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Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The best album of IQ's second era. The sound is much better and more aggressive than their earlier efforts. Peter Nicholl's voice is very dramatic and very close to Gabriel's one. Track 6 is a neo prog tour de force, beginning very gently and leaning in the middle section towards metal prog. One of the best of all neo prog bands and the one that remains true to progressive aesthetics.
Report this review (#3812)
Posted Saturday, November 1, 2003 | Review Permalink
5 stars After writing "Subterranea" I think IQ had their work cut out for themselves, but they did it again kids! "The Seventh House" musically picks off of both "Ever" and "Subterranea" masterpieces adding some nice new twists. "The Seventh House" is 6 new long songs emphasizing the creative and memorable lyrics of Peter Nicholls put to the best music you could ever imagine. As with all IQ releases musicanship is simply breathtaking with Jowitt's bass lines, Orford's delicate and intelligent keyboard playing, Holmes' excellent guitar runs and accents and Cook's highly expressive percussive talents. What has attracted me to IQ over the years is thier ability to write and execute such compelling music with out ever sounding worn or borrowed. Lead singer Peter Nicholls adds his solid voice in the mix and sounds just simple incredible. This album has not left my CD player since it arrived in my mailbox.
Report this review (#3819)
Posted Friday, March 19, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Well this album deserves actually a 3 stars rating maximum,being inferior for instance than their best one of the nineties,entitled "Ever", even though it brings the elements of the early period into the epic modern apparatus of the dark concept, concerning "Subterranea".

A special mention for the last mini-suite "Guiding Light", whose second instrumental section is almost equal to the famous second part in 7/8 time signature of "Cinema Show" by GENESIS, which characterized a Golden Era!!

Report this review (#3827)
Posted Friday, April 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This album has been released after the marvelous "Subterranea". Again, IQ still make a progressive masterpiece, full of interesting and impressive parts. Out of 6 tracks, 5 are outstanding and the other one, "Erosion", is excellent. After some careful listenings, one can establish the main differences with the other similar albums "Ever" and "Subterranea": The rhythmic clean guitar is omnipresent here and it definitely more sounds like the one on the JADIS albums. So, "This record is a clone of JADIS", will you say? Absolutely not! First of all, John Jowitt still plays a complex bass, much more than his accompanying contribution on the JADIS albums. Then, Orford's keyboards are still more complex and less accompanying than on the Jadis' "More Than Meets the Eye" album. Finally, let's say that Holmes' numerous melodic & emotional solos are like on the other previous albums: they have less the "guitar hero" style than Gary Chandler (JADIS): However, Holmes plays, like on "Subterranea", a solid hard rock rhythmic guitar, and this may make you slightly think about JADIS. Speaking of Orford's keyboards, I usually find them less subtle and elaborated here than on "Ever", and even than on "Subterranea": he uses more floating textures in the background, although there are some more elaborated solos and parts, like on the epics "Wrong Side of Weird" and "Guiding Light". He still uses some good organ & piano parts. His sublime intro on "Shooting Angels" is like the tenderness of a woman's touch. There are still some sentimental saxophone parts, like on "Shooting Angels" and "Zero Hour". The musicians are very intelligent and very emotional; they apply those 2 aspects in their songs: the result is a sentimental complex album that makes you dream awaken!

IQ is a band that has always progressed, and it seems they are now at their best!


Report this review (#3815)
Posted Sunday, April 11, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars After getting all the previously unreleased stuff out of the way IQ return to making brand new original prog.It's great for the most part with hardly a weak track anywhere to be found.That said I can't quite give it a 5 star rating.Maybe too much familiarity or sameness perhaps?! However if this is the first IQ album you buy you will not be dissapointed that's for sure.
Report this review (#3822)
Posted Thursday, April 29, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I've said it before and I'll repeat it once more: when it comes down to the crunch, music is all about feeling. When all is said and done, the aim of all musicians is one and the same: to move the listener. And IQ is one of those gifted bands that have mastered the art of moving your innards like no one else.

"The Seventh House" is altogether freaky, genial and dangerously seductive. It is full of slippery chords, time changes and musical passages that choke you with emotion at every turn. The opener "The Wrong Side of Weird" is an explosive tune that spells "Ever" all over again (the intro alone will blow you away). "Erosion" is a hauntingly beautiful piece with a scorching bluesy part, about three quarters into the track. The 12-minute epic "Seventh House" is a little slow to kick off but develops wonderfully as it progresses. With tracks such as "Zero Hour", you have to admit the bass player knows a trick or two - notice the part where NICHOLLS sings 'Zero hour, times are changing, Count the seconds one by one' - wow, I get all worked up just thinking about this passage). "Shooting Angels" leaves me a bit cold but the closing track, "Guiding Light" (my personal favourite), embodies just about everything I like about IQ: rough yet melodious passages, extremely moving musical themes and PETER NICHOLLS vocals at their best. Had it not been for the weaker "Shooting Angels", I would readily have given this album 5 stars.

(I've just re-read this review before posting it and can only imagine what a field day a freudian psychologist would have... But hey, we progsters know what we like. And if bands like IQ can deliver the goods so exquisitely, more power to them!)

Report this review (#3825)
Posted Sunday, May 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
[email protected]
5 stars Most IQ fans seem to be thoroughly enamored with 'Subterranea,' and far be it from me to argue with them. However, despite the difficulty of finding IQ albums in the States, I have now heard all of their titles (with the exception of the forth-coming 'Dark Matter'), and without a doubt, I feel that 'The Seventh House' is their strongest. My biggest problem with 'Subterranea' is how long winded it gets (especially the "The Narrow Margin" at the end). Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy listening to the album on occasion, but it takes some effort to keep my attention focused on the music. While this may seem like a sacrilege, it may help to explain that 'The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway' also didn't impress me much. Long story short-I'm not a big fan of super-high concept prog rock operas. To me, 'The Seventh House' is a clean and concise, yet amazingly artistic album. The guitar line at the beginning of the title track always sends shivers down my spine and I love audible impact of the whole band kicking in a few minutes later. There is an aggressive edge to this album that comes out in songs like "Erosion" and "Shooting Angels" that really grabs my attention and keeps me interested. When I first heard IQ, Peter Nicholls' voice got on my nerves (I started with 'Tales From The Lush Attic' when Nicholls sounded like a whiny version of Peter Gabriel), but twenty-plus years later, his voice has matured into something expressive and downright amazing. I love the fact that "Guiding Light" wraps this album up with some impressive, soaring instrumentation and then reprises several of the melodic themes from the rest of the record. Not only is this my favorite IQ album so far, but it is one of my favorite albums of all time.
Report this review (#3826)
Posted Tuesday, May 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars IQ is a neo progressive rock band that is very consistent with the kind of music they play. Musically, there has not been major leap that's taken by the band to expand their music horizon. They do however, consistently create wonderful compositions in the same kind of music in the boundary of neo progressive rock. This album is by no exception, still maintain the same sort of music. I consider this album is a masterpiece with following rationales: First, it has a great songwriting whereby the music composition has a strong structural integrity within specified track or among tracks. Listening to this album is like hearing a story, regardless that it's a concept album or not. You don't even need to know about it at all. Second, IQ is still one of the best rock groups that is capable of creating and delivering tasty, touchy and memorable melodies in most of its musical segments. Take an example of fist track "The Wrong Side of Weird" - you will find so many tasty melodies, especially during transitions, using soft guitar riffs or keyboard. Third, with a passage of time, the music of IQ has become mature compared to previous albums. The first token of this happened when they launched "EVER". I would say after EVER was launched, IQ music has constantly be better by the passage of time.

Are you ready to surf with their beautifully crafted music? Buy the CD now! You won't regret, guaranteed! If you like early MARILLION, PALLAS, ARENA, PENDRAGON, you would definitely like this album!

Yeah, let me start with a melodious "The Wrong Side of Weird" opening track. This track is rich with melodies and beautiful segments. The guitar fills are typical of IQ and it is effectively used during transition from one melody to another or during a changing tempo. It's not an upbeat track but it has changing tempo with smooth transitions. It does happen also to the second track "Erosion" that has a mellow and melodic opening. When the music enters to its body, it reminds me to IQ early album "The Wake" music style. I think it reminiscent "Headlong" or "Widow's Peak" of that album. Sort of.

The third track "The Seventh House" is opened with a simple guitar fills and some piano touch with a tiny voice of Nichols (many people complaint about the voice quality of Nichols that does not fit with IQ music. I don't care! I think his voice is perfect for IQ!). The intro of this track is very melodic and stunning and stimulates me to sing at the same time listening to this track. The music is wonderful when all instruments are played together with a basic rhythm of guitar work. Well, honestly, I like the guitar playing style of Mike Holmes: not so complicated but it's very nice! There is a changing tempo to a more uplifting one around the middle of the track indicated by drumming sound. Rhythm wise, there is some "foxtrot" like music. The rest of the track is en encore part with heavy keyboard sound at background and high tone voice of Nichols, followed by lead guitar work until it fades away.

