Aclaración...

Este espacio se reserva el derecho de publicar sobre cualquier tema que parezca interesante a su staff, no solamente referidos a la cuestión musical sino también a lo político y social.
Si no estás de acuerdo con lo expresado podrás dejar tu comentario siempre que no sea ofensivo, discriminador o violento...

Y no te confundas, no nos interesa la piratería, lo nuestro es simplemente desobediencia civil y resistencia cultural a favor del libre acceso al conocimiento (nuestra música es, entre otras tantas cosas, conocimiento).

martes, 17 de noviembre de 2015

Phideaux - Doomsday Afternoon (2007)


Sin duda una de las mejoras obras musicales de toda su década, un trabajo sorprendente sobrepasado por una musicalidad desbordante. Emotividad pura, mágicas melodías y belleza sónica se combinan en un disco especial y fuera de serie... si no han tenido el gusto de escucharlo, no pierdan más tiempo y maravíllense con el "Doomsday Afternoon".

Artista: Phideaux
Álbum: Doomsday Afternoon
Año: 2007
Género: Rock sinfónico
Duración: 66:59
Nacionalidad: EEUU


Lista de Temas:
Act One:
1. Micro Softdeathstar
2. The Doctrine of Eternal Ice (Part One)
3. Candybrain
4. Crumble
5. The Doctrine of Eternal Ice (Part Two)
Act Two:
6. Thank You For The Evil
7. A Wasteland Of Memories
8. Crumble
9. Formaldehyde
10. Microdeath Softstar

Alineación:
- 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




Un disco dedicado a Carlos el Menduco que nos pedía más de esta tremenda banda. Un disco tan pero tan bueno que como primera medida voy a poner un comentario de un tercero, para que no piensen que yo trato de inflar los discos que posteamos acá, por favor lean además de escuchar los videos que les dejo:


