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THE ROAD OF BONES

IQ

Neo-Prog


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IQ The Road Of Bones album cover
4.48 | 333 ratings | 30 reviews | 57% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music


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Studio Album, released in 2014

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. From the Outside In (7:24)
2. The Road of Bones (8:32)
3. Without Walls (19:15)
4. Ocean (5:55)
5. Until the End (12:00)

Total Time 53:07


CD 2 (Bonus disc)
1. Knucklehead (8:10)
2. 1312 Overture (4:17)
3. Constellations (12:24)
4. Fall and Rise (7:10)
5. Ten Million Demons (6:10)
6. Hardcore (10:52)

Total Time 49:06

Lyrics

Search IQ The Road Of Bones lyrics

Music tabs (tablatures)

Search IQ The Road Of Bones tabs

Line-up / Musicians

- Peter Nicholls / vocals
- Mike Holmes / guitar
- Tim Esau / bass
- Paul Cook / drums
- Neil Durant / keyboards

Releases information

2CD (May 5, 2014)

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to NotAProghead for the last updates
Edit this entry

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The Road of BonesThe Road of Bones
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Dark MatterDark Matter
Inside Out U.S. 2004
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SubterraneaSubterranea
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FrequencyFrequency
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IQ The Road Of Bones ratings distribution


4.48
(333 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(57%)
57%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(28%)
28%
Good, but non-essential (10%)
10%
Collectors/fans only (4%)
4%
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)
1%

IQ The Road Of Bones reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Although its street date is May 5th, pre-orders of the sumptuous collector's edition of IQ's latest album have begun shipping already in order to get the sets to purchasers in time for the album launch show (tickets to which are included in the collector's edition), so I have been lucky enough to hear this latest release already.

The Road of Bones is the second album in a row from IQ to feature a lineup reconfiguration, following the incredible streak from Ever to Dark Matter where the band lineup had remained extremely solid and stable. In fact, the lineup shake from Frequency to this is the largest between any two consecutive IQ albums, with three of the five band members not appearing on Frequency. Paul Cook and Tim Esau are, of course, old hands in IQ, being the group's original rhythm section (indeed, Frequency was the only IQ album not to feature Cookie on drums), whilst Sphere3 keyboardist Neil Durant makes his first appearance on an IQ album here.

The obvious question, then, is how this shakeup affects the band's sound. Frequency was a refreshing update to the IQ sound; would the return of Paul Cook and Tim Esau reverse that musical progression, or would Neil Durant's inclusion allow the group to continue it? As it transpires, Durant is the surprise star player here, proving equally adept at a bang-up-to-date keyboard style and performances living up to the heritage of IQ's earlier material. (Constellations, one of several tracks on the bonus disc in the special edition of the album, showcases this distinction particularly nicely.)

Tonally, the album finds IQ in a melancholic and reflective mood - one which often serves them well, as it did on albums such as The Wake or Ever - whilst the special edition of the album provides a bonus disc with a brace of songs which to my ears are just as strong as the compositions that made the cut, but which didn't fit the particular vibe they are going for here, and as a result the special edition presents a more diverse sound. Whether you plump for the 1CD or 2CD editions, right here you have IQ incredibly managing to continue their streak of top- quality albums which began with the classic Ever and still shows no signs of slowing down.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#1164452) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Review by rdtprog
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog Team
5 stars The band has developed their sound over the years with a modern symphonic sound that alternate some delicate often melancholic piano and keyboards lines with heavier and faster guitar parts. They know how to build their songs with a dark atmosphere set by the piano, vocals and keyboards that let slowly the spot to the dynamics guitars of Mike Holmes. A nice touch has been added here with the sound of xylophone and techno sounds that can be hear throughout this CD, probably the influence of Mike Holmes vision, who has produced and play in the excellent Regeneration CD with the Lens that contains a lot of techno sound.

Sometimes we recognize some IQ previous passages from their older material, but not to the point to be a copy of it. I am glad to see that the band still got more ideas to create some nice music. Since the departure of Martin Orford, the keyboards sound has changed a bit, more diverse, so that is reflecting on the music. There is more ambient sounds that prepare us to the more energic part of the song were the tempo is getting faster in the typical IQ fashion. After many years, it's always nice to hear the great production in their music. The band has put all the ingredients together to make the perfect progressive rock CD; inspiring songwriting, diverse arrangements that harmonize the acoustic with the electric and a great sense of the melody like not many bands can do. We can say that IQ is the modern version of the old Genesis, because of the voice of Peter Nicholls, some Hackett guitar influence and also some Banks reference that we can find at some places on this release, but they have surpassed this influence long time ago. The bonus CD is also of high of quality with again more spacey and techno sounds, something that was emerging in the first CD, sometimes reminiscent of Vangelis and Depeche Mode. It's a little breather from the first CD, especially for Mike Holmes who takes a break here to comeback in the last song. The pace is slower and more relax on this one, but it complete perfectly this great release.

I have always found difficult to pick a favorite one in IQ discography, but I think that this one could become my favorite. I can't give anything less than 5 stars. I am sure that many will share my enthusiasm with this new release.

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Send comments to rdtprog (BETA) | Report this review (#1171816) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Review by lazland
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars IQ, that venerable outfit of 1980's vintage, release this, their 11th studio offering, and, I will say straight away, are sounding as strong, if not stronger, than ever.

This review is of the double cd I pre-ordered, and which is available now from all the usual quality outlets, and I would wholly recommend that potential purchasers get the whole thing. To be very fair to IQ, they have made the entire work available on release at a reasonable price, with no follow up rip-off's to us poor old punters, and support is deserved for that alone.

