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IQ - Dark Matter CD (album) cover

DARK MATTER

IQ

 

Neo-Prog

4.01 | 648 ratings

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Bonnek
Special Collaborator
Prog Metal Team
2 stars When I started to listen to Dark Matter it befell me as a nice surprise, I remember my growing frustration with IQ when I listened to some of their albums in the 80's. They didn't remind me at all of Marillion. Formally yes, but I didn't hear any of the passion and superb song writing that characterized Marillion.

On Dark Matter they haven't really shed off their Genesis and Marillion influences but at least they sound link a band that is comfortable with the way it sounds. (I admit, that's a bit of a dubious compliment, I guess every artist feels that way). What I meant is that they don't sound too pushy to obtain a certain sound but look as if they just do what they like. (Even if that is imitating other bands:)

The music has potential enough though. They opted for a rather organic sound mixed with lush keyboards and those typical melodious guitar leads. But my main issue with this album would actually be the vocals. I miss heart and soul in the voice; the melodies are rather predictable and slightly winy, I'd really want some more conviction and personality there. I also find that they are rather loud in the mix, but that's a minor quibble and probably just because I don't like them all that much.

The opening track is Sacred Sound is really enjoyable and is as good as neo-prog gets. For Red Dust Shadow they even picked up a trick or two from Porcupine Tree. 4 stars so far but I sinks in quickly now. You Never Will is a faceless ballad, despite nicking half of the opening riff from Gong. The Ayreon-modelled Born Brilliant is the last bright flicker before the album is soaked up by the black hole called Harvest of Souls.

Until the 25 minute epic Harvest of Souls, the album still had a good option for 3 stars. But there are too many things wrong here: the opening is soaked in poppy sentimentalism, around minute 6 minutes it gets slightly better, but the vocal melodies are still too average. The instrumental part between minute 10 and 12 is pretty good though. But as the track progresses, my clone-alert is gradually pushed to its limits. A section like between minute 18 and 20 is simply too derivative and fails to add anything to the original it is mocked-up from.

The problem is not that originality is a must for me. I can appreciate imitative artists, but then they should at least be as good as the example and preferably develop their own sound, exactly as Marillion or ─nglagard did. Besides, IQ also lacks the gift to write truly remarkable melodies. Within the neo-prog field this must be a good album but I'm afraid I can't see any reason to recommend this to anyone but the fans. 2.5 stars.

Bonnek | 2/5 |

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