Cuando uno tiene la oportunidad de escuchar un disco como éste, con tanta belleza, melodía, sentimiento y una ejecución instrumental maravillosa, se pregunta...¿Cómo es posible que la música sea tan injusta con muchas bandas del globo terráqueo?... o más bien... ¿Cómo puede ser que las personas sean tan poco curiosas como para no saber de la existencia de un grupo como Phideaux?.
La música es lo que tiene, mitifica a unos con dar tan sólo unos pequeños pasos al frente y margina a los que de verdad merecen ser reconocidos. Parte de culpa la tienen las personas, que se conforman con cualquier cosa que les ofrezcan, sin pararse a pensar que en todo el mundo tiene que haber grupos que estén ofreciendo mucho más de lo que las emisoras pinchan en la radio.
Pero no solo es criticable en el ámbito más comercial, dentro de las corrientes independientes, esta banda también es desconocida a pesar de tener 7 discos en el mercado y de lograr trabajos de un nivel altísimo.
Pero estamos en lo de siempre, la gente se cree que por escuchar Metallica y una docena de grupos más, pueden estar orgullosos e incluso mostrarse superiores a otras personas diciendo: "Yo escucho mejor música que tú"...ignorando o incluso rechazando por completo bandas que pueden llegar a aportar mucho más a la música de lo que muchos grupos "endiosados" han hecho.
Phideaux es un grupo estadounidense formado a mediados de los 90, concretamente en Los Ángeles, y al proceder de esa ciudad, uno puede pensar que el grupo hace Hard Rock, pero no, se mueven por terrenos progresivos, sinfónicos, pero sin anclarse en sonidos repetitivos ni nada por el estilo.
A veces ofrecen piezas instrumentales de suma belleza, impregnadas de música clásica, en otros temas predominan las guitarras acústicas...en fin, lo mejor es ir analizando poco a poco.
Deciros que la formación del grupo es bastante numerosa e incluso han contado con la colaboración de gente consagrada en los terrenos progresivos, como pueden ser Martin Orford o Arjen Lucassen.
Además de la propia banda, en este disco ha participado una sección orquestal compuesto por violines, violas, flautas, trompetas, oboes, clarinetes, cellos...
El disco se inicia con una gran suite llamada Micro Softdeathstar, de unos 11 minutos y medio. Los primeros compases están protagonizados por unas preciosas melodías de piano, donde se apoya la voz de Xavier. Poco a poco, la composición va ganando en intensidad, empiezan a aparecer las voces femeninas y las partes orquestales, consiguiendo un resultado final de una belleza impresionante. En temas como este podemos notar influencias claras de grupos como Pink Floyd, Génesis, Van der Graaf Generator e incluso Jethro Tull, aunque este último sea más evidente en otros temas del disco. Seguimos con The Doctrine of Eternal Ice (Part One). Se trata de un tema instrumental que engloba y comprime toda la esencia de Phideaux en tres minutos, y que nos anticipa lo que nos vamos a encontrar en los próximos temas del álbum.
Guitarras acústicas preciosas, secciones de viento, momentos estelares de violín, órganos, pequeños solos de guitarra, etc. Candybrain es una de las joyas más preciadas del disco. Las guitarras acústicas protagonizan junto a los teclados esta auténtica maravilla hecha canción. También se hacen notar otros instrumentos como la flauta. Las melodías vocales son brillantísimas, muy pegadizas y emocionales. Las voces femeninas empastan muy bien con las masculinas. Crumble es otro tema instrumental, una pieza bellísima. Dan ganas de ponerse a aplaudir de principio a fin. Música clásica de alta factura. Los pianos dibujan unas melodías fantasiosas que te invitan a cerrar los ojos y relajarte, olvidándote del estrés cotidiano.
La sección orquestal aporta todavía más belleza a un tema que una vez la escuches, no podrás olvidar en mucho tiempo.
Es el turno de The Doctrine of Eternal Ice (Part Two). La primera parte era una pieza más corta e instrumental, en esta ocasión, la segunda parte dura casi siete minutos y además se alternan voces femeninas con masculinas. Hay bastantes cambios de ritmo, con minutos pausados casi ambientales, mientras que otras veces la música se vuelve más intensa.
La segunda parte de esta obra maestra se inicia con Thank You for the Evil. Al principio, la composición se muestra sosegada, tranquila e incluso intrigante. Poco a poco el ritmo y la intensidad se acrecientan. Los teclados crean melodías cercanas al space rock, y las guitarras acústicas vuelven a dotar al tema de una hermosura descomunal. Las melodías vocales son muy pegadizas. A Wasteland of Memories es una canción corta, donde se vuelve a fusionar la fantasía con la música clásica. Tiene madera para formar parte de una banda sonora épica. Phideaux Xavier nos vuelve a sorprender una vez más,u n gran multiinstrumentista, sin lugar a dudas. Suena Crumble de nuevo en nuestros oídos, y te das cuenta porque te suena de haber escuchado una melodía parecida anteriormente, y sí, es la segunda parte de ese tema instrumental tan maravilloso que pudimos escuchar casi al principio del álbum, con la diferencia de que esta vez está interpretada con un piano y la voz femenina de Molly Ruttan. Formaldehyde nos devuelve la intensidad tras la fenomenal balada anterior. Se trata de una composición completísima de unos ocho minutos de duración. Vuelven a aparecer los juegos de voces masculinas y femeninas. Martin Orford aparece para hacer un solo de sintetizador, simplemente magnífico. Este tema es quizás el que mejor represente la influencia de Jethro Tull sobre el grupo, pues las flautas crean melodías muy interesantes y las guitarras acústicas envuelven la canción como si de unos edredones nórdicos se tratasen.
El final corre a cargo del tema más extenso del disco, pero los catorce minutos de Microdeath Softstar no se hacen para nada cansinos, sino más bien todo lo contrario, da la sensación de tener una duración mucho menor, pues alberga numerosos cambios de ritmo, melodías fantásticas...este tema recoge todo lo escuchado anteriormente, es como un resumen para dar la despedida final. Magistral.
Phideaux es una banda extraordinaria, compuesta por unos músicos con un talento difícil de encontrar. Doomsday Afternoon así lo demuestra, una de las joyas más impresionantes de los últimos años, y sería bueno que obtuvieran un reconocimiento por ello. No hay canciones de relleno, todo está bien situado y muy pocas veces se pueden encontrar canciones tan hermosas y tiernas sin caer en la ñoñería barata. Este trabajo no debe caer en el olvido. No suelo dar la máxima puntuación, pero esta vez, el trabajo plasmado en este álbum, así lo merece.
Puntaje: 10/10
Richy Fernández González

Uno de los discos que más me ha emocionado en los últimos años, ¡es una obra maestra!. Es un disco complejo que hay que escucharlo muchas veces y siempre descubres nuevos matices. Canciones largas o cortas pero siempre maravillosas, melodías que saltan entre los temas, convirtiendo todo el disco en una sola obra, una especie de único tema que cambia, vuelve a la idea, vuelve a cambiar, en círculos expansivos.


Este disco fue celebrado por todo el espectro del rock progresivo en todo el mundo y cosechó las mejores referencias, convirtiéndose en el disco emblemático del grupo y creo yo que su mejor obra, un trabajo realmente espectacular por donde se lo mire, aunque claro que nuna fue conocido por el público masivo. Leyes de mercado, no sé cómo es que todavía hay gente que se asombra de ello.
Vamos con algún otro comentario más por si alguien está en duda de que esto está buenísisisisimo:

