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IQ - Dark Matter CD (album) cover





4.03 | 864 ratings

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5 stars The old, ugly neo vs. whatever prog argument always raises its head when IQ album is up for review. This album appears to gave gained the most acclaim of all the group's albums because it sounds the most traditionally "prog" (meaning sorta sounds like Genesis or Yes). That may be so. The band's previous work was very "neo", meaning, I guess, more concise, very melodic songs that sound like an intellectual AOR. Those albums were enjoyable, but not amongst my favourites, although I really like "The Seventh House". Neo or not, "Dark Matter" finds IQ stepping up their game, big time, and maybe it is because of the more tradional 70s-ish sounds. The first 4, shorter tracks, are more typical IQ- intensely melodic pop tunes, with great keyboard textures from Orford. He really makes an impact on this album with a selection of vintage patches, of which I am happy to say mellotron is the most prominent. The lyrics are equally intense. Some don't like the vicious "Born Brilliant", but I think Nicholls' sharp analysis of a narcissistic personality is, well, brilliant. The album's crowning glory, however, is "Harvest of Souls", 25 minutes of searing criticism of the new post 9/11 world order. It works so well for me because the lyrics are still poetic, but current as well, showing that "prog" is not a dinosaur genre at all- contemorary commentary can be expressed beautifully through the medium of this music. And there are so many wonderful melodies packed into the piece that I can't even bother counting. The musicianship is awesome, and I could enjoy listening to the bass and drum interaction alone. Every moment counts, right down to Mike Holmes' awesome closing solo, a perfect emotional resolution worthy of Gilmour or Latimer. This was unquestionably album of the year for me, simply because every song is a pleasure, genre be damned.
Heptade | 5/5 |


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