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DOOMSDAY AFTERNOON

Phideaux

Crossover Prog


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Phideaux Doomsday Afternoon album cover
4.25 | 719 ratings | 63 reviews | 53% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 2007

Songs / Tracks Listing

Act One:
1. Micro Softdeathstar (11:17)
2. The Doctrine of Eternal Ice (Part One) (3:01)
3. Candybrain (4:06)
4. Crumble (2:55)
5. The Doctrine of Eternal Ice (Part Two) (8:08)

Act Two:
6. Thank You For The Evil (9:18)
7. A Wasteland Of Memories (2:22)
8. Crumble (2:55)
9. Formaldehyde (8:17)
10. Microdeath Softstar (14:40)

Total Time: 66:59

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Phideaux Xavier / piano, guitar, handclaps, vocals
- Rich Hutchins / drums
- Ariel Farber / violin, vocals
- Valerie Gracious / piano, vocals
- Mathew Kennedy / bass guitar
- Gabriel Moffat / lap steel guitar, handclaps
- Linda Ruttan Moldawsky / vocals
- Molly Ruttan / vocals
- Mark Sherkus / keyboards

Additional musicians:
- Steve Daudin / flute (9)
- Rob Martino / flute (3)
- Johnny Unicorn / organ, Moog Voyager, handclaps, vocals (3, 10)
- Joel Weinstein / guitar solo (10)

Orchestral sections performed by:
- Mark Baranov / violin
- Bing Wang / violin
- Richard Elegino / viola
- Jerry Epstein / viola
- Dale Silverman / viola
- Elizabeth Wilson / viola
- Stefanie Fife / cello
- Barry Gold / cello
- Jason Lippman / cello
- Dennis Trembly / bass
- Brian Drake / french horn
- Bruce Hudson / french horn
- Boyde Hood / trumpet
- James Wilt / trumpet
- Chris Bleth / flute, oboe, clarinet
- Paul Rudolph / conductor

Releases information

CD Bloodfish Media (2007)

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SnowtorchSnowtorch
Bloodfish Media 2011
Audio CD$29.39
$31.73 (used)
Number Seven (Remastered)Number Seven (Remastered)
Bloodfish Media 2010
Audio CD$15.52
$80.14 (used)
ChupacabrasChupacabras
Explicit Lyrics
Bloodfish Media 2005
Audio CD$12.99
$18.18 (used)
The Great LeapThe Great Leap
Bloodfish 2006
Audio CD$14.99
$12.00 (used)
313313
Bloodfish Media 2006
Audio CD$14.99
$8.50 (used)
Number SevenNumber Seven
Bloodfish Media 2009
Audio CD$24.56
$13.50 (used)
Phideaux & MogonPhideaux & Mogon
Limited Collector's Edition
Bloodfish
Audio CD$24.99

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PHIDEAUX Doomsday Afternoon ratings distribution


4.25
(719 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(53%)
53%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(30%)
30%
Good, but non-essential (12%)
12%
Collectors/fans only (3%)
3%
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)
2%

PHIDEAUX Doomsday Afternoon reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by 1800iareyay
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars After a bit of a buzz about Phideaux here on ProgArchives, I got The Great Leap and this album, Doomsday Afternoon. The buzz was justified, as the multi-instrumentalist has crafted some of the best art rock of the new millennium. Doomsday Afternoon continues the concept from The Great Leap that deals with a look at Big Brother-like authoritarian government.

The album has a great flow to it, with Xavier's use of orchestration and guest musicians making this a bombastic record. In fact, it is probably the most epic in his catalog, and it stands in great contrast to the more straight-forward Great Leap. The melodies are superb, and this album drips with moody textures. This album, like the last, pays some overt musical homage to Blackfield and Porcupine Tree (i.e. simple psychedelic themes that somehow sound more complex than they really are), although it's much less pronounced on this disc. There is also a modern/alternative feel that mingles nicely with the classical and classic prog sounds. There is plenty of musical prowess on display, and it's nice to see no one instrument hogging the limelight. Inventive drum fills, lush keyboards and organs, tasteful guitar, it's all here, along with some great lyrics and vocals from Xavier and his guests.

Doomsday Afternoon is another highlight for what is rapidly becoming the best year of the new millennium for progressive rock. In a year with strong releases from Dream Theater, Devin Townsend, Neal Morse, Explosions in the Sky, John Zorn, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Symphony X, Porcupine Tree, and a host of other standout albums, this record more than holds its own. I can't wait for the final part of the trilogy.

Grade: B+

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Send comments to 1800iareyay (BETA) | Report this review (#133419) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, August 16, 2007

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This was written and recorded at the same time as "The Great Leap". They decided to release the shorter and darker "The Great Leap" first. Phideaux himself has stated (tongue in cheek ?) that "Doomsday Afternoon" is a "pretentious and bloated concept album". He also stated that this record is really "one long song cycle" that has been broken into sections. Phideaux has also stated "This is the album i've always wanted to make". I'm reviewing this record as someone who has been a fan for a while, and I think that is important. I say that because i've seen so many people give this 5 stars who have never previously heard a PHIDEAUX record. And i've seen this record being compared to "Dark Side Of The Moon" , "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway" , "Thick As A Brick" , "Close To The Edge" and so on. No offense to these people but ARE YOU ALL CRAZY !! Ok I know there are special guests on this record like Martin Orford and Matthew Parmenter, and yes there is an orchestra. Also this is more symphonic and complex then their past records. Everybody loves it ! Well not everybody, not me. My favourite PHIDEAUX album so far is "Chupacabras" and i'm ordering "Ghost Story" soon. That will leave "Fiendish" as the only PHIDEAUX record that I don't have yet. The subject matter is again the enviroment and governments.

"Micro Softdeathstar" opens with gentle vocals and piano before passionate vocals, drums and some good guitar arrive. Some violin after 2 minutes as the song calms down. We get some strings before my favourite part of the song 8 minutes in. "The Doctrine Of Eternal Ice (Part One)" is an instrumental with the drums and orchestration standing out. Some good guitar before 2 minutes as piano ends the song. "Candybrain" features strummed guitar, organ and keys. I like the male vocal melodies and female vocals 3 minutes in as clapping, keys and flute come in. "Crumble" is one of my favourites. Piano and orchestration lead the way. There is a great sound 2 minutes in with female vocal melodies. "The Doctrine Of Eternal Ice (Part Two)" has more female vocal melodies and orchestration. The best part of the song is 5 minutes in as it speeds up with keys and synths.

"Thank You For The Evil" has steadily pounding drums with spacey synths. There is acoustic guitar with vocals coming in after 3 minutes courtesy of Matthew Parmenter. This is my favourite tune, it's so different from the rest, almost psychedelic. "A Wasteland Of Memories" is a very orchestral song with flute and violin. "Crumble" has more female vocals and piano. "Formaldehyde" is the song that Phideaux feels everything on this album leads to, or builds up to. We get a synth solo from Orford, more vocals and violin by Parmenter. Some good guitar as well. "Microdeath Softstar" has some spoken words from Arjen Lucassen. The first 2 1/2 minutes are filled with organ melodies. Vocals before 4 minutes as violin, guitar and female vocals follow. Pulsating keys and some excellent drumming before the vocals come back.

For me already being a fan and reading all these positive reviews I expected this to be the best PHIDEAUX album yet. Boy was I wrong ! I actually prefered "The Great Leap" to this one, by a little bit. Keep in mind that my opinion is in the minority as most people love this record.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#135557) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, August 30, 2007

Review by Menswear
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars I think we have a winner.

There is absolutely no need to make a long review of this awesome album and here's why: it's not complex nor difficult to get into...and it won't easily be topped this year. With this record, you have (at this time of year), the best value for your hard earned dineros. It's a very rich album (brass, french horn, analog keyboard, flute), with superb melodies and memorable orchestration. Doomsday Afternoon (a nice wink to the Moody Blues) is such an easy going record, you can put your brain to 'stand by' and won't miss much. The mood is relaxed, with the occasionnal orchestral boom and there is not trace of metal in here...thank you lord.

Phideaux is doing it old school and I won't complain about it one bit. There's so much progressive metal albums coming out from everywhere, a few quieter moments are just what your body needs in this restless world. You can trace Pink Floyd pinches all the time, but done with taste; which means no Dark Side or Animals references, but to me the album Atom Heart Mother comes frequently across my mind...goodie, we don't see much of this anymore.

Again, this album is THE solid contender for most enjoyable, non-metal, Pink Floyd oriented mellow album of this year, and in a long long time.

My favorite record of all time.

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Send comments to Menswear (BETA) | Report this review (#135888) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, September 02, 2007

Review by erik neuteboom
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Last year I listened to Phideaux their previous effort entitled The Great Leap, I was quite disappointed and even decided not to review it, in general I cannot motivate myself to write about music I don't like. But this album is another story: because of the many positive, often sheer euphoric reviews here on Prog Archives (already 32!) I asked a good friend to borrow me Doomsday Afternoon and from the first listening session I was pleased with their 'new' sound.

The CD Doomsday Afternoon is a concept album with the subtitle An Eco Terror Tale, in a great way supported by mindblowing paintings that look like a blend of Hieronymus Bosch (madness and fear), Vincent Van Gogh (expressive colours) and Gerald Scarfe (venomous look on mankind). The music sounds as a blend of Art-rock, progressive pop and symphonic rock, on one hand melodic and accessible but on the other hand very alternating and elaborate featuring lots of good musical ideas and interesting shifting moods, from dreamy and atmospheric to compelling, a tight mid-tempo or bombastic. I am delighted about the omnipresent 'vintage' keyboard sound like in The Doctrine Of Eternal Ice (Part One with fat Minimoog flights and the warm ARP string-ensemble and Part Two with Minimoog, ARP string-ensemble, Fender Rhodes electric piano and the distinctive swinging clavinet sound) and Candybrain featuring an acoustic rhythm guitar with Hammond organ. We can also enjoy an orchestra with woodwind instruments (French horn, clarinet and trumpet) and violins and the both male as female vocals are strong and varied, including Matthew Parmenter who performed in 2005 on the USA Nearfest festival along Le Orme and IQ. My highlight on this new album is the final composition (at about 15 minutes): first soaring Hammond organ waves, then a tight mid-tempo with a very tasteful keyboard colouring and strong vocals. During the sparkling violin soli I am in Seventies Kansas Heaven! After a fiery guitar solo the final part contains a melancholical atmosphere (that matches perfectly with the subtitle and concept of Doomsday Afternoon) delivering dreamy paino work and wailing violin play, is this a musical prologue that warnes we are on the brink of polluting ourselves to a slow death?

I am surprised by this varied and tasteful new Phideaux album, I can understand the positive words in other reviews but this is not mainstream progrock or Classic Prog or whatever, this is ..... the new Phideaux!

