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IQ - The Road of Bones CD (album) cover





4.23 | 1324 ratings

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5 stars Prog does not necessary mean 'complex' ...

...and IQ has proved it nicely in this wonderfully crafted album that die hard fans like myself feel that it's worth waiting for an almost five years since its previous "Frequency" album released in 2009. It's been quite a while I have been thinking about writing the review of this long awaited album by the most consistent band on planet Earth in terms of music direction and sub-genre. They dare to stand tall with their direction in what so called neo progressive. I really admire IQ on this. One of major consideration for not taking part in writing my view on this album has been a juggle of complexity and simplicity. The matter is like this: almost at the same time of The Road of Bones by IQ , there is another excellent album by a supergroup Transatlantic who also released "Kaleidoscope" album. The fundamental question is only one: if I consider Kaleidoscope as an excellent album with a four star rating why should I give IQ with a five-star rating? Transatlantic music is more complex and challenging compared to IQ who plays simple prog music. I finally thought that the fundamental difference is on how each album maneuvers deeply into my emotion and it's totally a very personal taste and preference. Music to me is emotion and I have to admit that most of IQ music is very able to stir my emotion regardless its lyrics. the way the music is composed and then combined beautifully with melody line through vocal work as well as how solo works are intertwined sound really fantastic to my ears. That's why I put a full five star rating for this new album by IQ.

As I put emotionally at my FB status:

Np. IQ "the Road of Bones" ...a fabulous album. The opening track sounds like IQ plays metal as the music is in the vein of The Wake with high energy, powerful riffs resulted from tight basslines by the old timer Tim Esau (happy that he returned back to the band he supposed to be). It;s really a killer and it's strategically positioned as an album opener - what a brilliant idea! However, the second track is also another killer even though it starts in an ambient mode and moves slowly until ...again Tim Esau plays wonderfully with his bass guitar (is it a Rickenbaker? probably!). Not only that ... I love the way how the new keyboard player, Neil Durrant, inserts his mellotron-like sound at the background during the peak segments ....oh my God ...!

What a fabulous musical journey I have experienced listening to only the first two damn killing tracks!!! I can not even afford to move to next tracks as my fingers keep pressing backward two times to get back to the opening track again .....!!! Oh no .....!!! This is truly a totally ngguweblak experience man!!! I bet you ....! Marillion Hogarth era must have learned a lot from being consistent ( or they are not capable anymore?) in neo prog music like IQ has demonstrated for years ... Yeah ...more than 30 years of prog nonsense!

That long phrases resonate how this album really hooked me ('nggeblak' is my local expression on how the music has made me temporarily 'paralyzed' !) at first spin by only listening to the first two tracks only!

IQ album has always been like that to me. At first spin I only could enjoy couple of tracks. It's not that I am too lazy to find the full journey and got the deep meaning of the music but ... I have already been "satisfied" by couple of tracks only - not the entire album. But as time went by I started to enjoy other tracks. Take example the Frequency album which at first I could only play regularly the title track, second track "Life Support" and a bit of some from other tracks. And guess what later stage, maybe a year later... I Was totally in love with the "Ryker Skies" track that really make me 'ngguweblak!' to the bone. Yeah ... Ryker Skies is really a kiling track! I like the melody as well as the chorus line. It's really wonderful.

My experience with The Road of Bones album is similar with Frequency as I fell in love at first listen to the first two tracks. Iplayed these two tracks over and over again until I was totally satisfied then I moved to next. The thing was, I mentioned in phrases of FB status, I could not afford to move further as the second track "The Road of Bones" finished I automatically wanted to go back to listen to the first track "From The Outside In". Then the journey continued with the album title track which is basically a simple composition but it's really heavy in nuances. I really love the first two tracks that made me play the two until I got it 'enough' to move to the next one.

Only recently I pay attention to the third track "Without Walls" which indeed I like it very much too. It sounded to me at first reaction that this song somehow reminds me to 'Harvest of Souls' from the Dark Matter album. It starts ambient with a simple piano sounds followed with a drum loop that made me surprised as this is , I think, the first time IQ use the sound of drum loop. It was quite weird at first listen but as it grew on me , I then finally found that the loop has become a nice integral part of the whole song. The first three minutes plus duration this song moves in ambient mode accompanying a dark vocal line by Nicholls. But then the music moves in crescendo with a follow-up riff played in slow tempo. What a wonderful move! ...

...and the war starts at minute 6 indicated by the very wonderful keyboard shot by Neil Durant that sounds really cool while accompanying Nicholls' vocal line. But that happens temporary as the music then is slowing down with long sustain keyboard sound at the back plus acoustic guitar rhythm section work by Mike Holmes. It's quite nice and reminds me to the nuance of Pink Floyd's Dogs from Animals album. The war continues again at min 10:22 as the music is heating up into faster tempo. And the peak of nice war happens at minute 12:20 when keyboard really take the lead in a wonderfully crafted solo backed with relatively fast tempo music. Oh man .... it's really coooooool!!!!

The next track "Ocean" is probably the most pop song compared to other tracks but it's really good as a refreshment just before another excellent track Until the End that concludes the album excellently.

Even though my CD package is the limited edition version with two CDs, I only make the review for the CD One as this is the main album. CD Two is nice also even though it's basically left overs. For IQ I always purchase the limited edition package as it has great bonus like the one in Frequency that contains live DVD of IQ - great performance, really! This time I did not preorder because my good friend who is a die hard fan of IQ purchased it for me PLUS the t-shirt (WHOOOAAAA!!!!!! Great one!!!) at IQ performance at Islington Assembly Hall, London, 3 May 2014.

Overall, this is truly a fabulous album by IQ who has consistently produced excellent music from their more than 30 years of prog nonsense! I really love this album and it's still ini my regular playlist that I regularly play while I am working ora cycling or sipping a cup of coffee. The composition is really topnotch with fantastic melody line, great harmonies among instruments being played (even though this time Mr Holmes does not play that much long stunning guitar solo), beautiful transition pieces on changes of tempo, and most importantly ...this album is so cohesive so that the structural integrity has been successfully maintained from start to end. BINGO! It;s a perfect album that deserves a FULL five-star rating. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Gatot | 5/5 |


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