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DARK MATTER

IQ

 

Neo-Prog

4.01 | 652 ratings

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Roland113
Prog Reviewer
3 stars In My Not So Humble Opinion:

"Dark Matter" by IQ is another CD showing us where Genesis could have gone had they remained progressive.

"Dark Matter" was the second IQ CD that I picked up and my initial thought was 'well, this is ok, but not as good as "The Seventh House", I wonder why this one has such high ratings'. Or something like that. A year later, my initial though is bearing fruit as both CD's are have the same ratings (4.02 for both "Dark Matter" and "The Seventh House" at the time of this writing).

I'll offer a few general comments before I get into the blow by blow. The rhythm section of John Jowitt and Paul Cook really gelled for this release. I would say this is the best IQ album in terms of the rhythm section. Peter Nichols sounds a bit gruffer on this release, though I don't mean that as a bad thing. I think his tone is great.

"Dark Matter" starts out with Martin Orford's ominous strings building the sense of suspense, before a pipe organ lead comes appears along with a jaunting 7/8 beat. I don't normally like pipe organ leads as they just don't have enough attack for a rhythm passage. For the non-musicians, with a slow attack sound like a pipe organ, there is a time of build up from when the key is pressed until the full volume is reached as opposed to the instant gratification of a fast attack sound such as a trumpet. Mr. Orford most likely cut down the attack on a typical pipe organ with great results as the organ sets the tone for pretty much the whole song. As mentioned before, the rhythm section is 'spot on 'on this one, some of the things that Misters Jowitt and Cook do at the nine minute mark are just plain sick (and by sick, I mean highly intricate and syncopated).

"Red Dust Shadow" is a fairly nondescript ballad, though Peter Nichols sounds very good in this one. The Mellotron lead at the end of the track does very little for me. "You Never Will" is another Genesis sounding tune, heavy with Mellotron. Like "Red Dust Shadow", this song doesn't really stand out as anything overly special, though it's certainly not unlistenable.

I like "Brilliant Liars", though in all honesty, it's musically about as intriguing as the previous two tracks. The lyrics, which aren't usually something I care about, are really good for this song. "I'm selfish and insensitive, I'm rotten to the core, pretentious and derivative, you've seen it all before". It makes a bold statement. The song itself has a beat reminiscent of "Apocalypse in 9/8" (Genesis, subdivision of "Supper's Ready") though they dropped three / eighths of it off. Mike Holmes does a nice dirty solo for about the last two minutes that shouldn't be missed.

. . . and now we come to the big epic ending. I'm sorry, but this is one of the less inspired of IQ's epics. I jokingly refer to it as "Harvest of Suppers" due to the extreme similarities to the previously mentioned "Supper's Ready" (SR) by Genesis. "Harvest of Souls" (HOS) starts off with an oddly familiar twelve string guitar arpeggio which goes as far as to start with the same exact note as SR. The soft guitar lasts for the first four minutes before it transitions to a more upbeat organ led part, again, similar to SR. If that's not enough, on SR the drums start at four minutes, twenty three seconds, on HOS, the drums appear at four minutes sixteen seconds. After about a minute, the upbeat part ends to return to another soft interlude followed by a chaotic section. Yes, the previous sentence applies to both songs. You get the point, both songs have a total stop in the middle, in SR it's just before "Willow Farms", in HOS it's just before the "Frame and Form" section, both at about the half way point of the song. The "Mortal Procession" section uses the same 6/8 rhythm as in "Born Brilliant" which again is a call back to "Apocalypse in 9/8". Finally, both pieces have the big ending, long drawn out chords and vocal climax. Basically, "Harvest of Souls" is an updated version of "Supper's Ready". Pardon me, but I prefer the original.

I'd love to rate this CD higher on the merits of "Sacred Sound" and "Born Brilliant" but unfortunately, a twenty four minute cover song coupled with two additional average tracks barely merits a three star rating for "Dark Matter".

Roland113 | 3/5 |

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