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IQ - The Road of Bones CD (album) cover





4.23 | 1324 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars IQ can do no wrong, in fact when it comes to Neo-Prog they are at the top of the heap in my opinion with Fish-era MARILLION not far behind. That may be clear to me but there's a couple of things about this recording that aren't so obvious. First of all it isn't a concept album as many have thought, in fact the lyrics of the different songs on the first disc make that a no-brainer. The second issue is why put out a bonus disc of material when they could have just made it a double album? Well, the first proper disc does have the same sort of mood and vibe throughout which I do prefer to the mixture of styles like on the bonus disc, but most fans are saying they like the bonus material better than the proper album. This reminds me of when MARILLION released "Marbles" with a bonus disc of material which included "Ocean Cloud" which many feel is one of the best MARILLION songs ever. Since then I believe(perhaps wrongly) that "Marbles" is really considered a double album now by the band and fans alike. So will this eventually happen with "The Road Of Bones" ?

"From The Outside In" opens with some incredible atmosphere and a sample of someone speaking from a movie before this urgent rhythm kicks in with vocals. Love the mellotron swells that come and go. How about the Banks- like organ 6 minutes in. The bass, drums and waves of mellotron are great, in fact these are the highlights of the whole album for me. "The Road Of Bones" is a song about a serial killer spoken in the first person. Again like the first track we start with atmosphere but this time sparse piano joins in followed by almost spoken vocals. It's all laid back here until things pick up 2 1/2 minutes in as the drums and bass kick in. The vocals become more urgent. Check out the vibes or xylophone that comes and goes on this one, they remind me of the eighties for some reason. I like them. It turns quite powerful 6 minutes in. Great section!

"Without Walls" is the epic at over 19 minutes. A pleasant piano melody to start. Very chilled music right here as reserved vocals join in. A change 3 minutes in then it kicks into gear. Nice guitar work here and I like the organ that pulsates. Great section 6 minutes in as Peter sings with passion. A dark and haunting instrumental piece follows 7 1/2 minutes in. Very cool. It kicks back in before 10 1/2 minutes. Catchy stuff. It climaxes 13 1/2 minutes in, then settles back with synths before 15 minutes. Vocals are back. Mellotron and synths join in as it slowly winds down. "Ocean" is mellow with relaxed vocals but things get fuller on the chorus. Themes are repeated as it seems to build. I do love that chorus. "Until The End" takes about 3 minutes before we get a fuller sound. Nasty organ after 5 1/2 minutes. An epic section is followed by a relaxed piece of piano and acoustic guitar. Reserved vocals join in to end it.

I'll touch briefly on the bonus disc. "Knucklehead" is the heaviest tune on here and the mellotron is fantastic! "1312 Overture" begins and ends with orchestral music but for me it's the music in between that satisfies the most. Lots of intensity and mellotron. "Constellations" might be the best track overall. Check out the drumming and mellotron early on. It makes me feel alive. It ends like it began. Just wow! "Fall And Rise" has some interesting sounds like banjo(I think) and other intricate sounds. A beautiful tune. "Ten Million Demons" is one I loved from the start. Heavy with mellotron and quite catchy. This has such a good mid-tempo groove to it. "Hardcore" is my least favourite tune on here but it's still a really good one.

So I would rate this above their previous album "Frequency" but below "Dark Matter". This really is a grower for me and if it continues i'd give it 4.5 stars but for now a very solid 4 stars. Highlights are the bass, drums and mellotron.

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |


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