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Send comments to erik neuteboom (BETA) | Report this review (#136332) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Review by Prog-jester
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Well, it was really good! Almost 3.5!

This is my first introduction into PHIDEAUX music, and I hope not the last. Sometimes it happens that a dark horse makes a huge breakthrough and manages to capture almost anyone’s attention. I guess you remember a related situation with GAZPACHO’s latest release ;) As with GAZPACHO, I was afraid that PHIDEAUX is just another empty hype, but fortunately not. This guy truly deserves some more attention here, and these are his 15 minutes.

There’s a universal receipt to make a good and accessible Prog album. Make it emotional, melodic, catchy and supply with some quotes from the past Masters. Voila – it works! PHIDEAUX reminds me of PINK FLOYD (“Thank you for the Evil” sounds like “Wish You Were Here” off-shot!), GENESIS (listen to epics that both make this CD worthy of having!!!), some modern Retro-Prog like MOSTLY AUTUMN (due to touching female vocals) and so on. Don’t rush to claim that you’ve got the whole picture; PHIDEAUX is REALLY that much melodic, his abilities are on the level of Classics, and if you don’t care much for originality or strong musicianship or complexity, “Doomsday Afternoon” may become your Album of the Year! Unfortunately I failed to notice my beloved Matthew Parmenter here in full colour (where are his majestic vocals?), but this is bearable. Strongly recommended, though it may become pale after few listening sessions.

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Send comments to Prog-jester (BETA) | Report this review (#136844) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, September 07, 2007

Review by Slartibartfast
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Through the eye of time go I.

If symphonic prog were a language, Phideaux certainly speaks it fluently on Doomsday Afternoon. If you like your prog 100% original, you can safely pass this one by. I for one am really enjoying what he's done here. It's chock full of elements you'll be familiar with if you're familiar with the classic prog artists. At the risk of leaving some out some names, classic era Pink Floyd, Genesis, and Jethro Tull come to mind in particular.

I started out with Fiendish about a month ago and after that sunk in I ordered four more titles including this one. After these sink in, I'll definitely be going for Chupacabras. Out of my four newer acquisitions, this one stands out in particular. I have yet to hear anything by this artist I don't like. Check out the streaming Formaldehyde from Doomsday Afternoon offered on this site and be sure to further explore the streaming tracks from his other albums offered on his site. I'll be highly surprised if you don't get hooked, too. There's already been some good detailed content reviews of this one, so I'll keep my review short and sweet. I can't rank this more than a 4.5, which mathmatically rounds up to a 5.

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Send comments to Slartibartfast (BETA) | Report this review (#136864) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, September 07, 2007

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Al Stewart meets Maggie Reilly!

No, not really of course. But as we were listening to this album over and over on a recent car trip, we were trying to figure out who the vocalists sound like. The light bulb finally came on and I do believe that Phideaux sounds like Al Stewart, the "Year of the Cat" guy. And while I realize there is more than one female vocalist here, one of them sounds a bit like Maggie Reilly circa "Moonlight Shadow." Both observations should be considered a compliment! Anyway, on to the review.

I always kind of dread getting those "hot" CDs that have been getting the 5 star pile-on ratings because I usually end up hugely disappointed. With this ambitious conceptual feast titled "Doomsday Afternoon" I was definitely NOT disappointed. But on the flip side I cannot jump on the 5-star bus either.

The music of Doomsday is alive, warm, animated, and quite easy to enjoy. The nod to the 1970s conceptual prog album is certainly there but DA never sounds stale or dated. Melody, atmosphere and pleasing instrumentation seem to be the first concern. The album really is more on the mellow side of things with plenty of acoustic and light rock parts. Harmonized vocals, strummed acoustics, flutes, strings, pianos and other keyboards, orchestral music..it's all here and arranged with great love to create a fairly unique tapestry of storytelling magic in an age when flash wankery seems to be the overriding concern of too many young musicians and listeners. Complexity can certainly be great but it never trumps beauty or storytelling (musical or lyrical) in my book, and Phideaux knows storytelling like the back of his hand, and he has beautiful melody up his sleeve in spades.

My complaints about the album are few but I'll try to explain in some detail. It is a little longer than it needs to be which always bugs me. There are some sections that coast in mid gear and just cry out for something more aggressive; a little too much mid tempo that could use a kick in the pants in places. I'm not suggesting they go metal but I am saying that those classic 70s masterpieces almost always contained high quality mellow sections, mid tempo sections, and high gear sections. I think Phideaux is a master of the first two but seems to have forgotten the third for the most part as it concerns the electric guitar and drumming. I fully realize there are a few spots where an adrenalin injection is attempted, but the dosage is too low to provide enough "edge" for a 66 minute long rock recording. There are plenty of great songs here as impressive as, say "Aqualung," but there is nothing as kickass as Mr. Barre's guitar solo. Perhaps Phideaux didn't want that which is fine but I'm not alone in thinking it could use the equivalent of that Aqualung solo in a few spots. The up-front (in the mix) burst, packed with immediacy, as opposed to the more laid back solos woven into a busy sound fabric.

In summary DA is not a perfect masterpiece to me but it is a very special recording in the year 2007 and it sits in high company on my 4-star shelf. This is an album that will reward the listener for years to come and it will age very well because it is essentially timeless music. He doesn't grasp at hip/coolness factors which is precisely what makes something seems dated or silly years later. Take one listen to the 2 part track "Crumble" and you'll know what I mean-such beauty is timeless. I can easily recommend this album to fans of quality symphonic prog, especially the more mellow and pretty side such as Willowglass or Faveravola, as well as to neo-prog fans. And I think fans of this album should definitely check out the band Chaos Code which is making modern epic symphonic like this, but with a harder guitar rock edge. Congratulations to the band, well done.

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Send comments to Finnforest (BETA) | Report this review (#144921) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, October 15, 2007

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars US band Phideaux was an unknown entity for me, until I got hold of this album. And I can sure understand why there's a buzz for this artist and this release.

Musically this album is somewhat of a melting pot of music from the 70's, where the impression is that the band has carefully collected all the best parts of dark-sounding prog from this era and mixed it to a potent brew in a magical cauldron somewhere.

The soundscapes ebb and flow from one mood to another, from mellow themes to epic themes the size of Mount Everest. All the time melodic and symphonic, and with a warm, modern production highlighting the atmospheres and mixing everything happening just right.

One of the best albums I've come across so far in life; perhaps even the best.

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Send comments to Windhawk (BETA) | Report this review (#145115) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Review by Atkingani
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars 2007 was a year plentiful of prog releases. a good feature, no? Maybe, some will argue that we had mainly quantity instead of quality but I won't argue here in order not to be unfair: many albums are too fresh and they have still the possibility to grow in the hearer's taste; otherwise, we might be watching a prog revival, even in a restrict circle, in a way that can guarantee our beloved genre its existence for many decades to come. Even so, I'm quite sure that after sieving those products from the mentioned year, PHIDEAUX's "Doomsday Afternoon" will pass over the wire mesh smoothly.

I'd never heard of Phideaux Xavier and the band he formed around him until this album, with its strange and frightening cover, reached my playing set, and I liked it since the series "1, 2, 3, 4." that opens this conceptual work, soon followed by catchy piano and thunderous singing and instrumentation. Later I was grabbed by gracious vocals and a plethora of synth sounds in a manner I had never listened to in recent years. The main musical theme is repeated continuously through the entire album, acting like a mantra or a prayer - sometimes fast and ironic, sometimes tangible and meaningful. Well, the band is showing their view of the world's fate, don't they?

First Act: the opening track, 'Micro deathstar' starts like mentioned previously and it functions like a summary. Everything one will hear en suite is displayed in this track but it's worthy to go beyond the touching and sarcastic I'm singing to the rain. reference that ends the song. 'The doctrine of eternal ice (I)' creates a grandiose and apocalyptical atmosphere like preparing the terrain to the soft 'Candybrain', a nice track adorned with acoustic guitars and flutes. The first 'Crumble' is gloomy and poignant and what a beautiful choir we have here! The act finishes with 'The doctrine of eternal ice (II)' that begins like a lullaby and goes strongly while guitars and keyboards take charge of the actions and the song reaches the stratosphere.

Second Act: the starting point 'Thank you for the evil' intros in a slow running pace going into a crescendo again thanks to the synthesizer intervention. 'A wasteland of memories' begins after a fine bridge from the prior track and the pungent tunes graze along this short track and continue for the second 'Crumble', that grabs you with its noticeable female vocals. 'Formaldehyde' has some folk touches and romantic colors, male/female singing looks like a kind of conversation intermediated by flute melodies, generating a fascinating atmosphere. Approaching the end you're seduced by a web of multiple and diverse sounds extremely catchy and amusing. 'Microdeath softstar', the longest track here and also the closing one, is also a summary-like of all "Doomsday Afternoon" content; here one will find almost everything played previously and may remember accurately all those memorable and alluring parts - a nice valediction, indeed.

Regressive? Derivative? Never mind, just enjoy. The issue is that after hearing "Doomsday Afternoon" I went backwards and discovered almost the entire PHIDEAUX output. I also discovered that this work is part of a trilogy and it'll be fine to listen to this trilogy as a one long suite. Ah, the rating. deservedly an excellent addition to any prog music collection.

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Send comments to Atkingani (BETA) | Report this review (#156521) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Review by Zitro
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 3.5 stars

I love progarchives in that I could find great music via reviews and full-length samples. I found the song Formaldehyde quite a solid tune which brings back memories of the progressive rock movement in the seventies. When I got this album, I was blown away with the opening epic. I found it such a magnificent and accessible composition, yet I was underwhelmed by the rest of the album. After a few listens, the other songs started growing on me and ended up enjoying Doomsday Afternoon.

The music is certainly a bit pretentious, but to write a three-album concept, you need this epic sound. The music is mostly classically inspired as well as being influenced by 70s progressive rock bands. Doomsday Afternoon is mostly mid-tempo: they write some terrific mellow music as well as non-heavy music.

The album begins with Micro Deathstar. Featuring strong vocals, excellent orchestrations, great dynamics, and a perfectly natural song progression throughout its long duration. The Doctrine of Eternal Ice pt.1 starts with a silly Hallelujah style theme which unfortunately is the main theme in the album. However, the orchestration is rich and redeems that theme. Candybrain might be the least memorable track here, just a pleasant acoustically-strummed mellow tune with nice harmonies. However, it transitions into a tiny piece that is so gorgeous that you'll most likely feel goosebumps and stop what you are currently doing. That piece is the instrumental Crumble , featuting a piano theme that will pull emotional strings. Crumble is much needed after a dip in quality after the glorious opening track. The second part of The Doctrine of Eternal Ice continues the high-quality trend by being superior to the first part in every way, including that theme I do not like, but it almost fits here. Part 2 has a grandiose sound that fully harmonized; it is a great example of what Symphonic Rock means.

