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IQ - Frequency CD (album) cover





4.10 | 843 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars If I had to make a comparison between IQ's 2009 offering and a classic progressive rock artist, I would urge all fans of early Steve Hackett to seek out this album. That isn't to say that the band is in any way plagiarizing anything- the IQ sound is still present- I just feel that's an accurate comparison given the instrumentation, guitar tones, and arrangements. Ultimately this is a stately and respectable album- a must have for fans of the genre and definitely for those pleased with IQ's work this decade.

"Frequency" A simple, hard-rocking riff with a Kashmir-eqsue rhythm underlain with Mellotron paves a solid foundation for the first guitar and synthesizer solos on the album. Electric piano and weepy guitar come forth after that, giving way to the welcome vocals. The rest of the song is at once heavy and majestic, with that airy Mellotron hovering in the background.

"Life Support" Gorgeous piano is enveloped by airy pads just before the thoughtful vocals enter. I think the drums deserve some praise, as I found that's what I tend to concentrate on even during a masterful guitar solo; all in all, the instrumental section of this song hearkens back to Steve Hackett's darker solo material from the early days.

"Stronger than Friction" I've made this comparison before (not for this band), but the introduction to this song sounds quite a bit like music from Mega Man X, an old series created for the Super Nintendo (and, as I've mentioned before, there's nothing wrong with that at all- music created for certain video game titles is brilliant- I can just imagine running through a level as the blue bomber and blasting everything that gets in the way). Almost halfway through, the piece changes shape, assuming an unassuming, light guitar and soft synthesizer, again sounding like early Steve Hackett. While not flawless, this is a full and mighty composition, boasting that perfect blend of variety and consistency.

"One Fatal Mistake" This piece sounds like one of the post-Neal Morse ballads from Spock's Beard. For something so simple and low-key, it's a wonderful song.

"Ryker Skies" Thick acoustic guitar cuts through an airy atmosphere; in a way it reminds me of "Fly on a Windshield" by Genesis even though the two songs are quite different. I don't particularly care for this track as much, since it is too electronic-based and rather generic in several respects. There is a fantastic organ interlude; however, it's stay is far too brief. To compensate, there's some fabulous synthesizer work toward the end.

"The Province" The longest track on the album begins with picked acoustic guitar and gentle synthesizer. It gets suddenly heavier, with lots of thundering chords and drums. Just before the second half commences, a sinister organ and electric guitar bit takes over, introducing a new vocal melody, effectively keeping the song fresh. I think the synthesizer tone during the big solo is really different, but fitting at the same time. The final minute consists of gentle piano and soothing vocals. I believe the piece could have been trimmed down if some of the dross had been cut out, but overall, it's a brilliant work, although not as a good as any of the first three.

"Closer" Bright guitar begins the final, uplifting track. It's a feel-good and mostly gentle (though upbeat) track, and a fine closer.

Epignosis | 4/5 |


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