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Phideaux - Fiendish CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.18 | 140 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Fiendish was the debut album of the band Phideaux, and while it may not be the best debut I have ever heard, it demonstrates that from very early on, the ingredients that would make Phideaux's music so remarkable later on were all in place. The melodies, the darkness, the lush vocals - they are all well used on this album, if not as well as they would be later on.

My expectations were quite high for this album after listening to Chupacabras and finding out that a fair amount of that album had been cut from this one, including the monster title track. Unfortunately, none of the tracks here really reach the heights of Chupacabras. This is a very track oriented album, with highlights including the opener Fragment, which has a lot of energy; Fiendish, an early version of what would become the Chupacabras suite, sounds great in its own respect; Headstones, a great mostly-acoustic track; and Vultures and Mosquitos, which I think (other than the title track) best demonstrates where the band would succeed best on their later albums.

Unfortunately, there are some downers on this album as well. I find Animal Games to be clumsy compared to the finesse the band would master later on, or even the skill they demonstrate on other tracks in this album. And although I understand where Phideaux is coming from in Hellphone, the pun in the name is just a little bit painful, especially with the frequency it is repeated in this (thankfully) short tune.

Other tracks come across as strong enough but hint at a greater potential; Soundblast is perhaps the best example of this. I know that the song should be the best track on the album, it contains great layered vocals and darkness that really appeal to me, but in execution, something just doesn't strike me as being as tight as it could have been. Phideaux himself has commented that, if/when this album ever gets re-released (it is, as of the time of writing, out of print), he would want to remaster it and mentioned this song specifically as one that he think did not reach it's potential. So it could just be the youth of the band and their recording methods that makes it lose some of the punch that should be there.

This is not as mature a release as the band would release in the years that followed, but still a good listen overall. Fiendish will definitely appeal to fans of the band. In particular, fans of the track Chupacabras will probably appreciate the title track of this album.

TheGazzardian | 3/5 |


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