The first cd, The Road Of Bones itself, is a concept piece that is not just dark, but actually very bleak and positively gothic in places, telling the story of a rather nasty serial killer in the first person. You would think, then, that the music itself would match such a story; you know, an album which would make Pink Floyd's The Wall a veritable ray of sunshine to come down to after listening.

But, no, not a bit of it. This sumptuously produced (and Mike Holmes has really exceeded himself in this department), and gorgeously performed work just about takes us through the entire range of emotions, with passages which are achingly beautiful, and a rock experience which takes us from the hard and crashing opening, thundering, riffs of opener From The Outside In, to the quite gorgeous acoustic interplay on guitar, piano, and vocals at the denouement of closer, Until The End (which itself follows a really beautiful wall of sound in the finest symphonic tradition).

More experienced IQ followers such as myself will, on the first couple of listens, have been surprised at the relative absence of genuine Holmes guitar bursts of days of yore. Indeed, it is, in my opinion, fair to say that this is the most keyboard dominated IQ album in many a year, perhaps ever, and massive credit must go to Neil Durant, who creates such a huge wall of sound and virtuoso performance that really do go up against the best Orford produced for the band, he is that good. However, saying this, this album is a genuine ensemble piece. The joy of hearing our favourite rhythm section of Cook and Esau, who shine especially on the beautiful title track, whilst Holmes, if not understated, is most certainly not at the forefront of all the action as he was during much of Frequency, although his bursts towards the close of epic Without Walls are pure trademark Holmes brilliance, and remind one of the similar beauty of Dark Matter. And, thence, to Peter Nicholls. I have always loved this man's voice, a set of chords capable of belting out a massive piece one minute, with a tear inducing piece of fragility the very next, and so it is on this album. His voice, if anything, is growing and becoming a damned sight better the older he gets, and his is without doubt the only one I can think of capable of telling this theatrical piece properly.

There are five tracks on the first cd, and all of them, without exception, are essential IQ, that is, for those who know my opinion in such matters, right up there with the best progressive rock. Without Walls, just a shade short of twenty minutes long, never once fails to grip your attention and pull your heart strings. It contains all the vital elements that make this band so important, from those well versed symphonic soundscapes, to very dark introspective instrumental passages, massive riffs, some lovely acoustic work, some very clever sound effects, and quieter moments which, rather frighteningly, allow us in the subject's innermost feelings. The manner in which the vocals and music change mood and interpret a story are fantastic.

And so to cd two. There are those who tell you that it is as good as cd one. They are extremely close to the knuckle, because, in Prog Archives parlance, cd one is a masterpiece, whilst the second helping is merely excellent. Which is to say, again, that it is at the top of the prog tree. Highlights for me are the exceptional Constellations, on which this lineup sound as if they have played together all of their career, with Durant, especially, sounding wonderful, helping to create a pomp prog spectacular; the clever instrumental 1312 Overture (so named because of its time signature); and the really rather exceptional opener, Knucklehead, which is perhaps one of the most experimental, and heavy, pieces they have released, although, in all honesty, there is nary a bum note or poor moment present throughout the cd. These are not "throwaway" bonus tracks, but a set of pieces which, whilst they did not fit into the main concept, deserved a release of their own. I for one, am very grateful they were. Six tracks, and 50 minutes of quality progressive rock.

So, how to rate this? I think that IQ are a band who are still improving, which, given the fact that they have released some of the most important and vital neo-prog over the course of 31 years, is a testament to the quality present here. This is the sound of a band still striving to develop, mature, yet staying true to their glorious roots. It is simply a magnificent experience to listen to, and is genuinely the first utterly essential purchase of 2014 for me. Probably 4.5 stars, if we had such a rating, but rounded up to five because it is warranted.

I tell you this. Pendragon, those other venerable survivors of yesteryear, will have to go some to match this when they release their own much anticipated new work later this year.

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Send comments to lazland (BETA) | Report this review (#1172597) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, May 08, 2014

Review by Flucktrot
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I was looking for some new prog to blow me away, and I did not expect it to come from IQ! I love the band, and they have been quite consistent over years and years, but there was no indication from the casual prog fan that they would be about to release an excellent new album that stays true to what the band does best--especially surprising because Frequency included some departures, indicating further experimentation--and has tightened up nearly every nitpick I might be able to come up with about the group. The fact that IQ has come up with this album, at this point in the band's career, has really elevated my respect for the group. I can't think of any bands off the top of my head who have accomplished this.

Here's just a few of the reasons why I find this to be a fantastic album:

1. Quantity and quality combo. To fill two discs worth of quality music, with really no low or skippable moments, is something that few bands have achieved, at least in my opinion.

2. Interesting subject material. I don't know much about the album theme, but that's the whole point: it's gotten me to do homework outside of my listening experience and educate myself on an important historical topic. Few albums in my experience have done that!

3. True team effort. Each member really shines, which is another compliment that I rarely give. Cook does some excellent fills and dynamics, and I appreciate that he's not just "balls- out" all the time. Holmes continues his Hackett-esque performance as well. He's not as continually present on this album, but he's there when you need it. For example, the Holmes rip at the end of Without Walls is classic: you're waiting the whole song for it, and when it comes, it's not technically amazing, but it's perfect for the moment, gets burned in your brain, and leaves you completely satisfied. Nicholls deserves special recognition as well. It's simply amazing how much better his voice gets over time, and it's a great model of successful aging. Esau brings wonderful variety on bass, which in my mind could come and go in previous IQ efforts. Finally, Durant is probably the standout among standouts. He provides the buzzy, bassy synths, tons of atmospherics, and, most impressively a perfect balance between wiggly synth lines and tasteful melodies.

