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Phideaux - Snowtorch CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

4.20 | 828 ratings

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Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Snowtorch is another impeccable feather in Phideaux's prog-rock cap, filled with artistry, lyricism, and a rousing energy that entertains from start to finish.

If you've never heard Xavier Phideaux's work, it's sort of a retro take on prog-rock blended with darkly moody folk, electronic, rock, and symphonic sounds. The end result is something that is both old and new and wonderful. It's genuinely engaging stuff, and Snowtorch continues this legacy excellently.

In general, this album is slightly heavier, darker, and more intense than the previous two (outstanding) albums. There's more edge to the guitar and less of the ambient moments that I so enjoyed on Doomsday Afternoon; however, this doesn't detract from the effect. In fact, the more intense guitars and raw vocals simply give us a new side of the same Phideaux.

The extended opening work begins mysteriously, moving in to an upbeat and tension-filled series dramatic melodies. Kennedy's bass guitar lines are smooth and powerful, while the keyboardists are upfront and dynamic. As usual, Xavier is joined by the feminine vocals of Gracious and Ruttan, who add a fantastic level of depth to grace to the music, which is ambitiously written. While not filled with standout instrumental solos or "wow" moments, the composition is complex and exciting. The song transitions into its second movement, which has exceptionally powerful guitar work, and then into a creative instrumental closing. What more could you ask for?

"Helix," the only short tune on the album, shows off more of Phideaux's outstanding writing; Snowtorch has some of his best lyrics yet. Crypitc, evocative, and yet somehow deeply resonant, the ladies' delivery is outstanding. The final half of the Snowtorch suite continues the combination of rousing, post-psychedelic-folk-symphonic-art- prog-rock (a new category here on the Archives?). There are countless moments to grab hold of and remember from this album.

Another tour-de-force by Phideaux, one leaving me simultaneously satisfied yet eagerly waiting for he and his band's next work. First rate prog-rock and highly recommended.

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

Prog Leviathan | 5/5 |


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