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Phideaux - Snowtorch CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

4.20 | 872 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars I think it's a great decision to put up your albums on sites like Bandcamp. I guess almost every record company is against that, and that is another good reason to be an independent musician or a band. In this case, over a year ago, I gave Snowtorch a listen on Phideaux's bandcamp site, and tried to see what was all the fuzz about on The thing is, I felt the same when I first listened to Yes' "Close to the Edge". In my case, that means I didn't really get it. There were shiny melodies and good progression, but I didn't know that I really needed to listen to the album several times to start appreciating it.

It's easier for me to talk about the full thing than to bring you track by track analysis. It's overall a tender journey, proving that beautiful melodies harvested in clever compositions and the progressive transitions between beautiful sections and intellectually and artisticly wonderfully written lyrics and wonderful production can bring a result of one of the best modern progressive albums that I've ever listened to. What an argument. The compositional skills of Phideaux Xavier is, for me, heart-whelmingly solid. I'm talking about composing about the level of mighty Ian Anderson on "Thich as a Brick". This will be heard as a talk of ignorance, since you can't compare something from 70's with an album that is out on 2011 from a band that the band leader's favourite LP of all times is Thick as a Brick itself. Yet this fact can't stop me to like this album more than Thick as a Brick, because of the upcoming reasons. Phideaux are a band that uses a variety of instruments nicely, with wonderful vocal ladies accompanying Phideaux Xavier himself as a vocalist. The tones of keyboards(which vary greatly, making me fall in love with every other tone used), guitars, drums, the overall experience is presented with modern production technics. While "modern production" is a term that makes some prog fans irritated with the fact that 70's production brought us the very best of prog music; I believe that some prog artists use the modern production technics to bring something original. Copycatting the 70's era of symphonic prog and alikes doesn't work on bringing a masterpiece of prog rock anyway. In this case, Snowtorch is one of the nice examples of modern production. Today's music needs modern production anyway. Just listen to Steven Wilson, if you're looking for a perfect modern prog production. Creativity, melodic and compositional skills are a much bigger reason that makes 70's so special. The thing that I was trying to say, the original elements and the overall journey presented by the production, brings us a much more polished journey than Thick as a Brick.

Since I've begun comparing "Thick as a Brick" with "Snowtorch" without any need or serviceableness of doing it; I'll continue my unreasonable and unsenseful journey. I love Snowtorch's lyrical themes and presentation. Each time I hear "These words, these beautiful vowels..." on part 2, I get in a mood that only very special music can make me. And for my taste, it's more musically precious than humourous approach that Thick as a Brick brings. Yet I'm aware the two albums can't be compared in this way. Lastly, Snowtorch's most special way of bringing the special moods depend on the wonderful female vocalists, Ariel Farber, Valerie Gracious, Molly Ruttan. (I depend on the credits on progarchives for these names, hope I don't miss anyone.) I should add that I love Phideaux Xavier's vocals as well. Overall, Phideaux Xavier is showing his skills as a musical composer on vocal melodies, and his skills on creating great prog rock epics on the other melodies. The wonderful instrumentation from all the players, rhythmic changes, wonderful compositions will be appreciated by any listener. Without disrespecting Jethro Tull and Phideaux as a "Thick as a Brick" fan, only meaning it as a compliment to the artistic success of "Snowtorch", I find "Snowtorch" much more "fun" than the legendary groundbreaking masterpiece of Jethro Tull.

"Snowtorch" is a masterpiece of modern progressive rock. I never got tired of it, and it never reduced the intensity of feelings it brought to me. I'll be digging into Phideaux's discography, since I hear that all of the band's albums are as special as this. Yet it's easy to believe that Snowtorch is presented better than the other albums of the band, since it's appreciated by prog fans all over the world. Phideaux are one of the best (if not the best) progressive rock acts of today. I'm grateful for the work they've done and they're doing. I want to thank the band as a listener, for proving me that the more melodic approach of prog rock is not dead, and will not be.

PS: That concern is because of my thoughts on the most popular prog rock artist of today, Steven Wilson. I'm a huge fan of his work and personality, but again, I'm concerned about the lack of shiny melodies that can be heard all over "Snowtorch". I think he reflects the new generation with the love of dark moods and dark music. The biggest example is prog metal itself being the most popular prog thing out there. I think it's obvious now that where the rock scene is located and headed, and that creates a bigger need of bands like Phideaux. With "Snowtorch" being a dark album in its own terms, it will never make anyone think worst of his/her life. But "dark music" is something bigger than presenting dark moods anyway, since it's art and I believe almost any kind of art makes people appreciate the life and its joys better.

talha | 5/5 |


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