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IQ - Dark Matter CD (album) cover





4.03 | 864 ratings

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3 stars Imagine this (admittedly unlikely) scenario: after the release of Seconds Out, Phil Collins left Genesis to concentrate on his solo career. Rutherford, Banks and Hackett recruited a new drummer and a Peter Gabriel styled vocalist and set about refining their 1970s musical style - the result would have sounded something like this. The guitar usually sounds like Hackett, the keyboards like Banks and the bass like Rutherford. Paul Cook plays drums in a more straightforward rock style than Collins, but acquits himself well.

This is my first IQ album. I've never been a great fan of neo prog, but this is a genuinely good album even if it is highly derivative - as well as the melange of Genesis influences there are elements of Pink Floyd's Welcome To The Machine and Yes's Gates of Delirium added to the recipe. The playing is solid and the writing is melodic and well crafted, without ever really becoming inspired, but there are no substandard tracks either. Thankfully, they avoid over reaching themselves, and they wisely leave out the kind of 'comedy' numbers that so frequently misfired on early Genesis and ELP albums. The 24 minute epic 'Harvest of Souls' could be 'Supper's Ready' part 2, but IQ are sufficiently accomplished writers and performers to pull it off.

Essentially, Dark Matter is the kind of album they don't make any more. It could have been recorded at any time in the last 25 years, but it's a more solid, well crafted and well produced album than any of their main inspirations have released in that time. If you're looking for an enjoyable slice of 70s style prog this is the CD for you, but don't expect any innovation or adventurousness.

Syzygy | 3/5 |


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