"Zero Hour" has an intro part that reminds me to Genesis "Turn it On Again". Luckily, it's not the same and even the track is a mellow one. As in Subterranea album, this track has a solo saxophone at its interlude. "Shooting Angel" is rather a spacey kind of music at its intro, combining the soft guitar fills (Floydian?) and keyboard sound. It moves to an upbeat music when it enters the body. When it enters the interlude, this band tries to create something different when there is an atmospheric piece before it continues to lead guitar solo.

"The Guiding Light" is very melodious and uplifting. It has a touchy intro with vocal line and piano at the beginning. The intro part reminds me to "Speak My Name" of Subterranea album even though the melody is different. It also, for some reason, reminds me to Dream Theater's "Space Dye Vest" of "Awake" album. You may disagree with me, but that's what I feel. Don't get me wrong though, all of these three tracks have totally different structures. The music of "The Guiding Light" slowly enters to a more upbeat tempo with stunning lead guitar solo. Thanks God, it's relatively long lead guitar act - followed by soft keyboard before the vocal is back.

It's an ESSENTIAL album. IQ is not a psychedelic band, however, its music can create an atmosphere that elevates you to the "other world". Melodic and uplifting! MARILLION post Fish era should have learned a lot from IQ. Rating for "The Seventh House" album is 5/5. GW, Indonesia

Report this review (#3841)
Posted Tuesday, August 31, 2004 | Review Permalink
[email protected]
5 stars I'm going to step out of line with many of the reviewers who rate Ever, Subterranea or Dark Matter as better. For me this album is the pinnacle of this type of prog rock. Almost all of the tracks are in the 10 minute mould, with exceptional lyrics, awesome plaintive vocals, gorgeous guitars and keyboards, well-produced and well-presented. Of all their albums (and I've listened to them all a lot), for me this is the one I can listen to over and over ... a brief review ..

For me, the Wrong Side Of Weird is an addictive prog rock classic, with very strong verses, choruses and middle eights, packed full of lines you just have to sing along too, backed up with fitting keyboards and guitars. Insofar as Peter Nichols lyrics are ever accessible, these are excellent "A sudden unpredictable sky contains the dawn ...". It's got everything I want from a prog track. The song finishes with the line "where do I go from here?" which is the first line of the next track, Erosion ... this starts with more classic IQ-esque plaintive vocals nd keyboards and then goes into a dark and heavy guitar based track that never loses the mood. Most listeners agree the title track the Seventh House is classic intelligent prog, and will be played live for years to come, surely, in the Paintbox (Pendragon) tradition. More strong themes and tunes in Zero Hour and Shooting Angels each clocking in at over 7 minutes, each track developing well, and leading to the finale Guiding Light. In perfect IQ tradition this starts with more haunting vocals over a piano start, leading into a heavy middle section, and then one of those powerful vocal and guitar finishes that ends other classic prog albums (Script?). I rate this song very highly and only wish it went on a bit longer! PLAY IT LOUD!

What more can I say? Not a single dull tune or theme, great strong, well-crafted songs, most of which are in the 10 minute bracket, with classic IQ keyboards and guitars, and Peter Nicholls singing at his most plaintive. All are fully developed, never seeming "bitty" or a pale imitation of their forerunners - there are inevitably one two Genesis comparisons, not least because Peter Nicholls sounds so like a Selling-England era Gabriel (but better, sorry Peter) but I view this album very much as what Genesis might have progressed to if they taken a different route, rather than as a new band trying to "copy" something from a bygone era.

I think this is a top 10 classic prog album.

Report this review (#3843)
Posted Tuesday, September 28, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Although IQ have been around for 20 years, they are one of the bands I didn't really know much about. On discovering the prog archives site, earlier this year, I began to take more of an interest in different bands. On seeing The Seventh House in a record shop, I took the chance, not having heard any of it, and purchased it. It was an excellent investment I have to say! Comparisons with Genesis have been made, but I find any links tenuous in the extreme. Occasionally a touch of guitar or vocal may invoke similarities, but in general IQ are their own band. This album is superb. Starting off with The Wrong Side Of Weird, I found this track an wonderful opener. From the intro of swirling keyboards, the bass and drums kick in and we are away. Peter Nicholls does and excellent job in the singing department, and the whole song is high class prog. I love the time changes which seem to flow seamlessy through this song. Next up is Erosion, a shorter piece but quite menacing. This is the one track where the Gabriel comparisons have a slight ring of truth to them. Certain notes Nicholls sings are very reminiscent of the ex Genesis singer. A good track. Following this is the best track on the album, in my opinion. The title track is is a wonderful affair, and prog at its best. The quiet passages are very atmospheric, and the whole, once again, flows nicely. Mike Holmes plays some nice touches here on guitar, and Martin Orford is tremendous on keyboards. Definitely a track from the Genesis school, although it doesn't really sound like them. Listen and see what I mean! Next comes Zero Hour, a shorter ballad which is not so much prog as easy listening, but superior easy listening. There is a superb line in the chorus - Found a girl whose laughter turned me round to face a brighter sun - which I still find spine tingling in its beauty. As a poet myself, I can appreciate the poetical touch here. Brilliant. The last two tracks are, for me, the weakest, comparatively. Shooting Angels is nice enough, but not outstanding. Nothing much happens here, no keyboard or guitar solo, just a solid tune that is pleasant to listen to. And finally, Guiding Light starts out as, again, easy listening, but cleverly, near the end, reprises a small part of the opening track to bring the cd full circle. The album is keyboard dominated, but the guitar, though selective, is of a high quality. Recommended for all fans, and for those who wish to get into this band. They remind me of a jack of all trades, not outstanding in any particular area, but consistently good throughout. Try it!
Report this review (#3846)
Posted Thursday, December 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
[email protected]
2 stars I hate to be negative but in this case I must go against popular opinion. This is the kind of albums that give neo-prog a bad name. Overall I find it bland and tedious. "Zero Hour" and "Shooting Angels" must be some of the worst songs I ever have heard in a prog context, mostly due to the annoying saxophone. Melodically, rhythmically, harmonically and lyrically this album doesn't move me at all.
Report this review (#3848)
Posted Friday, January 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Simply GENIOUS!!

Everithing in this record is simply perfect!...The ambiences, the lyrics, the melodies...every little detail it's well aproached by this fenomenous band. It's the best album ever and as my rating says, "a masterpiece of progressive music".

I'm a Prog Metal fan but this album blowed my head out. It's between teh prog metal and the neo prog, the perfect mixture.

If you haven't listened to it yet...make yourself a favor and give it a try.

Report this review (#3851)
Posted Monday, March 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
[email protected]
5 stars - What can be said apart from an excellent Album all round. Have now had it for 3 weeks and have not stopped listening to it. I thoroughly enjoyed every track on this Album and find it my favourite album of the bands although have not yet listened to Dark Matter. Favourite song has to be "The Seventh House" Itself. The track has been written and played perfectly. Even someone not into Prog Rock would find themselves listening to this right through. Well done IQ keep them coming.
Report this review (#3852)
Posted Tuesday, March 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Whan you look at the past, you've to admit that neo prog have rare good things. except marillion and I.Q. I.Q is better with the time and i'm a big fan since the great subterrenea. i find some rare emotionnal sensations in I.S music.I.Q is sad and beautiful music. it's not neo prog, it's I.Q. seventh house can be appear more classic than subterrenea, but in my opinion, it's I.Q better album. all is good in it one of my 10 favorite alll ove rthe time


Report this review (#3853)
Posted Sunday, May 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
[email protected]
4 stars I must keep my emotions when reviweing this album... I discovered recently IQ music, and I must say they are the band I have been looking for, in the last 15 years, trying to replace someone who could be on same level as Genesis, Marilllion etc.. This album is really great with suberb melodies which enchant listeners untill the very last note... Seventh House is a masterpiece in prog music, and I really suggest new fans of IQ, toi start from here before continueing on further CDs of the band..
Report this review (#3854)
Posted Monday, May 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This was the 3rd IQ release I purchased and upon first spin I found it terribly commercial. Too far away from "THE WAKE" which I still consider the band's best work.

Then I spun it again and realized how much they'd all grown as musicians. There are some truly brilliant moments on this album, particularly Mr. Orford's fine keyboard artifice in the mid section of the title track. Simply mindblowing. Paul Cook's drumming became more powerful on this release and it seems to me the band achieved that "perfect sound" much the way GENESIS did on it's DUKE album. IQ have never been tighter than on 7th HOUSE.

