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Phideaux: Number Seven

I first heard Phideaux on the last Ayreon album and that really peaked my interest. Phideaux is one of those artists that I have heard so much about, but before this new release, have not as of yet heard. That brings us to the follow up to Doomsday Afternoon entitled Number Seven. There is no relationship between the two albums but the new one is also conceptual in nature. The basis of the story is the power struggle between a metaphorical dormouse (shrew) and crayfish representing certain forces at work in the world, but of course the analogies are probably endless. This is an album where reading the lyrics is mandatory.

After only hearing this once I admit to being completely blown away. This is a grandiose release, epic in scope and concept, a truly breathtaking listening experience. Exactly what progressive music is supposed to be, for me at least. Phideaux decided to make a complete band effort this time with no outside help. For instance there is no orchestra, like on Doomsday Afternoon, and although I have not heard that album, the music does not suffer in the least. The songs flow beautifully together and common threads periodically break the surface solidifying musical themes and conceptual elements. It is hard to put a label on this record as it contains so many pieces of different genres but suffice to say many progressive music aficionados will be very happy indeed. There is a heavy keyboard element, what sounds like a myriad of instruments, and the piano melodies are outstanding. As well, some of the synth solos have an Ayreonesque aura about them. Not so much in sound but in the dramatic moods this music conveys.

There are so many musical highlights it is hard to pinpoint individual songs. Also, the album is best suited to hearing undisturbed in one sitting, as is the case with many concept albums. Opening the album is the acoustic "Dormouse A Theme", a short concise piece with a well developed musical theme followed by "Waiting For The Axe To Fall", a keyboard heavy extravaganza with a distinct Ayreon feel. Carptree also came to mind, especially in some of the vocal parts. The goodness continues with "Hive Mind" another superb keyboard melody and dramatic flourishes of drums and acoustic guitar. I could go on and on but you get the picture.

I know this comes off as a glowing review, but I cannot find any fault with this album and it keeps on getting better the more I listen to it. I urge all progressive music fans to give this album your undivided attention. I have no choice but to give the maximum rating of five stars. Now if you will excuse me, its time for me to check out past releases. If they are anywhere near as good as this I am in for a real treat.

Track Listing:
Dormouse Ensnarred
1. Dormouse A Theme
2. Waiting For The Axe To Fall
3. Hive Mind
4. The Claws Of A Crayfish
5. My Sleeping Slave
Dormouse Escapes
6. Darkness At Noon
7. Prequiem
8. Gift Of The Flame
9. Interview With A Dormouse
10. Thermonuclear Cheese
11. The Search For Terrestrial Life
12. A Fistful Of Fortitude
Dormouse Enlightened
13. Love Theme From "Number Seven"
14. Storia Senti
15. Infinite Supply
16. Dormouse An End

Added: August 13th 2009
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 5172
Language: english

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