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IQ The Wake album cover
3.78 | 672 ratings | 65 reviews | 29% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1985

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Outer Limits (8:15)
2. The Wake (4:11)
3. The Magic Roundabout (8:18)
4. Corners (6:20)
5. Widow's Peak (9:12)
6. The Thousand Days (5:12)
7. Headlong (7:25)

Total Time 48:53

Bonus track on 1988, 1994 & 2016 reissues:
8. Dans Le Parc Du Chateau Noir (7:37)

Extra bonus tracks on 1994 & 2016 reissues:
9. The Thousand Days (demo) (3:55)
10. The Magic Roundabout (demo) (6:27)

Extra bonus track on 2016 reissue:
11. Corners (2010 remix) (5:33)

Line-up / Musicians

- Peter Nicholls / vocals, tambourine
- Mike Holmes / sitar, electric & acoustic guitars, co-producer
- Martin Orford / Roland VK-1 organ, Mellotron, synths (Logan String, Oberheim SEM, Yamaha CS-80 & DX7, ARP Odyssey, Memorymoog), E-mu emulator sampler, flute, backing vocals
- Tim Esau / fretted & fretless basses, bass pedals, co-producer
- Paul Cook / drums, percussion

- Harun Coombes / tabla (4), engineer

Releases information

Artwork: Peter Nicholls

LP Mayking Records - SAH 136 (1985, UK) Testpressing
LP Sahara - SAH 136 (1985, UK)

CD Samurai Records SAMR CD 136 (1988, France) With 1 bonus track
CD MSI - CDMS 1028 (1988, France) With 1 bonus track
CD Giant Electric Pea - GEPCD 1011 (1994, UK) With 3 bonus tracks
CD Giant Electric Pea ‎- GEPCD1051 (2016, UK) Remastered in 2010 by Michael Holmes & Rob Aubrey and originally available as part of the 4 disc 25th Anniversary boxset; 4 bonus tracks

NOTE: There is a remastered version issued in 2010 with bonus tracks across 3 CDs, plus a DVD with Live recording from 1984 and many extras - see under Compilations section of the discog

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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IQ The Wake ratings distribution

(672 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(29%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

IQ The Wake reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Greger
4 stars This album is said to be one of the classic neo-progressive albums of the '80's. It was originally released on Sahara Records, but this is a re-mastered re-issue on the Giant Electric Pea label with three additional bonus tracks. "The Wake" are IQ's second album and it was released around the same time as Marillion's "Misplaced Childhood". At this time IQ and MARILLION were sound a likes with reminiscences to GABRIEL-era GENESIS. The highlights are the opening track "Outer Limits", "The Wake", "Widow's Peak", the album closer "Headlong" and the bonus track "Dans Le Parc Du Chateau Noir". I can't understand why this track wasn't included on the original album instead of "Corners". I really like that IQ are using the Mellotron as it wasn't used very often in 80's progressive rock. This is a good album although MARILLION's "Misplaced Childhood" were slightly better. Highly recommended!
Review by maani
3 stars What a difference a second album makes!

Although I gave Tales From the Lush Attic five stars, there were specific reasons (which you can read in my review). And I spoke of a "joyful naivete" in its approach.

There is no such naivete here! From the confident opening synth figure, you know that IQ has matured in a remarkable way. With the exception of The Thousand Days (the demo of the song is better), every song on this album shows a clear direction, a great deal of creativity, and a far more confident approach to songwriting and arrangement. And unlike many bands that wear their influences in their sleeves, IQ makes valiant attempts to channel those influences (mostly Genesis and Pink Floyd) into something new and creative - and they succeed far more often than they fail. In addition, the musicianship is quite good, each member having both a good sense of their own creativity and a good sense of the Genesis member they "represent." And a listen to Corners, Widow's Peak and Headlong gives a good idea of the direction IQ would ultimately take, toward an even more intense, confident "classic" progressive approach (but only after a strange 2-album interlude).

Despite the derivative quality of this album (which is not a put-down), I definitely recommend it for any prog-rock collection. 3.5 stars.

Review by Peter
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars As with Fish-era Marillion, England's I.Q. is another "neo-progressive" band that couldn't have existed without Genesis first pointing the way and brilliantly illuminating the path ahead. As other reviewers have indicated, THE WAKE is the product of a band that clearly owes its inspiration to early Genesis (up to and including A TRICK OF THE TAIL and WIND AND WUTHERING), but -- at least for my taste -- if one group is going to mimic (whether consciously or not) the sound of another, it might as well be that of progressive luminaries Genesis! In any case, I.Q. singer Peter Nicholls (unlike Fish) has a strong voice that sounds nothing like Gabriel's, and the songs themselves are varied and intelligent enough (as the group's somewhat cocky name would seem to suggest) to lift THE WAKE well above the rank of a generic "rip off" or clone.

Questions of inspiration/originality aside for the nonce, THE WAKE is a fine piece of progressive music, performed by an obviously talented group of musicians. Particularly effective tracks include the atmospheric and even grandiose opener "Outer Limits;" the hard-hitting, memorable title track (both songs feature great "Hackett-esque" guitar from Mike Holmes); the musically-diverse "The Magic Roundabout;" the initially-melancholy, then driving and infectious "Headlong" (which has a simply majestic closing section); and "Dans Le Parc Du Chateau Noir" (more superb axe-work here!), one of three "bonus" cuts included on the disc. My overall favourite track, though, is the album's longest: "Widow's Peak" is by turns magnificent, haunting, and passionate, and as good a piece of progressive music as I've heard since the 70s!

Would fans of early progressive rock, who are eager for some new (if not entirely new-sounding) music enjoy this album? Well, your reviewer fits that description, and track for track, I prefer this CD to anything that Genesis have released since "WIND." Though recorded some ten years after the glory days of the genre, THE WAKE is closer to the sound and spirit of early "prog" than much of the watered-down, later efforts of once-dependable stalwarts such as Genesis. Thus, I give THE WAKE a four-star rating (I'd give it an additional half star, were that an option), and recommend that you first check out the "Widow's Peak" MP3 found here, then order a copy for your progressive rock listening pleasure. Is THE WAKE a future "five-star" classic-in-the-making? Quite possibly -- check back with me in a few years!

Review by lor68
4 stars It is a classic issue of the early eighties, containing some famous songs such as "Widow's Peak", "Outer Limits" and the captivating "The Magic Roundabout", true must have songs, often played live along with "It all stops here". In fact this latter should be perfect and appropriate within this album, otherwise being included also into the stunning collection "J'ai Pollette D'Arnu", which is another piece of this important history by IQ!!! Classic stuff!!
Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is the second IQ album. Compared to the first one, the tracks here are less epic, lasting not much more than 9 minutes. All the tracks are at least excellent. The keyboards are VERY varied, mixing old ones like organ and harpsichord with more modern ones. The electric guitar is quite less rebel rock than on the previous album, and Mike Holmes relies on MANY VERY sustained melodic guitar solos, having substantial echo effects: They sound like Steve HACKETT's electric guitar before the 80's. There are some choir-like keyboards (novatron?) floating in the background. The bass is very good, although it could be louder and more sophisticated. One of the best bit is on "Magic Roundabout", when the clean rythmic guitar embarks, producing with an OUTSTANDING mellow fretless bass a very pleasant & dreamy atmosphere: GRAND!!!!!!!! "Widow's Peak" has great fast and brief drums peaks. The last track, "Headlong", is very melodramatic and very progressive, nevertheless having a happy ending: it sounds like albums as old as "Nursery Cryme" and "Foxtrot", especially the beginning. The weak point is the poor ambience due to a "monochromatic" sound: I must remove half a star for that because it is very flagrant and irritating. Unfortunately, it does not sound as atmospheric as the "Subterranea", "Ever" and "Seventh House" albums. However, I strongly recommend the corresponding live album, "Living Proof", which has a quite better ambience & atmosphere.