Doomsday Afternoon es un álbum editado por el músico, director de televisión y genio computacional Phideaux Xavier. El álbum fue publicado el 2007 y forma parte de la elite del rock progresivo actual.
A mi punto de vista, éste álbum representa todo lo que fue la primera década del siglo XXI para el rock progresiva, la mejor. La gente constantemente habla sobre las joyas de los 70's y los renaceres con el metal progresivo en los 90's. Sin embargo, el rock progresivo se ha mantenido en una calidad y cantidad sin precedentes, inclusive en momentos superiores que en sus momentos de más fama en los 70's.
No conozco mucho al señor Phideaux, pero desde la primera vez que escuchas este disco puedes sentir el sentido del mismo. Te das cuenta que no es otro capricho de estrellas televisivas(léase Jared Leto) por formar una banda y ampliar unicamente sus ganancias. La capacidad instrumental de Phideaux tal vez no sea impresionante como las que otras bandas de la época tienen entre sus filas, pero cuenta, al igual que muchas otras bandas progresivas, con un compositor gigantezco.
Una vez que entras en este juego psicodélico no podrías salir. Un juego de voces único e inovador, atmósferas que dan alusión a la intención de cada canción para formar armonías complejas de un simple instrumentación interpretada siempre sin ser pretencioso y sin intentar hacer demás de lo que a cada músico le toca.
Todo encerrado en un solo álbum compactado con una majestuosidad tremenda por parte de Phideaux. Llevado a cabo de simples interpretaciones y con mucho sentimiento y limpieza que logran crear armonías díficiles de encontrar mezclado con voces perfectamente sincroniazadas y cambios de canción magníficos que te sorprenderán todos sin dejar a un lado los sonidos poco convencionales del álbum.
El disco, asegurado, está trabajado en cada momento para que no suene aburrido, recurriendo a técnicas muy particulares y muy poco convencionales para darle un sello distintivo al álbum añadido de ese toque sombrío que tiene toda obra progresiva.
Tan sinfónico como cualquier obra de The Moody Blues o Mahavishnu Orchestra, y con interpretaciones en los teclados que recuerdan a Caravan, voces de juegos que dan la impresión tomados una mezcla de Yes, Magma, Pink Floyd con un toque extraño que pocas bandas le han podido dar.
Todo éste álbum cuenta con una característica que jamás había visto en algún otro. Toma sus canciones y les hace un espejo después en el álbum que logra dar una versión alternativa de la canción, pero con diferente instrumentación, ambientes, letra, pero manteniendo de forma asombrosa la misma idea de la primera parte de la canción y sin esta tener que considerarse una canción de relleno, porque encaja a la maravilla con el disco, formando entonces un lado "blanco" y un lado "obscuro".
Y si hay una cosa que hace que un álbum sea más épico aún es no solo que logre mantener una línea durante todo el álbum, sino que cuando lo escuchas, no esperas algunas partes de la música y te llegan a dar una grata sorpreza a pesar de que lo escuches miles de veces siempre encontrándole nuevas partes y disfrutando cada segundo.
Éste álbum tiene todo eso y más, facilmente es el mejor álbum de rock progresivo (conste rock no metal) de los últimos 30 años, probablemente sea una etiqueta muy pesada, y talvez esté dejando de lado a grandes bandas que actualmente no pienso en ellas. Sin embargo, Phideaux no está nada lejos de eso.
Lane

Vamos con algunos (ojo, solo algunos, no voy a copiar todos porque hay muchos) comentarios en inglés:

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.
Jonathan Payeur

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 5/5.
Brian S. Lindsey

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.
Keneth Levine

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 5/5 stars.
Teodoro GomezdelaTorre R.

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!
Erik Neuteboom

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.
Patricia O'Bee

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.
Spence

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. 5/5 chupacabras
Thomas Szirmay

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: 5/5 Instrumental Performances: 4/5 Lyrics/Vocals: 5/5 Style/Emotion/Replay: 5/5
Jeff Morgenroth

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.
Tanner

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.
5/5 stars. Unquestionably.
Linus W.

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.
Robert W. Brown, Jr.

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 5/5 stars.
Stephen

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.
Scott

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.
Scott Tuffnell

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.
Luca

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.
W. Arthur

...well, first of all I have to apologize for my not so good..let´s say bad english... Well, it has all been said, there´s an continuous flow on this album, it all fits together including the artwork, it´s like one piece and it never gets boring. A lot of old-fashioned keybords and orchestral elements, ambitious but not that complicated though. Many beautiful female lead vocals make it varied. If you want to take trip fow almost 67 minutes, take this one! So for me it is not only the Prog-Album of the year, it is THE album of the year.
Matthias

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 concept album that flows effortlessly from start to finish. The marvelous signature themes that repeat throughout the journey make it seem like Doomsday is one long magical song. There are so many of those perfect moments on this album - you know, the ones that make the hairs stand up on your arms! The most obvious of these is the timeless Crumble - a theme so beautiful, it appears twice - first in act one, as piano on its own. Then later in act two with some sublime haunting vocals. Doomsday Afternoon is an eco disaster tale, wonderfully told through touching music, poignant lyrics, and vibrant meaningful artwork. Thank you Phideaux and friends for giving me something I will treasure. 10 / 10
Mind Sculpture (Jay)

