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IQ - Dark Matter CD (album) cover





4.04 | 926 ratings

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4 stars I love this album, but something holds me back from awarding 5 stars. It may be that no real ground is being broken here, nothing new is being presented to the listerner. Maybe, that is unfair in itself, because what IQ have produced here is a brilliant progressive rock album. Nothing more, nothing less. It may have its ample share of Gabriel -isms, but there is no faulting the songs. They are passionate, well performed and well produced. The lyrics are intense and quite dark - Pete Nicholls is a master at this.

The opening track 'Sacred sound' had me sitting up and paying close attention right away. Superb Hammond organ work throughout, surrounding by melodic guitar licks, in some instances very Hackett like, and some unforgettable vocal melodies. The song almost brought tears to my eyes in the middle section, where nicholls accompaied by just a keyboard and a distant sounding bell, sings : 'Night falling, gathers at my heels, fear creeps along the cavalcade..' When you hear this bit you'll know what I'm talking about.

'Red dust shadow' is a poignant song, and continues the albums thread of melancholy, laced with bitterness. The song 'Born Brilliant' has a very sharp and cold edge to it. Nicholls lists all his personal failiures in a musical collage of self doubt. It's like Morissey meats Fish in a head on collision! The result is a song that grabs your attention and screams into your face. The back bone of the song is its robust though irregular rhythm, behind walls of swirling choral keyboard sounds and Nicholls acidic voice.

'Harvest of souls' closes this fine album. At almost 25 minutes, I will not attempt to disect this song into its componant parts. Suffice to say its an epic, and very topical. It forsees the fall of America, and bemoans all that the US could have been. The song has episodes of anger, and some moments of great sadness which are penned brilliantly by this underrated band. What a great thing it is to see a band penning an epic track like this in 2004. It gives one hope!!

Brilliant album. Highly recommended.

Blacksword | 4/5 |


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