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Phideaux - Doomsday Afternoon CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

4.22 | 970 ratings

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Dark Nazgul
5 stars Satan's angels fly!

It's been just 48 hours since my review, rather negative, of "The Great Leap". And I feel guilty.

I feel guilty because although I am convinced that "The Great Leap" is not a memorable album, I have so much regard for this man and his band that I feel guilty anyway! And so now I try to redeem myself with the second album of this underground trilogy.

"Doomsday Afternoon", unlike its predecessor, is a masterpiece of modern progressive rock, and in my opinion the best album of 2007. It is probably the turning point in the career of Phideaux, the moment when the band decide to follow the path of progressive rock with great determination (as already made, but only in part, with "Chupacabras"). It is an album characterized by dark and apocalyptic sounds, also implemented through the use of a orchestral section of strings and horns, which help to give extreme solemnity to the songs. Great importance have keyboards, especially the Hammond organ and the synth. As always, Phideaux shows great sensitivity for acoustic music with beautiful piano and guitar parts. The arrangements are very elaborate but do not suffocate the harmonies: the result is a good balance between melody and experimentation, where finally is given to the voice of Valerie Gracious the space it deserves. Matthew Parmenter also participates, he occasionally sings and play violin. Regarding the tracks that make up the album, it is not correct to speak of "single" songs. All songs are linked by the plot, and some themes are repeated many times along the album. In practice, we are faced with a complex musical work that should be appreciated in its entirety. Anyway, here is a brief analysis of the individual tracks.

Micro Softdeathstar:9/10. The beautiful initial notes of "Micro Softdeathstar" immediately set the tone that characterizes the entire album. The quiet introduction singed by Xavier is followed by the orchestra in a way that leaves stunned for majesty and elegance. Great changes of atmosphere and rhythm. When Valerie singing "I'm singing to the rain" in the end, the fan of progressive rock already feels at home.

The Doctrine Of Eternal Ice (Part One): 9/10. Instrumental song that starts with another epic and catchy piano riff. Though I am not a big supporter of the synthesizers, I must admit that in this passage the use of this instrument is superb. The orchestra offers a new contribution.

Candybrain: 8/10. Short song with acoustic guitar, flute and keyboards. The very first David Bowie comes to mind (it seems like "Space Oddity" or "The Man who sold the World"). The vocal harmonies are very beautiful. Phideaux is the lead singer here.

Crumble: 10/10. Exceptional instrumental interlude. A gentle piano melody is played with the accompaniment of the hammond organ and then with choirs and orchestra. This beautiful melody will be reproduced in other parts of the album. The first four songs are all outstanding, with no weak point.

The Doctrine Of Eternal Ice (Part Two): 7/10. It takes up the theme of the second track, as the title suggests, but this time with vocals (both by Valerie and Xavier). The song is more melodic in the first part; in the second half there are complicated arrangements with keyboards in evidence, and some reference to the sounds of Alan Parsons.

Thank You For The Evil: 9/10. There is no orchestra here. It is the song that Pink Floyd have never recorded. The slow pace and the use of synth lead you to albums such as "Wish You Were Here" and "Animals". The song expresses a great sense of inevitability. One of the greatest moment of this brilliant work.

A Wasteland Of Memories: 7/10. Taken in itself is not an important piece, but it works very well placed in the overall context of the album. The orchestra is under the spotlight again and the theme is taken from the middle section of Micro Softdeathstar.

Crumble (Part Two): 10/10. The most poignant song of the album, thanks to the wonderful interpretation of Valerie Gracious.

Formaldehyde: 6/10. The song perhaps much closer to the canons of classic progressive rock, with rhythm changes and complex arrangements, especially in the second half. Not always in focus, however it is another good quality track.

Microdeath Softstar: 10/10. Fourteen minutes of pure genius. The silent introduction gives way to a Hammond organ riff that refers a bit to "Lark's Tongues in Aspic" by King Crimson. The song is a continuous succession of changes of atmosphere and rhythm. The second half is characterized by interpretations of musical themes already heard before (there is also "You And Me Against A World Of Pain" from "The Great Leap"). The album closes in a circular manner, with the initial theme of "Micro Softdeathstar".

Recommended to all lovers of classic symphonic progressive rock. Along with "Number 7" (which is perhaps even slightly better!), the best Phideaux album.

Final rating: 9/10. Five Stars

Best song: Microdeath Softstar

Dark Nazgul | 5/5 |


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