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 Sylvian who follows –but helas that’s all. So I cannot recollect any other name which would be more important for me. Unfortunately progressive rock is not well known in our country that’s why the official release in Russia of the independent progressive music’s representative was quite a surprise for me. A pleasant one. I know many people who firmly believe that the music may be considered as really progressive only if it is intentionally complicated as for its technique and if –it’s desirable!- every track sound not less that for 10 minutes. I don’t agree with it. Very often the excessive complexity has a very bad result: it’s very boring to listen to such a music – just scarps of “look what I can do”. There are very few musicians who are able to create something that sound more than average and not to become boring be the 3th minute. In my opinion Xavier Phideaux’ music can be characterized by two words: Integrity. Variety. Quite a few musicians are able to step over genre borders, to combine skillfully different styles and – as a result- to create something unique and suitable for listening. That’s in my opinion the real transition from the prog-rock to the art-rock. But very often the album’s concept is its weak point. (Though there are very pleasant exeptions such as Doomsday Afternoon –D.A). It’s an ungrateful task to try to make the prog more popular and comprehensible to a non-specialized audience. The connoisseurs of the genre will treat with mistrust all the singers who will try to do it, subconsciously believing that is only a kind of some pop- music. And those who are not familiar with the genre will not for certain understand this music. They simply don’t want to make an effort just to feel it. I made an experiment once: I let a person whose musical preferations were opposites to mines, listen to Doomsday Afternoon. (So to say it was a girl.) I have to admit it: I didn’t expect her request to copy this record for her. “It’s hard to make music that is too prog to rock, and too rock for prog.” Phideaux’ music deserves the prefix “art” first of all for its many-sided nature. No doubt that the classics such as Peter Hammill, Ian Andersen, Peter Gabriel, influenced it but I would not compare their music with D.A. First of all, it’s Xavier Phideaux and C* - unique, many- sided, able to rethink the classic rock and to create their own music without falling into imitation. The participation of the orchestra is one of the main advantages of this record. I must say that many musicians came already to the similar decision. The last DVD concert of Dream Theater ( and I am their fan for a very long time) is the most spectacular illustration of it because their music is also interpreted by a symphonic orchestra. As for D.A. all the musical instruments are always appropriated without interfering with the general harmony. You may listen to D.A. for many times in succession and be sure to find more and more new nuances on each listen. I’ve got a lot of pleasure from the wind’s part in the The Doctrine Of Eternal Ice (Part One) the fervor as one of distinctive lines of Phideaux’ music, is clearly felt in it. And this one orchestral fragment – A Wasteland of Memories-is simply magnificent! “There is no escape…” “Formaldehyde”- I do not like to make comparisons but this music would honor even Jethro Tull, especially its first part. The second part is more aggressive and sharp with folksounding flute and violin giving way to a very modern and hard electro guitar. (Though there isn’t so much of a “hard” guitar as it was on the previous albums.) The keyboard on the foreground forces to recollect classical music and the sounding of the Italian Prog-Renaissance’s Creators. The nostalgic “Candybrain” is also a tribute to progressive music of the 70th. I’m not a big admirer of the female vocal but on D.A. it’s pertinent and in a right amount. In this connection I’d like to note a little bit gloomy “Crumble”. This record has turned out to be much softer that “Chupacabras” (“Ruffian in the Stars”), “Ghost Story” and even The Great Leap – the first part of trilogy. It’s more soft but not more light. The gloom and some ”sinisterness” of Xavier Phideaux’ performance reminds of the well known “optimist” Peter Hammill. You may not agree but, as for me, D.A. is the number one album of this year 2007. Like all the Phideaux’ works, it’s always on all my play-lists. And now I’m waiting with impatience for the last part of the trilogy started by “The Great Leap”. As for “Doomsday afternoon” – five stars! “Fear leaves a trace of something stale, A wasteland of memory of how we failed, All we need is time, all we need is time, But time’s too damned unkind.”
p.s. sorry for my english)
Max