4. Presentation/lead up. Great cover, and, in hindsight, great choice for the title track. The title track is not an album highlight, in my opinion, but it offered the perfect tease of the alternating ambiance and intensity of the album. It got my attention in a big way, but it also left me wanting more. Imagine how satisfied I am now that I indeed got more, and in hindsight, much more than I had hoped for!

5. Classic IQ song structure. These songs have a nice build of tension and pensive chugging (at least the extended pieces), but then things tend to pick up in fascinating ways, and then they deliver the big, warm reprise of which that IQ has made a clear niche.

6. Production. This album just sounds incredible, and it's a tribute to the talent and attention to detail that went into its creation.

Highlights: From the Outside In, Without Walls, Until the End, Constellations. We have the grinding IQ rocker (Arena, Immortal? era), the epic journey (complete with a wonderful nod the The Gates of Delirium toward the finale), and two extended pieces that remind me of the best of classic Collins-as-frontman Genesis. My only quibble is that I think the 1312 Overture (Rush YYZ influence!) would have made a perfect opener for the album, but that is a quibble in the smallest sense.

Why not a five-star? For me, satisfying is not equivalent to mind-blowing, and this album is not mind-blowing. It's excellent, and that's why I like it so much. The highs are excellent, but they are not incredible, and thus, no masterpiece. Either way, it's my favorite IQ album, and I never saw it coming. These surprises are why it's worth it to keep coming back to prog, even when it seems like it has nothing left to give.

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Send comments to Flucktrot (BETA) | Report this review (#1172745) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, May 08, 2014

Review by Second Life Syndrome
COLLABORATOR Post/Math Rock and Crossover Teams
3 stars Well, apparently I'm in the minority on this album from IQ. "The Road of Bones" is this neo- prog band's newest foray, and it comes across as darker and more mature lyrically than some of their previous albums. With a malevolent theme and what I expected to be stunning contrasts between dark riffs and bright synth, "The Road of Bones" was supposed to be a killer album, for me especially.

There's something off about this album that I can't quite place. IQ has certainly given us an interesting album, as it's full of atmospheric and driving guitars, some great synth work, and some wonderful bass and drums. However, nothing particularly stands out for me. None of the instrumentation seems truly on point, crisp, or inspired. Take, for instance, the driving riffs in the opener "From the Outside In". It's as if I've heard that same particular passage a hundred times in other albums. It's good, don't get me wrong, but nothing special.

There are other examples, though. The 20 minute epic "Without Walls" should be the cornerstone of this album. Instead, it contains only a handful of memorable moments as it plods along with little to no direction. Still another example can be found in the quieter moments of the album. IQ attempts to create some thick atmospheric sections that mainly consist of limited piano and singer Peter Nicholls' ponderous voice. This type of thing usually thrills me. I'd even call myself easy to please. However, the vocal lines are completely forgettable and the transitions to the rest of the song are just kinda there.

I think that's my main issue with this album. It all just so "blah". It's not bad. It can even be enjoyable at times. However, it's so painfully average and pedestrian that I'd almost rather hear a band fail miserably at trying something new than listen to this flat, unremarkable album. In fact, even the cover art is so middle of the road. Sure, the performances (especially Nicholls' vocals) are okay, but, in the end, I think most amateur high school bands could play most of this, and probably compose something better, too.

So, what saves this album? The title track is one of the best songs I've heard in 2014. It's so unfortunate and somewhat ironic, no? The title track is climactic, brooding, and ends in blazing glory. It finally provided that contrast I was seeking, and the lyrics are so personal. So, yes, this album was saved from an even worse rating through this one song, and also by the last 30 seconds of the album wherein IQ gives us the first atmospheric vocal/piano passage that actually connects.

I usually am the one that is pleased with an album while others are lambasting it. However, I just can't see why others are praising this album, some calling it the possible album of the year already. If one great song and a handful of interesting minutes are enough to deserve that label, then I don't know why I even write anymore.

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Posted Thursday, May 08, 2014

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Prog does not necessary mean 'complex' ...

...and IQ has proved it nicely in this wonderfully crafted album that die hard fans like myself feel that it's worth waiting for an almost five years since its previous "Frequency" album released in 2009. It's been quite a while I have been thinking about writing the review of this long awaited album by the most consistent band on planet Earth in terms of music direction and sub-genre. They dare to stand tall with their direction in what so called neo progressive. I really admire IQ on this. One of major consideration for not taking part in writing my view on this album has been a juggle of complexity and simplicity. The matter is like this: almost at the same time of The Road of Bones by IQ , there is another excellent album by a supergroup Transatlantic who also released "Kaleidoscope" album. The fundamental question is only one: if I consider Kaleidoscope as an excellent album with a four star rating why should I give IQ with a five-star rating? Transatlantic music is more complex and challenging compared to IQ who plays simple prog music. I finally thought that the fundamental difference is on how each album maneuvers deeply into my emotion and it's totally a very personal taste and preference. Music to me is emotion and I have to admit that most of IQ music is very able to stir my emotion regardless its lyrics. the way the music is composed and then combined beautifully with melody line through vocal work as well as how solo works are intertwined sound really fantastic to my ears. That's why I put a full five star rating for this new album by IQ.

