep to the lofty crest. This superior grade doesn't recede until the end.

Assigned to providing last rites, "Microdeath Softstar" terminates the post meridian of Judgment Day, and it does so in the most impressive way. The reprisals contain everything that was previously missed in the crack of doom. For the record, the proscenium of this unctuous device had nowhere near as much charm. This might explain my rash decision to defy the propaganda early on. Now I'm completely onboard with the program.

For an explanation of the name behind the endgame, simply return to the commencement and read its appellation aloud. You'll find a corporation run by megalomaniacs and a weaponized space-station that does a bad impression of a moon.

While the titles of the album and songs - as well as the artwork - are a little morbid, they don't necessary pertain to bizarre psychological experiments used to channel a wormhole to hell. This does not require a terror mask or classification within the genre of survival horror - as rumored to be carried out inside the walls of Dr. West's Splatterhouse. [Unless you're from the Nintendo generation, familiar with the catalog of data cartridges for the TurboGrafx-16, or couldn't care less, this will likely require redirection to Wikipedia.]

Aside from gruesome allusions buried in the lyrics, this melodic treaty actually calls for peace. Making an allowance for context and subtleties between the lines, Doomsday Afternoon is purely meant as a deterrent to social crimes. At his worst, Xavier might have a propensity to idealism or be an alarmist with Orwellian leanings.

Supposedly, this has to do with Big Brother and an ecological crisis in the vein of Dominici's O3. It's also the central nub in a trilogy that elaborates on a concept dubbed "The Great Leap". In case you're wondering, the glorious conclusion is already in the pipeline.

Anyhow, was this powder keg for the cocktail hour all it was cracked up to be?

In retrospect, I can respond with a definitive yes; though I'm hesitating to call it best. Then again, I have a hard time promoting another album to the throne it essentially reigns over. With The Tangent around the corner, Phideaux may have landed gold by such an indiscernible difference that it could only be measured by a nanotechnologist.

No matter how it's quantified, this album is an irrefutable chartbuster - in the progressive sense. All you need is a couple tracks to warm up to; but more importantly, an eager mind to enrapture and entangle.

The violins alone are exquisite. Melded to the epics with surgical precision, they move an unwieldy payload as if it were a feather. Personally, I can now understand why so many people find the material venerable and hold it in such high regard. There is a lot to siphon and avulse from this inundated rock.

Like the seductive and acquiescent finger-trap, it's only a matter of time before you're in a bind as a result of toying around with it. Then along with the Manchurian Candidate, you too will be an indoctrinated fan who swears this authoritarian should hold that commanding spot on top.


[As the actual ionization falls between four and five stars, I doped the score with a subatomic particle and rounded to that highly positive rating.]

PrawgDawg | 5/5 |


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