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 the rather pop-ish first seconds. But after the first minute these starting moment began to make sence and the wonderful mood that works itself through the whole album was already present.
Although the songs don't go into each other without a pause, they hang together in a really pleasant way. Especially the repetition of certain phrases á la I'll wait for you brings memory of previous musical moments over and over again. But the most interesting thing is that I couldn't even name one certain song from the whole CD by heart although I've listened to this CD at least 2 times a day for the last month. The reason for this is the pleasant complexity and easyness that flows through the whole album, which just makes you listen to the complete thing without wanting to skip a song. What I'm trying to say is: This is how a concept album should be! The compositions itself are absolutely wonderful. The inclusion of the orchester was really perfectly mastered. There are absolutely no unnessecary bombastic elements that are not unusual in concept albums with orchestration and the classical instruments are added to the band in an enjoyable way.
The singing is absolutely perfect! The male singers (I can't even tell when another person is singing although there are several singers listed - to me it's just one male voice and one female voice) reach the higher tones with remarkable ease and surprisingly the range also reaches to a very moody low register. The female voices are also just marvellous.
The band instrumentation is kept in the background during most of the album except for the powerful instrumental the doctrine of eternal ice (part one) where the keys really take the stage. The rest of the album is mostly dominated by voice or moody surfaces with several instruments in the balance.
Part 2 (Track 6-10) of the album mainly deals with already known musical and lyrical variations from the first part, which creates a wonderful element of where have i heard this before?. The album never gets boring even though its length exceeds the 60 minutes limit. The suspense keeps on right until there is a quite unexpected pause right before the grand finale microdeath softstar wich starts with the rhytmically unexplainably appealing 10/8 measures that leads through a musical journey of the concept right to the powerful endlines: all we need is time but time's too damned unkind. Everytime I have listened to the CD and those lines appear, I think to myself that grandious music is still alive!
It' really hard to compare Doomsday Afternoon to anything I've heard before. I guess the closest to it is probably Supper's Ready by Genesis or some stuff from the first two Nektar-albums.
Barly have I listened to an album of this calibre. This is a world-class Concept Album and a must-have for every Progressive Rock-fan out there!
Full five stars for this piece of art.
Alf

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 that is Doomsday Afternoon. Phideaux Xavier is a true genius. And I discovered this album thanks to this website, thanks so much!
Rick

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 slow to absorb this highly-touted article of trade. I was perplexed as this commodity had not immediately reached me, and I soon began to doubt my reliable sources. In the opener - sticky tagged with the name "Micro Softdeathstar"; it seemed as if it were Gazpacho without the Salsa Verde.
Admittingly, the inclusion of a special guest in the preface was a plus. On loan from Eyestrings, Matthew Kennedy expelled benevolent vibes. He would later be munificent in other key places. Even so, his sapid bass didn't exactly bridge the gap here.
To give it to you straight, I was dumbfounded at this songs lack of depth. The drums were awfully simplistic and the beat was so sparse that it failed to even live up to a fraction of those pledges to engulf me - at least that's what I thought at first.
Obviously, this was not an album that planned to get you with the initial listen or for that matter, the hundred foremost bits in the preamble. To tell you the truth, it could be a letdown to someone like myself who read the puffery long before participating in the ballyhoo.
Notwithstanding these squawks and gripes, let's consider the highlights before any of us join the dissenting minority.
I had a sneaking suspicion that the group would eventually spackle on the layers. Twice it didn't get me. Over and above the icebreaker, "The Doctrine of Eternal Ice (Part One)" was nice, but it didn't blow me away either.
In the third movement however, "Candybrain" gives us harmonies, flutes, keyboards and guitars. It has so much that we often yearn to swoon over. Suffice to say, this should have gotten the number sequence to the safety lock that safeguards the starter pistol. In other words, this song should have led the preemptive charge.
Besides the progressive elements and the worldly influences, I can hear Simon & Garfunkel and The Beatles in this eclectic mosaic of creamy yogurt and crunchy granola.
Incidentally, the name of this virtuous psalm is quite appropriate if you transpose its lexical counterparts or to put it in plain terms; place the very last syllable in front.
Charily, the compositions continue to expand upon their market share. With "Crumble" and "The Doctrine of Eternal Ice (Part Two)", the musicianship improves throughout an upwardly mobile curve. Due to this economical advancement, I had decisively surmised at this juncture that the material was really above-average. Still, I was yet to believe the hype.
Adding salt to whatever laceration I've insensitively picked, one song is nearly repeated. We get "Crumble" in the both the fourth and eighth time-slots. The difference is mostly with an angel who rears her voice in the subsequent collapse. While it's fine to repeat useful material, each occurrence deserves its own label. When it comes down to it, these are not identical twins, and that makes it absolutely hammy for them to use the same pseudonym.
Persevering into the next phase, we're privy to criterion akin to Genesis and Jethro Tull. When they borrow, it's for the greater good. In one such example, "Thank You for the Evil" closely resembles Pink Floyd's "Hey You". When comparing the carbon-copies, the clones stand on their own as they're not entirely literal facsimiles of the laudable originals. On the other side of the mirror, "A Wasteland of Memories" demonstrates Phideaux Xavier's ability to write a motion picture score. It also shows a capacity to seamlessly integrate antithetical alloys into the manifold.
Later, "Formaldehyde" is soaked in an excursive solo from Martin Orford. Also floating in the pickle jar is a flute that's gingerly shorn from a wistful fairy-tale. For me, this visceral web of magical instruments is the climatic point of the album. Afterwards, we keep to the lofty crest. This superior grade doesn't recede until the end.
Assigned to providing last rites, "Microdeath Softstar" terminates the post meridian of Judgment Day, and it does so in the most impressive way. The reprisals contain everything that was previously missed in the crack of doom. For the record, the proscenium of this unctuous device had nowhere near as much charm. This might explain my rash decision to defy the propaganda early on. Now I'm completely onboard with the program.
For an explanation of the name behind the endgame, simply return to the commencement and read its appellation aloud. You'll find a corporation run by megalomaniacs and a weaponized space-station that does a bad impression of a moon.
While the titles of the album and songs - as well as the artwork - are a little morbid, they don't necessary pertain to bizarre psychological experiments used to channel a wormhole to hell. This does not require a terror mask or classification within the genre of survival horror - as rumored to be carried out inside the walls of Dr. West's Splatterhouse. [Unless you're from the Nintendo generation, familiar with the catalog of data cartridges for the TurboGrafx-16, or couldn't care less, this will likely require redirection to Wikipedia.]
Aside from gruesome allusions buried in the lyrics, this melodic treaty actually calls for peace. Making an allowance for context and subtleties between the lines, Doomsday Afternoon is purely meant as a deterrent to social crimes. At his worst, Xavier might have a propensity to idealism or be an alarmist with Orwellian leanings.
Supposedly, this has to do with Big Brother and an ecological crisis in the vein of Dominici's O3. It's also the central nub in a trilogy that elaborates on a concept dubbed "The Great Leap". In case you're wondering, the glorious conclusion is already in the pipeline.
Anyhow, was this powder keg for the cocktail hour all it was cracked up to be?
In retrospect, I can respond with a definitive yes; though I'm hesitating to call it best. Then again, I have a hard time promoting another album to the throne it essentially reigns over. With The Tangent around the corner, Phideaux may have landed gold by such an indiscernible difference that it could only be measured by a nanotechnologist.
No matter how it's quantified, this album is an irrefutable chartbuster - in the progressive sense. All you need is a couple tracks to warm up to; but more importantly, an eager mind to enrapture and entangle.
The violins alone are exquisite. Melded to the epics with surgical precision, they move an unwieldy payload as if it were a feather. Personally, I can now understand why so many people find the material venerable and hold it in such high regard. There is a lot to siphon and avulse from this inundated rock.
Like the seductive and acquiescent finger-trap, it's only a matter of time before you're in a bind as a result of toying around with it. Then along with the Manchurian Candidate, you too will be an indoctrinated fan who swears this authoritarian should hold that commanding spot on top.
9.00000000000000000000001/10
[As the actual ionization falls between four and five stars, I doped the score with a subatomic particle and rounded to that highly positive rating.]
Josh Turner

