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Phideaux - Doomsday Afternoon CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

4.22 | 932 ratings

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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.

Queen By-Tor | 5/5 |


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