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Phideaux - Doomsday Afternoon CD (album) cover

DOOMSDAY AFTERNOON

Phideaux

 

Crossover Prog

4.24 | 717 ratings

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Epignosis
Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
5 stars Doomsday Afternoon was a late acquisition for me, in that it is hailed as a masterpiece by many and yet I got Chupacabras and Number Seven first. When trying out an artist that is new to me but has a considerable discography, I try to obtain a work or two that is considered excellent yet more moderately rated (for me, that's generally between 3.70 and 4.10). Doing so serves two purposes: First, it gives me a fair snapshot of the artist without giving me the best they have to offer (at least according to the ratings), and second, offers me a fair bit of perspective about the artist before I indulge in what most consider to be the magnum opus. Incidentally, my favorites from most bands tend not to be those that are the highest-rated; however, this is not the case. This album is a masterwork, and likely the best Phideaux has to offer. I relish the employment of the acoustic guitar, as it adds a desirable texture to the rather piquant and haunting pieces, which contain both delicate and commanding movements. While Phideaux Xavier is not my favorite vocalist by any means, his voice suits the whole tenor of the album, and his female companion provides exceptional variety in this department. I get a very similar feeling listening to this album as I do when listening to Genesis's The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, if only to a lesser degree. The music contained on this record consists of extremely sophisticated symphonic and crossover progressive rock.

"Micro Softdeathstar" The album begins in a similar manner as a Pink Floyd record just prior to Roger Waters's departure, with soft vocals and piano followed by heavier, more powerful music. Then that heart-wrenching violin enters, coupled with the exquisite feminine vocals. The strings' flourishes and the grand gestures by the band throughout this piece are stately and welcome, providing the piece with ornamental grandeur all the way through, even as a splendid synthesizer lead enters, perhaps sounding a bit like "And You and I" from Yes.

"The Doctrine of Eternal Ice (Part One)" I was floored the first time I heard this piece, which boasts thudding chords with bass and piano before blasting into a sinister synthesizer lead. The orchestration is phenomenal.

"Candybrain" An ominous theme consumes the beginning of this piece, as acoustic guitar, organ, and flute add a variety of textures. The vocals are outstanding here, but not nearly as much as the breathtaking, almost Celtic, arrangement.

"Crumble" Gorgeous piano and gentle voices make up the next moment of brilliance.

"The Doctrine of Eternal Ice (Part Two)" Melancholic electric piano and soft singing, laced with a bit of synthesizer make up this second part, as recognizable musical themes return. The feminine vocals are lovely as ever, and things soon pick up during the second half with clavichord and synthesizer taking the lead.

"Thank You For The Evil" A heavy drum, low bass, and silky acoustic guitar begins this lengthy and menacingly-titled song. Once more, I hear elements of Pink Floyd here, particularly in the vocals, the melody, and the bleak overtones of the instrumentation. Comparatively speaking, this is the dullest track, which is really to say that the rest of the album is just more wonderful.

"A Wasteland Of Memories" Flowing directly from the orchestration of the previous piece, this transitory song has a magnificent opening, followed by some theatric vocals.

"Crumble" It isn't unusual that two tracks share the same name; this piece is a ghostly revisiting of what came before, except there are lyrics here that follow that elegant melody.

"Formaldehyde" This was the first Phideaux song I'd ever heard, and it immediately piqued my interest for a dozen reasons. That introduction really suited my taste, with perfect instrumentation, from the acoustic guitar to the breathy flute, from the synthesizer flourishes to the steady rim shots. Then the violin entered and made me close my eyes to take it all in. The vocals never disappoint, either, moving between soaring passages and more subdued sections. The organ and synthesizer solos are the final ingredients to this delightful recipe. The way the song ends, with those quirky vocals, makes it so that I cannot help but think of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.

"Microdeath Softstar" An empty beginning starts the final and most extended song. Delicate vocals and a bright, distant organ perform themes from before until finally the drums and fuller instrumentation enter. The strings are striking, and the vocals are biting. Overall, this is an excellent ending (once again reminiscent of the album I've already mentioned twice), full of returning motifs and magnificent music.

Epignosis | 5/5 |

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