Material - wise the album could have been a little stronger but again, the sound the band achieved was, in my opinion, the best they have ever sounded. This one ranks as my 2nd favorite in the catalogue and does offer some steller moments of absolute brilliance. If you don't own it... what are you waiting for.

Report this review (#3856)
Posted Friday, May 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
[email protected]
3 stars I found myself liking this quite a bit, at least until it wore off. It is as representative of this type of prog as any recording of their contemporaries...comparisons to Marillion or The Flower Kings are inevitable. Kind of poppy at times but thoughtful and well done overall. Nichol's voice grates on my nerves a bit sometimes, the lyrics are at times very good, at times not so great. There are quite a few derivative parts, in fact the opening couple of minutes seem like such a rip off of "The Song Remains the Same". If you like Dark Matter, give this a try, it is quite different but (almost) just as good.
Report this review (#38469)
Posted Monday, July 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
[email protected]
2 stars In brief, I'm a big IQ fan, but this is simply one of their weakest albums, tied with Nomzamo.

The problem: weak compositions. It's been years since this album was released, and I swear I can't remember a melody.

If you're collecting IQ, this is the LAST Nicholls-era album I would pick up. The other recent Nicholls albums - Ever, Subterranea and Dark Matter - are all excellent, far superior to this. Further, I would recommend "Are You Sitting Comfortably?" over this.

Long songs? Sure. Expert musicianship? Of course. But where are the melodies?

Sorry this review is so short, but there just isn't a lot to say.

Report this review (#39576)
Posted Friday, July 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars IQ faced some kind of a challenge when they had to write the successor of the highly acla Subterranea album. And how the guys succeeded!! In my opinion The Seventh House is without doubt the best album they delivered in their carreer thus far. Every song is simply very strong, has catching, sometimes haunting melodies (especially the title track is phenomenal), mysterious lyrics that fit extremely well with the music and throughout the six tracks the listener is taken through a high variety of moods. The album starts off very strongly with the first of the two 10+ minutes tracks. I witnessed the debut of this song when IQ played the Boerderij venue in Zoetermeer, Holland and the roof really fell off! The song is beautifully crafted, works towards a grasping climax in the last 2 minutes or so and leaves you behind with a feeling of WHOAhh! Erosion is somewhat quieter but keeps playing in your mind once you have got used to it. It's a very good song but because it falls between the two epics of the album it tends to be overlooked. For the real gem of the album is the title track. IQ plays it live ever since the album was released and the song is always accompanied by a haunting, sometimes depressing slideshow. It easily holds the attention for the full 14 minutes, takes you on a sort of rollercoaster towards romantic, violent, depressing and melancholic moods but never fails to touch you. The guitar, the keyboards and most certainly the bass playing is so good on this song, it really illustrates what a fantastic band IQ is (and always has been!). Zero hour is a beautifull quiet song, very necessary after the intense listening experience of The Seventh House. Angels is the most straightforward rocksong on the album, albeit that it starts off with a very quiet, 'poppy' keyboard. But let it take you away! Guiding lines closes the album in a great style because it also has epic-proportions and characteristics. Yet it does not reach the full quality of The wortng side of weird or The seventh house but is is a very good song indeed. On the whole I think that the singing on this album is even (far?) better than on the Subterranea album.

The Seventh House is IQ's best, at least that's my opinion!

Report this review (#41082)
Posted Sunday, July 31, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Is it NeoProg at all?I think?that's true Prog (classical prog as Genesis played).Track 3 is definitely the best on this CD and maybe the best epic of 2000.As you know ,every epic begins very complex ,but becoming much more simple closer to the end (and The Legendary Ballad-Like Coda).IMHO,you might not agree with me."The Seventh House" is made in absolutely other way - ti is ballad-like in the beginning and very structured closer to coda.Also the whole record is greatly melodic.I've heard Dark Matter (which is greater than this one only in some aspects) first,and thought,that IQ is inable to create such masterpiece once again (I mean,before...oh my Prog,I'm dazed and confused:-) ).I was wrong."The Wrong Side..." is very unusual for NeoProg ,'coz it has Crimso-like melodic parts (IMHO) and sounds too fresh comparing with other Neobands,which still try to create new SCRIPT FOR A JESTER'S TEAR."Guiding Light",a classical SymfProg epic (a song/an instr/a conclusion) is next big thing in nowadays Prog.I see this CD is a statement to those who consider NeoProg not to be Prog at all.I'd like to add,that tracks 4 & 5 is a great experiment for IQ,but they sound astonishing."Erosion" is a marvellous song,excellent Prog-song,it can be a single - if IQ wanted to play in "show-business".I highly recommend this record for those,who still think that Neo isn't Prog at all.Make sure that's wrong
Report this review (#42666)
Posted Saturday, August 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars IQ are on a par with Fish's Marillion IMO. They jointly wear the neo prog crown. The Seventh House is yet another creative triumph from this accomplished band. 'Ever' and 'Subteranea' and 'Dark Matter' are all excellent albums, but what stands out on this album, for me is the strength of the melodies, and the atmosphere created by Nicholl's lyrics and distinctive vocal style. The usual comparisons with Peter Gabriel can be made, but as with Fish, I believe both singers carry a unique style, and are unmistakable in their own right. The album carries us through a series of wonderful and memorable guitar riffs, and brilliant use of light and shade in the music, to create incredible atmosphere. As with all good prog rock, the album oozes melancholy, but delivers it with a positive energy, allowing the dark themes within the music to still be accessable, and dare I say it...catchy! The best tracks to my mind are 'Erosion' 'The Seventh House' 'Zero Hour' and 'Guiding Light' The only slightly unwelcome ingredient is the use of sax. I've nothing against sax in prog, but not played in a pop/soul style as it seems to be here. This very minor flaw (IMO) is more than compensated for. IQ entered the 21st century on a very positive note with this album. They were on a roll after it's predecessors, and I believe this was their finest hour.
Report this review (#51667)
Posted Thursday, October 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
[email protected]
4 stars This album was my itroduction to IQ, and I must sadly say that I'm sorry I didn't purchase it earlier. The band is obviously influenced by GENESIS and YES. Keyboard and piano is dominating with some strong guitar from time to time, both electric and acoustic and it has a clear vocal from P. Nichols. It contains 6 songs which you can sit down and relax and enjoy. Excellent production throughout the album. Mr. Nichols certainly sounds like P. Gabriel but I think he still keeps his integrity and can be proud of it. I can highly recommend it to any fan of GENESIS and YES. Never the less I think it stands on its own feet almost as and "must have album" if you want to listen to one of the album GENESIS didn't make before -77.
Report this review (#53905)
Posted Saturday, October 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
[email protected]
4 stars IQ are one of the newer bands from the 1980s progressive rock movement, but this album is from the year 2000. Starting off with "The wrong side of weird" IQ show that they have a sound of their own with references to "Yes" "Genesis" "Pink Floyd" and "ELP" throughout the track. Peter Nicholls vocals are strong and vibrant, bringing to mind a young Peter Gabriel and David Essex. The track is complex with great keyboards from Martin Orford, and stunning guitar from Mike Holmes, who reminds me of George Harrison in a lot of his playing. "Erosion" starts off eerily lonely, with Peter Nicholls vocals and Martin Orfords keyboards slowburning to a sudden hard section which is not unlike "Dream Theater" and i swear i can hear a bit of "Elvis" in Peter Nicholls vocals on this one - Hard stuff, and excellently played. Then we come to the title track which lyrically is about a seventh house. Musically it is very complex, something that ELP would have been proud of. The song twists and turns inside your head with some stunning musicianship from the IQ lads. The end of the song is very Madonna like, without sounding anything like her. "Zero Hour" is less complex but still challenging to the discerning prog lover, with the band sounding a little like "Trevor kent" in his "The contradiction principle" era, which is no bad thing in my book, because "Trevor kent" is criminally under-rated and should be selling out stadiums with his flawless prog......but i digress. "Shooting Angels" is the weak point of the album for me, hence the four stars instead of five. The track is too weak to be on an album of this excellence. I don't go a bundle on the Phil Spector-ish beat, and Nicholls lyrics sound like something Stashy John might have come up with. Guiding Light" however is a gem of a closer, and reminds me of some of the 1993 "Ever" album by these guys. great musianship and heartfelt vocals from Peter Nicholls on this one, which brings a tear to the eye. There are some great sections on this track which bring to mind the 1993 "Ever" album by these guys. All in all this is a prog album you should have in your collection, especially if you like the 1993 "ever" album by these guys

Cheers Chit

Report this review (#54052)
Posted Sunday, October 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
Tristan Mulders
4 stars IQ - The seventh House

To be really honest, I am not a fan of neo prog music. I respect anyone who does, but it just most of the time doesn't work for me.