As I put emotionally at my FB status:

Np. IQ "the Road of Bones" ...a fabulous album. The opening track sounds like IQ plays metal as the music is in the vein of The Wake with high energy, powerful riffs resulted from tight basslines by the old timer Tim Esau (happy that he returned back to the band he supposed to be). It;s really a killer and it's strategically positioned as an album opener - what a brilliant idea! However, the second track is also another killer even though it starts in an ambient mode and moves slowly until ...again Tim Esau plays wonderfully with his bass guitar (is it a Rickenbaker? probably!). Not only that ... I love the way how the new keyboard player, Neil Durrant, inserts his mellotron-like sound at the background during the peak segments ....oh my God ...!

What a fabulous musical journey I have experienced listening to only the first two damn killing tracks!!! I can not even afford to move to next tracks as my fingers keep pressing backward two times to get back to the opening track again .....!!! Oh no .....!!! This is truly a totally ngguweblak experience man!!! I bet you ....! Marillion Hogarth era must have learned a lot from being consistent ( or they are not capable anymore?) in neo prog music like IQ has demonstrated for years ... Yeah ...more than 30 years of prog nonsense!

That long phrases resonate how this album really hooked me ('nggeblak' is my local expression on how the music has made me temporarily 'paralyzed' !) at first spin by only listening to the first two tracks only!

IQ album has always been like that to me. At first spin I only could enjoy couple of tracks. It's not that I am too lazy to find the full journey and got the deep meaning of the music but ... I have already been "satisfied" by couple of tracks only - not the entire album. But as time went by I started to enjoy other tracks. Take example the Frequency album which at first I could only play regularly the title track, second track "Life Support" and a bit of some from other tracks. And guess what ....at later stage, maybe a year later... I Was totally in love with the "Ryker Skies" track that really make me 'ngguweblak!' to the bone. Yeah ... Ryker Skies is really a kiling track! I like the melody as well as the chorus line. It's really wonderful.

My experience with The Road of Bones album is similar with Frequency as I fell in love at first listen to the first two tracks. Iplayed these two tracks over and over again until I was totally satisfied then I moved to next. The thing was, I mentioned in phrases of FB status, I could not afford to move further as the second track "The Road of Bones" finished I automatically wanted to go back to listen to the first track "From The Outside In". Then the journey continued with the album title track which is basically a simple composition but it's really heavy in nuances. I really love the first two tracks that made me play the two until I got it 'enough' to move to the next one.

Only recently I pay attention to the third track "Without Walls" which indeed I like it very much too. It sounded to me at first reaction that this song somehow reminds me to 'Harvest of Souls' from the Dark Matter album. It starts ambient with a simple piano sounds followed with a drum loop that made me surprised as this is , I think, the first time IQ use the sound of drum loop. It was quite weird at first listen but as it grew on me , I then finally found that the loop has become a nice integral part of the whole song. The first three minutes plus duration this song moves in ambient mode accompanying a dark vocal line by Nicholls. But then the music moves in crescendo with a follow-up riff played in slow tempo. What a wonderful move! ...

...and the war starts at minute 6

...as indicated by the very wonderful keyboard shot by Neil Durant that sounds really cool while accompanying Nicholls' vocal line. But that happens temporary as the music then is slowing down with long sustain keyboard sound at the back plus acoustic guitar rhythm section work by Mike Holmes. It's quite nice and reminds me to the nuance of Pink Floyd's Dogs from Animals album. The war continues again at min 10:22 as the music is heating up into faster tempo. And the peak of nice war happens at minute 12:20 when keyboard really take the lead in a wonderfully crafted solo backed with relatively fast tempo music. Oh man .... it's really coooooool!!!!

The next track "Ocean" is probably the most pop song compared to other tracks but it's really good as a refreshment just before another excellent track Until the End that concludes the album excellently.

Even though my CD package is the limited edition version with two CDs, I only make the review for the CD One as this is the main album. CD Two is nice also even though it's basically left overs. For IQ I always purchase the limited edition package as it has great bonus like the one in Frequency that contains live DVD of IQ - great performance, really! This time I did not preorder because my good friend who is a die hard fan of IQ purchased it for me PLUS the t-shirt (WHOOOAAAA!!!!!! Great one!!!) at IQ performance at Islington Assembly Hall, London, 3 May 2014.

Overall, this is truly a fabulous album by IQ who has consistently produced excellent music from their more than 30 years of prog nonsense! I really love this album and it's still ini my regular playlist that I regularly play while I am working ora cycling or sipping a cup of coffee. The composition is really topnotch with fantastic melody line, great harmonies among instruments being played (even though this time Mr Holmes does not play that much long stunning guitar solo), beautiful transition pieces on changes of tempo, and most importantly ...this album is so cohesive so that the structural integrity has been successfully maintained from start to end. BINGO! It;s a perfect album that deserves a FULL five-star rating. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Posted Saturday, May 31, 2014

Review by kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover Team
5 stars When this album arrived I didn't put it on the player straight away, but instead looked at the artwork and booklet, and kept thinking about Schr'dinger's cat. I so very much wanted this to be a great album, and until I put it on the player (and I still haven't read single review about this album as I needed to ensure that I wasn't being swayed one way or another) this was both a great album, and a poor one, both at the same time. I first saw IQ in concert some time in the Eighties when they supported Magnum at the Hammersmith Odeon and have seen them quite a few times since, the last being on the 'Dark Matter' tour. During that time I built up a strong relationship with Martin Orford, and saw him play solo a few times as well as with Gary Chandler and of course with Jadis as well, but after I moved to NZ he told me that he had left the band of which he was a co-founder. That shook me, and by the time IQ released 'Frequency' some five years after 'DM', Paul Cook had gone as well. I wasn't a fan of that album (and I totally understand that this could be due to emotions as opposed to quality of music), so what about this one? Great or poor?