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 importantly, the album is much more then just outstanding songs one after another. There's a system, there's a theme, a mood, a concept. This is what is needed when it comes to a masterpiece, and this album executes it perfectly.
I know, already writing this out, I'm going to be repeating myself quite a lot by saying everything on this album is beautiful, or masterfully crafted. So I won't be writing out 10 times for each song, since each and every song on this album is beautiful and masterfully crafted. I love the fact that this album is broken up into two parts, it makes the album feel as though it's on an LP player. But each act is balanced off, act one starting with a 10+ minuet song and act two ending with one.
One aspect that makes this an instant masterpiece is the reuse of great riffs and sounds. A perfect example of this is 'The Doctrine of Eternal Ice' parts 1 and 2, and even 'Crumble'. This aspect of re-using sounds transience the album from 10 great songs in a row to a complete album. This could very easily be one grand song divided by two parts. Each song is not completely unique to the album or the other songs, but the album as a whole is entirely unique and a treat to the ears.
There really isn't much else to say about this album. It is essential to at least hear this album once through if you're a progressive fan. This was good enough to receive my 'one year anniversary review' to this sight, so that should be enough to depict it. There really is no draw back to this album that I can see..and I've looked. I've been very careful not to rate albums as masterpieces unless they absolutely deserve it, and this one deserves it.
5/5 well earned stars.
Michael

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 think this can be rated less then 5 stars. An absolute masterpiece for progressive and sympho addicts.
J@pie Mol

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. When he subsequently released the "Doomsday Afternoon" I took my time and did not jump in with the fan-boys. After reading the comments on this site I decided to take the plunge (sorry. continuing on the pool theme). Lo and behold I now became a fan-boy for Phideaux myself.
Doomsday Afternoon is different then all of his other 5 previous albums (yes I did buy them all. Didn't I say fan-boy).The difference of Doomsday afternoon compared to his other releases is not in the style of the music but in its maturity, structural completeness, and sound texture. In this record he mixes the output of his rather large group (10 individuals) with an orchestra in an extremely skilful manner that would put many of the classical musicians to shame. Although in his writings he sometimes refers to the orchestra as the "pesky orchestra" his skill in orchestration is surprising.
First of all although there are 10 song names listed at the back of the album it really is a single coherent piece of music. Can you imagine trying to pick a song from "Thick as a brick" or the "Passion Play" and only play that song and not the rest? It just will not work. Will it now. Well the same holds true for the Doomsday afternoon too. You must hear the whole thing in one sitting.
After arguing that the record cannot be broken down to is pieces I obviously will not go a head and review the CD song by song. It will suffice to say that it deserves five stars from someone like me who doles out five stars rarer then tooth in a hen.
I must make a special mention of the ladies of the group. First of all four members of the 10 are females of which I think three sing along with Phideaux. One of them has a very unique voice and he manages to bland her voice very skillfully with the other two resulting in harmonies that will give a poor soul goose bumps. You must understand, this has not always been the case in his past five records. Again it is one of those things that suddenly changed in this record and made it a one of a kind, flawless masterpiece.
If you have not heard it yet do not hesitate as I did. Enjoy.
spleenache