The second half starts with Thank You For The Evil , a mellow and quasi-psychedelic number with synthesizer sounds used by German band Eloy. As a matter of fact, this song sounds similar to the typical late 70s Eloy sound while having the elements of Phideaux. A Wasteland of Memories introduces itself with a familiar vocal melody of an earlier track and builds un into beautiful orchestration. To make things better, Crumble comes back, this time with more grand piano and female vocals. It is just as good as the previous version of it, if not better. Formaldehyde comes next, the song I was familiar with when I bought this album. Unfortunately, I feel that it is somewhat out of place in the album. This song emphasizes the moog synthesizer and has a bit more punch than the other tracks. The problem I have with this track is that it is a bit quirky for my tastes near the end and that bloody main theme is used a lot. Do not get me wrong, it is still a good track and has some fantastic symphonic parts. The closer Microdeath Softstar , which is the longest track in the album, does not disappoint. It mixes the grandiose power of a song like The Doctrine of Eternal Ice pt.2 with a dramatic instrumental section in the middle.

This is really a very good album that is enjoyable and easy to listen to at the same time. Recommended to all Symphonic Prog lovers.

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Send comments to Zitro (BETA) | Report this review (#159456) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, January 21, 2008

Review by Chicapah
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars One of the most rewarding aspects of some 21st century progressive rock music offerings is found in hearing the way many of the newer artists weave tapestries of sound utilizing various influences of the genre's greats of yesteryear. Phideaux is an excellent example of this honorable technique. Encouraged by numerous favorable and oftentimes exuberant reviews of the apocalyptic- themed "Doomsday Afternoon" found on this very site, I sprung for the CD and sat back to see what the fuss was about. I wasn't disappointed.

First of all I must point out that leader Phideaux Xavier's pleasing voice is an interesting blend of David Bowie, Peter Gabriel and Roger Hodgson to my ear and decent vocals are always a big determining factor in whether I'll like new music or not. The impressive opening song, "Micro Softdeathstar," begins as an eclectic ditty that jogs along without commitment until a violin leads to a droning segment with haunting yet quite effective vocal lines. The lyrics aren't bad but they are definitely surreal and obtuse more often than not so I have to claim a certain amount of apathy to their exact meaning. The tune has a broad depth of field and it's always refreshing to detect the presence of a female voice in prog. It also features skillful usage of real orchestration and the changes in feel and tempo come in quick succession, keeping things from getting stale. The instrumental "The Doctrine of Eternal Ice (Part One)" follows and it rocks pretty well as it combines piano, synthesizers and brass over a tight rhythm section. One of my complaints with the group Salem Hill is the old, outdated ARP keyboard sounds they insist on using and I have the same gripe here. The reedy timbre detracts rather than adds to the ambience and there are much better options to explore, it would seem. But that's just me.

The acoustic guitar-driven "Candybrain" is next and it showcases Phideaux's admirable ability to create memorable melodies and arrange them tastefully around each other. No legitimate musical instrument seems to be off limits to these guys and they even find inventive ways to include group handclaps here. What follows is one of the album's many highlights, the instrumental "Crumble." The simple piano performing a beautiful melody over a flowing symphonic score makes this number shine brightly. "The Doctrine of Eternal Ice (Part Two)" ensues and reintroduces the song's central piano theme as the group continues to manipulate intriguing chord progressions and brief musical sections throughout. A palpable but respectful Pink Floyd influence pervades "Thank You for the Evil" with its ominous drum beat layered over pulsating bass notes. The engaging song builds steadily with the help of massive acoustic guitar chords and sharp, penetrating vocal lines.

Things then segue into the too short but nonetheless superb symphonic piece, "A Wasteland of Memories" that, with its soaring female vocalist (unfortunately non-specified in the credits), is almost operatic in its scope. A welcome return to the gorgeous melody of "Crumble" is next but this time the lady's singing voice makes it even better than the first go-round. It's a thing of beauty and you'll be hard pressed to find a prettier tune in all of progdom. Flutes, violin and acoustic guitars give "Formaldehyde" a striking and lively prog folk atmosphere that lifts the mood at this juncture. It eventually grows to be a rocker of sorts but my second beef arises here with the introduction of a thin fuzz tone electric guitar that should have been dropped out of the mix. It nearly spoils what otherwise is a quality song. "Microdeath Softstar" is the 15-minute finale and, although it starts out in a promising way with spacey organ chords leading to a hypnotic drum pattern and some boisterous orchestration, it eventually drops into an amateurish, ho-hum rock & roll guitar riff that causes the momentum to suffer at a crucial point in the proceedings. Phideaux recovers somewhat by tacking on a subtle, effective coda but I can't help feeling that a golden opportunity to blow the listener's mind and to plop a cherry on this delicious sundae was missed.

I hope I haven't given the impression that this isn't a very good CD because it is and deserves your consideration. The variety of imaginative ideas that appear throughout are entertaining and often downright delightful and I sense that Mr. Xavier could be on the verge of becoming a major player in the prog world for years to come. "Doomsday Afternoon" is a little too inconsistent for me to call it a "must-have masterpiece" but if you're looking for an album that's unlike anything else in your current collection then by all means dive in. You could do a whole lot worse. 3.8 stars.

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Send comments to Chicapah (BETA) | Report this review (#160598) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, February 02, 2008

Review by kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog-Folk Team
5 stars Combining a healthy respect for early pioneers of prog with a modern sensibility, Phideaux has produced a work that surpasses most of his inspiration in terms of listenability, songwriting, vocals, and arranging. "Doomsday Afternoon" is nothing if not eclectic, with its compelling mix of folk, progressive and space rock with a thematically classical sensibility that never wavers for 60+ minutes. It is enjoyable from the first listen, but continues to impress over the long haul.

The opener "Micro SoftDeathStar" really lays it all out in its 11 minutes: plaintive vocals, orchestration, sparkling melodies, and a sense of foreboding that never oppresses. The changes of pace are crisp and purposeful without being jarring, and many of the themes we will hear later are introduced here both lyrically and musically. Phideaux is part Al Stewart like raconteur and part Roger Waters' doomsayer, uniting the yin and yang, and his use of several female singers in both lead and supporting roles adds further depth in that department. The fact that they are actually singing words also places "Doomsday Afternoon" at an advantage over those who would have them simply wail away like sirens or banshees. "The Doctrine of Eternal Ice Part 1" is a brief but potent instrumental with both piano and synthesizer to the fore, reminding me of some of Eloy's best work, a comparison I can't help making here and there. Even if Phideaux was not directly inspired by the German band, the point of reference holds, but I think his more tasteful approach would have a wider on this site than Frank Bornemann's group. "Candybrain" is an acoustic oriented song that plays like a folk anthem but with greater complexity. The dystopian story line is really driven home here, but never at the sacrifice of musicality, which includes well placed flute and handclaps. "Crumble Part 1" introduces one of the most memorable tunes of the work, this time instrumentally, mostly on piano with the backing of other keyboards. "The Doctrine of Eternal Ice Part 2" is an 8 minute piece that really closes out "Side 1" if you will. It builds up from a slow plodding meditation to a vitriolic, but never harsh, rant before calming down into a gentler return to earlier themes. One of my favourite aspects of this disk is how it conveys so much power without needing to resort to anything approaching hard rock or metallic histrionics.

"Thank you for the Evil" is probably the most overtly Floydian track (more "The Wall" era than anything), with an Alan Parsons Project type vibe as well. It also reminds me of Quebecois Daniel Gauthier's excellent album "Above the Storm". The track is repetitive in all the right ways, hypnotic even, and you will be hard pressed to avoid repeating some of the more dramatic parts in your mind's studio. "A Wasteland of Memories" is a beautiful and brief orchestral piece, followed by the vocal version of "Crumble". A Certain creativity is revealed in the vocal interpretation of the sweet melody. The backing is identical to part 1; in fact this version is exactly the same length. Introduced by mellow flute and other accompaniment, "Formaldehyde" is one of the strongest and prettiest songs on the disk, with a very folk like structure in which the flute weaves about. The intensity picks up about halfway through, with some fine harmonies and interplays. The closer, "Microdeath Softstar", is the longest track and provides an excellent recapitulation of the various themes previously introduced, including those on "Candybrain". The orchestra is prominent here, and in particular the stringed instruments shine, but the vocalists also work their magic in tandem and solo.

I don't have any trouble rating this one 5 stars, and pointing out the irony that, with albums like this, doomsday for sensitive yet powerful progressive rock may be much farther off than we could have dreamed.

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Send comments to kenethlevine (BETA) | Report this review (#165406) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, March 30, 2008

Review by The T
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars PHIDEAUX is one of the best modern progressive-rock albums I've heard in quite a while.

The greatest thing about the music in this album is the fact that it's never ashamed to be full-blown progressive-rock, from the long songs to the unusual structures to the instrumental sections and the displays of technique, "Doomsday Afternoon" is as honest a prog-rock album as any.

And that's made even clearer by the constant references to the past that we hear when the disc is spinning. The influence of bands like GENESIS, VAN DER GRAF GENERATOR or JETHRO TULL is pretty evident from the beginning to the end of the album, particularly of the first one mentioned. Another shadow from the 70's that looms big over PHIDEAUX's music is without a doubt PINK FLOYD's. One could say that "Doomsday Afternoon", in a way, pays homage to many artists of a long past decade.

But at the same time, the music never sounds old or totally retro. The music is modern, with hints and touches of more avant sounds and also many passages when the influence of modern bands can be felt. One can distinguish neo-prog references here, PORCUPINE TREE touches there, and even bands from different sonic worlds like space-rock/metal legend AYREON seem to have marked Phideaux Xavier, the mastermind behind this music. All of these influences are blended into one very coherent whole to create a very unique sound, which sounds new yet also old, which takes us to the future but also drives us back to the past.

The music is melodic, very melodic, but harmony, rhythm and technique receive special treatment, too. The long songs usually have extended instrumental sections of various different characters. The musicianship here is outstanding. The various females singers add a touch of beauty to Xavier's quite ironic and dry vocals; the man himself in the piano and the guitar never ceases to create beautiful arrangements, and his various partners fit the music perfectly, the bass player being a perfect example. Add several non-traditional-rock instruments to the mix (flute, strings) and what we get is an experience of the highest caliber.

PHIDEAUX has really surprised me. There's no question that this was one of the best albums of its year, and a modern masterpiece, worthy of 5 stars.

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Send comments to The T (BETA) | Report this review (#178431) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars It seems that a lot of reviewers discovered Phideaux with this release. It got five times more ratings than any of the other albums he released. At last, he made a remarked entry on PA.

