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Phideaux - Number Seven CD (album) cover

NUMBER SEVEN

Phideaux

 

Crossover Prog

4.02 | 454 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Gorloche
5 stars Given that I don't really care about the trilogy of albums PHIDEAUX was making (at least in so far as it being a trilogy; the constituent parts are marvelous), I didn't mind him taking a break. And given our reward, I am especially not bothered.

I actually prefer this album to DOOMSDAY AFTERNOON. Like the previous album, this plays like a singular piece of music, with recurrent themes both musically and lyrically, though they do not feel the need to reoccur at the same times. You wouldn't necessarily think it would sound this way, looking at the track listing and the multiple sections and varied play times, but the first time I heard it, I didn't look at the tracks change and only noticed something was amiss when the album was over after the first track. I looked at a clock and, gracious me, an hour had gone by!

Part of the reason I didn't need to look at the clock or tracks changing during the course of the first listen is because of how ENGROSSING this music is. It really took me to another mental location, so much so that the line, "Dormouse, dormouse, do you have any cheese? / Or has it all melted in the thermo-nuclear breeze?" actually felt menacing as opposed to silly like you would expect. I feel the strength on this album comes from it's varied musical textures. There is a lot of vamping on grooves and odd scales here, but it feels much less like GENESIS. There are references to many different prog bands, like KING CRIMSON, the aforementioned Genesis, YES, all the mainstays, but there are also some uniquely non-prog sounds, like a greater focus on the gothic elements which had been pushed a little further back on Doomsday Afternoon. As a result, this album has a much stronger identity tying it to Phideaux, I feel.

The darkness on this is palpable, however, and that may turn some people off. But it is a darkness akin to RED or VAN DER GRAAF at their best, in that it is a kind of acknowledgment of the fierceness and violence of the outside world that is also inherent in ourselves. That sentence is a bit navel-gazing, yes, but it's rather tough to describe the kind of dark, introspective mood this music conjures up.

The greatest strength is also the biggest weakness of this album. It is rather subtle compared to the bombast of his previous works; this means you can't put it on and have it forcefully whisk you elsewhere like on Doomsday, especially with the swirling flutes of "Formaldehyde", for instance; this requires focus. However, I find the content much more satisfying than an album I consider a masterpiece. My favorite Phideaux album and perhaps one of the best albums of prog in the last ten years.

Gorloche | 5/5 |

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