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IQ - Frequency CD (album) cover





4.10 | 911 ratings

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4 stars "Frequency" is the most recent release by neo-proggers, IQ, and the first of their albums to join the ranks of my CD collection. It was one of the purchases I made during what clearly became a record-setting year for me in CD purchases and music exploration, largely due to the influence of this very site. Now, as a person who desperately needs to diet, I have put myself under a strict CD purchasing regime that I intend to adhere to lest the wife find out and confiscate the bank book and seize my earnings. But on with the album review.

It opens with "Frequency" and within the first couple of minutes the stage is set for what promises to be a very good album. There's a great instrumental intro with Mellotrone, synthesizer atmospherics, and heavy guitar. A recorded news report speaks about the first atomic bomb drop: "The first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base". I wonder at the irony of the reporter trying to justify the dropping of an atomic bomb by saying that Hiroshima was a military base, as if people should feel better not knowing about the hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths and casualties. Did IQ pick up on this? The mood goes gentle with electric piano as the vocals begin, but the heaviness returns later. The vocals are smooth and very pleasing. There are some great keyboard sections and the drumming intense. The song maintains an odd beat that is very hard to tap your foot to. Overall, this song is already the first stand out track from the album. But more's to come.

"Life Support" is slow and gentle with nice piano and synthesizer. It's not too long but good music. You'll notice drummer Andy Edwards cannot be content maintaining a plain beat. He keeps breaking out in shuffling fills in spite of the song's slow tempo.

"Stronger than Friction" is a multipart song that changes pace and mood. There are gentle parts and aggressive parts. The band makes good use of their instruments and sounds and styles. The drumming again is remarkable. Fills, eruptions, quick shuffles. Like a drum solo put to a song.

"One Fatal Mistake" actually begins as "Friction" fades out but the track change occurs when Friction has completely faded. Slow acoustic guitar, piano, and synth. Very pretty. It's a relatively short song that segues into "Ryker Skies" with aethereal synth and a synth choir. Clean electric guitar joins. There is a lot of praise for this song by some but good as it is, I always lose concentration while this plays. It still is good as I listen to it now, making notes for my review. Nice organ, electronic effects, heavy beat. Some outstanding moments. On the strength of this song I would have bought the album, even though it is the least memorable for me.

"The Province" is quite likely the highlight of the album and the longest track at over 13 minutes, though I find it difficult to declare it the highlight with so much good music elsewhere on the album. There's an acoustic beginning that evolves into a great epic with many changes in tempo and mood. Intense heavy parts with Hammond organ offset the acoustic sections. It could be my favourite track though others are also really enjoyable to me.

The album's closer is "Closer" (as in I am now closer to buying another IQ album than I ever was). It's sweet sentimental music. Very pretty. The song goes through some changes while keeping the mood. One the wife might appreciate. It's a bit like "One Fatal Mistake" but still different. Very powerful music and vocals. The drumming here is often swift and exciting as the song draws closer to its conclusion. Andy Edwards must have hot coals under his seat.

I really like this album. The three stand-out features for me are the music compositions and use of guitars and keyboards in general, Peter Nicholls' wonderful vocals, and Andy Edwards' ants-in-the-pants drumming. I have already lined up three more IQ albums for purchase this year. If I want more than that I will have to cut some other ones off my 2013 list. I am glad to see the high rating for this album. One of my top ten purchases of 2012! Not quite five stars but I am glad if other people give it a full rating. I would be happy with a 4.5 rating honestly.

FragileKings | 4/5 |


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