I am always careful with his albums because they go from brilliant ("Chupacabras", "Ghost Story") to extremely poor ("Friction"). Fortunately, this one is more on the good side.

I am not a huge enthusiast about orchestrations, but I have to admit that these are discreet enough here; they are just sustaining the band and are playing mostly in the background; which is fine with me.

This concept album is best experienced when listened from A to Z, and it is a very enjoyable record all the way through even if my preferences go to the great opening song "Micro Deathstar". This is a fantastic voyage into the "Phideaux" world for eleven minutes. The highlight.

It is true to say that Floyd influences are many (especially the keyboards) but maybe it is due to the fact that I am thinking to Richard these days (RIP). "Thank You For The Evil" is the most Floydian of all sounding very much as SOYCD. It is another beautiful song.

Not all pieces from this album are pure magic (otherwise, it would have been a masterpiece). The pastoral and folkish "Formaldehyde" is too mellowish for this. It could have been featured on a "Mostly Autumn" album with no problem. The same applies here as well: the second part of the song is more upbeat and features a fine.keys work (instead of guitar on lots of MA track).

It is a bit of a pity that this album is not consistently strong. It started brilliantly, but the second half is weaker IMHHO. The epic and closing song won't help: it is a summary of this album and features the same influences: Floyd and folk. Doomsday Afternoon remains a good album, just shy of the four star rating.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#182974) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, September 20, 2008

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A great leap

After releasing 5 albums to a fairly small audience, Phideaux has finally opened the flood gates and overwhelmed the progressive community with the release of his opus, Doomsday Afternoon. The album is the second installment in a trilogy to be finished early next year with the release of Infernal, which at this point the entire progressive community will be on the edge of their seats for. This sixth album by the ten-person band is a testament to everything that has been done well in progressive rock over the years, and with a massive sound backed by a full orchestra (Phideaux claims this is the album's gimmick) it is a truly impressive experience to behold. After the first part of the trilogy, the song powered Great Leap, Phideaux has decided to move in a direction of using full blown song cycles, even turning the album into a definitive Act I and Act II. Since the songs move, flow and segue into one another the album is naturally a lot less approachable than other discs in the band's catalog, but once you get into this album there's no getting out, and you'll be doomed to play it at least once a day for a very long time.

What makes the album so impressive is not only the fully fleshed out sounds, or the true-to-the-classics (without sounding too retro) keyboards, it's the the massive emotional pulls that can 'erk' you every single time you hear the album. Phideaux himself has a very unique voice, and coupled with a number of backing counterparts the music can become very ethereal, haunting and lovely. A Gothic, ghostly ballroom sound is present throughout the entire album and if the moods don't strike you then you must be a robot (which apparently has not been hugged for some time). Small instrumental segments can bring the overall tone of the album to very sentimental at any given time, or can turn it into something highly malevolent in an instant's notice. Transitional tracks like the creepy Doctrine Of Eternal Ice Part I and both tracks titled Crumble are prime examples of how the album can be so wickedly dynamic while staying to the constraints of a solid song-cycle concept album.

Of course it's the long songs which are really the prime focus on the album. There's a number of lengthy tunes on the album and each one of them is a specimen of incredible detail and intricacies. The album opens with the excellent Micro Softdeathstar and ends with the amazing Mircodeath Softstar, two songs who thematically fit together like puzzle pieces and bookend the album with an excellent amount of grace. Stellar playing throughout makes for that emotional roller coaster. Unforgettable lyrical lines also sparkle the tunes (''All we need is time, but time's too damn unkind'' memorably finished the disc) and make for a couple of very moving moments. Other songs contained within the album are also able to pull off similar effects with excellent results. Candybrain is one of the songs which helps to start off and develop the themes which are later reprised most excellently in later songs, and The Doctrine Of Eternal Ice Part II is a stunning and evil conclusion to the piece which helped open the album.

There's two songs in the middle of the album that are likely the centerpiece of the composition above anything else. First off is the single, Thank You For The Evil is a fantastic piece which brings in all the elements of previous songs and works as one of the final keys to the overall success along with the amazing, yet short, orchestral masterpiece that is A Wasteland Of Memories which sounds as though it could have been taken from Chris Squire's solo album Fish Out Of Water if it was first fed through a black hole, warped to a separate dimension and turned evil by the forces of darkness. Yeah, it's that cool.

The song which everything leads up to, however, is easily the standout and the main reason for owning the album. Formaldehyde is simply incredible, and clocking in at 8-minutes, ripe with keyboards, flutes and singing that could bring the most stone cold of men to tears. Simply sublime from start to finish and that's not something easily said about many songs, likely the only other song that could be said about is Squire's Silently Falling, which has a very similar build and play off emotions as this song, although this one features a rather quirky breakdown nearing the end.

A divinely perfect album, although it will take a lot more listens than one to gain the appreciation for this album needed for it to have its full effect. Be patient, good proggers, it will come. For now, this album must receive a blistering 5 out of 5 for the kind of listen which only comes around once in a blue moon and puts a lot of other releases to shame. Don't be fooled, this is the definitive release of 2007, and make sure you have it - it's an absolute essential.

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Send comments to Queen By-Tor (BETA) | Report this review (#190555) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Review by LiquidEternity
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars As the quantity and consistency of reviews on this website attest, Doomsday Afternoon is not only Phideaux's strongest and most mature album, but it also is quite possibly the strongest and most mature prog album released in 2007.

Phideaux's albums are all category unique from one another, with some focusing on psychedelic sounds, others on something near gothic metal, and others straightforward singer-songwriter pop tunes. Doomsday Afternoon is more or less his symphonic prog release, combining a sort of neo-prog simplicity with the subtle and complex depths a la Camel or Pink Floyd. The main aspect of the difference is this: unlike previous Phideaux albums, this one features orchestra throughout. Do not make the mistake, however, of assuming that this is merely neo-prog plus an orchestra. Rather, this is as full blown and bombastic as it gets, while somehow some earthy quality of the songwriting and performance keeps it from suffering from that sense of pretentious pomp that a large number of prog band plus orchestra albums tend to assume. I believe it has something to do with Phideaux's own vocals not sounding like the traditional bombast of a progressive rock lead singer. Xavier and the other singers do not exploit technical proficiency but rather aim for a sort of homey vibe with their lyrics, delivering environmentalist messages with the humility of just a friend or concerned neighbor. And while highly bombastic vocals oftentimes are quite fun and engaging, Doomsday Afternoon's lack of such works very strongly in its favor. Do not expect an adrenaline-fueled rampage of solos and instrumental sections--those are not at all the focus on this one (Chupacabras probably is more up that alley).

The album opens with Micro Softdeathstar, clearly a tongue-in-cheek reference to the international computer and electronics manufacturers. This song, while standing alone plenty nicely, more forms a prologue, a teaser of the themes that will occur throughout the album. The orchestra kicks into high gear when the vocals are not there, and on the whole the tune sets a slightly gothic, creepy vibe to the album, while still somehow coming across as upbeat and mellow. The first part of The Doctrine of Eternal Ice segues perfectly smoothly from Micro Softdeathstar, introducing a good bit more high-energy melody and some distorted guitar. This is the album's first real moment of exciting pacing. It serves as a quick and airy instrumental to lead into the next track. Candybrain is a highly gothic track, featuring a very dark mood and a sense of foreboding. The female vocals play well with Phideaux's light voice, calming the album down just in time for Crumble. The first occurrence of the song is instrumental, built on thick orchestration, piano, and some wordless female vocals in the background. The melody is beautiful and stunning, though it is not quite as impressive as its second coming will be. The last song of the first part is The Doctrine of Eternal Ice (Part Two), and the downbeat mellowness that came off the tail of Crumble begins to build back up to something less dark. Do not expect a rehash of the first part, as even though the melodies and sections are mostly referenced here, they are much more laid back and dark. There are some vocals, and unhappy ones at that, but for the most part this is also instrumental. A lot of electronic sounds are present on this track, like in Candybrain. Slowed down from its first part, the complexities of the melodies really come to the forefront.

The second part starts on a very dark, somewhat Floydian tone as well with Thank You for the Evil. A slow drone and steady drumming build this song towards some upbeat acoustic guitar. The sound then drops off, fronted by some jazzy bass guitar, and Phideaux himself enters with the vocals. The music grows progressively darker here, and eventually becomes a heavy sort of creepy. By the end, there is a gentle if synthetic keyboard solo of sorts, and then it slowly winds to a close, not really having done much of changing over its nine minute length--a technique that sounds boring at first, but in the end, makes the song much more powerful and evocative. A Wasteland of Memories opens with a spoonful of cinematic orchestra. Xavier's light and here somewhat cheerful vocals pop in and break up the intense melody. It is essentially a transition track, being much more lighthearted (relatively speaking, of course) than the tracks before it and after it. Following then is the second Crumble, this time mostly just piano and a lovely female voice. Something about both the simplicity and the earnestness of this song make it an emotional climax to the album. Not necessarily downbeat or dark, it is simply a song of regrets and sadness. Thankfully, however, the second part of the album finally finds its upbeat element in Formaldehyde. This is the most exciting and upbeat the music has been since the first part of The Doctrine of Eternal Ice. Parts of it, naturally, are more quiet and gentle than others, but for example, the ending features, one of the only drum fills on the entire release. And, finally, the album closes in epic, dramatic fashion with Microdeath Softstar, the fifteen minute climax and conclusion. It mirrors in a lot of ways its cousin that opens the album. Strong orchestra presence, a reprisal of many of the main themes, and an emotionally sung finale draw this album to its sad but worthwhile ending.

This album is something of a fusion of neo-prog, symphonic prog, psychedelic rock, and singer-songwriter, but the only thing you really need to take away from it is the sheer quality of both the complex moments and the simple ones. Phideaux topped himself ten times over with Doomsday Afternoon, and even though he has been making progressive music for fifteen years, this is his breakthrough into the mainstream prog community.

