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IQ - Ever CD (album) cover

EVER

IQ

 

Neo-Prog

4.05 | 441 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars IQ's album Ever ushered in the return of Peter Nichols to the lineup after a brief hiatus in the late 80s (in which they recorded two albums with a different vocalist, Nonzamo and Are You Sitting Comfortably?). This album also ushered in a return to the more progressive IQ, as their previous two efforts were more mainstream oriented and they lost the edge that they once had. What you can expect from this album is intricate and technical instrumental passages coupled with well timed and well executed vocal sections to create some of the most complex neo prog out there. The entire band shines, from the lush and melodic solos of Mike Holmes, to the keyboard wizardry of Martin Orford, to the precise and superb bass playing of John Jowitt, and to the technical and lush drumming of Paul Cook. This album is not their best, but it certainly is not their worst.

The Darkest Hour opens the album strong with some solid riffing in 7/8 and some great keyboard textures from Orford. Once Nichols voice enters the song, the listener can already hear the old IQ come back. Add some solid guitar arpeggios from Holmes and some solid drumming from Cook. The chorus breakdown is a nice mixture of solid bass textures and some great synthesizer lines from Orford. Expect some solid and intricate instrumental sections for the rest of the 10 minutes, it's surely worth it. Fading Senses is a nice acoustic guitar driven tune. The grand piano also has a great theme, and the bass line is very well written. The middle of the song is where the group finally all kicks in. Mike Holmes gives a very dynamic guitar solo here before a strong chord based riff is presented. Martin Orford then gets his chance to show his skill and gives a very spacey keyboard solo before a strong keyboard based ascending riff is played.

Out of Nowhere fades in with a strong 7/4 riff before a guitar based riff is played under Nichols vocal. This is one of the poppier tracks on the album, but none the less it is a strong song. Further Away is the second epic of the album, clocking in at around 14 minutes. A very keyboard based introduction is augmented with a fitting flute motif compliment of Martin Orford. Jowitt really shines during this introduction, giving a dynamic bass performance that couples well with the swells of Mike Holmes' guitar. Strong riffs in 6/4 that sounds reminiscent of one of the themes in Born Brilliant (or is it the other way around?). This is the opus of the album, with a spectacular closing instrumental section that really showcases the skills of Mike Holmes.

Leap of Faith features some creative Holmes riffing and a more Marillion circa Script For a Jester's Tear sound in terms of atmosphere. A strong 7/8 riff is played the 3:30 mark; man do IQ love the time signature 7/8. The reprisal of a riff from The Darkest Hour is played here; this riff I speak of is in 5/8. Came Down closes the album with a melodic Mike Holmes solo and some very epic lyrics from Nichols. In the end, themes from the rest of the album are presented and played very effectively, giving the album a fitting ending.

Overall, Ever was IQ's return to the status quo. They hit the mark again with this album and there's not much I can fault this album with, except that there really is no real invention in IQ's sound. But other than that, there is not a lot to dislike about this album. 4.5/5.

Cygnus X-2 | 4/5 |

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