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IQ - The Seventh House CD (album) cover





4.01 | 633 ratings

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2 stars The Song Remains The Same

IQ are one of the most successful modern symphonic acts out there. To their fans, they've released consistent, great albums since the 90's and have remained relevant since then. They have crafted their sound and have continuously used it for every release. I think that is the problem here for me. The Seventh House has nothing new to offer in the context of their discography, and nothing has changed in IQ's sound since the release either.

The troubles of this album start immediately. The opening epic, The Wrong Side of Weird, lifts a certain Led Zeppelin rhythm so blatant it is just cringe-worthy. The song eventually brings in an airy, piano-led bridge, taking us away from the weaker parts of the song into more enjoyable territory. Peter Nicholls' voice sits great on top of one of IQ's better heavier passages. It has some momentum, twists, and great musicianship coming from both the rhythm section and the Orford/Holmes duo.

Additionally, the shorter songs on this album: Erosion, Zero Hour, and Shooting Angels are too similar in my opinion. They can all be summed up fairly similarly. Atmospheric keyboards and Nicholl's voice lead for a while then the rest of the crew come in with plodding instrumentation. Guitars riffs are distorted and chunk away, while the drumming is just uninspired. Erosion takes a slightly heavier feeling, while Zero Hour takes a lot longer to finally leave the cheesy tone of saxophones, synth flourishes, and electronic beats. Shooting Angels serves as the perfect middle to the boring trio.

The Seventh House isn't all doom and gloom though. The title track and Guiding Light are both strong progressive rock showcases. The Seventh House has plentiful lively hooks and guitar and keyboard solos that don't overstay their welcome. My favorite part would probably be the middle section. A wonderful Holmes solo takes us into some wonderful off-beat rhythm synchronizing. Peter has a great cadence that doesn't seem awkward or out of place. The closer to the album is Guiding Light. Beginning with a glossy, emotional ballad section that almost risks being melodramatic soon slides into some jamming by the band in an extended instrumental section. Orford is in the limelight here for me, while the rest of the guys don't disappoint. But the playing and style is in no way a surprise, sounding like any other of the "climaxes" from this or any other IQ album.

This album just comes off as bland. It really irks me to hear a band being too predictable or boring. Unfortunately, that is what I hear throughout this release. To any IQ fan, or neo-prog advocate, this album will do you some amount of good. It has the sound you'd expect and possible desire from these guys and this genre. Otherwise, a mostly forgettable release leaving me disappointed.

Horizons | 2/5 |


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