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Send comments to LiquidEternity (BETA) | Report this review (#191462) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover Team
5 stars I was late getting on the Phideaux bandwagon phenomenon, somehow never getting around to sampling some of his much vaunted material. The comments from the prog community certainly dispensed a fair amount of reverence and awe which I was itching to get to taste, the Phideaux myspace site exciting even more my sensibilities by the avowed comment from the artist that Roxy Music is a major influence in his songwriting , adding even more flavor to the Floydian aroma of his musical style. Well "Doomsday Afternoon" certainly has all the goods to make this a stellar addition to any collection. In fact, this is some of the best US prog ever with some passionate inspiration, clever spinning and weaving melodies tugged along by some splendid orchestrations, as expressed by the majestic opener "micro softdeathstar", a whopping 11 minute epic that emphatically states from the outset that this is serious stuff indeed. The focus here is on the overall package, so there is little soloing "chopzilla", as Phideaux concentrates on delivering multiple subtleties both lyrically and musically, the voice displaying the romantic slant of a Bryan Ferry /David Bowie though completely different in tone and delivery . "the doctrine of eternal ice pt 1" is a rollicking organ blitzed piece full of trumpet-led symphonics that clearly show the sheer progressive veneer, delicately ornate piano adding a little class and grandeur. "candybrain" continues in a more pastoral vein, with insinuations of folkier acoustics and a very English feel, sublime vocals combine with the simple flute/oboe/guitar arrangement, coming close to the Strawbs territory. The brief "crumble" is drenched in some serious psychedelic melancholia, dreamy piano and wailing background voices evoking some distant reflection in time and of space. Breathtaking stuff, really, I am so impressed upon first listen! Part 2 of "the doctrine." stretches out even more exponentially for over 8 minutes , female vocals seducing the rhythm while increasing the fervor, suave synthesizers smiling, drums keeping time and Phideaux' nasal vocal wailing unashamed. As delicious a ride as it has been up to this point in the record, the core moment here is the fabulously moody "thank you for the evil", a scintillating 9 minute groove piece that flutters along bold and cocky, a simple beat with loads of synth variations, heavy Manzanera/Eno persuasions and some incredible angst-laden lead vocals, all set to a clearly Floydian sonic expanse. This is prog heaven, a melodic yet dark journey into a comfort zone where the mood reigns supreme. "a wasteland of memories" is a short ditty that reflects orchestral colorations over plaintive male and female vocals, violins ablaze. "crumble" returns again for another visit , led by that magical piano before diving into another two masterstrokes , the stunning "formaldehyde" and the closing epic variation on the opener , "microdeath softstar" ,exhibiting a rather truculent sense of humor and detail that cannot go unnoticed. The former track features the talented Martin Orford of IQ fame on synths, a brooding pastoral flute intro gently guides the arrangement , giving politely way to another superb violin solo courtesy of Matthew Parmenter of Discipline fame and an outright proto-Brit prog-folk female vocal theme that exudes charm and substance, as the melodies are robust and memorable. The soloing rages on in a familiar Tull/Mostly Autumn mould that elevates the spiraling crescendo also tosses in a few quirky vocal twists, playful outro not withstanding. The massive 14 minute plus extravaganza lets the curtain fall with unflinching genius and creativity, as a slow, gloomy synth wash sweeps across the horizon, a dashing Hammond B3 suddenly jumping into the fray as drums, bass and orchestrations kick in ceremoniously to join in the mayhem. At times and especially here, Phideaux' vocals have an almost David Cousins-like nasal twang that is most impressive, in fact easily drawing comparisons with the fabulous British artist Guy Manning or as our finnforest so succintly and correctly identifies, Al Stewart. The piece throws in some deft soloing, as rhythm guitars riff solidly, the synths firing on all cylinders, the drums rifling neatly and the singing falling into almost The Cure-like tonalities. The Phideaux recipe obviously contains such a wide variety of influences , from some of the more creative and luminary artists of the past, cooking up a personal brew that combines psychedelia, space, folk, alternative, art- rock, gothic and groove that cannot be dismissed as pastiche, as the spirit of the artist remains very pristine and clear. I have rarely been so impressed by a recording, a definite winner that screams out for even more recognition. I guess I need to delve into his past catalog as the man is prolific. 5 chupacabras

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Send comments to tszirmay (BETA) | Report this review (#192053) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, December 06, 2008

Review by Prog Leviathan
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Unconditionally excellent on almost every level, Phideaux makes this review one of the easiest I've ever done; the songwriting, performances, lyrical content, and wellcrafted feel of the album shout out masterpiece within moments of its opening note.

Doomsday Afternoonblends classic/neo symphonic prog with elements of folk and pure orchestra-- mixing them with a rousing feel that simultaneously honors and elevates just about everything that has ever been good about progressive rock. There is truly something for everyone here, and it's all excellent: big melodies, delicate soundscapes, orchestrals interludes, poignant male and female vocals, moody atmosphere, and the occasional outburst of modern guitar rock. Pure class from start to finish.

Essential progressive listening; a masterpiece of the collective genre!

Songwriting: 5 Instrumental Performances: 4 Lyrics/Vocals: 5 Style/Emotion/Replay: 5

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Send comments to Prog Leviathan (BETA) | Report this review (#213962) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Review by The Truth
COLLABORATOR Post/Math Rock Team
5 stars Even on first listen to this album, I knew this was something special! Phideaux creates an atmosphere on this album which I have never heard before! Although it gives nods to various classic prog bands, Phideaux manages to keep his own unique sound, which to me is a mix of Pink Floyd and VDGG with some Baroque pop mixed in. But now about the album, He starts off pretty dang wonderfully with Micro Softdeathstar which sounds so beautiful, "Is it too much for you too soon?" The Doctrine of Eternal Ice Part 1 is a nice instumental the start reminding me of Any Colour You Like but eventually turns into it's own masterpiece. Candybrain is a nice track that blends the acoustic guitar and keyboards extremely well, creating a very catchy tune. Crumble is just plain beautiful piano work and Part 2 of Doctrine of Eternal Ice is Phideaux at his lyrical and musical best. Thank You For the Evil is a track that almost sums up Act 1 and starts introducing Act 2 and it stays with the same feel that Doctrine of Eternal Ice Part 2 had. A Wasteland of Memories for some reason seems out of place to me, but I get the feeling it's definately there for a reason so it's no-biggie. The second Crumble is as beautiful as the first, only this one has excellent vocals in it. Formaldyhyde sounds a lot like Thank You For the Evil, so it's a good track too, and Microdeath Softstar is a very dramatic ending to this excellent album. Phideaux has definately made something beautiful with this one, I must say. Do listen and see for yourself.

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Send comments to The Truth (BETA) | Report this review (#230589) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, August 08, 2009

Review by LinusW
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Italian Prog Specialist
5 stars I find it hard not to get a kick out of this album. When music is this powerful, melodic, orchestrated and honest I find it hard to not feel anything when listening. In fact, I feel a lot of things. Joy, sorrow, peace, despair all form a sort of emotional primordial soup that just touches you deeply, naturally and unavoidably. It's my honest opinion that the 70s band that tried a somewhat similar "emotional" approach (think Camel, Pink Floyd et.al.) are all put to shame by Doomsday Afternoon. In order not to lose all my credibility at this point, it must be said that I've never been a big fan of either of the bands mentioned, but also that Phideaux and his musician friends really manage to do something stunning here. The beating heart of all these rich, colourful tapestries have to be something new and unique - at least for me.

The music is towering, pompous and generally brim-filled with riches; the obvious climactic orchestrations, applied with pin-point accuracy to achieve maximum emotional impact. Synthesisers burst out of the compositions as rays of light (or compact darkness). Layered vocals, from several vocalists and profound, melodious flurries from all the instruments involved. All in all it creates this epic, unfathomable atmosphere, beyond and above all of us. Comparisons to film scores are hard to deny.

But then on the other hand, there are these contrasting pieces, with nothing but vocals, some strummed guitar or chord work and a lone or a few nimble melodies. More in line with indie/alternative- or singer/songwriter-territory. Exposed, but not naked. And there are great, heavier bits where the guitar is actually rocking and where the organ is let loose to rumble for a bit. It feels down-to-earth, personal and honest; respites where you can identify and return to the individual instead of being locked in that great scheme of things.

Where Doomsday Afternoon finds its power is in the schism of these two distinct parts. A sort of musical conflict that creates immense dynamic power when one flows into the other, but even more so when they all blend into one massive Juggernaut of modern prog.

If you're looking for the best of classic prog teamed up with the best of modern sensibilities and haven't checked out Phideaux, this is where you should find it. If you want more in-depth info on what's really waiting inside Doomsday Afternoon, look for the other reviews. There are loads of them. In the meantime, this should get you salivating.

5 stars. Unquestionably.

//LinusW

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Posted Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I read plenty of good reviews for Phideaux, so I think I will disappoint many fans by my opinion.

I want to start from declaration, that I am not a huge fun of orchestrated rock (or sympho-rock), even average King Crimson album for me is much better than the best Yes album. Another thing-I don't like neo-prog too much, because of it secondary music. So, may be this position is the reason why I am not happy too much with this album and Phideaux in common.

I listened few early albums and found there ... how to say .... pop-rock in prog clothes. And even not very orininal one, but mix of some classical citates.

About this, new album: it's better than earlier works. Now the sound is more like sympho-neo- prog. In some moments I hear pure Kansas violin pieces, other moments remind me some Pink Floyd harmonies and vocals. But both together - average sound quality, technicaly no bad,sometimes with small interesting ideas - but absolutely nothing I didn't heard 30 yrs ago!

How I understand, some progheads are very happy to listen talented imitators of classic prog from 70-th. So, I prefer originals. May be it's a reason of my low mark, but there in 21 st century are many more interesting musicians with 21-st century music ideas.

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Posted Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Review by debrewguy
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars At one point, I had an extensive review written for Doomsday Afternoon, which I had saved on Microsoft Word. Then, as I read it , hoping to edit it down to something less than twelve thousand words (just kidding, it was barely over 9000), I saw that I could really boil it down to these few phrases.

First, the only thing that I enjoyed or found interesting on this album was playing guess who played this before.

Example - "so this is what Roger Hodgson would have sounded if Supertramp had gone full blown symphonic". Indeed, in a few spots I couldn't help but think about Fool's Overture. Or Floydian space rock on Thank you for the evil. Or Zep's Kashmir - The main motif in Doctrine of Eternal Ice pt I & II ; then I hear Tony Banks keyboards all over the place, even to the point of my placing them in the different eras or albums.

Does the songwriting, the songs themselves outweigh this annoying cloning ?

I come back to my second sentence - the only thing I got out of this music was trying to remember where else I'd heard it before. And go listen to that instead.

As competent as this may be, I give it a 1. Once upon a time, I would delude myself that competence in & of itself merited a 3 - meaning it was good.

No more, eh.

And unfortunately, Spin-It no longer gives much on trade for used CDs. Oh well, $8 down the drain. As I leave the other 2 Fido CDs in their bin to gather even more dust. Funny how the Flower Kings' albums at Spin-It seem to do better sales wise

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Posted Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Review by poslednijat_colobar
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The present king of crossover prog is here...

Doomsday Afternoon is what can be called breakthrough album by american crossover prog band Phideaux, led by Phideaux Xavier. I think this album have established Phideaux as the kings of present crossover prog. They developed their own style by using psychedelic, art, gothic and folk rock motifs. The album is concept, full of coming and going repetitive themes (most successfully the theme from The Doctrine of Eternal Ice (Part One); some other being the theme from Micro Softdeathstar in Thank You for the Evil and the theme from the first instrumental Crumble in the second literal Crumble, etc).