Even IQ, when I first heard their music, this was an airing of The last Human Gateway on Dutch Arrow Rock radio, I was everything BUT impressed by their music, especially the vocals were rubbish if you'd ask me.

Then about 2 years later someone played the brilliant Guiding Light song to me and I absolutely adored it. When I heard it was IQ I could not believe what I just heard, 'cause when I compared it to Last Human Gateway it was so far superior.

Still, I bought The Seventh House and began listening to it, over and over and over again. I absolutely loved it. What I loved most about it is that the instrumentation on this album is not overly complex, but service the purpose of the songs. The overall tone of the songs is mellow and friendly, but it sometimes is darker and heavier. The whole album is a trip to listen to, at least for me.

The first tones of the opening track The wrong Side of Weird automatically set the perfect mood for the whole album. What comes to mind when thinking about it is that the most prominent instrument on this album are the various keyboards, but not in a annoying way, it is most of the time played in an atmospheric way and there are some well-played duels with the guitar.

Peter Nicholls vocals have improved over the years I must say. He surely is not the best vocalist I've come around, but his voice somehow perfect blends in with the music.

The guitar solo at the end of Zero Hour is also very amazing and shows the listener that Mike Holmes is a very skilled musician. I somehow see a link between his playing and that of ex-Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett. Both have served their bands more or less as instrumentalists that tend to blend in to the composition, but when they have their solo spot, you are struck with awe because of the level of musicianship!

My favourite tracks of this album are the final two songs. Shooting Angels always had a special spot for me, it is the most heavy song on the album and features very nice keyboards and also an amazing saxophone solo!

As said somewhere near the beginning of this review I bought this album after hearing the song Guiding Light. This song starts of with an acoustic piano- vocals only parts (and some acoustic guitar later on) with Peter Nicholls vocals at their best! After about three and a half minutes the other band members kick in with amazing instrumentation and Mike Holmes again shines during the whole of this song and his guitar solo at the end of the song always gives me goose bumps. The small synthesizer solo around the six minutes mark is also very cool. After about four minutes of instrumental mania we get Peter Nicholls again with his beautiful voice singing wonderful lyrics and I love the end of this section where his voice is taken over by the guitar solo. The song ends the same way as it starts with the piano-vocals section and this is a perfect way to round of an already brilliant album.

Report this review (#61632)
Posted Sunday, December 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
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.

Report this review (#81662)
Posted Wednesday, June 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars IQ - The Seventh House

I discovered IQ by their brilliant last album "Dark Matter" and worked my way back through their catalogue from there on, "Subterannea" being my second introduction to the band and "The Seventh House" being my third.

"The Seventh House" is not a bad IQ album at all; it is probably even a very good album. However, I personally think that "Subterranea" and "Dark Matter" are better. Therefore I would recommend any "newcomers" to IQ to kick off with one of the last two albums I mentioned.

Anyone who liked "Marillion" or "Genesis" in the Peter Gabriel - era, should give IQ a chance, because it certainly is a great band and their fine lyrics, great instrumentation and harmonic compositions really stand out. I think calling IQ a "Marillion" clone would do the band far too less. IQ is IQ and as they were probably influenced by Genesis (PG-era) just like Marillion was influenced by them. However, presently other bands are being influenced by IQ! (E.g. the Brazilian band "Haddad" and the Chilean band "Subterra".

I have some trouble rating this alum because I would give "Subterannea" and "Dark Matter" four stars. Nevertheless I think a three star rating would do this album too less, so a four star rating is better in its place once again.

Report this review (#91921)
Posted Monday, September 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
[email protected]
3 stars Aside from Zero Hour and Shooting Angels, I like this album. The title track is the best, along with the first song. Overall though, it all sort of blends together into a kind of bland prog pastiche and I have trouble telling individual songs apart. This is a problem I have with IQ's last 3 albums (Subterrena, Seventh House, and Dark Matter), and indeed neo-prog in general. IQ tend more towards the kind of prog I enjoy most, so for me they seem to stand out a bit more from the neo crowd. So overall not a bad album, but not one I recommend to my friends. I don't really recommend any of their albums to my friends for that matter. But I guess is you like neo-prog they are as good as any. I will say that Nichols voice improves with every release and that he is quite listenable here (and even better on Dark Matter). They are all competent musicians and have a fairly good writing ability (even if it is quite stagnant).

In any case, a solid 3 stars for me, but as you can see not a band I get excited about.

Report this review (#95260)
Posted Friday, October 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Brilliant

I've been listening to IQ albums now 2 years and have avoided further reviews for I thought maybe my love for their music was to prill for it being objective, but now I'm sure. My love for IQ is genuine and deserves a full out coming-out-of-the-closet, though I never been inside the mentioned closet really.

The Seventh House is a genuine and absolute classic in the progresive rock genre. Incorporating influences from Genesis, Rush, Yes and basicaly everyhing thats beautifull in the realm of prog-rock IQ delivers to their full potential, with the marvelous vocal strength of one guy named Peter, adding the angelic devices of Martin, and the solid rock structures from John and Paul, add some cementing saxophone on occasion and the great guitars of Mike and you still haven't got the faintest idea what this beauty sounds like.

Trust me, this is beautifull and amazingly great. Highly recomended.

Report this review (#95714)
Posted Wednesday, October 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars 2.5 stars

Better than "Subterranea", "The Seventh House" offers a few of the most accomplished works from IQ, but unfortunately also less attractive tunes.

"The Wrong Side of Weird" opens the fisc with a strange synthesizer ambiance followed by an energetic guitar which puts you directly in IQ's own world. Then the melody lifts off to the sky, the vocals keeps perfectly up, giving the impression to the listener to fly... The piano calms down the tune, to let keyboards and guitars setting the place for a very dark ambiance. Great solos. This piece is just top-notch IQ! "Erosion" features also good musical themes with a mystical somber atmosphere. But then the rest of the disc goes down... the title track is irregular, and "Zero Hour" and "Shooting" are either lazy or cheesy. "Guiding Light" has its moments, but they are unfortunately too rare.

As a non neo-prog fan, I find this album mediocre. "The Wrong Side of Weird" and "Erosion" are essential modern IQ pieces though. But the rest of the album does not bring something new...

Report this review (#108264)
Posted Sunday, January 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars Martin Orford is such a talented keyboardist and he's all over this one. I don't know if i've ever seen a picture of him not smiling. You can tell he's genuinely a nice guy. Well as far as the music goes "Seventh House" is right up there as one of the best from the Neo-Prog genre.

"The Wrong Side Of Weird" opens with some lush synth work from Orford as the main melody starts a minute in. There is such a beautiful section 6 minutes in where the vocals are soft and accompanied by piano. Synths come in before it all gives away to a bombastic soundscape of guitar and drums eventually becoming quite uplifting. This is a fantastic tune. "Erosion" opens with synths and fragile vocals. The sound increases as the drums come in followed at 4 minutes by an incredible guitar solo that is scorching at times.The song fades out quietly.

"The Seventh House" is probably the best song on the record. The guitar melody with synths and vocals are good for 3 minutes until it gets heavier and it's even better. The vocals are great in this one.This is an epic song at over 14 minutes. "Zero Hour" is a pretty good song. Acoustic guitar, piano and sax help create a pastoral vibe. Nice guitar solo 5 minutes in as the song ends on an uplifting note. "Shooting Angels" has some interesting lyrics.This is a cool song and one of my favourites from this album. It's almost industrial sounding early on as the drums pound away. A good beat throughout as well as some sax and guitar. "Guiding Light" is an emotional ballad. "But we passed each other like seasons out of time". Nice. It gets surprisingly heavy 3 1/2 minutes in with guitars, drums, organ, and well everything playing a part actually. Well done !

This is a winner folks ! I'd rate the one before it and after it higher but this is highly recommended.

Report this review (#116528)
Posted Wednesday, March 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Little by little, I'm getting close to have reviewed IQ's entire catalogue. The band has produced some good records throuhout their career but not really unforgetable ones. My preferred one so far was their debut album "Tales From The Lush Attic". Probably because it was the start of a very similar production (except the Menel period).

IQ has been repeating the same type of music throughout the years. On the one hand, they must be credited to have defended the prog flag during these difficult times for the genre (as Pendragon did as well), but on the other they sound a bit too repetitive.

The band is too much dependant on Martin's invading (but greAt) keys and Peter's necessity to provide extremely dense lyrics, leaving very little place to Mike for soloing. Although not bad an album, their previous effort "Subterranea" couldn't really transport me into a deep and enjoyable musical trip. With "Seventh House", I was again charmed by these sounds which brought me back to the origin of the band (thus, the Genesis style, Gabriel era).

