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Phideaux - Snowtorch CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

4.20 | 828 ratings

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4 stars Those of us who didn't learn about prog from our parents have probably given some thought to the music we would like to have played at our funeral, and may even have firm choices in this regard. But what of the apocalypse? What would we like to hear as we are disintegrating? I'll go a step further and say that I would like to be around the whole PHIDEAUX entourage at the end of days. Their ability to produce dramatic vaguely self deprecating prog tributes to planetary cataclysms is without peer. And it's that innate sense of humour which would come in handy when we can no longer laugh at ourselves. "Snowtorch" is another in a series of such paeans. As usual, the exact meanings are somewhat subjugated, but the culprit here might be global warming.

The album boasts an appealing and accessible structure. The two lengthy epics are more or less mirror images of each other, progressing from one well developed theme to another, with an appealing blend of symphonic keyboards, violin, lead guitars, and male and female vocals in the service of enjoyable melodies of moderate complexity. The delivery walks a tongue in cheek tightrope between classic prog gravitas and Broadway bombast. My favourite line among many is when one of the female singers gleefully warbles "I'm only here to spread some fear, I need you to know you will die, and not very nicely, surprise". Please take me now!

The remaining 2 tracks revisit themes on the suites. "Helix" belts out one of the better vocal parts in a slightly more drawn out fashion that accentuates, or perhaps fabricates, a bluesy lineage. The finale returns to one of the instrumental themes and re-brands it as something you might hear under the celestial "big top".

Another winner from PHIDEAUX, "Snowtorch" doesn't quite have enough ideas for a musical tsunami but its blend of the sublime and the ridiculous is easy to warm up to.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |


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