Five years on from 'Frequency' and yet again there have been changes in line-up. Paul Cook has returned, but perhaps the biggest surprise is that JJ is no longer on bass, but instead has been replaced by the man he himself replaced in the first place! Tim Esau is back, with his first album with IQ since 1989's 'Are You Sitting Comfortably?' I have always been a real fan of his playing and methods of attack, as he can easily move from fretless bass to many different styles: just check out 'Screaming' from 'Nomzamo' to see what I mean. Then on keyboards we have none other than Neil Durant. Neil may well be an unknown to many of you, but we have been friends for well over twenty years as he sent me the very first Sphere demo back in 1992 (and Neil knows I still have it, potential blackmail is a wonderful thing). A second demo followed in 1994, and they belatedly followed it up with a CD release on Cyclops in 2002, and it always amazed me that Sphere didn't become far more well known as they were/are all great musicians. I even managed to see them gig once in the Nineties, but here at long last Neil is able to put his talents to use on a larger stage.

So, of the five members, four of them played on the first two totally classic IQ albums, so what would the band sound like in 2014, with one brand new member and two who had left (for very different timeframes) only to return? Absolutely brilliant is the way I would describe it.

When opener 'From The Outside In' really gets going it reminded me of the very first time I heard 'Ever', when the band was again returning after a period of unrest: that time with a returning singer and a new bassist, four years after their previous release. Neil has always been a very fine keyboard player indeed, and here he has tempered the jazz influences he normally displays to fit in, and has also incorporated a lot of keyboard sounds that fans of the band will recognise from days gone past. He isn't Widge, and doesn't want to be, but he has made the seat his own by bringing in enough of the old to combine with the new that it doesn't alienate the fans of the old band yet starts to move in a slightly different direction. This is a dark album in many ways, and this comes through in the artwork as well as the album itself. In many ways this feels like a logical follow-on from 'Dark Matter' or 'Subterranea' as opposed to 'Frequency', and that has to be a good thing in my book.

This is an album that I have fallen in love with as everything is right from the musicianship to the songs, from the production to the artwork. This is solid IQ, with everyone firmly gelling and producing more of the incredible music we have learned to expect from them, from rockers through to ballads, simplicity and complexity combining in a way that many have attempted to copy, but few have ever managed to achieve the heights. I have the double disc set, 11 songs at just over 100 minutes long, and it absolutely flies by as one classic leads into another. It would be wonderful to be able to see these guys play live, but I guess that isn't going to happen for me as I live so far away, so I'll just have to keep playing this. Again. And Again.

And as for that cat I mentioned at the beginning. He is purring and stretching, ready to jump out of the box and take on the world. IQ are back where they belong, at the very top. www.iq- hq.com

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Send comments to kev rowland (BETA) | Report this review (#1181688) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, June 01, 2014

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars IQ can do no wrong, in fact when it comes to Neo-Prog they are at the top of the heap in my opinion with Fish-era MARILLION not far behind. That may be clear to me but there's a couple of things about this recording that aren't so obvious. First of all it isn't a concept album as many have thought, in fact the lyrics of the different songs on the first disc make that a no-brainer. The second issue is why put out a bonus disc of material when they could have just made it a double album? Well, the first proper disc does have the same sort of mood and vibe throughout which I do prefer to the mixture of styles like on the bonus disc, but most fans are saying they like the bonus material better than the proper album. This reminds me of when MARILLION released "Marbles" with a bonus disc of material which included "Ocean Cloud" which many feel is one of the best MARILLION songs ever. Since then I believe(perhaps wrongly) that "Marbles" is really considered a double album now by the band and fans alike. So will this eventually happen with "The Road Of Bones" ?

"From The Outside In" opens with some incredible atmosphere and a sample of someone speaking from a movie before this urgent rhythm kicks in with vocals. Love the mellotron swells that come and go. How about the Banks- like organ 6 minutes in. The bass, drums and waves of mellotron are great, in fact these are the highlights of the whole album for me. "The Road Of Bones" is a song about a serial killer spoken in the first person. Again like the first track we start with atmosphere but this time sparse piano joins in followed by almost spoken vocals. It's all laid back here until things pick up 2 1/2 minutes in as the drums and bass kick in. The vocals become more urgent. Check out the vibes or xylophone that comes and goes on this one, they remind me of the eighties for some reason. I like them. It turns quite powerful 6 minutes in. Great section!

"Without Walls" is the epic at over 19 minutes. A pleasant piano melody to start. Very chilled music right here as reserved vocals join in. A change 3 minutes in then it kicks into gear. Nice guitar work here and I like the organ that pulsates. Great section 6 minutes in as Peter sings with passion. A dark and haunting instrumental piece follows 7 1/2 minutes in. Very cool. It kicks back in before 10 1/2 minutes. Catchy stuff. It climaxes 13 1/2 minutes in, then settles back with synths before 15 minutes. Vocals are back. Mellotron and synths join in as it slowly winds down. "Ocean" is mellow with relaxed vocals but things get fuller on the chorus. Themes are repeated as it seems to build. I do love that chorus. "Until The End" takes about 3 minutes before we get a fuller sound. Nasty organ after 5 1/2 minutes. An epic section is followed by a relaxed piece of piano and acoustic guitar. Reserved vocals join in to end it.