The opening number is one of the best song of this album. Great keys of course, convincing vocals and a very interesting backing from the rhythmic section (both bass and drums). As far as the lead vocal is concerned, there is no surprise. Peter sounds as expressive as before and the filiation goes on (I guess you all know of whom I am talking about).

We get a typical IQ song with "Erosion". This song could have appeared on almost any IQ album. And the problem gets back : IQ songs are interchangeable. No real evolution in their music. Too many songs sound alike (although I like most of them). They just lack in the ability of being diverse, but I guess that this is the difference between a master and its pupil. The master gives direction, while the pupil follows them. Again, there is no need to name the master; everyone knows them.

Anyway, the title track is another very pleasant IQ moment. Emotional and tortured vocals, as Peter (the other one) has provided a lot. Very simple struture to start with : aerial keys, some nice acoustic guitar and some complaining vocals. It gets a bit more complex and harder (to heavy). Some good instrumental section with lots of off-beats and finally a bit of guitar. But why does IQ need again to copy the Watcher Of The Skies riff ?

Later in the track, you'll be reverted in 73 and the "Selling" atmosphere with the very nice keys passage almost coming out "Cinema Show". A nice bombastic finale for this very good IQ epic. One of their top ten track, I would say. A four star song, in my standards.

"Zero Hour" is a bit too melowish. A bit uninspired even if a nice sax break adds a special flavour to it. But the song lacks a bit in musical direction. Sounds as a collage of diefferent sections to me. Again, a good guitar break to close. An OK song at the end of the day.

"Shooting Angels" takes a bit of time to start (about two minutes). Good sax playing and dynamic rhythm at times combined with spacey sections. Not too bad a mix. The last song "Guiding Light" is also a very good song (my second fave; almost on par with the title track). As emotional and well balanced, it offers some beautiful moments. Again, a straight-forward structure with a drumless and very aerial (long) intro preceding a mighty and strong musical break (guitar again, very much Hackett oriented, would you believe). Heavy keys and drums also come into action a little later for an extremely powerful section. Another four star track, really.

I will rate this album with three stars (although seven out of ten would be more appropriate). It is a good album, superior to "Subterranea" in my opinion although I rate them similarly. Mike Holmes has a more important role than usual and I really like that. Mike is an amazing guy on stage (this guy likes beers, believe me). Always smiling, being very human and simple. He really is a very pleasant person, talking with fans after the show etc. I'm glad to see them for the third time next November. What a pity that he is not more on the front line (although things have been improving on this album).

IQ keeps the good pace with this very pleasant album.

Report this review (#130688)
Posted Sunday, July 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
2 stars Neo progressive rock might be the perfect antidote to those who have never gotten over the expressive warmth of early Genesis and related bands from the 1970s, as well as a worthwhile diversion for the younger prog fans who like modern production, an emphasis on intricate melodies, and an occasional metallic edge. The British representatives of the genre, IQ being among the foremost, would be in the best position to fulfill the needs of these disparate audiences while satisfying their own creative urges, since most of their influences were fellow Brits. I myself am on a mission to discover the best British neo prog, and either I haven't found it yet, or I have and the quest wasn't worth it.

IQ's Seventh House is a crisp sounding collection of overly verbose artificially elongated songs with little genuine emotion lyrically or otherwise and even fewer memorable melodies. Sequences range from quasi-metallic to near-acoustic reveries, rarely well transitioned, some hit, some miss, but in the end I am just vaguely aware that it sounds ok, while acutely aware that inspiration and inventiveness are chiefly what is lacking. None of the songs are bad, but none really deserve to be as long as they are. For instance, the title cut has some exquisite parts and phrasings, but should have been condensed from 14 minutes. The lyrics also tend to be obtuse, overly important and precious. The exception to all these flaws is the dreamily beautiful "Zero Hour", which successfully fills out its allocated slot with a nostalgic theme and some fine vocals and guitar, and it achieves this without a page-spanning lyric sheet.

For those who demand more than just technical competence and shining arrangements and production, IQ's Seventh House will definitely not be confused with Seventh Heaven.

Report this review (#130742)
Posted Sunday, July 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I really enjoy this album, and I think it is solid all the way through (unlike Dark Matter, for example). Also, I see a large number of Genesis comparisons made in reviews, and I have to say that I really don't hear it myself. IQ here are mixing prog metal with some spacey/psychadelic elements (with a decent amount of pop), and the result is fairly straightforward, but memorable music.

The Wrong Side of Weird. A great way to kick off an album, this song is a bouncy rocker for the first half and a cool prog metal tune for the second. Plenty of nice melodies (and not repetitive in the least) and EXCELLENT transitions makes this song enjoyable every time.

The Seventh House. The strong points of the album opener apply here. I have to say, IQ demonstrates a rather unique ability to perform extended pieces that are fun, interesting and non-repetitive--all this without building up to grand finales or having virtuosic playing. IQ is all about good melodies, transitions, and pleasant arrangements, and this title track is 14 minutes of good music.

Guiding Light. Great way to end an album. This one starts and ends softly, but the middle extended 5/4 instrumental break is quite enjoyable. It's quite good, but in my opinion there's no need to compare this to The Cinema Show (and somehow cheapen that classic). Orford in particular shows his tasteful and capable keyboard/synth prowess.

Erosion, Zero Hour, Shooting Angels. These songs are mellower and in my opinion much less memorable than the three extended pieces. They do flow nicely from the other songs, helping to form a comprehensive album.

Overall I think The Seventh House is a very solid album--maybe this doesn't quite have the high moments of Dark Matter, but it also is much more consistent and less derivative. This is simply good songwriting pulled off by capable musicians, and it's worth owning.

Report this review (#140074)
Posted Sunday, September 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album would be much better if IQ had not made any albums before it.

On the whole, it's a lot of fun. It takes the usual IQ trappings and turns them into another album with some catchy chorus melodies. The instruments backed off from their powerful presence on Ever, making way for less complicated, less well-constructed songs on the whole. On its own, it would make a good album, but with the presence of other IQ songs that clearly show that the band has found its rut and wants to play in it for a long time, it no longer is quite as special of a release as it could be. Still, for a band in what some consider one of the most stale genres out there, they do challenge themselves enough with bits here and there to make The Seventh House and album worth owning and listening to. It could be stronger, yes, but it does well with what it has.

The Wrong Side of Weird kicks off the album, and though it is a good song with some clever melodies, it sounds a lot of like every song IQ made before it. The title track is a very standard IQ epic. Zero Hour is very standard as well. There are some moments of higher interest, however, where the band isn't just sounding like IQ. The beginning of Shooting Angels, for example, features some 80s sounding heavy drum work. Later in the song, a saxophone appears and adds what its got to the music. Erosion features some heavy rhythm guitar and a number of almost perfect melodies, being the strongest song on the album. Guiding Light opens with some gentle piano a la Firth of Fifth, but quickly segues into a full-blown song. Parts of the song feature some odd keyboard sounds, almost giving it a circus feel.

In the end, fans of IQ need this album. Fans of neo-prog probably need this album too. If you haven't listened to the band before, Ever is a wiser path to take as a first listen, but this album can follow it pretty rapidly.

Report this review (#184479)
Posted Thursday, October 2, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Well, after Ever and Subterrenea I thought we had their best works but there's a very interesting dark horse here with this The Seventh House release. When reviewing Ever I said IQ wasn't really my favourite band despite my being a neo fan. But I can already reveal this is going to be a third 4 star effort by this band so that isn't really bad is it ? On the other hand there have also been quite a few disappointments as well for me so my statement was at least a bit true. It's obviously top or flop with this band, at least for me.

It's already obvious with the very first seconds of this album with the track The Wrong Side of Weird that we are dealing with something special here. Great first notes by Orford bringing me in the right mood for a very positive review. Rest of this very atmospheric song proves to be a terrific effort in the end. What a composition this is ! (4,5*)

Next up is Erosian, also starting in great atmosphere developping into a ballad it seems, a bit of a mystic one before after two minutes the rougher edge of IQ is setting in making it a versatile song alternatingly quiet and almost prog metal like, a side I hardly ever heard by IQ. Interesting song (3,75*).

Third song is the title track, another unbelievable composition. What a wonderful epical track (4,75*). As usual the music is written by the band and the lyrics by lead singer Peter Nicholls and they must have been in ultimate top form when writing this album. This can compete with the best parts of Subterrenea, my favourite IQ-album of all time.

Zero Hour starts a bit like Erosian but instead of becoming an almost heavy track like that song this one stays more calm and quiet with an intersting feature like nice saxophone playing followed by Holmes at his best. Another lovely song keeping the level of the album very high (3,75*).

Shooting Angels is the mellowest of the album, another one with great atmospherical effects and equal nice sax like on the previous track. Still my least favourite of the six songs (3,5*).

