04 July 2009

3 Albums I am currently digging...

1) Doomsday Afternoon by Phideaux. This album was raved about by several of my friends last year. Sadly, I tend to give the opposite reaction to hype from what is expected – I run screaming. I have been burned by hype so many times that I just know that I’ll be burned again. Well, I was…but this time it was me burning myself. I finally legally downloaded a copy of this release and checked it out…and now I can’t get the damned thing out of my play list. This album is proof that there is still hope for chamber/symphonic prog to toss some curveballs and sliders into a mostly stale mix. The singing is interesting, the arrangements clever, the playing just right for the songs. Strings, layered vocals, harmonies…what’s not to like? I wish I had taken the dive earlier…but now at least I know I have a catalogue to discover and explore. Must acquire Seven now…and the rest of the back catalogue. My highlight – “Micro Softdeathstar,” a brilliant mini-epic.

2) 4th by DFA. Yeah, I know…it’s another 2008 album. I’ve dug this release ever since it came out, and a year later it’s still allowing me to discover little gems. It’s so enjoyable…a better mix of symphonic Italian prog and fusion I’ve not heard in a very long time. I am particularly enamoured by the album closer “La Ballata De S’isposa ‘E Mannorri,” with lyrics derived from the Sardinian oral tradition and with glorious female vocals courtesy of “Andhira,” three evocative singers telling a tale of romance and blood feuds in the late 1700’s. The band’s playing is as wonderful as ever, with a diverse selection of sounds and arrangements that make each song a different listening experience from the one before or the one after. This is probably one of my favourite Italian albums in my collection, and certainly one of the strongest modern Italian releases in general.

3) Imparis by Deus ex Machina. I decided last year I wanted to buy this when I saw the trailer for the DVD on the big screen at NEARfest. Sadly it wasn’t out at the festival, and I forgot about ordering it until I saw it on a vendor table this year. I still haven’t dug into the DVD much yet, but as for the album proper…wow. This is an impressive slab of edgy, angular Italian prog. Alberto Piras is the closest thing we have to a Demitrio Stratos today…while his range is certainly not as wide as Stratos’ was (let’s fave it…human voices do not come as flexible and amazingly unhuman as his was), he carries on the tradition of voice as instrument wonderfully well. The band is in fine form as well, navigating the complex and sometimes labrythnine arrangements with ease. It’s still a little early for me to select a highlight track on this release…there’s so much music here, and it’s all pretty dense…but that just means I have a lot of very enjoyable exploration to get going on!

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Machete moonlight said...

IM a new fan of phideaux myself, will be recieving number seven soon and possibly doing a review on my blog... I listened to the sample tracks on their myspace page over and over, great songs... if you dont mind, Id like to link your blog on mine.. it's not a music blog but a horror fiction one, but anyway.. thanks.

Anonymous said...

Oh I will have to check out the rest of it later. Listened to Microdeath Softstar by accident first. Like that and then i got it right and liked that too.

Anonymous said...

Not to be funny, but where do people find the time and money to listen to so much music?
Seems to me, Bill, you do this for a living as a writer, correct?
I guess late at night, or before work or after, and going to lots of shows helps, but I would go broke buying so much stuff - please explain someone!
Downloading legally was mentioned - but when do you have the time to listen, in your car, at work?

MichaelTom said...

I recently purchased Doomsday Afternoon myself, and really like it. Agree with everything you say about them.

Unknown said...

Hmmm Phideaux, I'll have to check them out.