My rating: 4.5/5

Review by richardh
5 stars Well this is one of 2 IQ albums that deserve the 5 star rating.A dark almost overwhelming record that grabs you by the throat and just won't let go.'The Magic Roundabout' has absolutely nothing to do with Dougal and chums I can assure you ,while 'Widows Peak' has one of the most startling intros to any peice of music I've heard.Paul Cook is awesome on the skins here.The star of the show undoubtedly though is Pete Nicholls who lends an intensity to the songs that is very rare in music.This is a special record.
Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I knew this band from this album right after I was amazed by the appearance of Marillion's Script for A Jester's Tear. Judging from the cover itself, you would definitely guess that this is a Gabrielish (early Genesis) sort of music. Look at the mask. Yeah .. you bet! This is another progressive band in the vein of early Genesis (Hackett's era, not so specific Gabriel era), even though it's rather tiny at vocal part. Overall, this album is excellent! If you enjoy Genesis' "Fly on a Windshield", "The Lamia", "One for The Vine", "All of Mosuses's Night" or "Blood on a Rooftops" .. yesszzz!!! This is your choice of album. You would not regret with this album. But .. please take note on some points: don't try to compare with Genesis (Hackett's era), this was a new band by that time. You may notice how the drumming was performed poorly in the opening track "Outer Limits". It sounds poppy in my opinion. It has no varieties like what Phil Collins did with Genesis. Oopps .. I should not compare it. Sorry ... However, I would rate this band as having BIG FIVE STAR in creating a truly melodic and harmonious music, regardless their musicianship. Afterall, their later albums demonstrated significant improvements in their musicianship. You may try "Ever", "Subterranea", "The Seventh House". The first thing that strike me and make me hooked to this band is their title track "The Wake". Ghusszzzz ...!! This track is so wonderful; energetic. The other excellent tracks are "Widow' Peak" and "Headlong". Oh God ... these are another melodic music I've ever heard. If you like Genesis "One for The Vine", definitely you will like these. This album is a MUST HAVE for prog afficionado. Definitely ....! - Gatot Widayanto, Indonesia.
Review by James Lee
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars [ begin the Rod Serling voiceover] Picture if you will, GENESIS- but in an alternate universe in which they resisted Phil's coup but accepted the 80s production trends. While it is definitely laudable for carrying a prog torch at the same time GENESIS as well as YES, ELP and PINK FLOYD were shamelessly embracing commercialism, it fails to find new meanings like KING CRIMSON or RUSH (although IQ's better pop moments do forecast the candian trio's 90s sound). There are some embarassingly dated-sounding moments; the gated drums on "Outer Limits" are very like solo-Collins, but the song itself reminds me somewhat of STYX- take that as you will. The title track brings ALDO NOVA to mind but has some interesting bits in between the verses. "The Magic Roundabout" is less whimsical than the name would suggest; the lyrics are self-pitying and poorly written, and strangely enough the demo has a tighter rhythm section than the final version. Anybody remember TOM PETTY's "Don't Come Around Here No More"? "Corners" is a sonic sibling, with a more overwrought vocal and no mad hatter video. "Widows Peak" proves indisputably the ties to 70s GENESIS, but is also one of the better tracks, as is "Dans Le Parc Du Chateau Noir". "Headlong" has a weak start- the lyrics are again of poor quality- but revs up to a nice soaring chorus. "Thousand Days" is a good 80s pop song (the demo version isn't too far from "Murmur"-era REM) with touches of "Run Like Hell" in the guitar, but my throat hurts when I hear him straining for the high notes. Overall the band is a bit bland. Hackett was a more admirable guitar foil to the wall of synth (on earlier albums, at least) and the guitars here are both more aggressive and less original. The drums often sound like 80s Phil Collins but only occasionally aprroach his musicianship (and sometimes sound downright sloppy!). Gabriel balanced his dramatic qualities with a dry humor and a touch of anglo-soul, whereas Peter Nicholls focuses on precisely enunciated theatricality to add life to an unimpressive vocal timbre (think Waters' unsteady tenor mixed with an amateur, embryonic James LaBrie). On the other hand, the keyboards add lush and intersting textures when they're not relegated to merely chord pads. All-in-all "The Wake" is a mixed bag; kudos for keeping the dream alive in 1985, but in this case it is one of those dreams you have a hard time recalling once it's over. My three stars are stretched pretty thin here; I'd have kept it to two but this album is more historically important than the quality of the music ultimately deserves.
Review by Sean Trane
3 stars Had this site existed twenty years ago , I might have given this album maximum ratings but three or four years after I would have downgraded it of one star and now I can only give a three star. Why such severity, You ask? Well if at the early 80's , this was seen as a major album for the survival of prog (although , we never saw it that way back then for we did not know what lay ahead) it was the only prog available with Marillion's debut. So there was a serious drought for the thirsty proghead that I was , and was probably blinded by the fact that the album existed at all and did not realize the glaring weaknesses - especially in the inspiration/inventivity dept but also in the voice. I did enjoy this album back then , but I wonder if I would have given it a second listen had I been 40 back then (instead of those twenty tender springs on the counter at the time) or would my reaction be just acceptance. Mystre et boule de gomme........
Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars A high IQ

I have had this album for some years, but for one reason or another (possibly because I have it on cassette!) it has never been a regular listen. There are strong shades of Yes in the music, "Drama" in particular came to mind a few times. Likewise, the sound of Steve Hackett's guitar echoed across several of the tracks.

That's not to say the music bears any direct connection with the music of Yes or Genesis, there certainly no suggestion of borrowed themes etc. It's very much the overall feel of the album I'm comparing, and purely for reference purposes. Other reference points to a greater or lesser extent would be Marillion, Pallas and Arena.

"The Wake" is a fine neo-prog album, with plenty of symphonic keyboards, melodic lead guitar, changing themes lengthy tracks, the lot. The Achilles heel to some extent is the vocals which are adequate but no more.

The feature track, "Widow's peak", is a nine minute epic with all the aforesaid ingredients, plus a strong performance. Many of the tracks merge together (a la Moody Blues), giving the album a continuity and apparently more complex structure. The version I have includes a "bonus track", Dans Le Parc". I can't say the track, an instrumental, adds anything to the album, but it does display once again the virtuosity of the band.

An enjoyable album of straightforward neo-prog.

