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IQ - Dark Matter CD (album) cover





4.03 | 863 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars As an estimator of the most complex Progressive Music in the vein of After Crying, Isildurs Bane, Anglagard or stuff like that, you know that I don't like such English Neo- Prog very much, and this album actually deserves a "2 stars and an half" rating, as for the reason I like to explain in the following comments: the present issue by IQ is a derivative work, especially by considering the old atmosphere of the early prog in the eighties (from the UK or the USA),but the production is good and I can make an exception for such clever derivative works like this (the production of Glass Hammer is another example, for sure much better than this one, but it never minds): coming back to the present issue, honestly I don't appreciate their approach in all the circumstances, but you can recognizing their typical dark and romantic breaks through and this is already a coherent mood, if you regard of their last publications!! The album is characterized by five tracks,together composing fifty minutes of well produced music (and sometimes uneven too!!). Their repertoire is well balanced, nevertheless - despite of the vocals by Nicholls being as usual so much personal- the output is sometimes a bit repetitive..there are some good lyrics, often in the vein of their debut work, even though the use of old synths doesn't help us to change idea!!

Besides the opener track - "Sacred Sound"- is in the vein of such Art Rock stuff of the early eighties, sometimes resembling the "Crimsonian" sound (talking about the guitars) which is remarkable, but without the same result...the organ sound doesn't captivate me and therefore this is a sort of tribute to their old famous track "the Enemy Smacks"!! Well this is not a work in progress,as a matter of fact they are exploring their past here!!But it never minds, cause their taste is acceptable!! Then I remark the controversial song " Red Dust Shadow ", which makes me fall asleep (as well as it's established for the main character of the story),despite of finding a pretty acoustic guitar within, and an intelligent gentle atmosphere too. Sometimes this style is in the vein of a few songs by Pink Floyd, in the era of "Dark Side Of The Moon", but I don't like the Organ sound very fact once again Martin Orford has chosen to come back to his roots! However I can accept this new controversial emulation, like that following one: "You never will", which is resembling the style of S. Hackett here; and despite of a clock, disturbing me just a bit, it becomes interesting,as long as the track " Next Born Brilliant" partially makes me change idea.By regarding their hammering bass- enriched with a "retro-sound" (Mellotron) and some radio voices as well into the final section, this time I stay listening to them: but this effect reminds me of the same radio effect into "Script for a Jester's" by Marillion, and actually there was a more original "radio pitch adjustment" inside this album in comparison to the invention by IQ: so all these reasons are pushing me to express a more critical opinion, after a repetitive listening!! Finally the last suite, "Harvest Of Souls",which is twenty-five minutes long, and my patience is coming to an end!!. This epic number is not their attempt to "beat" the glory of Supper's Ready by Genesis, but anyway, by means of such 70's instrumentation like the Hammond, the Mellotron and the analogical synths (seldom replaced by the digital modern ones),their music crescendo brings the listener to the pleasant guitar solo... this latter is not performed in the intelligent manner of "Ever", where Holmes looked for some more personal harmonic solutions, but once again it never minds!! Probably "Ever" remains as their most personal and original album of the nineties, talking about their recent production, even though I don't get crazy for this operation, sometimes reducing our progressive genre to the melodic mainstream genre (fortunately in a few circumstances only!!)

However I give their quality production a 3 stars rating, also for such usual aggressive breaks through, but as a derivative work it seldom takes off and the score remains inferior...actually they have failed in a few and already listened music passages, because - unlike "Ever" or also "Subterranea" (even though honestly also these latter sometimes are a bit repetitive and boring...), their effort to work in progress does not continue and the production was much more modern inside those albums; but that was another story...

lor68 | 3/5 |


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