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IQ - The Road Of Bones CD (album) cover

THE ROAD OF BONES

IQ

 

Neo-Prog

4.25 | 1123 ratings

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PureViewer
5 stars 4.5 stars.

I actually thought I should rewrite this review. My primary review complained about the album not being dark, and heavy and gave it 2.5 stars, then 3 stars, then 4 stars!!! Well, I have to admit that this is indeed dark and heavy, but not straightly. It's the overall atmosphere that makes it so, not separate solos. Once I got familiar with Peter Nichols' voice and way of singing, the album grew on me. The opening track, "From The Outside In" builds around a cool guitar riff and remains heavy till the end. "The Road Of Bones" is a melancholic one with a great climax at the end. I think it's the best track on the album lyrically. "Without Walls" has beautiful keyboard works, ends happily after a climax with intense drumming (which may give you the feeling that the album is over, but it's not). "Ocean" is a calm track after all those ups and downs. And finally "Until The End", starts calmly, turns into heavy and then ends happily and clamly, which will keep most people satisfied.

The conclusion? The album has many beautiful moody moments. It may need some time to grow on you, but it surely is a strong and professional album with great musicianship and I can tell it's one of the best Neo-Prog works I have.

Why 4.5 stars? Well, it could be more dramatic and I feel that this is isn't as great as "Frequency". The main reason may be the lack of distinct solos.

And a little about the 2nd disc. The only track I like from it is Knucklehead. This track actually could be on the first CD. Has similar atmosphere and even lyrics (somehow). I didn't include the 2nd disc in the rating.

OLD REVIEW: This is my first review on ProgArchives. I started listening to Neo-Prog with "The Visitor" from Arena. After listening to their other works I went for Pendragon and listened to their latest album "Men Who Climb Mountains", and then their whole discography. As a big fan of Pendragon and Arena, I had high expectations from other Neo-Prog bands, including IQ. So I chose their latest and highest-rated album. As soon as I listened to the first track, "From The Outside In", I was hooked and thought that this would be one of my favourites because you know, I really like heavy, dark music.

But I was wrong ... The first two tracks, FTOI and "The Road of Bones" are good actually. I also like the first track on the 2nd disc, "Knucklehead". They transfer the mood well. Also "Without Walls" is not bad. But why don't I like the rest, or the whole album generally? Well, it goes back to my experience with heavy music + Arena and Pendragon. My main problem with this album is that it lacks thundering, bombastic guitar/keyboard solos. Take Arena's 2015 album, "The Unquiet Sky" for example. The keyboard solos in "Time Runs Out" add some very dark, heavy mood and really make the desperation of the narrator stand out. Also the vocals are in sync with that. In contrast, the vocals on The Road of Bones seem to be relaxed and lacking excitement. So are the guitar and keyboard. Another thing to mention is the Peter Nicholls' way of singing. It has too many pauses. It's not fluent. And that's because of the lyrics. They seem to be put forciblely in the songs' structures.

2.5 stars from me.

EDIT: The more I listen to the tracks mentioned (excluding "Without Walls"), the more I love them. "Knucklehead" is my most favourite and I can't decide between "From The Outside In" and "The Road of Bones". Notable moments are 1:35 in FTOI where the electric guitar starts roaring, the sudden kick of keyboards+drums in 6:25 of "The Road of Bones", the addition of atmospheric keyboards in the last storming of "Knucklehead" + when he sings "toll-taking, core-shaking". Also I highly praise the lyrics of "The Road of Bones". They're just powerful. 3 solid stars.

EDIT2: I have to admit I underestimated "Without Walls". Add this to the playlist, and the album deserves 4 stars.

PureViewer | 5/5 |

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