Review by Prog-jester
4 stars Almost a masterpiece! Comparing with debut it's more carefully produced, with better recording work etc. The opening "Outer Limits" is very energetic, with enormous drive, also it is pretty structured as for 80s Neo ;). "The Wake" - the song - is a real hard-prog-rock hit, transforming into "The Magic Roundabout" with its unusual structure and thrilling climax (the closing solo is great, too). "Corners" seem to drag forever, but works on the song, really. "Widow's Peak", another epic story, is the longest track here. Another could-be-single "The Thousand Days" works better in demo version (at least, for me), while here it's ruined by a minute of synths' trickery. I adore "Headlong" ballad with its opening lamenting vocals - very haunting, very marillionic! - and that powerful coda...amazing, to say the least! "Dans..." also has some highlights, especially in solos (I wonder why this track wasn't featured on the album). A very mature work, highly recomended especially for those who doesn't believe in well-crafted 80's Neo-Prog ;)
Review by erik neuteboom
4 stars Before writing this review, I took a brief look at the other reviews on this site, mainly in order to watch their ratings. Well, the lowest rating is good (3 stars) and almost half of the reviewers regard this album as a masterpiece (5 stars). I've decided to give it four stars: this album includes some of the best compositions IQ ever wrote but "The thousand days" is too mainstream prog and "Corners" even rubbish! And I would like to emphasize that loving IQ seems to be very subjective: I remember all those fanatic discussions between Marillion freaks, Genesis die-hards and IQ fans on our weekly progrock sessions, some even hated IQ and many Genesis - and Marillion fans still do! I think Dr. Phil and even Jerry Springer would have paid a fortune to these progheads for having them in their shows, what a highly dramatic and tremendous hilarious scenes! But seriously folks, this is an album to be carried away to a progwalhalla: what a wonderful and compelling compositions, loaded with captivating breaks, spectacular changing climates ("Widow's peak" featuring halfway propulsive electric guitar, bombastic Mellotron and dramatic vocals), splendid interplay between keyboards and guitar (this is IQ their trademark) and great soli. I can imagine that the vocals and the rhythm-section could cause some discussion but to me they sound OK and in general I like Pete's slightly dramatic voice. Of course "Corners" is a crappy maverick but things has been put right by adding the killer bonustrack "Dans le chateau du parc noir", what a breathtaking build-up and moving guitar solo, GOOSE BUMPS!! For the young progrock aficionados this album could sound a bit dated but it's so dynamic and I love the vintage keyboard sound by Martin Offord, from the hugh triple manual Yamaha CS80 synthesizer to the polyphonic Memorymoog and ESPECIALLY THE OMNIPRESENT M400 CHOIR-MELLOTRON SOUNDS SO IMPRESSIVE!!
Review by NJprogfan
4 stars With the bass thumping that starts out the album, then the wash of keyboards, and finally the song proper begins, it pulls you in with Nicholl's pleading voice and lyrics. This was the first album I bought by the band and immediately enjoyed Nicholl's distinctive voice. Even moreso, I put his lyrical prowess up there with Peter Gabriel and Dave Cousins, my two other favorite writers. Every song on the album has that IQ stamp, fantastic keyboards by Martin Orford, Mike Holme's Hackett inspired guitar work and Peter Cooks excellent drumming, mix them with a gothic sheen and Nichol's somber lyrics and you get a wonderful mix. Other than the syrupy 80's Genesis sounding "Corners" and the somewhat decent poppy song "The Thousand Days", there are huge classics on this disc. "Headlong" , "The Magic Roundabout" and the bonus track, "Dans Le Pare Du Chateau Noir"are flat out masterpieces of gothic, Genesis inspired prog. Just imagine "Wind and Wuthering" era Genesis mixed with a ting of The Cure/Bauhaus/Echo and the romantic prog. Don't forget, it came out 1985 and had to deal with the big English bands of the day. I give them props for trying something different. I agree with other reviewers when they say that this album is a great starting point to dip into the neo-prog pool. A four-star winner!
Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars IQ's second album, simply titled The Wake, was released in 1984 after a spectacular debut in Tales from the Lush Attic. With this album, the group decided to focus on more concise pieces rather than sprawling epics, and to simply put it they hit the mark once again. Although the sound of this album is very 80s, there are a lot of progressive moments and times when you feel like you could listen to this stuff forever. Think of this music as technical instrumental passages coupled with melodic and well composed vocal sections (as with every IQ album). The group plays wonderfully on this album and the intricate riffs and patterns they play sound wonderful and are very creative. Mike Holmes, although not the looker at this period of his life mainly because of his hair, is the star of this album giving 100% and really showing that he is a very competent guitarist.

The album opens with the droning syncopated rhythm of Outer Limits. The bass and drums really connect well for the introduction of this song. The keyboard tone here is lush and vibrant and the chord progression is really unique. A nice 5/4 rhythm comes in right before the vocals, in which Paul Cook really shows his skills on the kit, giving some really nice fills. This steady 5/4 beat remains for the rest of the song, but alternates with a 7/8 and 7/4 pattern. The outro is the same droning beat that began the song. The Wake begins with a bang. Strong drumming from Cook and some quality leads from Holmes breaks into a powerful riff with some nice organ and distorted guitar. Holmes shines with a terrific solo in the middle of it and Orford is great with his synthesizer fills and his pseudo mellotron choirs.

The Magic Roundabout has a nice ascending and descending riff in the beginning, and Nichols' vocal on this track is really strong. The droning riff from Outer Limits is reprised here, albeit in a bit different form and a bit more subtle than the song itself. Holmes gives another great guitar solo at the end to put the icing on the cake that is The Magic Roundabout. Corners begins with some electronic percussion, and some precision playing at that. Orford then gives airy fills with his synthesizer while Nichols gives a passionate vocal performance. Tim Esau gives a dynamic bass performance on this one, offering a complex and catchy bass line that keeps the song at a groove. Some sitar comes in around the 4th minute during a very long fadeout, showing the experimentation of the group. It's not a terribly strong song, though; as it could have been cut down tremendously and there is a lack of real feel to the song.

Widow's Peak begins with some chorused riffing from Holmes in the vein of Steve Rothery or Alex Lifeson. Some anxious flute, courtesy of Orford, comes in with a nice 7/8 motif. Nichols vocal flows well with the soaring synths of Orford and the dynamic drumming of Paul Cook. Holmes gets another little section to show his riffing skills near the 6th minute, and he really gets the Rothery vibe on Perimeter Walk (part of the Marillion song Blind Curve). The ending of the song features some strong work from Orford and Esau. The Thousand Days begins with some nice riffing from Holmes and a great bass line from Esau. The textured work from Orford and the consistent work from Cook make this song a really enjoyable one to listen to. Headlong begins somberly with some emotional vocals from Nichols and some anxious keyboard work from Orford. A nice guitar riff comes in, and it soon has this great feeling of mystery as Orford gives a dynamic keyboard solo that takes many twists and turns. Mike Holmes gets some time to shine as well, giving a very well played solo involving many slides up and down the fret board the album. In the end, this is a terrific (and epic) closer to the end of the album.

Overall, this is a terrific album that really is one of IQ's finest moments. My only gripes with the album is the sub par production (while not terrible, it could have been better) and Corners is a song that could have used a lot of work to perfect. In the end, though, you can't go wrong with this album, a terrific starter for someone just getting into IQ. 4.5/5.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars 4.5 stars. A record about death but it's not as dark and moody as one would think. This is without a doubt one of IQ's best albums. It's also the first IQ record I ever listened to.

It's pretty cool that the theme in the first song "Outer Limits" can be heard in the final song "Headlong". Four of the seven songs have mellotron provided by Mr.Orford, who also supplies us with moog, synths, flute and keyboards. "Outer Limits" begins with an ominous bass line coupled with synths until we hear the amazing vocals of Peter Nicholls. A steady beat with lots of mellotron follows. I really like the synths 3 1/2 minutes in. Nice guitar after 6 1/2 minute too. "The Wake" has some terrific drums and keyboards, along with mellotron and some splendid guitar.The intro is so powerful. Check out the guitar after 2 minutes.This song blends into "The Magic Roundabout" which opens with a powerful atmosphere and lots of synths. It kicks in before 2 minutes. It settles 3 minutes in, it's such a beautiful section as Peter comes in vocally. I also like when we get a calm 6 1/2 minutes in and the gorgeous guitar that follows. "Corners" opens with percussion and drums as synths then reserved vocals come into this laid back tune.