Doomsday Afternoon is one very well balanced album with probably some needless repetitions. After listening to Number Seven, I would say there are some ideas in Doomsday Afternoon, later successfully developed in Number Seven, not just successfully, but in unique and amazing way. Therefore, I want to say despite Doomsday Afternoon is one really precise album and high standard of crossover prog music, it can't compare to what come out later - Number Seven, which I consider as a candidate of greatest crossover prog album of all time. So, I'm really surprised with the overall ratings of those two Phideaux's albums. I'm inclined to think that there is a conspiracy against Number Seven, but that's another story...

Now about my rating for Doomsday Afternoon. For me it's one of the easiest and most certain votes - exactly 4 stars, not more and not less!

Hightlights in Doomsday Afternoon:

1. The Doctrine of Eternal Ice (Part One) - an absolute masterpiece of art!

2. Microdeath Softstar - exceptional piece of work!

3. Micro Softdeathstar - excellent song!

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Posted Saturday, September 26, 2009

Review by 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.

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Posted Thursday, October 29, 2009

Review by EatThatPhonebook
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 8/10

"Doomsday Afternoon" is a brilliant puzzle of melodies.

2007 was a great year for progressive music, no doubt on this: Porcupine Tree's "Fear Of A Blank Planet", Devin Townsend's "Ziltoid The Omniscient", Ulver's "Shadows Of The Sun", and, of course, Phideaux's "Doomsday Afternoon". In my previous review of this album. I wasn't very accurate in describing the album. I'll try this time to be as precise as possible.

Doomsday Afternoon is a concept album, and is part of a trilogy, being the second episode: the first one was "The Great Leap", the third is yet to come ( I doubt it's "Number Seven"). Lyrically, it concerns ecology and "Big Brother" authoritarianism, as Wikipedia says. Even musically, many parts and themes are often repeated.

The style is very peculiar: progressive, psych music, classical, pop, folk. The arrangements are extremely refined, and the melodies are always superb. The structure of the album is also very impressive, as it has many interludes, which are never too brief, as well as long, epic tracks ("Micro Deathstar", "Microdeath Softstar").

I would say that "Micro Deathstar" is the best song of the album, since it is the one that for first puts down the themes and passages that will eventually be repeated during the album. To remember also the two epic parts of "The Doctrine Of Eternal Ice", where the melodies are different from the other songs, even though not from each other. The two "Crumble" are also original, but not from each other. "Formaldeyhde" also has original parts, as well as the brief "A Wasteland Of Memories". But for the rest, the songs always have a melody in common, the main melody, the one from "Micro Deathstar". "Thank You For The Evil" and the epic "Microdeath Softstar".

A brilliant puzzle of melodies, a beautiful journey that you will not forget.

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Posted Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
3 stars Granted that I've never heard of Phideaux before Doomsday Afternoon started to receive some of the most extraordinary praise here on Prog Archives I decided to find out what this new talk of the town (or talk of the community) was all about.

The first time I listened through the entire album I honestly didn't hear anything spectacular and that opinion remained with me throughout all of the consecutive revisits. There isn't anything particularly wrong with the music here, in fact I would even say that it's quite pleasant. The melodies are great and the laid back approach is very appealing from a non-progressive rock stand point. Oh wait, wasn't this suppose to be progressive? I knew that I was missing something here!

Phideaux might have impressed the online progressive rock communities but this music has yet to make its mark on me. My biggest concern with Phideaux's music on Doomsday Afternoon is that there is hardly any progressive rock in it. The band managed to create appealing soundscapes that will definitely make the old school progressive-fans happy since the music reminds them of a light version of Pink Floyd. Personally I doubt that even Pink Floyd would have preferred to play this type of music for more than 40 years without evolving. Where is the progress in this so called progressive material?

After this critique I still hesitate to give any of the tracks a low rating since, as I mentioned, most of the melodies are really catchy and there is an overall theme. Although I can't help but feel that Phideaux is playing it safe 100% of the time. I am still waiting for a single passage to really impress by grabbing me on an emotional level.

The new release Number Seven has received some extraordinary praise but I will probably skip it because cozy and safe progressive rock seizes to be progressive.

**** star songs: Micro Softdeathstar (11:17) The Doctrine Of Eternal Ice (Part One) (3:01) Crumble (2:55) The Doctrine Of Eternal Ice (Part Two) (8:08) A Wasteland Of Memories (2:22) Crumble (2:55) Formaldehyde (8:17) Microdeath Softstar (14:40)

*** star songs: Candybrain (4:06) Thank You For The Evil (9:18)

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Posted Friday, February 12, 2010

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
2 stars This Phideaux album receives impressive rounds of applause and lots of enthusiastic cheering, but while I generally like Phideaux's music, this one completely fails to impress me. Quite the contrary, it is one of those cases of wallpaper prog that makes me turn my back on the whole 'modern' prog thing.

Doomsday Afternoon continues the songwriter focus of the preceding Great Leap, but where that album at least rocked out a bit, we only get inoffensive folksy pop on this one. The album never reaches the level of musical competency and creative bliss that Phideaux's strongest album Chupacabras had. It's harmless background music, guaranteed not to cause a ripple in the campfire cosiness of your long winter evenings.

It takes almost half the album till the Floydian Thank You For The Evil does a first try to catch the listener's attention. It's a solid composition driven by acoustic guitars and bright keyboards. Nothing original but it sets down a great spacey mood. But that's it, what follows is another sequence of uninteresting ballads dressed up with orchestrated arrangements, buzzing synth clichés and sentimental pop vocals. Especially the female vocals are very formulaic and highly disappointing.

There's nothing really wrong with this album and that's exactly what is totally wrong with it. It's safe, tame and predictable. I want music to be adventurous, truthful and creative. But you won't find much of that behind the watered-down prog stance of this album.

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Posted Thursday, May 06, 2010

Review by Flucktrot
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Big, symphonic prog, with fairly unique instrumentation, and solid songwriting: What's not to like?

Not much, so I can confidently give this a 4-star rating, though definitely essential for the neo, symphonic, and perhaps folk proggers out there.

On the flip side, despite the many positives, there is also a hint of cheesy pomposity (not much, but it's always in the back of my mind). After seeing the group live--something which I immensely enjoyed, by the way--I couldn't help wondering why it took so many musicians to get this sound. Part of the reason is that not everyone is involved all the time, and Doomsday Afternoon is so varied that it sometimes doesn't feel terribly cohesive. It's well written, and everyone plays and sings what they are supposed to, but there's also less room for most of the contributors to really dig in.

Nitpicks aside, Doomsday is a very fun album, full of prog candy, ready for immediate consumption and enjoyment (read: not a "grower" album). It's full of different sounds and textures, but all very well produced and crystal clear, although some might even find it just a bit overproduced. Regarding the plot and lyrics, they are passable and never detract, but my main focus is mostly drawn to the melody and instrumentation.

I enjoy the bookend tracks the most (the "Doom Suite), and feel that on these the full "power" of the lineup is fully realized. I also heartily enjoy Formaldehyde each time, with a very effective half-and-half structure of folk in the beginning and upbeat prog to finish.

Definitely a solid addition to any prog collection, and always fun and enjoyable. For whatever reason, Doomsday Afternoon never completely, totally engages me as a prog masterpiece might, but it certainly shows the potential of the group to compose a prog masterpiece at some point.

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Posted Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Review by TheGazzardian
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars One of the best albums of the past decade?

That's not an accolade that one throws around lightly. But this 2007 release by Phideaux competes with a small number of modern progressive rock albums as being not only highly acclaimed, but actually as good as everybody says it is.

The album follows the tradition of Symphonic bands, but with Phideaux, we do not hear a band that is trying to sound like they are from 30 years ago. We find a band who is using lessons learned by those same bands, and integrating it into their own sound to create a sound that is both familiar while being completely unique.

Sometimes, while listening to modern Symphonic-flavoured prog, I get lost in the long instrumental passages that can occasionally feel like they were added just to help a song reach a prog-worthy track time. While this album has several songs that come close to or even surpass the the ten minute track length, every note has a meaning. And the longer songs do not sit still; they move between various melodies, each of which is strong and memorable. The band, on their Myspace, say, "Syncopation and tricky time signatures are sometimes utilized but always there is melody to be hummed and riffs to invade your ears and mind." This is completely true.

The album is a concept album, and concept is a weighty one, dealing with a sort of big- brotherly world. Religion ("the convent is waiting it's time to go in, gather the faithful let vespers begin") and scientific experimentation ("up around the riverbend, the specialists changed you") are used to make this government-brainwashing that much more frightening in this torn-apart world ("do not speak of ice retreat and islands eaten by the sea, industry economy, we've only just begun").

A concept is just a concept without an emotional connection and the feeling that the entire album carries the concept. Phideaux have managed to connect quite deftly with the listener in this release. For one, there are many singers in this album, and the vocals always fit what they are trying to convey perfectly, be it horror, anger, or sorrow. Crumble in particular is a haunting track; there are two versions of it on the album, one that is just instrumental, and one with just piano and vocals. This stripped down little piece has some of the most beautiful, sad, wistful vocals I've heard and it almost brings me to tears. This is also the one prog song I have shown to friends and family that has been universally loved.

If I were to rate Foxtrot, I would give it five stars, almost exclusively for Supper's Ready. There's one thing about Supper's Ready that I've always thought was genius and that made it from an excellent epic to one of the most iconic prog rock tracks I've heard, and that's the reprise of the "Lovers Leap" theme at the end of it. Phideaux learned from this, and there are allusions to future sections throughout this album (the aforementioned two versions of crumble, the instrumental "Doctrine of Eternal Ice Part 1" before "Doctrine of Eternal Ice Part 2", various themes re-used), and each time, the band does not merely repeat what they have done before, but take it in a new direction.

There are also themes that appear in multiple songs. For example, both the opening track and The Doctrine of Eternal Ice make a reference to "Climbing up the fire escape" or "Running down the fire escape". The phrase, "Up around the Riverbend, I was separated from you" is used multiple times throughout the album, and changes to "The specialists changed you" in Formaldehyde. The "Do not speak, do not speak" used to such great effect in the version of crumble is used again in Microdeath Softstar, but here, instead of being sung in sad vocals by a female singer, it is sung by Phideaux in a completely different tone. These re-uses of previous themes, yet modifying them to still be new, really gives the album a coherent feel while at the same time expressing changes in the story quite elegantly.

If I had to describe the sound of the album, I would say, "The way music would sound if I wrote it." There are many vocalists, often layering their vocals together, both male and female and all of great skill. Piano and cello are used to give the music unique texture. The melodies are always catchy but the band also pulls off several great atmospheric moments (think the beginning of "Thank You For The Evil"). The drumming is always excellent and the guitar playing has plenty of feel to it. There is a dark, gothic vibe to the music that is very good.

