Iíve had the pleasure of review two previous albums of Phideaux, Fiendish and Ghost Story. So when I heard about a new album I was anxious to hear it. The fourth album, Chupacabras, which literally means 'goat suckerí. Chupacabras have been reported in some Central American countries including Mexico as well as in Puerto Rico. This album was originally set for release in 2004 but with delays it wasnít released until 2005.
Most of the songs on Chupacabras, were songs left off previous albums. Not that they werenít good, just that they didnít fit the continuity of those albums. Phideaux had conveyed to me that he was unsure that this album would be successful but in fact itís his most progressive album to date. Yes this isnít one for the casual listener but to those that claim to be his fans, will surely see Phideauxís signature sound throughout the album. Thereís still traces of pop-tinged psychedelia but this time with the emphasis on epic sounds that are usually found in progressive rock.
While these songs are pieces where revived from previous albums, they flow so well as if they were written exclusively for a full release. The title track was originally intended to be on Fiendish but at the time remained unfinished so he shelved it until now. Fans can hear in itís 20 minute completed form The song is told from the point of view of the Chupacabra, which lends an eerie beauty to the lyrics. Joining Phideaux on vocals is Valerie Gracious which gives a nice counterpoint to the sung lyrics. Her voice is so beautiful and angelic, I would love to hear more from her.
Sandwiched in between the title epic and the three part Ruffian epic tracks are Party and Fortress of Sand. The Ruffian Trilogy (as I like to call it) is made up of Ruffian on The Stairs, Sunburnt and The Return of The Ruffian. This song is both vicious in itís lyrics and musical attack. At the beginning and ending of the trilogy, there contains an almost metallic punk guitar riffs that is so infectious you want to repeat them over an over.
Ending off Chupacabras is Titan, which is a reprise of Fortress of Sand. So in essence, the album is comprised of three conceptual pieces with one song separating them. So far Chupacabras is the definitive progressive rock statement from Phideaux. I hope he gets enough positive support to do another album of this magnitude I feel the tale of the Chupacabras and The Ruffian can be continued, maybe on separate concept albums.
If you enjoyed his previous albums this is a must have. If youíre a fan of Porcupine Tree, Blackfield, Pink Floyd, Bowie or similar then you owe it to yourself to add Chupacabras to your collection immediately!
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on March 7th, 2006