Guiding Light is a very worthy closer of a terrific album by IQ. The first 3,5 minutes are mellow but then the band performs a great finale with alternating guitar and key efforts also accompanied by great drumming by Cook (4,25*).

4 stars easily (4,2) for this great effort and not to be missed by any IQ-fan or even general neoprogger.

Report this review (#190144)
Posted Saturday, November 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars You want emotions? You got it!

1. The Wrong Side of Weird- Opening with an awesome keyboard part, this song immediately shows that it is one of IQ's best compositions. Soulful vocals, absolutely amazing keyboards, and other solid instrumentation coupled with some of the best song-writing in neo-prog makes this song an essential album in their catalogue. Fantastic. 10/10

2. Erosion- The keyboard work. amazing!! The heavenly intro is simply stunning. The way that this song builds is seamless, turning from an all-atmospheric piece to adapting rock elements as well. Vocals are very emotional here, complementing the music perfectly. It is a good follow-up to the opening track, but doesn't quite pack the same punch. 9/10

3. The Seventh House- A gentle acoustic guitar opening with this song and you can tell that you're in for more of IQ's vivid scenery. The guitar shines on this track more so than the previous two and the song structure again is very good. This one doesn't capture me nearly as much as the last two, however, but that hardly takes anything away from its rating. 8/10

4. Zero Hour- Good song with wonderful, soothing saxophone! This one strikes me more as a ballad and has an interesting feel to it. The keyboards again are of note and the tones are very deep and well-selected. 8/10

5. Shooting Angels- What an intro! I simply can't get over how heavenly those keyboards are; I could listen to that introduction over and over. The song then turns into a substantially good proggy rocker, with a good "shooting" backbeat of the drums. 9/10

6. Guiding Light- The closer may even be a better song than the intro. This is the most formal ballad on this album and certainly works very well in that regard. The combination of vocals, piano, and the drifting synthesizer is genius and the introduction works well. What's even better is the direction that this song takes! This turns into quite an amazing prog-filled song with really good instrumentation. The conclusion then reprises the opening but in a perfectly flowing uplift that can only be heard. Stunning! 10/10

Although I don't pull out this album quite as often anymore, that doesn't make it any less of a masterpiece its respective genre. Emotional, proggy awesomeness with some of the most comforting keyboard parts ever written. If you haven't heard this one and you are a fan of Symphonic or Neo-prog, what are you waiting for?

Report this review (#191157)
Posted Sunday, November 30, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars like ever and subterranea this is another amazing album... iq shows once again that is one of the best bands of the progressive scene on the last years.. We are in the present,we have to life in the present,because is the only thing that matters.. it is OK talk about the influences...but if you are allways thinking about genesis,yes,pink floyd or something like that you are living in the do not allow to listen somthing new,because you think that this is a copy of the past ..and what we have now is this.. IQ,and another bands that they are still creating Good music for our progressive ears...

We have good vocals on this one...a classic evolution of IQ... this album is very emotional and with good solos of keyboard and guitar..shooting angels reminds me some of the 80 era..but it is Fine..Erosion sounds very dark and deep,with nicholls singing Great! and the masterpiece is the track number One,shows what Iq can do..highly recommended for everyone on the progressive scene..and for the envy of the people around here that they dont love IQ because is one of thbest bands on our time

Keep on the good work..4.4 stars

Report this review (#196824)
Posted Thursday, January 1, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars In one word: Brilliant

Iq - this underrated neo prog band, who never gained that big attention like their shoulder to shoulder companion band from mid '80's Marillion - they've done it with this album. Excellent musichianship through all the album, showing that they are still on the baricades woffering some very polished and in same time very refined moments in prog. The album released in 2000 named simply The seventh house is another examle of how must sound a band in these days, neo prog , but very uplifting with great moments and strong interplays between musicians, specially the keys of Martin Orford and guitar of Mike Holmes is simply awesome, just check out the opening track - The Wrong Side Of Weird - worth to have the album only for this track - kick ass piece. The rest is strong aswell prog pieces, the second one Erosion - is dark very atmospheric, sometimes sounds like a gothing band but in the end you realize is just another aspect of prog music very well composed and played, and the title track are best pieces along with the The Wrong Side Of Weird. The voice of Peter Nicholls shines on every track, one of the most distinguished voices in neo prog zone. So, a great album who desearve all the aplauses from each of you intrested in their music, this album worth every second.4 stars easely, but not as good as my fav from them their masterpiee from 1985 - The wake.

Report this review (#212587)
Posted Monday, April 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
Neo Prog Team
5 stars When a band releases a work as brilliant as Subterranea, the only possible way is down, right? Wrong! The Seventh House builds on all that had gone before, adding new textures and ideas to come up with an album of the highest quality. There is instrumental virtuosity to match any other band, though noone dominates, even if Martin Orford's majestic keyboards are all over this. His interplays with Mike Holmes are majestic. Peter Nicholls shows once again why he's currently the best voice in prog (to the tone deaf individual who claimed recently in a review that he can't sing - he is the Classic Rock Society's current best vocalist, which says it all). But most important, there are beautiful melodies and tunes which you just can't help singing and humming over and over again - I find myself singing Guiding Light all the time.

The album kicks off with the epic Wrong Side of Wierd; from the keyboard intro, it goes through a variety of moods and tempos, with the first real highlight coming in a bass driven instrumental passage just after the 7 minute mark with repeats thereafter. However, the tempo rises at the 9 minute mark with a quite brilliant instrumental section, led by a short Mike Holmes solo. The band switch melodies and moods seamlessly and effortlessly. This track is worth the album price alone. Erosion has one of the finest keyboard intros ever before the vocals enter, Nicholls singing with great emotion and a wierd echo effect. Just after 3 minutes in, the mood and tempo changes to a much faster rock feel with a effects driven guitar solo before returning to the original mood at the end. The Seventh House is another epic about 2 soldiers who survive the horrors of the Great War of 1914-8 and meet later; the lyrics are poignant and the song complex and beautiful.

Zero Hour is a little known song which I have never heard on their live set, but WHAT a track. John Jowitt's fretless bass playing and Tony Wright's majestic sax complement the keyboards and acoustic guitar, but the lyrics are stunning "Zero hour, times are changing, count the seconds one by one, found a girl whose laughter turned me, round to face a brighter sun". The final section is more rocky with a truly glorious electric guitar solo. This is the best track on an album of truly exceptional tracks. Shooting Angels again has atmospheric keyboards at the start before a strange transition into a bass and drums driven rock section, with the sax soloing over the top at the end. The album ends with another of my favourites, Guiding Light. This is another poignant track about making difficult choices and consequent lost love - something I know all too well from personal experience. The opening section, with Peter Nicholls singing and Martin Orford accompanying on piano and synth, is gentle and beautiful. The song then becomes much harder and rockier, with stunning guitar and keyboard solos and interplays and some incredible drumming from the immaculate Paul Cook. The track finishes with another vocal section and a melody which I can't get out of my head.

This is one of the best albums I've ever heard; consistently excellent, beautifully composed and played to perfection. Beyond any doubt, it's another masterpiece from a band who seem able to produce them at will.

Report this review (#213008)
Posted Wednesday, April 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars A masterpiece in it's own right, best track "The Wrong side of Weird", a shame that i never listen a live version of that. "Guiding Light" with that text "Where are you now, who are you now, is anyone really gone", my skin turns into a chiken's skin while I write, can you imagine what it does when i hear that song?. Not a single weak track, a must for all prog rock lovers, please don't be scared with the Neo Prog tag, wich is a librarian cliche only with the intend to classify/organise the bands. Nicholls rules!, singing and writing lyrics.
Report this review (#221630)
Posted Wednesday, June 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars In My Not So Humble Opinion:

"The Seventh House" by IQ is their best (of the ones that I own at least).

I'll start this out with the disclaimer, this was my introductory IQ disc, as I've learned since, you can probably start with any one of their five last CD's and get the same impression 'this is the greatest IQ CD ever'. The problem is that they all, unfortunately begin to sound the same. As I progress, the second and third IQ CD's that I picked up will get four stars, then the fourth and fifth get three or two stars. Many of the songs sound the same.

But, I'm reviewing "The Seventh House", and I chose this one to start with as, well, I've had it the longest.

Martin Orford's keyboards start the CD out with a shrill patch that makes you sit up and grin, well, it made me sit up and grin. Shortly there after, Peter Nichols angelic voice cuts through Mike Holmes' clean guitar producing the tell tale wall of sound that I've come to love and starting the album out rocking.

"Erosion" is an atmospheric piece beautiful and haunting at first, followed by a cacophony of music before revisiting the initial bit again. Peter Nichols shines throughout this song.