"Widow's Peak" has lots of time changes, and I just love the sound of this song. It opens with some atmosphere before kicking in around 1 1/2 minutes with mellotron. When the vocals come in i'm smiling. God bless Peter Nicholls ! I really like when it settles 2 1/2 minutes in. Great section ! It kicks back in with guitar leading the way. Paul's beating the hell out of his drumkit here. Another calm 4 1/2 minutes in before kicking back in around 6 minutes with vocals. Beautiful guitar solo 8 minutes in. What a song ! "Thousand Days" might be my favourite. It's so moving for me, just an uplifting and emotional track really. It has a spacey ending. "Headlong" features fragile vocals and mellotron comes in before a minute. It starts to build after 2 minutes. Incredible ! It settles again 3 1/2 minutes in then a minute later we get that familiar and uplifting melody. I have to mention the bonus track called "Dans Le Parc Du Chateau Noir". This song is simply an amazing addition to this album. Mellow to start before kicking in after a minute. A powerful soundscape before 3 minutes. No melody just waves of synths. A guitar melody comes out of it and leads the way.

This is one of my favourite IQ records and I highly recommend it.

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars To me, this album and Twelfth Night's "Fact and Fiction" are the ultimate masterpiece in the 80s era of the British neo-prog wave. Both albums comprise the frontal energetic vibe of the time's rock scene and the high standards (musically and dramatically) of vintage symphonic prog, with special regards to the influences of Gabriel-era Genesis, Camel, and as a plus, UK. The latter point of reference can be clearly noticed in Ordford' keyboard input for most of the darkest passages in the album. Although... this album as a whole keeps a consistent dark mood, which is logical considering the integral concept: a man passes away, takes a bitter look at what used to be his earthly life, indulges himself in doubt, regret and fear before taking the definitive step into the world of the dead. So, the drama is not in the moment of death or the arrival at Heaven, but in the sense of confusion that drowns the dead man's soul in the meantime. Well, the instrumentation and the musical ideas fit Nicholls' lyrical adventures and ever growing singing energy quite well. To be more specific - the guitar passages and the rhythm section bear a harder edge than on the IQ's debut album, while the keyboard department finds the mellotron, string ensemble and organ sounds assuming a sort of leading role, in this way, creating horror movie ambiences in lots of places. The intro section of 'Outer Limits' kicks off the album in the vein of UK's anthem 'In the Dead of Night', until things get settled in a Genesis-meets- punk atmosphere, very early IQ, indeed. After the final sequences of bass, drum and agonizing breaths, the powerful namesake track gets in and sets a very ballsy mood: the band flirts with heavy metal on this one. Nicholls' singing almost effortlessly equals the guitar aggression: one of his most amazing performances during the early 80s. 'The Magic Roundabout' returns to the epic essence of the opening song, while bearing a more melancholic spirit: the keyboard orchestrations and the fretless bass guitar are almost surreal. Not as epic but prolonging with the dreamy mood, 'Corners' shifts things to bring a Peter Gabriel kind of thing with its electronic-ethnic structure, based on a mixture of white reggae, slight Arabic textures and languid techno-pop. I love this song for what it is - a nice, refreshing interlude between two epics. The following long track is one of my fave IQ songs ever: from the eerie prologue to the brief guitar flourishes at the end, everything in between makes 'Widow's Peak' a definite epitome of the band's most bombastic side, equalling the emotional engagement of track 3 and surpassing the clever complexity of track 1. 'The Thousand Days', on the other hand, has a more straightforward appeal: perhaps the best song The Cure has never done? The floating synth layers that fill the aforesaid song's aftermath serves as an adequate prelude to the final track 'Headlong'. Although bearing a gloomy mood similar to the other epics, the closing section sets a playful Celtic-based motif, in this way protraying the optimistic redemption of the soul that comes to terms with its ultimate fate. Of all bonuses, 'Dans le Parc du Chateau Noir' is the most impressive one, since it provides some more of the offical repertoire's dark atmosphere, even taking it to a deeper level of uncomfort and mystery. "The Wake" is a defining masterpiece of 80s prog.
Review by Prog Leviathan
1 stars I am amazed by the high praise this album garners-- it is laughably mediocre when compared to their principle inspiration's (Genesis) and their contemporary's (Marillion) excellent work. "The Wake" is a poorly recorded and performed mess of songs that never get off the ground or manage to spark the intended artistic interest generated by the band's prog forbearers. The rhythm section is bland while the guitar is shrill and equally unexciting... and the vocal's must be a very acquired taste. That being said, the songwriting is occasionally interesting, but the performances do little to get one excited about them.

I suppose IQ's contribution to the short-lived prog revival of the '80's is worthy of respect, but those looking for an example of this era's sound would do better seeking elsewhere. Listen before you buy!

Songwriting: 2 Instrumental Performances: 1 Lyrics/Vocals: 1 Style/Emotion/Replay: 1

Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars IQ's debut album was very promising and I was really enthusistic this album. The IQ sound was all there since their first work, so this one is a very nice follow-up.

In just less than two year's time, IQ will come back with a very sophisticated album. Of course, the recipe will be almost the same; but since it was very tasteful, there are no fundemental problem with this aspect of their work.

Most numbers flow nicely the one into each other and "Outer Limits" sets the pace. Imposing keys, tortured vocals (the filiation with Gabriel won't disappear of course). I mentioned already that IMO Peter Nicholls sounds even more as Gabriel than Fish for instance. His solemn tone being less "spectacular" than Fish's one, but as powerful. Just another form of acting I would say.

The title track although short, is expressive and particularly well balanced. Imposing keys (as usual, should I say). This is really a neo-prog anthem. Heavy bass and solid drums. The necessary instrumental guitar touch and a very catchy melody. To summarize : a good song.

Of course with "The Magic Roundabout", we seem to be transported into "Watcher". It is amazing to notice how many times this fabulous Genesis number has been partially used. It is evident for about two minutes: full of mellotron and then the supreme eight notes riff. Incomparable (I'm talking about the original one). Fortunately, this song will bring some more feelings than just past history. Orford is again brilliant on the keys.

The reggae-ish "Corners" might sound funny, but it bores me to death. Press skip. The poorest IQ number so far.

Fortunately, as if IQ needs to be forgiven they will provide us with the best number of this album. "Widow's Peak" is definitively the peak here. Mike produces great guitar work and the whole band is absolutely bombastic. This is a wonderful IQ track. One of those for which I have the most profund respect. A gorgeous and spacey instrumental part precedes a section introduced by a similar riff as in "Run Like Hell" (another often used theme amongst neo-prog bands). Peter sounds very emotional and adds this little extra which makes the difference between a good and a great track. Wonderful closing.

In comparison "The Thousand Days" is a simple yet attractive number. Not complex at all. Just a simple, but good song. I guess that from time to time, bands can produce this type of songs without being regarded as being too simplistic.

The closing number "Headlong" sounds sad. A very weird atmosphere prevails. We'll get the famous riff here and there (you know "Watcher"...). It is full of harmony. A great closing number. Such numbers can only fill your heart with the utmost pleasure. This is what prog is about : generate emotions. And IQ knows how to do it, believe me.