I usually wait until I've listened to an album over 20 times before I give it a five star rating, so I know that not only is the music amazing, but it also stays amazing after many listens. I'm not quite there yet (about three listens away), but in this case I'm fairly certain that the music will not diminish. So, I give this album a not-so-tentative 5 stars.

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Posted Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
5 stars This album is one I learned about here at Progarchives, and I am grateful to have found it here. When I listen to it, it always makes me think that this is the album Steven Wilson wishes he could make.

With a name like "Phideaux", I expected a Frank Zappa influence ("Phideaux" being the name and spelling he gave his tour buses - named after the poodle that appears in some of his songs). Instead, this is a beautiful mix of prog styles. The main influence I hear is Pink Floyd. Many of the songs are some of the best approximations of classic Floyd I've ever heard. But that is not all. There is also a hefty helping of lush symphonic prog, and even some prog-folk.

Mr. Phideaux's voice falls somewhere between Roger Hodgson of Supertramp and Edward Ka-Spel from The Legendary Pink Dots, although at times he reminds me a bit of Weird Al Yankovic. But never do the vocals become grating.

I highly recommend this wonderful and very eclectic album, probably the best release of 2007.

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Posted Monday, October 11, 2010

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
5 stars A sprawling masterpiece of intense dreamscapes and symphonic ambience

The much heralded Phideaux eventually came to my ears, after reading a STACK of reviews that hails the albums as a masterpiece so I knew I would have to try for myself. First impression was a reaction of amazement as I was lulled into a dreamy state, with some of the most beautiful music I have heard. It was when I arrived at Crumble part 1 that I was convinced that this would be one of the best prog albums of recent years. Some of the lyrics were very strange and did not resonate with me at all, especially the bits that spout on about "satan has come again bringing some of his friends, he has won, his boys are having fun, satan's angels swarms to catch the tide." Though in context it fits the concept of environmentalism and doomsday and government brainwashng and experimentation. It is a very Pink Floyd like album in many respects and that is good enough for me. I was reminded of Porcupine Tree and Anathema among others, very pleasant listening with darker overtones and multiple instrumentation to virtuoso standard. The icing on the cake is the female vocals. On subsequent listens the music tended to take on a different atmosphere, it can be uplifting or even melancholy depending on how you approach the album with a specific frame of mind. I felt myself drawn into the music, it has a hypnotic effect that lures in the listener and drowns them in the atmospheric soundscapes. The whole thing about the 'deathstar' was a strange odditty for a Star Wars fan to listen to, but it was nonetheless enjoyable, nothing to do with Star Wars apart from the odd title.

The whole album deserves to be heard a few times before making up one's mind because it is jarringly infectious, the tunes began to haunt me and I was humming them as I walked about days after. The celtic influences are astounding with some pretty female vocals and sweeping synthesizer washes. The rhythms interchange between fast tempo and slow, a myriad of tension and release passages, including swathes of mellotron, Hammond, flute, violin, piano, acoustics, and clavichord such as on The Doctrine of Eternal Ice part 2. The multilayered vocals of female and male intertwine to create some ambient textures, that soar into the stratosphere majestic and epic, even bombastic but delightfully progressive.

Each track seems to blend into the next creating a conceptual whole that is in depth and very powerful. The ominous tones of Thank You For The Evil are stark and prevalent with a sense of impending doom. It crawls along but has some inspired acoustic flourishes, synth swirls and garish symphonic nuances. The synth sounds Pink Floydish, as do the lyrics, "back down in the safety net, by the television set, remember that you had a choice, opened up your mouth and had a voice, it's been gutting them, it's been gutting them, it's been gutting them." The instrumental break is appropriately downbeat. I really liked this lengthy compelling track and it has a mesmirising impact on the listener.

Formaldehyde is a masterpiece of prog on its own. Female vocals and some harmonised male vocals with a driving flute and meandering synth rhythm section. It twists and turns in many directions with an odd time signature and very sporadic drumming. Simply a wonderful track by any standards.

Microdeath Softstar ends the album on a glorious epic note. The bright organ truncates along until a chiming synth takes over. It builds to an epic orchestration, with the same uplifting melody. I liked the harmonised vocals here, and the soaring lead guitar break is joined by sweeping violins, Celtic in flavour and indisputably progressive. The female vocals are brightly coloured soprano variations. The multiple violins really get a chance to shine here as a dominant driving voice. The guitars are a bit heavier and the musicians take off into full flight in the mid section. There is a delightful time sig change towards the end, a verse "do not speak" and then swathes of guitar and synth trade offs as a violin fills in the gaps. The spacey guitar is sensational at this point. The lyrics are memorable, "I'd like to say it's over and we will be okay, and that you'll feel the same." The finale is psychedelic more than any other moment on the album, "once upon a time there was a line that we have drawn we wouldn't cross" and even better, "Fear leaves a trace of something stained, a wasteland of memory of how we failed, but all we need is time, all we need is time, but time's too damned unkind."

At the end of the album I realised what the fuss is all about and why this is hailed as one of the best prog albums of 2007. It simply is a stunning masterpiece, a magnum opus of melodic, powerful, structures, a myriad of emotional textures dark and light, layered with strong vocals and intensely complex orchestration, a work of love and passion where the artists known as Phideaux have poured their spirits into every moment, every instrumental, every vocal. Believe the hype.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#418575) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, March 20, 2011

Review by m2thek
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars In preparation for Phideaux's latest album, Snowtorch, I figured I should expand my catalogue from him, and pick up his most acclaimed album yet, Doomsday Afternoon. I had read that this was similar to Number Seven, which I enjoyed a fair amount, and though I hadn't listened to its predecessor, The Great Leap, I decided to give it a try. Although it has a lot of similarities to Number Seven, in my ears, Doomsday Afternoon turns out to be a more exciting and effective rendition from the band.

The first thing I noticed when I listened to the album was that it sounded characteristically like Phideaux. The sound of the piano and the arrangements made me feel right at home, and considering that was my favorite part of Seven, it was a good first impression. At first, the similarity was almost uncanny, and I couldn't help myself from hearing melodies from Seven in my head while listening to Doomsday, but luckily as I became more familiar with the music, that feeling went away.

For those not already familiar with the band's work, they have a very melodic sound, with a heavy use of themes, and a focus on piano and keyboards. Acoustic guitar is another one of their big instruments, and for this album in particular, they employ a number of orchestral instruments, such as flute, oboe, the string family, brasses and more. The first utterance from the viola in the opening number sticks out a bit in relation to the usual rock instruments, but once it settles in, it works really well. The entire orchestra ends up adding a lot to the music, and fills out the sound nicely, as well as having a lot of memorable solo passages. The tracks named Crumble especially show off the beauty of the flute and strings, which wound up producing some of my favorite music on the album.

While the orchestra is a big part of Doomsday, the real draw here is the strong composition, and the two flowing suites which are split evenly down the middle. There are a couple of long, slower developing songs, but every section feels pretty connected to the whole piece, with a good use of overarching themes. You'll hear a lot of reprisals, both in instruments and lyrics, usually in a different context than the original, which keeps them feeling really fresh. The last two songs are the culmination of the entire piece, and they bring a lot of previously introduced work together in a great way. Specifically, Formaldehyde, the penultimate song, has one of the best uses of a theme I've ever heard, by reprising a once evil sounding piano theme triumphantly on acoustic guitar. It's a moment I wait for every time I listen to this, and it's one of the most satisfying moments on the whole album.

The variations of the themes fit in with the story, and everything makes sense contextually. If, like me, you've not heard The Great Leap, the first part of this trilogy, don't worry too much. Doomsday is accessible as a standalone work, and the only points where you can convince yourself that this is the middle portion of a bigger story are the very beginning and ending. The lyrics allude to government and oppression, and though it'll take some digging to figure out what's really going on, they can be enjoyed on a base level. The lead vocals are done by Phideaux himself and one of the female members of the band. The contrast in voices and singing styles is nice, and they have some good back and forth moments. I do prefer the female vocals to Phideaux's, as she sings with a lot of emotion as opposed to his more laid back approach, but they can both hold their own.

My only real complaint about Doomsday is the same I had about Seven: the album starts off really strong and exciting, but it just loses too much steam in the middle for its own good. The few middle tracks slow things down a lot, and while this is usually provides good balance, they tend to linger too long, to the point where they become boring. The few times that they get a kick of energy, they usually end up losing it soon after. The difference here compared to Seven is that the slower tracks work better, and things ultimately pick up sooner and for longer than that album did. The last two tracks do take up about a third of the album, and they come at a time when the music really needs something fast and exciting going on. Luckily they keep it up until the end of the album.

Hearing that Snowtorch is less than 50 minutes got me excited, because that's the amount of music here that I really love. Even though there is a decent portion of Doomsday Afternoon that I want to start fast forwarding through, it winds up being a very enjoyable album. If you're a fan of Phideaux and somehow don't have this yet, definitely pick this up, but even if you're new to the band's work, this is a great place to start.

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Send comments to m2thek (BETA) | Report this review (#419466) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, March 21, 2011

Review by russellk
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars With this album PHIDEAUX is finally barking up the right tree.

Better composition, better production (I can't account for this because I hear it was recorded at the same time as 'The Great Leap') and, finally, some substance to the hype. I must say the addition of an orchestra (while it must have been expensive) was a master-stroke, giving the music depth the synths just can't imitate. I'm also pleased the drummer has finally sunk back into the mix a little. And to give Xavier credit his voice is much more expressive here, allowing himself to take more risks which mostly pay off.

'Micro Softdeathstar' is a solid opening, followed by the excellent instrumental 'The Doctrine of Eternal Ice #1'. Here is a theme worthy of prog rock greatness! The piano-driven 'Candybrain' and 'Crumble' separate the two halves of the 'Eternal Ice' duology, pleasant enough without being outstanding, and then we plunge back into the album's more memorable moments. The second 'Doctrine' is flat-out beautiful, alternating the theme from the first part - albeit muted - with some gorgeous melodies (and annoying synth, but you can't always be perfect). This is distinctly Floydian, even more so because Xavier's voice, like Waters', is workmanlike rather than expressive: he has to take a run at the more dramatic moments, but on this album it adds character. The song peters out a little, but a foundation is laid and 'Thank You For The Evil' builds on it with its ponderous, sludgy beat and layers of synthesisers, a slow rise into a simple but impressive intensity. 'Formaldehyde' marries folkish and symphonic prog very nicely, repeating earlier themes. Here comes 'Doctrine' again. Clever, this. This is an album easy to get into due to the repetition of the main themes, for me a prerequisite for great traditional prog rock. Two stirring 'Doctrines', two pretty 'Crumbles' and, to round out the album, a second stunning 'Microdeathsoftstar', the title a rearrangement of the first track, just as is the music.