I'll touch briefly on the bonus disc. "Knucklehead" is the heaviest tune on here and the mellotron is fantastic! "1312 Overture" begins and ends with orchestral music but for me it's the music in between that satisfies the most. Lots of intensity and mellotron. "Constellations" might be the best track overall. Check out the drumming and mellotron early on. It makes me feel alive. It ends like it began. Just wow! "Fall And Rise" has some interesting sounds like banjo(I think) and other intricate sounds. A beautiful tune. "Ten Million Demons" is one I loved from the start. Heavy with mellotron and quite catchy. This has such a good mid-tempo groove to it. "Hardcore" is my least favourite tune on here but it's still a really good one.

So I would rate this above their previous album "Frequency" but below "Dark Matter". This really is a grower for me and if it continues i'd give it 4.5 stars but for now a very solid 4 stars. Highlights are the bass, drums and mellotron.

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Posted Saturday, June 21, 2014

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover Team
5 stars The Return of the Choir Mellotron

For all its worth, any IQ album is subject to a vast array of opinions, going from "masterpiece" to "I don't get it!", an entirely understandable state of affairs when considering the pioneering legacy this band continues to enjoy. Yup, we all know the story, they were part of the heroic resistance to the impending disappearance of prog in 1977, when 'vanilla' punk ruled the hypocritical waves. Along with Marillion, Pallas, Twelfth Night and Pendragon, IQ forged ahead in the vast darkness. Each subsequent album has made an impact on the expectations from these wily veterans and releases such as Ever, The Seventh House, Dark Matter and Frequency have injected pride and passion into the flourishing scene, giving the lesser known bands a new source of inspiration and drive. Music for music's sake. The departure of the visually delightful master bassist John Jowitt, original keyboard virtuoso Martin Orford and drummer Andy Edwards did not really affect the sound all that much as new faces and old hats are now in the fold (Tim Esau and Paul Cook are back from their sabbatical). It seems that, like it or not, guitarist Mike Holmes remains the man responsible for the overall IQ sound and Peter Nicholls just stamps the lyrics with his theatrical voice. They also seem to take their time in getting new material done in a fashion that will keep old fans happy while seducing a new audience. Neo-pro, for all its opinionated shortcomings, has never produced more gems than in the last 10 years, a sub-genre that has been killing it with superlative new groups (Silhouette, Galahad, Anubis, Sylvan, Comedy of Errors, Magenta, Final Conflict, Shamall, Vienna Circle and a slew of others). Every day seems to announce a new arrival from France, Italy, Holland, Germany, Sweden, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Norway and beyond. So, in all fairness to others, IQ are the shining light that keeps the prog road illuminated, intelligent music woven by supreme talents who have a peculiar vision of their sound, yet constantly look to reinvent themselves. That alone warrants the loftiest praise.

Like most avid fans, I have opted for the 2 CD version (the more music, the merrier) and everything expected is reached in spades, with a package that will have fans and critics all caught up in their own personal interpretations, slicing, dicing and otherwise finding whatever they are looking for in a prog album. Yes, the mood reflects the somber cover artwork, a mist of swirling greys with an understood melancholic gloom that may appear out of nowhere, unexpected. Neil Durant is the main architect of creative keyboard work that sees little interest in technical prowess, completely subservient to the crew and their arrangement.

CD 1 - "From the Outside In" intros with a Bela Lugosi accented "Children of the Night" and subsequent steamroller assault on the senses, crisp, heavy and actually closer to recent Galahad. From the opening chords, the mighty Mellotron has opted for the much vaunted choir option, (a personal longtime favorite) and it has not shirked its omnipotent desire to dominate the aural landscape. Paul Cook's marshaling beats show off quasi Led Zeppelin- like propulsion, nasty and lethal explosions of tectonic shock, Esau pulling menacingly on his basso profundo. There is little doubt that this piece has extraordinary 'live in concert' credentials, not just for its manifest bombast but also for its explicit winks at "the Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" cinematographic soundtrack. There is a gleaming metallic sheen here as well as elsewhere on the 2CD collection that should be obvious to any cursory listener.

If there ever was a perfect IQ song (and there are many in the back catalog), the glorious title track would certainly fit the billing. It has a modern sheen, in that the keyboards have a most definite electro-glitter with a weighty beat and a grandiloquent presence, driving a metallic spike into the Neo-prog formula, a particular attention to forging stunning melodies adorned with twinkling orchestrations. The main theme is typical of the IQ veneration for colossal memorability, with a cute nod at Peter Murphy's classic "Indigo Eyes" there is a repetitive marimba/calypso keyboard tone that will corrupt any indifference and induce immediate 'kneeling at the shrine' hypnosis. The massed guitar onslaught, engined forward by that titanic Mellotron orchestration is a thing of beauty. This is progressive rock hit material. I could listen to these 8 and a half minutes on endless loop and repeat.

IQ have crafted a loyal companion to their colossal epic "Harvest of Souls" off the Dark Matter album, though this 19 minute+ "Without Walls" may offer up more excitation than one could hope for, cool breeze drumming, sounding almost like a beat box combine with dense Led Zeppelin "Kashmir"-like atmospherics and majestic squalls of contrasts, a universe of salivating organ and a snarling Rottweiler guitar tirade. Nicholls howls with unabashed despondence, floating redolence and total confidence. Obviously, there needs to be many returns here to fully grasp the density and despair but that's what makes epics so gratifying, they keep revealing new details, such as the short "The Knife"-like take-off that winked at me and the sudden jangly guitar arpeggios a few seconds later, the rambling Hammond urging on explosion and the delirium inducing outro, thinking that the piece is over. Durant then flips on his switches and toys with his synths, giving another round to the microphone man. Beautiful, by any prog standard! Teacher, please don't leave us kids alone!