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 masterpiece of modern prog. To me this is a top 5 prog album of the decade. The musical themes are all strong. The album does a good job of revisiting and developing common themes time and time again. Everything is beautifully crafted and architected. The "Crumble" theme is beautiful and makes my hairs stand on end. As far as musicianship goes there are no impressive solos and nothing that will blow you away, but everything is played competently. To me this album is a true example of an "ALBUM".. every song is enhanced by being in the overall picture of the album itself... there is no dead weight that pulls this album down. The lyrics mean nothing to me, as prog lyrics seldom do, but they do not detract from the music. This is like a classic Pink Floyd album in spirit. While it does not have anything like Gilmour's soloing, it has a wonderful cohesive feeling to it. A true gem.
irregardlessly

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 the highlight of Phideaux's output with none others coming close. Highlights? "Microsoftdeathstar" and it's bookend "Microdeathsoftstar". But everything else in between is just as good. Lots of Pink Floydian ambience, great lyrics, stunning female vocals on many songs, rhythm and cadence changes, epic songs, great concept....THIS IS PROG! I hear, besides Floyd, Dredg, King Crimson, Alan Parsons, and others in this music. The motifs that are visited throughout this album can also be heard on other Phideaux release such as Number 7. Awesome! 5/5 stars.
mohaveman

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 this album other than wondrous neo-classical inspiration, inspiration for the rest of a life to be built on.
This album starts off with a weary piano melody that sets a somber tone, a gorgeous somber tone, a tone that will not cease until the final chord has been played. The true magic, however, is where this tone leads you. From the beginnings of a simple piano aria, to the edge of energetic orchestral works; from gorgeous lady singers to the baritone of man in unison; from soft soundscape of long post rock tones, to the crunching guitar with soaring woodwinds. The raw, unbridled musical universe you sail through on the back of a french-canadian master is truly a calming and inspiring experience.
On top of everything else this album is an enigma in another. The cryptic story lyrics and repetitive song titles lead you down a path of unknown purpose, a long path of unravelling the mystery of fear and sorrow, pain and death. Beautifully sung by every one of the singers aboard, the journey never seems to end in appreciating this magic.
This album is a top-priority listen; walk in with patience and you'll walk out with a new musical life.
Billy Juergens

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 beautiful piece of artwork. And to add to the geniusly crafted lyrics the amazing symphonic parts of the album. Well played all around. "Doomsday Afternoon" beats out Ayreon's "The Human Equation" or Transatlantic's "The Whirlwind" any day of the week! There is only two things though that don't make since to me about this album. Why are some of the names of the songs Microdeath Softstar or Candybrain? But whatever, they still sound good. Also how is this Crossover Prog. This is clearly symphonic.
Overall a brilliant album! The only way Phideaux could make this album more real is if it it actually happened. So buy/download "Doomsday Afternoon" now! This album is not the greatest of all time but certainly belongs in my top 5 of the new century. 99% essential.
Chase

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 part of a trilogy with similar sonic references, lyrical references and how it isn't quite done yet. Ignore these things. This album stands up magnificently on its own. While you may miss a couple musical and lyrical cues culled from THE GREAT LEAP, they won't detract from the experience. In fact, this was the very first Phideaux album I ever heard and it blew me away immediately without even knowing anything about the trilogy, let alone that this wasn't the first part.
When Phideaux says that this plays like one massive song, he isn't kidding. If you put this on and let it run to the end, it functions as a singular, rather structurally complex piece. I just read a rather interesting essay by Umberto Eco on structuralism in poetry that would shed some great light on this album, but I don't want to bore you! In short, the structure is much more complex than a single song split into tracks, or even multiple movements. Instead, there is a complex interweaving of lyrical and musical recapitulations and permutations going on through the album. Similar riffs appear again and again, but are paired against such radically different instrumentation and lyrics that they feel fresh. Indeed, the structure is a great boon because it makes a through-composed song cycle that still feels workable no matter which tune you listen to, which is normally a big failing of these large songs. In this, you can pluck out any tune and listen to it on its own to get something satisfactory while also retaining the power of the song cycle when listened to as a whole.
This, I feel, is the album's greatest strength. The instrumentation reminds me of classic Genesis albums perhaps a bit too much; but keep in mind that I have all three Genesis studio box sets not just in my possession but in my car at all times. The sonic similarities are, to me, a tremendous boon, but I can see them as a weakness in the eyes of others. Likewise, the lyrics and vocals, while I like them, I can see perhaps being a little of an annoyance; not the female vocals, which are astounding and pretty and disturbing and powerful whenever the feel like it, but Phideaux's. However, the compositional strength of this piece, the sheer songwriting power brought to bear, makes all of these rather meek arguments. It's like saying the intros on a couple songs on DARK SIDE OF THE MOON are too long; yeah, but who cares?
A masterpiece. Five stars, no doubts.
Langdon Hickman

