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IQ - Dark Matter CD (album) cover





4.03 | 864 ratings

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3 stars This is a case study of the need to give albums time and many listens before writing a review: a year ago, this would have been a solid four star album. Now, it's a high three at best. Why? Well, most of the songs don't age very well (Harvest of Souls excluded), and they aren't that creativeor engaging to begin with. IQ always seems to rely heavily on their songwriting, as opposed to virtuosic playing or divserse instrumentation, and here it lets them down in places.

Sacred Sound. Definitely cool soundsccapes and arrangements, but overall this lilting tune is a bit boring and becomes repetitive over time (espeically the beginning). The one absolute highlight comes at the 13/8 time part near the end with tight drumming, Hackett-esque guitar, and soaring mellotron. This definitely a good song and album opener, but not spectacular.

Red Dust Shadow, You Never Will, Born Brilliant. These songs can be described as slow-developing (even boring), cliche (especially the chorus), and simplistic, respectively. There's nothing truly aversive, but Born Brilliant is the only one of these that I come back to, with the cool rhythm (to be reprised in Harvest of Souls) and a great spacey guitar solo.

Harvest of Souls. Take the song structure of Supper's Ready (bouncy verse over 12-string guitar, main chorus introduction, an aggressive bit, a playful vocal bit, a multilayer keyboard section in odd time, and a majestic recreation of the original chorus), tone down both the goofy parts (yes, Willow Farm), scale back the power of the final segments, improve the production, and you have Harvest of Souls. It's a good format, and I can't hold it against IQ for using it--in fact, I'm very impressed that they largely pulled it off. I disagree with some: this is not a total knock-off. The melodies, lyrics, and arrangements are IQ originals, and it takes a band that has been around a while, is well-schooled in prog, and wants to pay respects to prog's founding fathers to pull of a song of this magnitude. For that, I think IQ deserve a round of applause instead of bashing. Oh well, that's just me!

One great (though derivative) song, another solid one, and three that are rather forgettable: three stars seems appropriate.

Flucktrot | 3/5 |


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