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IQ - Subterranea CD (album) cover





3.98 | 717 ratings

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4 stars Here's the 100th rating for this album. No less than four stars! I first heard this in 2000, around the time when I was very willing to find some new prog bands but was disillusioned time after time by the stuff that the library databases categorized as prog. Most of it was simply too close to heavy for my taste. IQ was musically something that immediately responded to my idea of how a Neo Prog band should sound like. Clarity of sounds (keyboards dominating but far from OVER-dominating), melodic rollercoaster rides, compositions that are suitably catchy without cheesiness, and most of all, music clearly identified as PROG, descending from Yes, Genesis, Camel, ELP... And remembering that my path into Prog went via MARILLION and backwards from them, it's easy to see why IQ caught my interest. In a sense IQ seemed to modernize the same classic Prog vocabulary as Fish-era Marillion had done; if GENESIS had steered into more ambitious (Neo) Prog in the 80's instead of pop dominance, they might have produced music reminiscent of IQ's.

Well, there was a negative side to my delight. It took a while before Peter Nicholls' somewhat nasal voice stopped annoying me. With PENDRAGON it was the same, but slightly different: I got more and more annoyed by Nick Barrett's singing STYLE, whereas Nicholls uses his own voice pretty well after all, and IQ wouldn't be IQ without his voice. It somehow suits to the overall sound.

There aren't any disastrous tracks here, though some I dislike a bit, only a small minority really. A bunch of instrumentals is the cherry on the top. From the prog's point of view the 20-minute closer Narrow Margin is a highlight without a doubt, but a good deal of the rest is just as fine, only with shorter running times. One of my personal favourites is the calm and mystic Sense In Sanity, followed seamlessly by a Banks-like instrumental burst State Of Mine. The total length of this 2-CD album is no more than 102 minutes, but I'm not going to say They Should Have Made It Into One Terrific Disc. In fact I would rather say so about the Tales Of The Topograpgic Oceans by YES, which does suffer from the so called dinosaur disease. Subterranea is a completely healthy baby, and one of the most recommendable albums of Neo Prog scene.

Matti | 4/5 |


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