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IQ - Dark Matter CD (album) cover





4.03 | 863 ratings

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Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams
5 stars "Neo" or "Mature" prog?

In this occasion, the answer is both. By far IQ's most sophisticated release, Dark Matter effectively combines the 'pleasant' neo-prog feeling with darker tunes and a heavy dose of irony; Irony is the main feature of the sound of this album, through which they try to get their message through. And they definitely succeed.

Dominant is a 'hammondish' sound, giving a distinct taste to this record overall. Sacred Sound begins with a characteristic 'a la Camel' keyboard melody and progresses to an interesting mid-tempo track. I have the feeling that IQ vocals are included in the 'love or hate' category, consisting of this characteristic English accent, which I personally find controversial but unique. The first track is almost 12 minutes long, involving variations and excellent drum work. Red Dust Shadow very much reminds of Porcupine Tree's latest works, with a spacey refrain and a 'Floydish' guitar passage.

The clock then ticks for You Never Will where the initial bass line gives its place to some 'happy' vocal melodies which assist the track to flow in a highly pleasant atmosphere; the same happens in the more adventurous Born Brilliant where a 3/4 tempo is dominant. One of the most mature and complete pieces of music I lately experienced is Harvest of Souls, which is possibly the best epic this band has produced. This is a perfect way of ending the album, which although lasting more than 24 minutes, does not lack interest at any point. In my opinion, it can be (musically, lyrically and qualitatively) compared with symphonic epics of Genesis or Yes. Breaks, music variations and speed alterations comprise this gem, which is highly recommended for all prog fans.

Two features (among others) really drew my attention to this record: Firstly, the excellent lyrics combined with the ironic way sung, and secondly, the structure of the record that starts with a semi-epic, continues with three relatively short tracks that lead to a final lengthy track which (intentionally) represents the highlight. It would have been unfair to rate this album with less than 4.5 stars, being the most complete work of IQ till now.

Oh, and don't forget: the hand of God defends America. hahaha.

aapatsos | 5/5 |


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