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IQ - Dark Matter CD (album) cover





4.04 | 926 ratings

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The Prognaut
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Masterpiece. I mean, truly a masterpiece. These days, I don't get easily amazed by all means but "Dark Matter" certainly left me eyes wide open. This album's got to be the best piece of work by the English band that among others, gave birth to Neo Prog. "Dark Matter" is a strong, mighty album. To me, it has become a turning point on nowadays prog scene, reaching the unthinkable in such little time. Meaning, even though twenty-one years had to go by from their first studio release in order for IQ to heavenly display their most powerful creation, "Dark Matter" rapidly took one step after another in the progressive preferences of fans and media to conquer the pinnacle of their promising career that started back in the early eighties, the most convulsed decade for Progressive Rock to outstand in my opinion.

I came across "Dark Matter" out of chance. As I've underlined a couple of times over several reviews, some albums are quite difficult to get around here. But happily, IQ is setting off at the display cd-racks among the most respectable prog rock bands at the principal record stores here in Mexico. Well, I ended up going for it after constant recommendations from my prog fellows. They were quite short on their appreciation about this jewel, "Dark Matter" breaks off every possible musical boundaries.

Now, let's get down to it. The album takes off with "Sacred Sound". Deeply, this obscure sound of keyboards create such a mystical ambiance for the perfect start to "Dark Matter". Clattering cymbals meddle in between to let us scream in silence out of the power of a thunder struck drum. The song flows down a captivating, constant beat. The slight approach of a backing guitar joins carefully to make the choirs sparkle bright, and just by the beginning of the climax, that guitar crunches away with the supporting sound of some church-like music coming out of Martin ORFORD's Korg CX-3 Organ. An almost twelve minutes long breaking scene was just the perfect touch to carry this album away.

Kicking right after, "Red Dust Shadow" settles on comfortably through the strings of this paused acoustic guitar taken away by Michael HOLMES. The hypnotic voice of Peter NICHOLLS lead us all the way throughout revealing, deep lyrics that speak of reminiscent memories and some bitter-like childhood experiences. If not feeling disturbed enough at this point, "You Never Will" would do the trick for you. Ticking, tapping, unease noises coming out this anxious clock waiting to burst out, open up a clear view to what's about to be displayed in this third chapter. The tuned up sound of John JOWITT's Rickenbacker 4003, shuts that clock up just to clear the way for thundering drums to appear. Then again by the middle of the song, more of the same musical dose to make your head spin, but this time, along the keys of Mr. ORFORD's Kurzweil K-2500.

"Born Brilliant" is not only the prologue to a marvelous epic, it is indeed an outstanding song that clearly shows the power and the passion put together to accomplish this album. There are a couple of things that caught my attention immediately. This is a song where the bass guitar outstands from the rest of the instruments. I used to consider that listening to a wailing guitar all along during a track, was more than spiritual reward to my ears. But this time, I enjoyed that bass guitar more than the rest of the instrumentation. And secondly, the harsh lyrics. Remarkable song writing I must say. Very acid, relentless and simply amazing. I like that sarcastic yet edgy touch on a song, and well, the title to this track pretty much gives away that essence to me.

Thus, the epilog suite that under my appreciation, turned this record into the "Best Prog Rock Album" of 2004. I think of the previous four steps to be taken on this album to get to this point, as a red carpet to reveal such a brilliant creation. "Harvest Of Souls" has become a must among my favorite top epics, it's got the wit, the passion, the strength, the entireness, the wonderful music, the provocative lyrics and all in all, the detailed musical progressiveness. When all that happens within the depths of a single song like this one, you truly believe that almost 25 minutes of total running time are not only more than not even enough, but even the beginning to enjoy such a lyrical dream. I consider the context described in "Harvest Of Souls" as the voice of millions, besides the itchy lyrics and the impressive arrangements; as the tormented ambiguity represented on a map of the world. Like I said at the very beginning of this review, this very piece of work transcends far beyond every possible musical frontier and gets straight into our mind, soul and heart. Somehow, this is a novel of our nowadays global landscape, described in six episodes ("First Of The Last", "The Wrong Host", "Nocturne", "Frame And Form", "Mortal Procession" & "Ghosts Of Days") that speak out loud and irreparably soulful. Just let yourselves drift away into this song, and you'll surely come up with you own perspective. This is IQ to the world.

The Prognaut | 5/5 |


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