The remastered CD version features three bonus tracks. I am totally in love with the French titled "Dans le Parc du Chateau Noir". It is simply my preferred song of the whole. The guitar is incredible, so passionate (thanks again Mike). We'll even get some reminiscence of "Watcher". Would you believe ? Brilliant. How this number was not considered for the album inclusion will remind a mystery. Thanks for having remembered that it ever existed, friends. The other bonus tracks are alternate (and shorter) versions of numbers featured on the album. I have never been found of "edits". So, my judgment will not change with this one.

If I hadn't stop listening to prog music for so long (1978 - 1996), I guess I would have been REALLY in love with such an album at the time of its release. Since I have discovered all these works since then, there is no harm, only a dealy. I am very happy to share my enthusiasm about this album and more generally about this band.

Great music. Great rating. Four stars.

Review by b_olariu
4 stars IQ - what an intelligent name for a prog band. The wake along with Misplaced childhood are among the best albums of neo-prog if not the best. IQ truly carried the torch of progressive music into the 80s. The second album, "The Wake" are among the very finest progressive rock albums released in that decade. ESSENTIAL PROG!!! to all prog listners. Forte tracks i find Magic roundabout, Window's peak and Outer limits. The musicians are among the finest in prog, specialy Peter Nicholls (very gifted singer, unmatch tone of voice), and the true master of this album Martin Orford, who really knows how to use the instrument and to create something valueble for then, now and for tommorow. 4 stars and essential album. Enjoy.
Review by progrules
2 stars IQ takes a special place in proghistory because they were one of the few in the 80's (Marillion, Pallas + some less known) at least for where it concerns the neo prog and they had to keep prog alive. In the middle of these 80's they produced this album and though that was important I kept listening simply to the musical effort on itselve and judged the album critically. I wasn't very impressed. I compared it to Marillion which was better then to my opinion. I thought this was all a bit slow and not exactly compelling. Prog has to be compelling for me that's why I love it. If I would judge it now it would be even more critical, there is simply more material for comparison and the standard is getting higher and higher. I'm sorry I can't let sentimental reasons (the siginificance for progmusic in a difficult period) have the upper hand in me to come to the judgement for this album. I am going to be sober about it and have to give it 2 stars only.
Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars With their second effort,IQ try to create a more personal style of neo progressive music.The keyboard lines of Martin Orford play a leading role in their music,the guitar lines are measured and simply excellent and the voice of Pete Nicholls remains a trademark of the band.All in all,what they managed to do,is to create another historical album of prog rock.''Headlong'' is in my top 10 list of the best songs in prog ever.A ''BUY OR DIE'' album!!!!!PROG4EVER!
Review by Moatilliatta
3 stars IQ hasn't quite come into their own yet with this release. The Wake has some good, albeit derivative songs that won't always coax you into further listens. The longer tracks "The Magic Roundabout" and "Widow's Peak" are the highlights. Certainly you can hear the band's creativity start to come out, but it won't be until the 90's when we really hear the band in full force. Fans of melodic proggy rock and the band in general will enjoy the majority of this, but should be aware that the production is weak and the band put out some much better records, like Subterranea and Dark Matter.
Review by Flucktrot
3 stars Given the staying power of IQ throughout the years, it's great to go back and hear how they got their start. I have to say, if I had been smart enough to be listening to this album when it came out, I probably would not have predicted much long-term success for the band. This is definitely an album created by young, talented musicians who seem to be on the same page from a composition standpoint. However, they still needed to mature as a group, which they certainly would do in later albums.

The extended pieces are for the most part well done, especially given the time period. I think even at this point, IQ had their own identity and were not simply copying Genesis as best they could, even though some similarities are much too obvious to even attempt to deny (such as Holmes' Hackett-like guitar and Nicholls' Gabe-esque wails). Outer Limits is an especially refreshing opener, with an ominous bass/synth intro leading to the bright, uptempo vocal section. Orford also quickly establishes himself with tasteful synth arrangements and riveting flourishes. The Magic Roundabout and Widow's Peak are also excellent pieces, mixing up tempos and moods throughout and leading to full, guitar driven finishes. The one exception to the rule is the closer, Headlong. The conclusion is catchy and well done, but there's too much build up featuring Nicholls on vocals--his voice is just not of an acceptable quality to be that exposed for that long.

The shorter songs are also generally high quality. The title track is relatively simply and heavy, but offers some great guitar and is catchy if nothing else. The Thousand Days has a basic chord progression that matches at least three other popular songs I can name off the top of my head, but is at least uptempo and easy on the ears as well. The only true dog on the album is Corners: simple, plodding, and wholly uninteresting.

Beware that Nicholls' voice is quite rough--generally it is not a good idea for vocalists who have nasally and shrill voices to forget about paying attention to their pitch, and he is no exception. Fortunately, most of the songs are written well enough and feature enough going on underneath the vocals that the often poor singing does not distract terribly from the listening experience. All in all, The Wake is one of few quality and cohesive albums from the time period, and as such should be given proper respect.

Review by The Prognaut
3 stars Not bad for being born in the reckless mid-eighties. Even though it's not one of the best productions by IQ over the years to me, I have to admit it's one out of their entire discography that gives the band recognition. Up to "The Wake" the sound was still quite appealing to MARILLION's and very poor in elaboration in spite of the marvelous execution of good old Martin ORFORD on keyboards. I think of this record as a determinant transition for IQ to jump right on a very unique seal that landed steady on the years to come in order to consider this English band as promising.

The musical resources applied in here are very reliable and enjoyable most of all. It was the time where Peter NICHOLLS still covered up his face in make-up a la GENESIS and where the performance overshadowed the presence on stage. Still, great songs were arranged and released in "The Wake", just like the self-named song and "Widow's Peak", that happen to be some of the Neo-Prog tracks I enjoy listening to the most.

Other long pieces were included as well but weren't that convincing to me out of first listen like they're now. Take "The Magic Roundabout" for instance, the track was intended to be impressive and elaborated somehow, but I feel no remorse by saying it's anything out of this world. If not lousy, it isn't a jewel either. On the other hand, "Corners" is so extremely experimental that it provokes no surprise at all and thus, it brings nothing to the table by being plain and merely poor.

Regarding one of the most important elements on any fine production, I'm talking about the lyrics here; "The Wake" is a bit disappointing on that issue yet very less proposing and quite corny to tell the story of a dead man in sequels. Such finger pointing nark goes especially to "The Thousand Days" and "Headlong". There are still some pop-rock elements that outshine the progressive effort whatsoever.

I'm reviewing The Wake based upon the 2006 re-issue released by INSIDE-OUT label which includes an outstanding bonus track. "Dans Le Parc Du Chateau Noir" is a brilliant turning point that under my own perspective, it should've been added on the first edition. It's just like this piece belonged to a whole different album. The elements are linked superbly, this is fair ground alright.

So as usual, I'll give you a piece of my mind of the album. Good, but not essential. A remarkable effort but far from being amazing. It's quite a keeper though, but don't let your hopes get that high when lending ears to it. Deservedly, three out of five ranking stars.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The Wake is the second studio album from progressive rock act IQ. Its an album Ive owned for about six or seven years but havent listened to much before recently. Its a bit of a shame though and Ill definitely give it more spins in the future.

The music is very Genesis and Marillion influenced which means that melodic and beautiful keyboard and guitar soundscapes and generally melancholic vocals fills my ears when I listen to the songs on this album. The mood is actually pretty dark and intense at times and it suits my taste really well. Songs like Outer Limits, The Wake, The Magic Roundabout, Widows Peak, Headlong and the CD bonus track Dans Le Parc Du Chateau Noir are really great dark and symphonic progressive tracks. The Thousand Days is an uptempo song. Still melancholic but a bit lighter in mood than the rest of the songs Ive mentioned. The only song I dont like much is the silly Corners. Its not a very good song with a strange instrument choice. Tablas and Citar ? IQ goes psychadelic rock ? Im not impressed. The two other CD bonus songs are The Thousand Days and The Magic Roundabout in demo versions. I dont like the idea of putting out demos as bonus tracks so thats not a plus in my book. Ill take it for what it is though and not judge the album any harder because of this.