"The Seventh House" is my all time favorite IQ song, it's the song that you'd like to hear Genesis do if they were still recording prog. The intro is complete with a beautiful twelve string bit. Again, Peter Nichols voice shines over the guitar and Orford's backing synths. After the intro Jowett and Cook crash in along with a heavier Holmes for a brief instrumental segue before a haunting run again featuring the twelve string and Nichols. I could go on and describe every bit of the song, but really, I'm doing it a disservice, go out and buy the CD and listen to the song. Martin Orford has a beautiful solo in here and the final minutes of the song is one of the most epic IQ endings ever.

"Zero Hour" is absolutely beautiful, especially the keyboard themes in the middle of the song. Everything drops out but the gentle chords of Martin Orford's wizardry giving you a preview of "Guiding Light".

"Shooting Angels" brings up my only criticism of the album, after a heavenly keyboard intro, the drums trip into the song sounding like something your drunken cousin programmed on his Casio. I guess this makes a certain amount of sense, if they're emulating Genesis, there's bound to be a reference to the "Home by the Sea" drums.

"Guiding Light" is a hauntingly beautiful piece about missed opportunities for love; something that most of us have experienced at some point in our life. The entire band shines for this song. It starts with a typical enough run and Peter Nichols, shining as usual. The instrumental section features a beautiful series of solos by Misters Holmes and Orford. Not to be missed. Once the solos fade away, Nichols rejoins the band for a quick bridge and an epic bit of noodling. Out of nowhere the band drops out leaving only Nichols and Orford revisiting the opening melody of the song. Nichols shines through here, crystal clear and hauntingly beautiful. Then, suddenly, almost unexpectedly, it's over, the musical bit, the song, the whole album. The ending is perfect, it leaves you wanting more, yet satisfied with what you have.

"The Seventh House" by IQ gets a solid five star rating from me.

Report this review (#225614)
Posted Thursday, July 9, 2009 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars The seventh album

After the somewhat overblown and slightly disappointing double album that was Subterranea, IQ returned to the formula of the excellent Ever. In my opinion, The Seventh House is a very good album in its own right, but it is not as good as Ever or the follow-up Dark Matter (which would be the band's creative peak, as far as I'm concerned). While in the early days the band were still searching for a direction of their own, at this point the IQ sound was pretty well established, and as already implied, The Seventh House follows in the footsteps of Ever which probably was their most popular album at the time. They might thus be accused of playing it a bit safe here.

The present album is very consistent and there are no weak tracks as such, but this consistency comes at a prize: there is a tendency towards all the songs sounding a bit same-y. The band never seems to be able to break out of the melancholic mood that characterises the whole album. Also, there is little variation of sounds and they seem to be content to paint a musical picture from a limited and basic palette of sonic colours. Dark Matter would be different in that respect with a broader array of sounds and moods and also more diversity in the compositions. The production of the album is impeccable though, and as such The Seventh House is indeed something of a sonic masterpiece. But it also comes across as a little bit static and sterile, lacking in warmer and more organic sounds. But maybe they aimed at this cold sound that admittedly functions very well to communicate a certain consistently mellow mood?

The bass, drums and guitars have a great sound and everything is performed with excellence and Peter Nicholls pours his soul into the vocals. Songs like the superb title track and also Guiding Light are very strong and passionate. There is a harder edge to the guitars in some passages compared to anything the band did previously, but the music is never aggressive or raucous.

Overall, The Seventh House is a good IQ album, certainly one of their better efforts, with no weak tracks as such. It is consistently enjoyable, but like most albums by this band it fails to blow me away the way they did with Ever.

Report this review (#238016)
Posted Monday, September 7, 2009 | Review Permalink
Eclectic Prog Team
5 stars From what I have heard of the genre so far, this is probably my favorite album of its kind. It's classy, gritty, dark, bright, upbeat, somber, and nearly any descriptive adjective in one concise package. What sets it apart from so many other albums is the presence of memorable melodies throughout, both vocally and musically. Initially, I did not care for the voice of the lead vocalist, but it didn't take long before it grew on me, and now it seems at once unique and powerful. The instrumentation, whether light or heavy, is quite powerful and full of direction. Here is an album that, while not perfect, is fairly close to it.

"The Wrong Side of Weird" The descending synthesizer lead that gives way to such upbeat and jumpy music is a perfect album opening, especially considering how the album revisits the music with some frequency. I am always struck by the resonance of the melody, the tightness of the band, and jealousy that I didn't pen or perform this. Midway through, a piano takes over, the singer over it, and acoustic guitar tags along with some spacey sounds. Loud, heavier music follows, led by fiery electric guitar and powerful lead vocals. This is an exquisite example of modern progressive rock, full of variety and yet wickedly consistent, and my favorite neo-progressive piece- it absolutely radiates with power and grandeur.

"Erosion" Gentle synthesizers, almost choir-like, work through the introduction of the second song. The atmosphere is kept dark, and things gets heavier, complete with memorable and somewhat sinister melodies. This is an excellent contrast to the more upbeat first track.

"The Seventh House" Twelve-string guitar and light synthesizers begin the longest track on the album. The first three minutes build with piano and soft vocals until the electric guitar and bass create a meatier sound. Once again the vocal melodies are highly memorable. After and over a keyboard and rhythm passage that is astonishingly similar to "Apocalypse in 9/8" from Genesis's "Supper's Ready," the chorus melody of the first grand track, "The Wrong Side of Weird," returns in astonishing splendor toward the end. Several sections maintain a static electric guitar riff played over different chords. Speaking of Genesis, the ending section instinctively reminds me of a specific Genesis song's ending, but I cannot for the life of me think of what it is.

"Zero Hour" This is a more laidback piece in terms of composition, yet it remains one of the most varied songs on the album, with heavier parts interspersed with tasteful acoustic bits. One of the melodies of the glorious first track is repeated instrumentally in a synthesizer section in the middle. A searing guitar solo completes the song, rounding it out in an outstanding way.

"Shooting Angels" This is a harder song to enjoy, particularly since it has a funky 1990s rock beat that I never appreciated, but it is juxtaposed with gorgeous, flowing keyboard passages. I particularly like the tight bass tone (reminds me of 1980s Rush) and the exquisite lead guitar. A gritty saxophone solo takes over toward the end.

"Guiding Light" Lovely piano, synthesizer, and vocals begin this delicate track. It has a very simple, almost late 1990s pop melody (Ben Folds Five comes to mind). I love the fluid guitar alongside rest of the instrumentation. Once the sound becomes full, there's another scorching guitar solo, followed by adept synthesizer work. This brilliant album ends quietly, just as this piece began.

Report this review (#239283)
Posted Monday, September 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Martin Orford may not like the neo-prog tag but the truth is, if you should explain to somebody what neo-prog is there are not much better ways that putting on this CD. IQ are as close to the paradigm of neo-prog as one can be, and this album is a really fine one in their discography.

A very solid and consistently good album from start to finish, it does not have any really weak moments or flaws. Why then only 3 stars? Well, the problem is a frequent one between IQ and me: as much as I can not find any weak moments, I can not find any really memorable music either. It's as if the music is constantly hovering around the level of 7 - 7,5 over 10, never getting below this but never getting higher either. It's not easy to really identify the reason, maybe the lack of virtuosism, the absence of really interesting ideas in their choices of chord progressions, scales, keys and dynamics, the lack of sympohic moments, I don't know. It's as if the guys were not ambitious enough.

This consistency makes it hard to talk about individual tracks, none is really bad but none does really stand out, although if I should choose I would select "The wrong side of weird", the title track and "Guiding Light" as the best picks.

Personally I can not understand how this album has got 41% of the reviews with 5 stars. To me it's a good album which can be listened to with moderate pleasure, an album fitting perfectly with the description for 3 stars: Good, but far from essential.

Report this review (#275029)
Posted Sunday, March 28, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Second best of the band as of today

Before I had a chance to hear the music of "The Seventh House" album, it did not take my interest because of the album artwork: simply it wasn't attractive. But then, I heard the title song and "Guiding Light" on DVD live concert, and these two songs were always in my head, and I finally bought the CD. Actually, this "The Seventh House" album is their second best next to "Frequency" as of now.

Killer tracks are "The Wrong Side Of Weird", "The Seventh House", "Zero Hour" and "Guiding Light" for me. Excellent is Mike Holmes' guitar and Peter Nicholls lyrics as well as songs.

If you like IQ sound and have not owned this CD yet, I do recommend that this is the next one you have to get.

Report this review (#288509)
Posted Sunday, June 27, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars A new millennium brought a strong return from one of neo-prog's finest and most popular acts. This is quite possibly Martin Orford's finest hour as a recording artist, which gives some idea as to his performance.

The Wrong Side Of Weird is a very strong opener. It is powerful and evocative throughout, and Peter Nicholls voice is fantastic & delicate. It is, however, Martin Orford who has his imprint all over the track.

