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IQ - The Seventh House  CD (album) cover

THE SEVENTH HOUSE

IQ

 

Neo-Prog

4.04 | 449 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars IQ's first album in the new millennium is a great transition album from the concept album Subterranea and to a more traditional sound from the band. That's the one problem with this band, is that there really is no diversity in the sound. Not that that is a major problem, it just can get bothersome at times. What you'll find here is intricate and technical instrumental passages coupled with strong and sensibly written vocal sections (essentially what I wrote in my last review for Ever). You'll find great musicianship from all members of the group, and you'll find smart and well crafted lyrics from Peter Nichols. In the end, though, this album leaves me a bit cold as they don't really have any real invention on this album, it sounds pretty much like a copy of Ever (the album released before Subterranea.

The Wrong Side of Weird begins with some very spacey synthesizer samples. This adds some diversity to their sound, for the most part. The main riff is nice, but I feel like I've heard it before. Now there isn't really anything wrong with this 12 minute epic, it's just that this album sounds a lot like the ones that preceded it. A cool heavy riff comes around the 7 minute mark, and it shows that IQ aren't all about synthy space atmospheres, but almost metal like sections, as well. Erosion is a keyboard driven song, Orford creating anxious synth textures and Nichols giving an emotional vocal performance. Add a nice Mike Holmes guitar solo and you have yourself the song at hand. The Seventh House is the longest song on this album, running at a total of 14:26. It begins with a nice 12 string guitar theme from Mike Holmes and some hammering piano chords from Orford. Around the 3rd minute, a guitar driven riff comes in that is similar to many past riffs IQ has written. In the end, the first half of the album is a mixture of mainly old IQ with some newer ideas that come full circle in Dark Matter.

The second half of the album begins with Zero Hour. The intro bass and drum duet is countered with a nice piano chord progression. The lead guitar theme here is quite dynamic and really makes good use of the frets. A spacey middle section complete with mixed percussion shows more attempts at diversity from the band, but it's not enough to really make it sound all that different. Another dynamic guitar solo fills out the rest of the song. Shooting Angels begins with some atmospheric sound effects and a spacey guitar solo reminiscent of Shine on You Crazy Diamond, and soon another guitar based riff is played. The unison between the bass and guitar is well played. The lyrics on this song are well written and I really enjoy Nichols vocals on this song. A rather clichéd saxophone is featured on this track, often given a bit of a forced performances during the instrumental sections. Guiding Light ends the album with a 10 minute piece that goes through a wide array of emotions. From quiet piano based sections to a rocking outro, this song ends the album well. It seems that IQ really know how to end an album, as all of their albums end very well.

In the end, this isn't a bad album at all, but it is essentially a rehash of old ideas and old sounds from the group. New sounds could be heard in some of the songs, but there are not enough to really show that the band has evolved over time. Luckily, Dark Matter was a step in the right direction and the group improved in almost every aspect on this album. But I'm not talking about Dark Matter, I'm talking about the Seventh House, a good album, but by no means IQ's best. 3.5/5.

Cygnus X-2 | 3/5 |

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