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IQ - The Seventh House  CD (album) cover

THE SEVENTH HOUSE

IQ

 

Neo-Prog

4.03 | 451 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Seventh Heaven

Having rediscovered their true identity with "Ever" and followed it up with with the sublime concept album "Subterranea", IQ took some three years to release another album. "Seventh house", the band's first album of the 21st century, sees the band returning to an orthodox single disc of six individual tracks.

The opening 12+ minute "The Wrong Side Of Weird" is surprisingly energetic, with flying synths and a pounding rhythm being the dominant features. The track has everything which makes for a first rate symphonic prog (neo-prog) epic, while offering music genuinely in keeping with the mew millennium.

"Erosion" is a bit of an oddity, sounding at first like an extract from a Lloyd Webber/Rice musical. While it is a decent enough song, it is for me the weak point of an otherwise first rate album. The title track is the longest on the album, running to over 14 minutes. The song is very much in the fine tradition of IQ's epic pieces, building from a gentle acoustic start to a majestic wall of sound with appealing vocal harmonies.

After the controlled excess of "The seventh house", "Zero hour" offers something lighter, the delightful melody being the stand out feature of this comparatively straightforward song. The track also benefits from a fine saxophone solo by Tony Wright and an excellent lead guitar solo by Mike Holmes. "Shooting Angels" begins with a deceptively soft intro, before bursting into a plodding power rock song with an incessant, heavy backbeat. The song manages to stay on the right side of adequate, but along with "Erosion" is a song which would not be missed too much were it not present.

The album closes with "Guiding light", a song which reminds me in passing of the similarly titled "Fading lights" by Genesis. That reference is really only in terms of the track's outline structure, starting slowly and serenely and building to an extended synth driven instrumental section and concluding with a vocal reprise. It is certainly a wonderful song, and a fitting end to a classic neo-prog album.

Overall, there is enough truly excellent material here to warrant recommending this as a first class album. Admittedly there are a couple of tracks which do not further the cause of the album too well, but even these are enjoyable enough so that they do not actually spoil the album. For me, "Subterranea" is the more complete and indeed better album of the two, but "The seventh house" remains a top rate album.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |

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