This is PHIDEAUX's main contribution to progressive rock. It is an album with a clear shape, well balanced, filled with excellent songwriting and is more than competently played. Certainly no threat to the classics, and by no means a masterpiece, but well worth a listen.

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Send comments to russellk (BETA) | Report this review (#419513) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, March 21, 2011

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
5 stars I went to this album without expecting anything special. I didn't read reviews before and all I knew of Phideaux was the high rating of their actual last album "Snowtorch". The fact is that it's some days that I'm not listening to anything else than Doomsday Afternoon.

The piano at the beginning of the first track is intriguing and after few chords, when the vocals start, just before a drum explosion, it was clear to me that I was listening to something that I like. It's rock and symphonic, it has guitar and keyboards, then the stop and the violin with the female choir....There are echoes of all the bigs in this first song: Genesis, Pink Floyd, ELP, plus a non-prog band that the lead vocalist sometimes reminds me to: the Stranglers. All this stuff in a 11 minutes mini-suite.

The album's structure makes possible that there's a concept behind. Recurring parts coming and going plus a song, "Crumble" played twice, first instrumental then with female vocals. Also "The Doctrine Of Eternal Ice" is split in two parts separated by two songs.

But what is more impressive is the use of the orchestra and particularly strings which give a strong symphonic imprinting to the album. The just mentioned Eternal Ice has an Arabic mood like Camel's Nimrodel or parts of Snow Goose, but with a guitar that seems played by Mike Oldfield and a folky piano coda.

There's not a single chord of this album that I don't like. "Candybrian" opens like in the middle of the Snow Goose, then becomes a soft acoustic ballad in Renaissance style...

"Crumble" is a song, specially in the second version, that can generate discussions. I find it fantastic but the version with vocals reminds to Evanescence. Anyway, compliments to the vocalist.

I wasn't intentioned to write a track-by-track review, even if any of this song deserves some lines. The Floydian "Thank you for he Evil" that surely appeals Porcupine Tree fans, the short symphony of "A Wasteland Of Memories", the folk acoustic guitar of "Formaldehyde" helped by a Wakemanian keyboard, with the orchestra behind, to finish with the 14 minutes closer, "Microdeath Softstar", spacey as its title in the beginning which evolves into symphonic with the brasses section playing a melody that Peter Bardens would have been happy to play.

Who loves classic prog can find here everything he/she likes packed into an album made of original songs. All the references that I have mentioned have to be intended as "sensations". If a band can make me think to Camel, Floyd or Renaissance ti means that's for me is a great band and this album gives me exactly this feeling.

Looking forward to buy other Phideaux albums, I rate this one with the maximum.

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Send comments to octopus-4 (BETA) | Report this review (#439158) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This release from 2007 demonstrated how far Phideaux had come. The music has the trademark prog stamp all over it, great story line, multi layered sounds, even dare I say it some cheesy lyrics at times. For this reviewer the album can be best critiqued in two parts. First the music, which is beautifully held together by solid musicianship, complex yet accessible sounscapes and classic keyboard and horn sections. The lap steel guitar by Gabriel Moffat especially makes pleasurable listening. " The Doctrine of Eternal Ice Part two" undeniably the highlight off the album.

The second part of this release is the vocals and lyrics which sadly take too long before really getting off the ground. Whilst understanding the conceptual work on display here, the lyrics at times seem a bit too naive and the lead vocals are not too strong. This is remedied however with the wonderful backing vocalists, Linda Maldawsky and Molly Ruttan providing some much needed balance to the proceedings. Overall this is a great progressive album but in summary far more strong musically than vocally. Very much a modern day Renaissance sound, reference Kiev off the Prologue album. Three solid stars.

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Send comments to Chris S (BETA) | Report this review (#552036) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, October 17, 2011

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars The gothy proggy art rock sound of Phideaux leans a little heavier on the prog side of the equation on Doomsday Afternoon. I think Phideaux's particular genius on this album is his way of incorporating the motifs and ideas of classic prog bands such as Pink Floyd, Genesis, and Marillion into his music with such a subtle touch that it's only very occasionally you'll catch him doing it; he shows a deep understanding of the compositional approaches of the bands in question so the inspiration shown goes further than mere surface features and obvious stylistic quirks. On the whole, this is an album which is easily the equal of Chupacabras, and is compulsively listenable - once I've put it on I can't let myself stop listening until it's run its course.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#726356) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, April 13, 2012

Latest members reviews

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 s ... (read more)

Report this review (#964951) | Posted by Dark Nazgul | Saturday, May 25, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Phideaux is a special guy. This American and his music appeared in 2004 with "Fiendish" (actually he had released an album in 1992 called "Friction", but this is ignored in his discography) and has since joined his first "Ghost Story", the phenomenal "Chupacabras" (which is my favorite album from hi ... (read more)

Report this review (#429751) | Posted by voliveira | Saturday, April 09, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I've owned this album since it came out and it took a great deal of conscious effort to resist the zeal of rating it right away. However, after a long time of contemplating it, I think this album is absolutely a masterpiece. First off, you will hear lots of stories about how this is the second ... (read more)

Report this review (#409042) | Posted by Gorloche | Monday, February 28, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Once upon a time there was some writing on the wall we all ignored, Until the time when there was war and feasts of famine at our door. WOW! There is not one other album I have ever heard that lyrically matches this album. Never have I felt I was actually trapped inside an album. A horrifyingly ... (read more)

Report this review (#349985) | Posted by let prog reign | Saturday, December 11, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Did you diddle, did you daddle, did you run away from the scene? Where is sanctuary from the battle that is coming into being? This album is truly remarkable. A thousand listens in (or so it should be by now) and it has not lost one bit of its beautiful charm. There are no words to sum up t ... (read more)

Report this review (#294973) | Posted by Relayer Duos | Wednesday, August 18, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars When I first heard this, I was fairly dissapointed. It was too simple, the singer was annoying, and the symphonic arrangements sounded like they were just thrown in at the last second for good measure. But, as we all know, lots of Progressive music can only be fully appreciated when given a 2n ... (read more)

Report this review (#293975) | Posted by KingX | Tuesday, August 10, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I have listened to this album, these songs, over and over for the past two years and I'm finally ready to say it: I don't get it! I don't understand the prog fascination with/appreciation for this album! Microsoft Deathstar (1 and 2) sound so much like something from the 70's, yet: haven't we had en ... (read more)

Report this review (#278561) | Posted by BrufordFreak | Monday, April 19, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Not to be obvious, but my icon on this site is the album cover to Doomsday Afternoon. Nuff said. This is the best thing I have heard in the last 3 years. Along with Porcupine Tree and Dredg, Phideaux was one of the great discoveries I made thanks to this wonderful web site. And this album is t ... (read more)

Report this review (#276643) | Posted by mohaveman | Tuesday, April 06, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Not much to say that hasn't been said, but this is so good I will write my first review. One of my friends sent me a clip of "Formaldehyde" from youtube to check out. I knew that I liked it and it was a breath of fresh air, but had no idea the treat that was in store for me. This album is a ma ... (read more)

Report this review (#232345) | Posted by irregardlessly | Tuesday, August 18, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Flawless. I usually swim in the shallow pond of avant-RIO pool but occasionally I experiment with artists who are not familiar to me from other genres. I found out about Phideaux with his "The Great Leap" release in 2006. To my ears it was mildly interesting but nothing to write home about. Wh ... (read more)

Report this review (#214746) | Posted by spleenache | Sunday, May 10, 2009 | Review Permanlink

1 stars I don't share opinions of the majority in an appreciation of this album. In my opinion music monotonous, tiresome, absolutely flat and uninteresting. Yes, music arrangements at high level. Unfortunately this only thing that deserves though any praise. In my opinion, the basis for an album - "Tal ... (read more)

Report this review (#192301) | Posted by Tuskarilla | Monday, December 08, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This one is difficult to rate. There is no denying Phideaux's brilliance, songwriting ability and orchestrations, as well as his prolific output. This, however, is not enough to land this album 5 stars. The journey is a pleasant one and the listener's interest is held throughout. The themes ... (read more)

Report this review (#188910) | Posted by progleggs | Wednesday, November 12, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars If there is music in heaven then this must be it! For me this record is an angel for my ears. With great voices, violins, and beautifull compositions and melodies this is a must have! This record is impressing over and over again and never gets bored anywhere. There is no hair on my head wich th ... (read more)

Report this review (#173421) | Posted by J@pie Mol | Tuesday, June 10, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Is this part two of the Great Leap? When I'm looking for a Masterpiece when it comes to albums, this is what is needed. Doomsday Afternoon is the poster child for a masterpiece. All the songs on the album are beyond beautiful, the collaboration from one song to the next are flawless, and most ... (read more)

Report this review (#163135) | Posted by mothershabooboo | Monday, March 03, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars By the time this was voted #1 album of the year - by various sources including friends - I had finally acquired my copy. After unworthy prospects burned me in the past, I feared it would not live up to my expectations. With apprehension, I played this allegedly resplendent disc. Honestly, I was s ... (read more)

Report this review (#158598) | Posted by PrawgDawg | Monday, January 14, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars A small disappointment, probably because I expected more from this album of the year 2007. The first 8 tracks are a little boring during about fourty minutes with virtually the same rythm from the drums. On this first party, we find the influence of Pink Floyd, in particular on "Thank you for the ... (read more)

Report this review (#158465) | Posted by motoprog | Sunday, January 13, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Utterly phenomenal album. Lush orchestration, beautiful harmonies, atmospheric, psychedelic, everything... Every song is great, not a single flaw in this entire record. I truly can't point out a single song over any other, because every one just adds on more to the grandiose and fantastic sound ... (read more)

Report this review (#158282) | Posted by Purplefloyd | Thursday, January 10, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Two months ago, I've first heard of this wonderful album. I read a short review saying that it is supposedly the best album of the year so far. So I decided to take the risk to order it. The first impression was the extravagant cover and the carefully mastered booklet. The second impression was t ... (read more)

Report this review (#156867) | Posted by Alfi | Thursday, December 27, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars There are not many albums and performers who can provoque only positive emotions. It’s quite more frequent that you find a music more or less pleasant and no more. But sometimes you discover a real treasure – such as Phideaux –number one of the year 2007- as for me, and David S ... (read more)

Report this review (#156812) | Posted by gothicelk | Thursday, December 27, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars DOOMSDAY AFTERNOON is quite simply a masterpiece. Every now and then you get an album that comes along that just works on every level. Right from the second you tear off the cellophane and marvel at Moll Ruttan's wonderful paintings - you know this is going to be something special. This is a con ... (read more)

Report this review (#156261) | Posted by Mind Sculpture | Saturday, December 22, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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