The musicianship is excellent and were treated with lots of beautiful and varied keyboard playing from Martin Orford and the same can be said about the guitar playing from Mike Holmes. The rythm section isnt the most exciting part of the music on The Wake but they are solid. Peter Nicholls is a great singer. I really enjoy his melancholic style. Great emotion.

The production is a bit raw but still enjoyable. With a more warm sound on the drums it could have been better IMO.

The Wake is a great second album from IQ and fully deserving a 4 star rating from me. There are some obvious flaws on the album as I described above but overall its an excellent album that fans of emotional and dark symphonic progressive rock should find pleasure in.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars A-wake and nervous

While an improvement over the sprawling debut album, Tales From The Lush Attic, and also more interesting than the next album, Nomzamo, The Wake is not quite the classic it is often claimed to be. Widow's Peak and the title track are indeed great songs that are eternal IQ classics with a permanent place in the band's live set until the present day. The rest of the songs do not have the same impact and the album tends to drag in some parts. It is indeed listenable, but only the title track and Widow's Peak really stand out for me. The rest is not particularly memorable, though Corners has a very nice sitar-driven ending. Is this Raga Rock?

Another problem is the subpar production which is not noticeably improved over the debut. The sound quality is not downright horrible by any means, but The Wake pales in comparison with other Neo-Prog classics from the same period such as the albums by Marillion. The weak production also makes this album sound a bit dated. Sonic quality is not everything, of course. If it has great tunes a bad sound and production may be forgiven, but as implied this album has only very few great tunes.

Lead vocalist Peter Nicholls would leave the band following this album but he returned for the recording of Ever in the early 90's. In my opinion, IQ wouldn't really find their own musical direction until his return, but the seed of what was to be indeed lies here. The feeling and mood of this album is darker than that of Ever and very much darker than the almost cheerful (in parts) Are You Sitting Comfortably? thus foreshadowing to some extent the dark and excellent Dark Matter from many years later. As far as I'm concerned though, the peak of the band's career ( which I would say came with Dark Matter) was still many years away at this stage.

The Wake undoubtedly constitutes an important part of the band's history as well as the history of the Neo-Prog genre and this is what makes it a worthwhile addition in the end, even if it fails to impress me much. The album's best moments are featured in better versions on various live albums together with other IQ classics similarly updated so this is not essential.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album of neo-prog IQ music is good. I think, it will be more correct still to name this music "symphonic rock" ( the same with earlier Marillion albums). You can feel strong influence of Yes and Genesis there, but as a result the music is quite original. Pretty melodies, multi textured sound, complex instrumentation. Vocal as usual is IQ strong part.

I think that some earlier Marillion or IQ albums in fact are just the same sympho-prog musically. Neo-prog means more time parameter for them ( ok, it happens in eighties,not seventies). But for me these works have more in common with earlier progressive music. Few years later plenty of bands started to play plain faceless clone of that music under the name of neo-prog. Even Marillion or IQ later albums are different - the same faceless secondary sound.

So, this album is one of real strong early neo-prog example, and one of rare pleasantly listanable album of all neo-prog collection.

Recommended ( near few first Marillion albums) for anyone, who is interested in early neo- prog as one of the best examples.

Review by Sinusoid
2 stars An ironic title if there ever was one because ''Wake'' is exactly what I'm not feeling when listening to this album.

THE WAKE represents my first try with both IQ and neo-prog in general. The word that beautifully describes my response is ''underwhelmed'', as in I expected this album to be one of the greatest I've ever heard and it disappointed on so many levels.

One of the problems that I've just seemed to notice is the production. In general, it sounds too muffled; I can't really hear much of the bass guitar. It's too one-sided in favour of the keyboards in the aspect that the keyboards drown out much of the other instruments (barring vocals and cymbals) 6 times out of 10, or so it seems. On top of it, there are some keyboard sounds that just grate my ears like nails on a chalkboard. Martin Orford is very skilled and talented on the keys, and he's not given production credit, so none of my gripes are any of his fault; if anything, Orford is IQ's biggest asset on this album.

I have problems with the music itself as well. It sounds like overly typical symphonic prog; they piece together keyboard-led, odd timed themes together in a slightly connected manner to achieve a typical prog piece. I'd prefer something from the prog rock field that didn't sound so routine or typical; hearing the same prog album over and over again wears on my mind. Plus, I find too many boring spots where themes just show up and leave without impact. ''Corners'' is the worst example of my complaints as it is a six-minute- approaching-infinity type of song with the most soporific drumming (or drum machine, I can't tell which), cliche sitar parts and a stuffy tempo.

Only parts of songs could stick out. There's a spot on ''Widow's Peak'' right after the quiet bit in the middle that caught my attention, and the ''Chateau Noir'' bonus track has a nice start. That's really it as far as great memorable moments. THE WAKE is not an album that has any lasting impact with me. It almost tries too hard to fit into the prog rock genre, and most of the album sounds awkward because of it.

It'll test your prog fandom, but most will pass this test leaving me wearing the dunce cap in that proverbial corner, listen after unsuccessful listen.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Back in '85 I was a huge Marillion fan. I remember being nailed to the ground when those first chords of Misplaced Childhood rang from my brother's room. I never checked out IQ though and judging from this album I didn't miss much. Marillion was obviously in debt to Genesis, Floyd and Hammill but at least they sounded professional and quickly evolved into a personal style. A clone of the imitator was the last thing I was waiting for and that is exactly what IQ is.

There are a few differences with Marillion. First of all, if there's one enjoyable aspect about this album then it is the huge Steve Hackett influenced guitar playing of Mike Holmes. Steve Rothery was more of a Gilmour/Latimer man. Mike Holmes is Hackett and he does it quite well. Also Martin Orford is good on keys. They are too loud in the mix but generally provide a good background atmosphere, very reminiscent of 'soft-Genesis' ('75-'77 era) with a slightly melancholic twist.

The biggest distinction with Genesis / Marillion is the voice of Peter Nicholls. It is not reminding me of Gabriel and Collins at all. Unfortunately that is not a good thing as it is really unsatisfying and at times grating. On a track like Outer Limits he can hardly hold his tone. His delivery is rather stale and lacks sense for melody. As a result the vocal lines are very predictable and unimaginative. Easily the worst vocals in prog since Chris Squire ;)

Given the general appraisal I had really hoped I would enjoy this album but it is second-rate really. Wish I could close my ears to the vocals and just listen to the lush keys and guitars, that might make it deserve one star more.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Unlike Marillion I was introduced to IQ only recently when I purchased Dark Matter in 2007 and so far I've been met with a disappointment after disappointment on my quest to find the one great IQ release.

The Wake was my second IQ album because of its cult status in the Neo-Prog community. This release was IQ's breakthrough album that, together with Marillion's Misplaced Childhood, marked the new popular era of the genre. Although this album wasn't as successful as Marillion's work it paved the way for the sub-genre which makes the release equally important from the historical perspective. The mere fact that this band has been around since the early 80's and are still going strong they can't be ignored by any progressive rock fan.