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 so now I try to redeem myself with the second album of this underground trilogy.
"Doomsday Afternoon", unlike its predecessor, is a masterpiece of modern progressive rock, and in my opinion the best album of 2007. It is probably the turning point in the career of Phideaux, the moment when the band decide to follow the path of progressive rock with great determination (as already made, but only in part, with "Chupacabras"). It is an album characterized by dark and apocalyptic sounds, also implemented through the use of a orchestral section of strings and horns, which help to give extreme solemnity to the songs. Great importance have keyboards, especially the Hammond organ and the synth. As always, Phideaux shows great sensitivity for acoustic music with beautiful piano and guitar parts. The arrangements are very elaborate but do not suffocate the harmonies: the result is a good balance between melody and experimentation, where finally is given to the voice of Valerie Gracious the space it deserves. Matthew Parmenter also participates, he occasionally sings and play violin. Regarding the tracks that make up the album, it is not correct to speak of "single" songs. All songs are linked by the plot, and some themes are repeated many times along the album. In practice, we are faced with a complex musical work that should be appreciated in its entirety. Anyway, here is a brief analysis of the individual tracks.
Micro Softdeathstar:9/10. The beautiful initial notes of "Micro Softdeathstar" immediately set the tone that characterizes the entire album. The quiet introduction singed by Xavier is followed by the orchestra in a way that leaves stunned for majesty and elegance. Great changes of atmosphere and rhythm. When Valerie singing "I'm singing to the rain" in the end, the fan of progressive rock already feels at home.
The Doctrine Of Eternal Ice (Part One): 9/10. Instrumental song that starts with another epic and catchy piano riff. Though I am not a big supporter of the synthesizers, I must admit that in this passage the use of this instrument is superb. The orchestra offers a new contribution.
Candybrain: 8/10. Short song with acoustic guitar, flute and keyboards. The very first David Bowie comes to mind (it seems like "Space Oddity" or "The Man who sold the World"). The vocal harmonies are very beautiful. Phideaux is the lead singer here.
Crumble: 10/10. Exceptional instrumental interlude. A gentle piano melody is played with the accompaniment of the hammond organ and then with choirs and orchestra. This beautiful melody will be reproduced in other parts of the album. The first four songs are all outstanding, with no weak point.
The Doctrine Of Eternal Ice (Part Two): 7/10. It takes up the theme of the second track, as the title suggests, but this time with vocals (both by Valerie and Xavier). The song is more melodic in the first part; in the second half there are complicated arrangements with keyboards in evidence, and some reference to the sounds of Alan Parsons.
Thank You For The Evil: 9/10. There is no orchestra here. It is the song that Pink Floyd have never recorded. The slow pace and the use of synth lead you to albums such as "Wish You Were Here" and "Animals". The song expresses a great sense of inevitability. One of the greatest moment of this brilliant work.
A Wasteland Of Memories: 7/10. Taken in itself is not an important piece, but it works very well placed in the overall context of the album. The orchestra is under the spotlight again and the theme is taken from the middle section of Micro Softdeathstar.
Crumble (Part Two): 10/10. The most poignant song of the album, thanks to the wonderful interpretation of Valerie Gracious.
Formaldehyde: 6/10. The song perhaps much closer to the canons of classic progressive rock, with rhythm changes and complex arrangements, especially in the second half. Not always in focus, however it is another good quality track.
Microdeath Softstar: 10/10. Fourteen minutes of pure genius. The silent introduction gives way to a Hammond organ riff that refers a bit to "Lark's Tongues in Aspic" by King Crimson. The song is a continuous succession of changes of atmosphere and rhythm. The second half is characterized by interpretations of musical themes already heard before (there is also "You And Me Against A World Of Pain" from "The Great Leap"). The album closes in a circular manner, with the initial theme of "Micro Softdeathstar".
Recommended to all lovers of classic symphonic progressive rock. Along with "Number 7" (which is perhaps even slightly better!), the best Phideaux album.
Final rating: 9/10. Five Stars
Best song: Microdeath Softstar
Dark Nazgul

Les quedó claro? esta es una obra de absoluta belleza, impactante y sin igual, y por supuesto otro de los grandes discazos super-recomendados del blog cabezón!!!!!
IMPERDIBLE!!!!!




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