"Ocean" took a long time for me to appreciate, as this and the following piece seemed to get caught in some invisible net. Fragile, puerile, bucolic, pastoral, it's actually a song in its purest form. In fact, I find myself comparing this to a Howard Jones/Naked Eyes/Thompson Twins electro-pop ballad. Truth is I am starting to really enjoy this track but it has been a slow-burner.

We end the first installment with the underwhelming "Until the End", a cosmetic hodgepodge of altering nuances, a dozen minutes of intransigent drama laced with booming bass in overt Rutherfordian upper cut, tortured synthesizer punching and careening guitar jabs. The gritty song is initially a struggle in its performance and therefore in its acceptance but again, repeated returns have peeled off layers of tear-inducing onion, only to discover the underlying quality of the musicianship and the singing.

CD 2 - As correctly stated by numerous previous observers, this second CD is as tasty, if not more so than the glittering first one, a real double whammy treat for the fan, the band was obviously inspired by all the "remue-ménage" going on between members leaving and old vets returning to the fold. I guess the term 'musical chairs' has never been more appropriate. The brash "Knucklehead" blasts with serpent-like conviction, massive dollops of buttery choir and violin Mellotron cater to the sonic buffet, with enough twists and turns to keep us proggers on our tippy-toes.

"1312 Overture" is studiously more orchestral than anything remotely neo-prog, a perfect example of how rock music can be 'classicalized' and satisfy the most irascible fan. It is a humorous and clever wink at Piotr Tchaikovsky's classic "1812 Overture", a piece depicting Russia's defiant defense from Napoleon's conquering Grande Armee. It has an obvious military tone to it, complete with cannonade fireworks, howling winter-like Choir Mellotron and gentle yet abject surrender.

The cinematographic splendor of "Constellations" is perhaps the most terrifyingly accurate IQ song ever, as if the lads were all born brilliant and decide to harvest their souls for added inspiration. Peter Nichols has never sounded more accomplished, compelled towards excellence by the grandiose keyboard avalanche which in turn is propelled muscularly by both Tim Esau's burly bass and Paul Cook's driving rhythmic pulse. Guitarist Holmes does finally step out into the spotlight and he glitters with fluid streams of electricity, as well as arranging a sure fire IQ classic in the process, including the overt Genesis influences that we all know and love. Here, it's at its zenith in terms of successful seduction.

The lovely "Fall and Rise" showcases Esau's exceptional fretless bass prowess (another valued prog idiosyncrasy), deft acoustic guitar from master Holmes who is a darn good player, as well as Nicholls vocalizing with his usual maitrise. A pleasurable ballad that will get many more repeats from my devices.

When I first heard "Ten Million Demons" somewhat absent mindedly, I was taken slightly aback as I thought that Depeche Mode had suddenly gone progressive and bullied themselves onto this record! Just like their friends Galahad (who have been crafting quality neo-prog for 29 years now), IQ has been unafraid of infusing little hints of synth electronica, a trait that has kept their respective recent releases fresh and enticing. The track again showcases Neil Durant's keyboard command, capable to do his Tony Banks thingy as well as a mean Thomas Dolby!

While we are at it, the lugubrious "Hardcore" does just that, incorporating tenser tendencies that swerve near neo-gothic horizons, something wholly Wagnerian but in a more prog context, injecting brooding rhythms and somber motifs , and need I to repeat myself , more of that unctuous Mellotron! This hazy piece seeks out some eerie spectral environments, daubing greyish halos on the grave and funereal accompaniment. Another brief Esau bass roulade introduces a shattering Holmes solo, very Hacketty and Ant Phillipsy, all emotion and restraint, finishing off with a long acoustic foray. Sublime!

I have always hoped for an album smothered in unending waves of my favorite progressive sound, the Choir Mellotron and truth be said, "Road to Bones" has enough to keep my bumps goose-ing! Incredibly orgasmic, the music presented here will undoubtedly provide many hours of future relaxation and high fidelity leisure. The production, the sound, the artwork and booklet are all of first rate quality, making this a necessary icon in the prog pantheon, 2014 has been now officially blessed with even more golden status.

Prog is in good hands as long as IQ provides the Guiding Light.

5 shadowy constituents

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Send comments to tszirmay (BETA) | Report this review (#1206435) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, July 06, 2014

Latest members reviews

5 stars I'm still fairly new to Prog Rock in the grand scheme of things; but I'm not new to powerful music with depth. At nearly 20minutes, Without Walls is enough for me to confidently call the album as a whole a masterpiece. It's written so very well that from the first chord to the closing notes; y ... (read more)

Report this review (#1195672) | Posted by thatgirlfox | Wednesday, June 18, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I cannot praise the writing of this album enough! This is my favourite IQ album in a while. Having been a fan since the 80s, I've listened to the band grow and change and this is certain a step in a new, right direction. From the opening heavy riff of "From the Outside In", to the fretless bass of " ... (read more)

Report this review (#1195671) | Posted by turbogeek421 | Wednesday, June 18, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I am very new to IQ's music and I was introduced to The Road of Bones by a friend. To say I was pleasantly surprised is an understatement. I thoroughly enjoyed this band's sound and look forward to hearing more from this them. I think my favourite track has to be the title track of The Road ... (read more)

Report this review (#1194965) | Posted by JCNice | Tuesday, June 17, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I've never written a review for progarchives before, although I have visited the site many times over the years - great website - so good to know people are still flying the flag for this kind of music. So, The Road of Bones, after living with it for a while I felt I had to put pen to paper f ... (read more)

