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IQ - Dark Matter CD (album) cover





4.03 | 863 ratings

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5 stars I got this CD very late when all of you have got it. Pity me, I live in "rest of the world" so I got it late. This is the fastest I could get because I am lucky that my friend, Tom Malik, went to US couple weeks ago. So I got my order shipped to his hotel in Maryland. (Thanks, amazon! Great service!) Tom is one of my prog gurus in my home country. He was so lucky that he attended the CALIFONIA PROG FEST a few weeks ago and had a chance to be photographed with NEAL MORSE! Uuughhh .. What a great experience hah ..??? ----

SUMMARY. Thanks God! IQ is still consistent with their music direction. This is what Marillion should have done. They should consistent with the kind of music they played since their birth. Even with great vocal quality of Hogarth and great musicianship of instrumentalists, they actually can outperform IQ. Unfortunately, they are too proud with "just" Marbles album which is way below Dark Matter standard, I would say. Marillion is too explorative and at the end came up with an unclear musical direction. Hold on .. why should I discuss Marillion with IQ? Two reasons: 1. the two were born around the same period when music industry was highly dominated by new wave / punk, and 2. they started their career in the same vein that later was called as neo- progressive rock. So, for these two reasons, it does make sense to compare between the two. At early stage of their career, I definitely loved MARILLION more than IQ. I had been totally Marillionized! . until Fish left the band. When Hogarth came in, I am just "so and so" with Marillion - it depends on my mood. The case is significantly different with IQ. By the passage of time this band has perfected their music. I think the band reached its peak and "stabilized" with their music when they released EVER. Onwards, they always produced great albums overall!! EVER, SUBTERRANEA, THE SEVENTH HOUSE and DARK MATTER are all great albums. I don't mean their previous albums were not good. I like 'em as well.

DARK MATTER is a masterpiece. Is it too na´ve? No no no..!! I have a compelling reason for this statement. The first time I listened to their concept album SUBTERRANEA I experienced almost the same thing. I sensed that the album would be a masterpiece. Indeed it is, because having been enjoying Subterranea many years I still get my adrenalin boosted when I spin the CD. Now, I feel amazed with DARK MATTER as I feel like in the journey of experiencing great music with deep, touchy and memorable melodies! I could not stand having my heart cries (uh . what is it?) with wonderful melody these guys have created in many musical segments of this album! You MUST experience yourself! BUY THIS CD! (Hey, I have no financial interest at all with the band. In fact I am not the registered fan of the band. Nicholls, Jowitt, Orford, Holmes or Cook never know my name at all. But .. I am their great fan! I love what they have been doing so far. Hope they will never "marbles" themselves .)

SACRED SOUND (11:40) takes my sense by surprise, the first time I listened to it. It starts with a church organ sound in the vein of "Watcher of The Skies". (Don't get me wrong, the band does not copy Genesis at all. When I refer to "Watcher ." it's just the musical nuance. No melody is alike.) This opening organ is so relieving. It reminds me being on the beach, laying my body to the sand and turns IQ music and enjoy. This track seems flat at the beginning. The music flows with great keyboard sound accompanying Nicholls singing. Sometimes Holmes guitar sound fills in between vocal melody. The guitar part is in the same style as IQ music; it's stunning. The interlude part is wonderful (especially in minute 9:00 onwards); excellent keyboard and guitar. This interlude really kills me! It's so fascinating!! (especially if you play it LOUD). RED DUST SHADOW (5:53) is opened with a soft acoustic guitar rhythm with keyboard sound at background. Nicholls voice enters the scene nicely ..""Lights are out on Neon Drive .". The melody part is stunning when Nicholls sings "I see the red dust shadows .." and it reaches its peak, melody-wise, at part when short instrumental part after he ends "Words can't bring you back" with simple guitar melody. The song brings us to another peak again when Nicholls sings "Tears I've tried .". What surprise me is at the end part of this track there is a mellotron (or the like) sound dominating the music; the same nuance of early KING CRIMSON. It's a great ballad song.

YOU NEVER WILL (4:54) flows seamlessly from previous track. It has more upbeat teampo with, again, great melody. The organ sound accentuates the musical nuance of this track. The interlude part at minute 3:00 is stunning: perfect harmony of keyboard and guitar sounds.

BORN BRILLIANT (5:20) may create a perception to you that this is similar to Genesis as the beats used in this track is similar to "Foxtrot"; to be specific is "Supper's Ready". It's up to you, but I think this track is definitely excellent. I especially like the solo keyboard and guitar in the middle of the track. I tend to play this track LOUDly. It's an amazing track with great ending (keyboard sound).

HARVEST OF SOULS (24:29) is en epic track with great acoustic guitar fills and vocals at intro part. Again, you may perceive the structure is of similar with the opening part of "Supper's Ready" .."Walking across the sitting room I turn my television off .". I don't blame you on this, especially on the acoustic guitar part. Luckily, the melody is much more nice here and it's more mellow. When the music enters second part "The Wrong Host" starting Nicholls sings "The sky lights up above America" . wow .. I like the organ (which sounds like a "boiling water") accompanying vocal. Really great piece here. The song moving up to higher tempo in this second part with stunning instrumentation sounds (just before Nicholls sings "I've walked a million miles .."). Well, this epic track deserves more deep review, actually. I would not do it here as you may have thought that this review is too long already.

OVERALL this album has great songwriting, composition, musicianship and good production. Production quality is not as excellent as SUBTERRANEA. That's why I just put "good" not excellent. However, buy this CD! It's a neo progressive rock to the corner, my friend! Gatot Widayanto, Indonesia

Gatot | 5/5 |


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