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IQ - The Seventh House CD (album) cover





4.00 | 607 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars When a band releases a work as brilliant as Subterranea, the only possible way is down, right? Wrong! The Seventh House builds on all that had gone before, adding new textures and ideas to come up with an album of the highest quality. There is instrumental virtuosity to match any other band, though noone dominates, even if Martin Orford's majestic keyboards are all over this. His interplays with Mike Holmes are majestic. Peter Nicholls shows once again why he's currently the best voice in prog (to the tone deaf individual who claimed recently in a review that he can't sing - he is the Classic Rock Society's current best vocalist, which says it all). But most important, there are beautiful melodies and tunes which you just can't help singing and humming over and over again - I find myself singing Guiding Light all the time.

The album kicks off with the epic Wrong Side of Wierd; from the keyboard intro, it goes through a variety of moods and tempos, with the first real highlight coming in a bass driven instrumental passage just after the 7 minute mark with repeats thereafter. However, the tempo rises at the 9 minute mark with a quite brilliant instrumental section, led by a short Mike Holmes solo. The band switch melodies and moods seamlessly and effortlessly. This track is worth the album price alone. Erosion has one of the finest keyboard intros ever before the vocals enter, Nicholls singing with great emotion and a wierd echo effect. Just after 3 minutes in, the mood and tempo changes to a much faster rock feel with a effects driven guitar solo before returning to the original mood at the end. The Seventh House is another epic about 2 soldiers who survive the horrors of the Great War of 1914-8 and meet later; the lyrics are poignant and the song complex and beautiful.

Zero Hour is a little known song which I have never heard on their live set, but WHAT a track. John Jowitt's fretless bass playing and Tony Wright's majestic sax complement the keyboards and acoustic guitar, but the lyrics are stunning "Zero hour, times are changing, count the seconds one by one, found a girl whose laughter turned me, round to face a brighter sun". The final section is more rocky with a truly glorious electric guitar solo. This is the best track on an album of truly exceptional tracks. Shooting Angels again has atmospheric keyboards at the start before a strange transition into a bass and drums driven rock section, with the sax soloing over the top at the end. The album ends with another of my favourites, Guiding Light. This is another poignant track about making difficult choices and consequent lost love - something I know all too well from personal experience. The opening section, with Peter Nicholls singing and Martin Orford accompanying on piano and synth, is gentle and beautiful. The song then becomes much harder and rockier, with stunning guitar and keyboard solos and interplays and some incredible drumming from the immaculate Paul Cook. The track finishes with another vocal section and a melody which I can't get out of my head.

This is one of the best albums I've ever heard; consistently excellent, beautifully composed and played to perfection. Beyond any doubt, it's another masterpiece from a band who seem able to produce them at will.

Hercules | 5/5 |


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