Report this review (#1193312) | Posted by OldMichael | Sunday, June 15, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Since first buying "Frequency" two years ago, I have kept IQ at the forefront of my listening choices. Whether mixing a playlist for my iPhone or burning a playlist to CD, or choosing albums to listen to during the week, IQ have more often than not made the selection cut. I have "Ever", "Subte ... (read more)

Report this review (#1192137) | Posted by FragileKings | Saturday, June 14, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I am writing about the single CD edition of "The Road of Bones". The album starts with a very strong "From the outside in". I especially like the dark sounds of the synthesizer. They work together very well with the rather heavy guitar riffs. The vocals are very typical for IQ. Furthermore there a ... (read more)

Report this review (#1190309) | Posted by danproglover | Wednesday, June 11, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 'The Road of Bones' is an excellent album. I was surprised that the musicianship and production is flawless. It is also a very innovative record. This album has lots of atmosphere and the mood is dark and somewhat gloomy. You shuold also listen to the second disc because is every bit as good as ... (read more)

Report this review (#1184694) | Posted by analissa18 | Wednesday, June 04, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars *This review is of the 2 CD edition.* I must have played this album 30 times or more, so I now feel able to review it. First spins of the main disc were not particularly encouraging. Apart from the title track, which is amazing on first listen, the rest seemed dark and a bit uninspired, I mo ... (read more)

Report this review (#1181719) | Posted by Hercules | Sunday, June 01, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars What can I say about this album that hasn't already been said? For me it was immediate, more so than any of the other IQ albums (even better than Ever, and that album is just stunning). In my opinion it is an essential addition for any collector of quality prog music, let alone any IQ fan. I love ... (read more)

Report this review (#1181713) | Posted by prog lady | Sunday, June 01, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Still Soaring As I mentioned yesterday, when I reviewed IQ's 2009 effort, Frequency (after about a week of procrastination/crashed computers), I firmly believe that this band has more or less only got better with time. It's not completely true - I can't say anything for their two pop albums i ... (read more)

Report this review (#1180206) | Posted by Gallifrey | Wednesday, May 28, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 'The Road of Bones' is the 11th studio release by IQ. Its a fantastic and amazing new album. I recommend that you get the 2 CD edition 'cause while most 'bonus' discs are rarely a bonus, in "The Road of Bones" IQ has actually released something that's absolutely the opposite, because I consider the ... (read more)

Report this review (#1179503) | Posted by Yomero | Monday, May 26, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars It's my birthday and I'll prog if I want to!!! Anyway , got the latest IQ offering and I've spun it five times and the music is growing on me with every spin! Lets get straight to the point - the music - Typically IQ with lots of old bits of stuff floating in earshot throughout - IQ typical te ... (read more)

Report this review (#1179422) | Posted by M27Barney | Monday, May 26, 2014 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Big disapointment this. Even bigger than the previous one, which in my opinion concists of only one really interesting track, "Frequency". Something defenitely went out the window after keyboardist/composer Martin Orford left. And that is what attracted me to this band in the first place. Namely ... (read more)

Report this review (#1179307) | Posted by nurserycryme | Monday, May 26, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I already rated this CD as a 5 star album. Now after a couple of months of playing it constantly here is my review. Its great prog, that is already established. But it is more than that. I can't stop playing it at the moment and I really should as I don't want to get bored with it (no danger of that ... (read more)

Report this review (#1175084) | Posted by ProggyDon | Wednesday, May 14, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I was surprised by this album. For me, it is clearly the album of the year up to now. The musicianship and production is faultless, innovative and the twists and turns constantly keep your attention throughout. This album has lots of atmosphere and despite the darker heavy subject matter, is strange ... (read more)

Report this review (#1174863) | Posted by Clauch80 | Tuesday, May 13, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars IQ have been growing in heaviness recently. On their latest they don't exactly reverse this direction, but take a sidestep. This is darker, slower, more atmospheric IQ, with subtle additions in hypnotic rhythms and modern electronic sounds, although most songs still follow the sparse-to-bombasti ... (read more)

Report this review (#1174473) | Posted by Progrussia | Monday, May 12, 2014 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Perhaps it isn't fair to start an IQ listening tour with their last and most recent record "The Road Of Bones" from 2014. I haven't heard more than the title track from "Frequency"(a very good song) from IQ and now I tried this very new record. I went into it with expectance and a joyful mind ... (read more)

Report this review (#1173616) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Saturday, May 10, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars After repeated listens over the last 2 weeks, I feel now I have a had a chance to properly digest this epic work by (probably) my favorite prog band in the world today. The first thing I noticed is that this album didn't hit me immediately as with their previous albums. The first cd especially seeme ... (read more)

Report this review (#1170075) | Posted by emperorken | Friday, May 02, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Fantastic, superb, amazing new music from IQ. With "The road of bones", the band has delivered another exceptional neo-prog album. It's just a great release with some great music which contains five songs which gives you almost an hour of musical pleasure. This band keeps getting better and better w ... (read more)

Report this review (#1168516) | Posted by maialaia | Thursday, May 01, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I have just finished listening to the album ... twice. It starts and it gets better with every passing minute, you slowly figure out the direction and destination, you suddenly start to understand the road of bones. There is something extraordinary hidden between the lines of words and music here - ... (read more)

Report this review (#1166779) | Posted by 77cuts | Tuesday, April 29, 2014 | Review Permanlink

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