I have very mixed thoughts regarding this release because I do enjoy the individual compositions whenever I listen to them but once I'm done listening to them my opinion completely evaporates into thin air and I struggle to remember what it is that makes The Wake great. Every song features that distinct '80s Neo-Prog style that we now consider to be the second coming of the progressive rock genre but my question is whether this music can be of interest to anyone who wasn't there when the genre reached its peak in 1985? I personally don't happen to think so. While Misplaced Childhood pleased both the prog fans and the mainstream audience this release was mainly for the underground prog community. The compositions do, in some cases, almost reach the level of Marillion's work on their debut album but I lack the strong personality that each of that band's members brought to the music. IQ can easily become very bland on the longer tracks and it's easy to forget that you're listening to them once Peter Nicholls' vocals are not around. This problem reoccurs on track after track throughout the album with an exception of Headlong which gives us a solid performance from the entire band and the only memorable instrumentally interplay between the instrumentalists.

To put it in simple terms: Misplaced Childhood is a must have for fans of progressive rock while The Wake is a mainly of interest to Neo-Prog enthusiasts. All in all, a good, but non-essential release.

***** star songs: Headlong (7:30)

**** star songs: Outer Limits (8:14) The Wake (4:11) The Magic Roundabout (8:19) Widow's Peak (9:13)

*** star songs: Corners (6:21) The Thousand Days (5:12)

Review by stefro
5 stars IQ produced two stunning albums during the early part of the 1980's, with 1983's 'Tales From The Lush Attic' followed by this monster slice of neo-prog two years later. And, 30 years down the line, IQ have, despite a series of fine albums, yet to produce anything that can compare. 'Tales From The Lush Attic' was, according to vocalist Pete Nicholls, rush-recorded in the space of around four days, which is absolutely staggering considering the complex, Genesis-inspired music on show. 'The Wake', which was released in 1985, was the result of a slightly longer session, and found this five-piece in truly inspired form, creating an enduring neo-prog odyssey that stands head-and-shoulders above anything recorded by IQ's friendly genre rivals Marillion, Pendragon, Twelfth Night or Abel Ganz and, is still to this day, considered a milestone of 1980's progressive rock. The extra time in the recording studio obviously galvanised the group, and with the commercial success of Marillion's 'Childhood's End' album fresh in the mind, IQ obviousy decided to add a layer of pop sheen to proceedings, recording a couple of genuinely-catchy prog-pop singles that fill out the mid-section of 'The Wake' nicely. However, despite this nod towards the mainstream, IQ were still firmly rooted in the prog camp. 'The Wake' is filled with complex keyboard riffs, glistening guitar solo's and intricate sounds that bely the group's low-budget recording conditions. Every single song is a winner, with the band flitting impressively between epic song-suites and beautifully-judged ballads with expert aplomb and never, ever reverting to simple cliche or cloning; this is a band who have a sound very much of their own. The history books and pop charts will show that the kings of 1980's prog were, sale-wise, Marillion. However, despite their lack of genuine commercial success, IQ's first two albums are, simply put, two of the finest prog rock albums ever recorded. They have recorded many albums since, including the mammoth two-disc concept album 'Subterranea' and their excellent 2009 release 'Frequency', but none has come close to the mind-blowing creativity on offer here. In a word, superb. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010
Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is my first experience with this band. The only Neo-Prog I am familiar with is Marillion. In fact, other than IQ and Marillion, I think only Pendragon and Pallas are the only Neo bands I have read anything about. I don't own this album...didn't even borrow it. I listened to it on a streaming site. I won't mention which one because some of these streaming sites are legal in some countries but not in others.

After listening to this album, I would say I prefer IQ to Marillion. I think Marillion and Magma have something in common, let me explain. Both bands are considered the epitome of their own sub-genre, but are not necessarily the best band in their own sub-genres. If you want to get into Neo, you are automatically recommended Marillion; the same with Magma when it comes to Zeuhl. This is not a good approach I feel. Had I been exposed to IQ first, I think I may have warmed up to Neo more.

Although I found this a decent album, I'm still not going to convert to Neo anytime soon. This is obviously an '80s album with a strong Genesis influence(c. 1974-76 I would say). There is a imitation Mellotron sound here which isn't too bad. "Outer Limits" is very Genesis sounding, but is still one of the better songs here. The title track is the song I enjoyed the most. A very '80s sounding song with a good guitar solo. Maybe the lack of an overt 70s prog influence makes me like this more.

That song segues into "The Magic Roundabout", which I don't really care for. Very Gabriel sounding vocals here. "Corners" is interesting with the drum machine programming and use of sitar, but I think it's one of the weaker songs here. "Widow's Peak" is the longest song, but not too great IMO. I have to mention the drumming in the first half, which is really good. "The Thousand Days" is a mediocre '80s pop/rock song. Yuck. "Headlong" starts very Genesis-y. Later goes into a good beat with some decent synth soloing. The last two minutes or so is some nice symphonic rock.

For 1985 I guess this isn't too bad. Not sure if I will like other IQ albums as much as this. Will have to find out. For The Wake, I give 3 stars.

Review by Warthur
5 stars IQ's first masterpiece is The Wake, a concept album about a protagonist undergoing phantasmagoric experiences as he comes to terms with the fact that he's died and learns to let go of his earthly connections as he passes to an uncertain fate. Distilling the Genesis- influenced approach of Tales From the Lush Attic into tighter, more carefully composed tracks and showing an adept ability to include a few crowd-pleasing mainstream rock elements into their sound without compromising the emotional and conceptual integrity of the piece (as on The Thousand Days), the album shows a far greater diversity of sound and mood than its predecessor, with songs ranging from the foreboding Outer Limits to the relaxing Corners (one of the few neo-prog tracks I'm aware of which includes an indo-prog influence thanks to the inclusion of sitar) to the uplifting, soaring Thousand Days and Headlong.

As far as the band's performances go, the interplay of Mike Holmes' guitar and Martin Orford's synths has rarely been equalled, whilst Peter Nicholls' dramatic, theatrical vocal delivery is excellent on this album. He left the band after this one to pursue his Niadem's Ghost sabbatical, and I'd go so far as to say that even if he'd never returned he'd still have a strong claim to being IQ's best vocallist based on his work here. Indeed, if IQ had vanished into obscurity or sold out utterly after this point they'd still have a warm reputation in neo-prog circles thanks to this classic; luckily for us, they had more classics up their sleeve.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars IQ's "The Wake" is a Neo prog triumph in the earlier years of the group before I even knew they existed. After hearing some of their albums of recent years it was a necessary deed to return to IQ's back log. The album is akin to the music of Marillion, especially the vocals that sound very Fish like, and that is not a bad thing.

Some of the standout tracks include the majesty of 'The Wake' with a synth soaked melody driven composition, augmented by Peter Nicholls' excellent vocals and ambience. 'The Magic Roundabout' has a glorious intro with swathes of keyboards, by Martin Orford, and some very reflective vocals, with heartfelt phrases such as "I can't deny the honesty", and "if life is still worth living how come I feel alone." It sounds downbeat but it is a pleading vocal that reaches out for help, and I think many could relate to some of these thoughts. The guitars on this are superb, played by Mike Holmes, transfixing with twin layered effects. The time sig change that kicks in sends the song into an uptempo vibe, and a wonderful extended coda.

