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IQ - The Seventh House CD (album) cover





4.01 | 672 ratings

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3 stars (7/10)

After the magnum opus of "Subterranea" in 1995, and a 1998 re-recording of early material ("Seven Stories Into 98"), IQ entered the new millennium in the year 2000 with "The Seventh House". This album sees IQ further modernising their sound, though it is probably closer in sound to "Ever" than "Subterranea". Out of IQ's impressive catalogue, I've never quite got into this one as much. It's still decent, there are some good moments, and it is fairly consistent. However, compare "The Seventh House" to the album that preceded it ("Subterranea") and the album that followed it ("Dark Matter"), and it pales a little in comparison.

The music is a bit lighter than on "Subterranea". The songs are more accessible, but still undeniably proggy, and I can understand those who enjoy this album more than I do. IQ's signature sound is still stamped unmistakably on this album, though a few modern twist are thrown in (eg the percussion in "Shooting Angels"). One thing that I should definitely note is that there are moments on this record where Peter Nicholls voice is truly stunning. By this album, he had developed such control over his voice that I could barely believe it. Just listen to "Erosion" or "Guiding Light". The emotive purity of his voice really shines on these two songs. "Guiding Light" in particular I would single out; Peter Nicholls really bring the lyrics to life here. Mike Holmes, likewise, has some very memorable moments on the guitar scattered throughout the album, I just wish there were more.

In addition to playing guitar, Mike Holmes also produced the album. This is the first one where I would say he did an especially good job, and the production values (as with many things) of IQ continue to improve to this day. Mike Holmes has always understood how to blend sounds together (on guitar and production-wise) in a subtle way when necessary, and how to be more explosive in other instances. This is probably why he does such a good job, and it helps give the shorter tracks depth they otherwise would not have had.

By comparison "The Wrong Side Of Weird", though building through some quite big sections, doesn't really strike me in quite the same immediate way. It doesn't have quite the same power of previous long IQ songs. There is still plenty to enjoy in the long songs though. John Jowitt plays some really good bass for one, and for another there is a quite epic feeling to the longer songs. The title track of "The Seventh House" is a definite winner, with a fittingly large sounding finale.

There are some really catchy sections on all of these songs, some misses, but mostly pleasing. So a good album indeed. I give it 3, nearly 4 stars. In fact I don't really have anything especially bad to say about it, except that it doesn't quite reach the same dizzy heights of other IQ releases. I can recommend this to someone interested in IQ who hasn't heard it yet. Just make sure to check out the more important albums first.

ScorchedFirth | 3/5 |


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