Erosion follows, and this is the shortest track on the LP at 5.44 minutes. This is a very delicately played ballad, with bombastic bursts which bring the track to life. A massive drum sound pounds out of speakers on the closing section, and Orford brings a majestic backdrop to it all. The band, and Orford, rarely sounded better.

The title track is the longest on the album at over 14 minutes. A lush opening, with soulful and melancholic vocals backed by lush acoustic guitar and piano, creates a lovely soundscape. After three minutes, the meat of the track kicks in, and the result is very tight and wholly symphonic. All members deliver excellent musicianship, including a fantastic trademark Holmes solo. Jowitt never sounded better on bass, which is pounding and melodic all through the track ? indeed, there is a very strong rhythm section all round. The track holds the attention to the end, and is clearly strongly influenced by large sections of The Lamb, but remains wholly original in its delivery. In other words, neo prog at its best. There are some amazing vocal harmonies as the track begins its huge denouement, with Orford's keyboards again creating a massive wall of sound. The production is top notch.

Zero Hour brings a new element, with some interesting sound effects. Orford uses synths to again provide a grand backdrop. A lovely ballad, and a good contrast to what preceded the track, whilst the closing section shows off Holmes at his most inventive.

The opening to Shooting Angel, with delicate keys and guitar, is so relaxing, but is rather lulling you into a false sense of security, as the main section features a crashing rhythm, rather reminiscent of Genesis in their Mama period. Pleasant enough, but probably the weakest track on the album and a little bit too disjointed to be wholly effective. There is a nice saxophone, though, and Nicholl's vocals are absolutely lovely.

The whole album, though, leads literally up to the closer, Guiding Light, one of the band's finest moments. If there is anything better sounding than Nicholls and Orford accompanying each other with soulful vocals and piano, I would like to hear what it is. The band as a whole do not enter until after three minutes of this beauty, but, when they do, the track rocks along, and we once again hear IQ at their most coherent best. In the best tradition of symphonic classic rock, the lengthy instrumental passage is played with utter tightness, rocks along, and never once diverts the attention from anything other than the music. It closes as it began, and you are left gasping for breath as to the sheer majesty and beauty of this track.

This album began a sequence of remarkable albums from the band for the new decade, and proves that the best of the 1980's new era bands could survive and prosper.

Four stars and highly recommended.

Report this review (#326310)
Posted Friday, November 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Seventh Heaven

Having rediscovered their true identity with "Ever" and followed it up with with the sublime concept album "Subterranea", IQ took some three years to release another album. "Seventh house", the band's first album of the 21st century, sees the band returning to an orthodox single disc of six individual tracks.

The opening 12+ minute "The Wrong Side Of Weird" is surprisingly energetic, with flying synths and a pounding rhythm being the dominant features. The track has everything which makes for a first rate symphonic prog (neo-prog) epic, while offering music genuinely in keeping with the mew millennium.

"Erosion" is a bit of an oddity, sounding at first like an extract from a Lloyd Webber/Rice musical. While it is a decent enough song, it is for me the weak point of an otherwise first rate album. The title track is the longest on the album, running to over 14 minutes. The song is very much in the fine tradition of IQ's epic pieces, building from a gentle acoustic start to a majestic wall of sound with appealing vocal harmonies.

After the controlled excess of "The seventh house", "Zero hour" offers something lighter, the delightful melody being the stand out feature of this comparatively straightforward song. The track also benefits from a fine saxophone solo by Tony Wright and an excellent lead guitar solo by Mike Holmes. "Shooting Angels" begins with a deceptively soft intro, before bursting into a plodding power rock song with an incessant, heavy backbeat. The song manages to stay on the right side of adequate, but along with "Erosion" is a song which would not be missed too much were it not present.

The album closes with "Guiding light", a song which reminds me in passing of the similarly titled "Fading lights" by Genesis. That reference is really only in terms of the track's outline structure, starting slowly and serenely and building to an extended synth driven instrumental section and concluding with a vocal reprise. It is certainly a wonderful song, and a fitting end to a classic neo-prog album.

Overall, there is enough truly excellent material here to warrant recommending this as a first class album. Admittedly there are a couple of tracks which do not further the cause of the album too well, but even these are enjoyable enough so that they do not actually spoil the album. For me, "Subterranea" is the more complete and indeed better album of the two, but "The seventh house" remains a top rate album.

Report this review (#547151)
Posted Sunday, October 9, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars IQ's incredible run of top-class albums which began with Ever continues on The Seventh House. Less ambitious in structure than Subterranea, it sees the band apply the musical lessons learned during that grand exercise to a compact single album on the scale of Ever, and the end result is some of their most beautiful and haunting music.

Peter Nicholls gives a vocal performance that outshines any of his previous efforts, showing a greater and more subtle command of emotional range than ever before - his performance on the title track never fails to make my hair stand on end, just as the bittersweet closing track Guiding Light often brings a tear to my eye. The band themselves offer a typically high-class performance in their own right, but I think it's Peter who gets the Best In Show award this time around.

Report this review (#641587)
Posted Sunday, February 26, 2012 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#856167)
Posted Sunday, November 11, 2012 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Crossover Prog Team
5 stars At the end of the first verse of "The Wrong Side Of Weird", a few bars capture for me what makes IQ the top progressive band in Europe. Up to then the band has been slowly building through the introduction and then the verse itself. The keyboards play a repeated motif, but the simple act of changing the bass line totally changes the mood and attack.

Ask five IQ fans to pick the single most important member of the band and they could each well pick a different person. Peter Nicholls is without doubt not only a superb lyricist and vocalist, but also one of the best frontmen in the business. Widge not only is renowned for his keyboard playing but also for the fact that many bands would love to have him as a singer. Michael Holmes is a guitarist with control of so many different styles while John Jowitt is Mr Bass. That only leaves Paul Cook. One of the times, I played the album I concentrated solely on the drums, and his impact not only on what he plays but where he doesn't (if that makes sense) is superb. There is a long period on "Weird" where he doesn't play at all, but when he comes back in, the fills and patterns he plays totally switch the mood.

It is hard yet to say if this is my favourite IQ album, ask me again in a year or so when it has sunk into my psyche. If you like prog, then you must have this. Yet again, IQ set the standard.

Originally appeared in Feedback #62, May 01

Report this review (#968511)
Posted Saturday, June 1, 2013 | Review Permalink
Post/Math Rock Team
2 stars The Song Remains The Same

IQ are one of the most successful modern symphonic acts out there. To their fans, they've released consistent, great albums since the 90's and have remained relevant since then. They have crafted their sound and have continuously used it for every release. I think that is the problem here for me. The Seventh House has nothing new to offer in the context of their discography, and nothing has changed in IQ's sound since the release either.

The troubles of this album start immediately. The opening epic, The Wrong Side of Weird, lifts a certain Led Zeppelin rhythm so blatant it is just cringe-worthy. The song eventually brings in an airy, piano-led bridge, taking us away from the weaker parts of the song into more enjoyable territory. Peter Nicholls' voice sits great on top of one of IQ's better heavier passages. It has some momentum, twists, and great musicianship coming from both the rhythm section and the Orford/Holmes duo.

Additionally, the shorter songs on this album: Erosion, Zero Hour, and Shooting Angels are too similar in my opinion. They can all be summed up fairly similarly. Atmospheric keyboards and Nicholl's voice lead for a while then the rest of the crew come in with plodding instrumentation. Guitars riffs are distorted and chunk away, while the drumming is just uninspired. Erosion takes a slightly heavier feeling, while Zero Hour takes a lot longer to finally leave the cheesy tone of saxophones, synth flourishes, and electronic beats. Shooting Angels serves as the perfect middle to the boring trio.

The Seventh House isn't all doom and gloom though. The title track and Guiding Light are both strong progressive rock showcases. The Seventh House has plentiful lively hooks and guitar and keyboard solos that don't overstay their welcome. My favorite part would probably be the middle section. A wonderful Holmes solo takes us into some wonderful off-beat rhythm synchronizing. Peter has a great cadence that doesn't seem awkward or out of place. The closer to the album is Guiding Light. Beginning with a glossy, emotional ballad section that almost risks being melodramatic soon slides into some jamming by the band in an extended instrumental section. Orford is in the limelight here for me, while the rest of the guys don't disappoint. But the playing and style is in no way a surprise, sounding like any other of the "climaxes" from this or any other IQ album.

This album just comes off as bland. It really irks me to hear a band being too predictable or boring. Unfortunately, that is what I hear throughout this release. To any IQ fan, or neo-prog advocate, this album will do you some amount of good. It has the sound you'd expect and possible desire from these guys and this genre. Otherwise, a mostly forgettable release leaving me disappointed.

Report this review (#1430873)
Posted Friday, June 26, 2015 | Review Permalink

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