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Phideaux - Snowtorch CD (album) cover

SNOWTORCH

Phideaux

 

Crossover Prog

4.18 | 681 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

memowakeman
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Review originally written for TheRocktologist.com

And Phideaux Xavier did it again! Nowadays it is very common to see the name of Phideaux in everyone's charts, reviews and comments, I dare say Xavier and his band have deserved it, because with time they have been working hard and creating original, exquisite and challenging music that can please the strictest prog fan. Some years ago with his "Doomsday Afternoon" he caught our attention and hearts with such a great album, and since then (in my point of view) he has received a boost that led him to continue creating first-class music. And that can be appreciated in "Snowtorch". This 2011 release has already been mentioned as the album of the year by some reviewers. Of course, there are six months to come until the end of the year, but some people have gotten too excited with this particular album. "Snowtorch" features just four songs, two long epics and two shorter ones, all together a strong 44-minute album of excellent progressive rock. "Snowtorch Part 1" is the longest composition, reaching almost twenty minutes. It is divided into four parts, however, they all work together as one. There is a vast amount of sounds, textures, colors, rhythms and even feelings that can be appreciated here. There are no weak moments, the whole track is incredibly strong, well-crafted and ambitious, no matter in which minute you are, the music is beautiful, no matter if the moment is soft or intense or calm or faster, every single note and word transmits and provokes something wonderful. Sublime may be a good adjective to describe the track. The use of vintage keyboard sounds, along with a more "actual" sound, produces an extraordinary mixture, whose only job is to please the listener's ears. They have succeeded, at least with me. It is amazing how the changes are perfectly placed. I mean, there are no discontinuities or disarticulations, after all, pure beauty and top-nocht music is what you will find here. "Helix" is a much shorter composition, however, it is also beautiful. I love the keyboard sound and how it is creating a gentle atmosphere until female vocals appear. The sound is charming and comfortable, but then the voice turns disarming and the feeling changes a little bit, which is actually an extra point for this composition, due to its audacity and talent to touch the listener's nerves. I honestly do not think this is the best track of Phideaux discography, but it is a very good one that can be easily loved. "Snowtorch Part 2" is divided into three sections that together make sixteen minutes. This is the second and last part of the title track. Acoustic guitar, drums and haunting keyboards are everywhere in this song. There are several instrumental passages that create lots of images in your mind, so you can compose your own story by only listening to this. I love how the changes do not harm the composition, though some of them may confuse you for a moment, but you will realize a new sequence (as in a film) is beginning, so put together the pieces and complete the puzzle. The string sound is also wonderful during the whole album, and with string I don't only refer to guitars or bass (let's say, the basics) but to violin and I believe there is a cello there, because they add a special sound, creating wonderful nuances and atmospheres. The parts with vocals are also great, and that is another plus on this album, I mean, the structure of the songs was meticulously designed, so there are vocals (male and female) only when they have to be, and instrumental passages when they have to be as well - perfect. The band decided to finish the album with the shortest track, just a two-minute composition that works as the epilogue of this fantastic journey. This "?" (untitled?) track is a great closing track, a joyful symphonic and folkish composition that will make you smile and feel happy. As you can imagine, this is an instrumental song. What a wonderful album, now I can understand once again why people talk about Phideaux nowadays. He has really managed to put his name in the highest places. This is a clear example of Phideaux capacities and qualities, and also a true example of how good progressive rock acts and albums are these days. My final grade, five stars.

Enjoy it!

memowakeman | 5/5 |

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