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Phideaux - Snowtorch CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

4.20 | 828 ratings

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kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Crossover Team
5 stars 2011 saw Phideaux return with his eighth album, consisting of two epics and a couple of smaller numbers. This 45-minute-long album has taken everything that was in 'Number Seven' and has somehow then improved on it, providing music that has a stronger density, power and edge than what was there before. The dynamics and contrast between different elements are even stronger than before, the use of piano is inspired (and you can also never go wrong with a nice Mellotron), and his own vocals are perfect against the female foils. Yet again this is an album that is very dated in many ways, and totally up to date in others. I smiled when I saw that one of the subsections of the epic "Snowtorch ? Part One" was called "Fox on the Rocks", guaranteed to get interest from any classic proghead before they even listen to the music!

Themes come and go, repeated or extended, and there are times when the music moves into the realms of film scores, as is often the case with Karda Estra, and others where it is far more direct. There is a great deal of atmosphere within the music, and he resists the urge to provide punch guitar while long-term musical partner Richard Hutchins (drums) has long passages where his contribution is by not playing anything at all! I would surmise that "Snowtorch" the song was originally created and devised on piano, such is the prevalence of that instrument throughout, with other arrangements and instruments then added on top. I have noticed when reading reviews that somehow this album has polarised a few people who can't see what all the fuss is about, while many others rave about its being one of the best album of that year. I have never been one to fall in with the crowd, and have had my share of comments where people have been diametrically opposed to my opinions, but this time I am actually going to fall in with the consensus as this truly is a wonderful album, one that will be enjoyed the very first time it is played, and only grows in stature the more time that can be spent with it. "Number Seven" is a great album, but somehow this takes Phideaux and his band to a different level. It has stacks of Seventies influences, but this is a modern sounding album which is a sheer delight from beginning to end.

kev rowland | 5/5 |


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