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FREQUENCY

IQ

 

Neo-Prog

4.13 | 637 ratings

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Roland113
3 stars In My Not So Humble Opinion:

"Frequency" by IQ was disappointing at best. I'm sorry IQ, I'm sorry friends of IQ, but this was not one of their best efforts.

Let me start by saying that this was my most anticipated release of the year, I love IQ. I dutifully preordered the special bonus pack, complete with DVD and eagerly awaited its arrival. I had seen a minute or two of IQ performing "Frequency", the song, on YouTube and was eagerly excited by the prospect of more. "Frequency" sounded so different from IQ's other material, it had an edge, a bit of hardness to it that I wasn't used to. I was especially excited as I was starting to notice too many similarities in the other IQ CD's that I had (Dark Matter, The Seventh House, Subterranea and Ever).

There is one constant positive throughout the CD. Michael Holmes sounds wonderful on this CD. The tone of his guitar is reminiscent of Daryl Stuermer's work with Genesis, wonderfully haunting. It is nice to hear him come to the forefront with the departure of Martin Orford (yes, I know he still wrote some of the songs for this CD, but you get my point). One other positive, the artwork is IQ's best in my opinion. The kids with the remote controls and the radio towers strike a chord with me.

So the CD started out with "Frequency" and I was underwhelmed, they had over compressed the beginning. I was expecting this bright and powerful opening and the sound was unfortunately muted and muddled. By the one and a half minute mark, the over compression had taken a back seat to the lead guitar and keys, but sadly, that first moment of disappointment lingered. The rest of the song is beautiful, with Peter Nichols voice sounding more soulful than usual, still beautiful though.

"Life Support" shows the amazing drumming of Andy Edwards and "Stronger than Friction" follows as a typical IQ song. It'd be great on most other band's albums, but it's a bit predictable to me. John Jowitt is solid on this and shows some particularly tasty chops at about the seven minute mark.

"One Fatal Mistake" does nothing for me.

"Riker Skies" is the best song on the album, the vocal run at the two minute mark gives me goose bumps. Peter Nichols doubles himself, with a low effect laden voice almost drowning out his normal voice. 'Almost' is an important designation as the higher voice, adds the touch that makes it so eerie. Mark Westworth also plays a very tasteful solo at the three minute and fifty second mark.

"The Province" is every Genesis and IQ song wrapped into one. Imagine "The Cinema Show" meets "The Knife" meets "The Seventh House" meets "The Narrow Margin" meets "Harvest of Souls" meets "Supper's Ready". Unfortunately, it's already been done. They even start the cliché ending at the nine minute forty second mark. You can hear the ending of "The Seventh House" start, until apparently the band heard the same thing and decided they should change something. So they added an off chord, changed the timing a little. Sorry guys, the 'Supper's Ending' really isn't working anymore and the attempt to disguise is just sounds awkward here.

Finally they ended the CD with "Closer" effectively reprising the "One Fatal Mistake" theme that did nothing for me the first time. I'm sorry to say that unlike wine and leftover spaghetti sauce, it did not improve with time.

All in all, it's an ok CD. If it's your first IQ CD it's probably great and I don't have a problem with that. I think anyone who is into good symphonic will absolutely love their first IQ CD regardless of which one they pick up. After a few CDs though, they start to sound the same. Have you noticed that all of the IQ CD's with Peter Nichols CD's are rated between 3.86 and 4.11 (at the time of writing). For seven CD's, that's not much of a spread. I can't speak for the first two, but the reason the last five all have a similar rating is that they're the same album. I'll give examples when I get to Subterranea and Ever.

All in all, I was going to give this one a two star rating, but it jumps to 3 stars thanks to "Ryker Skies", Michael Holmes' guitar work and the look of the package.

Roland113 | 3/5 |

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