'Widow's Peak' begins with tranquil acoustics, and a steadily building atmosphere of synths and cymbal swells. The flute sound is beautiful, and it patiently leads to an outbreak of keys and drums. The vocals come in nicely with Nicholls' clear voice that I have become very accustomed to. The music sparkles with glittering synth and an odd rhythmic percussion by Paul Cook. The lead break is nicely executed as usual, and the song eventually moves to an interlude of instrumentation with layers of synths and ambient guitar textures. The sound beautifully resonates with atmospherics until the Floydian reverberated guitar, like 'Run Like Hell' to be more specific, and I like the way the synths plunge into chord shapes. The time sig shifts meter again and there is a strong beat that crashes through. A cello sound is heard for a time and then another verse before it ends; a veritable master class of prog.

'The Thousand Days' has a more commercial sound like a single from the album, but I like the melody very much and it has a bright vibe that is breezy and light. The twin harmonics on the lead guitar solo are a delight.

'Headlong' is very quiet, with vocals crying out and some keyboards to accompany. It builds with a bell tolling and tinkling chimes, providing a mystical quality. An outburst of drums and heavy guitar with synth layers eventually dominates. The keyboard solo is one of the best on the album. This one has a tension and release structure, with lighter moments embellished by heavier passages. The ending musical coda reminds me of Genesis in some aspects.

'Dans Le Parc Du Chateau Noir' has some mesmirising passages of synthesizer and a labyrinthine structure with time shifts and lengthy instrumentals. The mid-section with synths and howling wind before the strings chime in is a moment to savour. The lead guitar with sustained string bends is transfixing, followed by hammer ons and speed picking, certainly brilliant guitar playing here from Mike Holmes.

Overall this early IQ album is a sign of things to come. It has since been bettered by the likes of the brilliant "Frequency", but in 1985 this was pure prog of the highest quality. 3 and a half sparkling stars.

Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars After the rushed debut album "Tales From The Lush Attic" which turned out brilliantly albeit not to the band's satisfaction, the band spent a lot more time and money on their follow-up THE WAKE which was indeed riding the new wave of 80s progressive rock that they, Marillion and Pallas were ushering in to revive a sub genre of rock that was experiencing an increasingly decrease of listeners and at this time was only being kept on life support by the hardcore proggers of the day. All this special attention was particularly paid to fine tuning more accessible sounds and song structures that helped THE WAKE hit the market and become the only album of their lengthy discography to enter the UK album chart albeit for only one week and peaking at a mere #72. However the tides were clearly turning as the new neo-prog movement had taken root and with albums like THE WAKE and Marillion's "Misplaced Childhood" that was released at the same time, it was clear that a revival was taking place and the momentum was increasing after every new release.

THE WAKE is a concept album where each track is based on the psychological traumas that haunt the soul of a recently deceased man, who after having passed away recounts his earthly existence ("The Outer Limits") and laments the unfolding events in a state of regret and remorse ("The Wake"). He begins to see an illuminating light in front of him ("The Magic Roundabout") but fears the consequences of going near it so he decides to hide in the nooks and crannies of limbo while he works out his anguish ("Corners"). As he reflects on his physical life that he has recently left, he focuses primarily on his relationship with his wife ("Widow's Peak") and after an adequate amount of self-reflection he becomes enlightened and understands that the unfolding tale of his experiences in the physical plane were necessary for spiritual growth ("The Thousand Days"). He ultimately comes to peace with it all, leaves the dark crevices of limbo and heads back to the light ("Headlong").

Musically this is a much more diverse album than "Tales From The Lush Attic." While there are still progressive lengthy tracks here, the musical style relies more in pop-infused hooks that incorporate synthpop aspects of the era especially with the programmed sounding drums on "Corners," a trait that would carry on the following two albums where the band abandoned much of its progressive qualities in favor of more accessible material. THE WAKE certainly stepped up IQ's compositional fortitude as far as distancing themselves from the Marillion comparisons of the debut. While the Genesis connections are still in full force with Banks- esque keyboards, Hackett inspired guitar runs and the face-painted theatrical Gabriel flair of lead vocalist Peter Nicholls, the compositions are beginning to sound uniquely theirs thus expanding the neo-prog style in their own direction that they would continue to steer down their own progressive highway.

While i don't find this release to be my absolute favorite of the lot i have to give it credit for its accomplishments and pleasant listenability. If you happen to like this one a lot more than i do, you may even consider splurging on the four disc 25th anniversary edition completely remastered which contains rare videos, demos, a double sided poster and a 60-page booklet with every possible thing under the sun about this album. For me, i'm happy just having this simple original version sans bonus tracks and letting the original music as intended stand on its own two feet which presents the tale of a soul struggling to make sense of his life that didn't work out exactly the way he had hoped. Lyrically an interesting concept that slaps us with concepts of unknown afterlife experience and musically another evolutionary step up the symphonic prog rock arena.

Review by Modrigue
3 stars The Wake of IQ?

1985 was an important year for the development of the neo-progressive genre. IQ's "The Wake" was second to MARILLION's (overrated) album "Misplaced Childhood" in terms of notoriety, however I personally prefer PENDRAGON's debut "The Jewel". This third album is the last 80's IQ's record featuring singer Peter Nicholls, and therefore marks the end of the band's first period.

Musically, the style is roughly the same as on its predecessor "Tales From The Lush Attic". However, the band matured and begins to define their identity by digesting their initial Gabriel-GENESIS roots, even if they're still noticeable. The compositions on "The Wake" are shorter and rather keyboards-driven, but also more coherent and with better sound quality. All this creates a particular atmosphere mixing darkness, melancholic, hope and joy, that will later become IQ's trademark. Each song narrates a step of reincarnation, from death to the beginning of a new life. The best track is the catchy opener "Outer Limits". It contains a depressive synthesizer overture, powerful and melancholic moments and various soli. A classic from the band. Typical of neo-prog, the enjoyable title track alternates somber, oppressive and bright moments. Then comes "The Magic Roundabout" with its spacey introduction, heroic rocking and calm passages and great finale. This piece is however uneven as it can unfortunately get a bit soapy at times.

"Corners" is one the weak tracks of the record with its dated percussions and useless sitar, whereas the very nice "Widow's Peak" is the longest and most progressive composition. The first half shows strong early-GENESIS influences, but with eighties sonorities and spacey keyboards. The second half is rock-ier with its floating guitar la Steve Hillage. A magical fairytale song. In contrast, the joyful "The Thousand Days" is a cheesy 80's pop track. You can have a preview of IQ's material during the late 80's here... The soft melancholic "Headlong" also features changing atmospheres but the result is average this time.

The bonus track "Dans Le Parc Du Chateau Noir" is one of IQ's best 80's compositions. An enchanting and haunting piece, essential for IQ fans...

Less adventurous but more mature than "Tales From The Lush Attic", less rock and more synthesized than its predecessor, "The Wake" is also unequal but overall pleasant. The musicians offers ambiances from another world and therefore begins to become IQ, slowly emancipating from their 70's progressive roots. Don't miss this disc if you're an IQ or a neo-prog fan.

As in the album, the band will have to die to revive again. After the departure of Peter Nicholls, the members will recruit singer Paul Menel for the next two albums, much more commercial oriented. The fans will have to wait 8 years for another IQ studio opus with Nicholls, and also with this quality. However, this next reincarnation will result in one of their best records... ever...

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars How ironic that the engineer of this terrible sounding album is given special credit alongside the musicians! A little too

1. "Outer Limits" (8:15) for the first half of this song it's very 80s New Wave sounding, but when electric guitar starts its seering leads and the bass pedals kick in in the fifth minute, it becomes real prog. (16/20)

2. "The Wake" (4:11) a horrible vocal to not match the tenuous music. Weird. Nice guitar solo. (7.5/10)

3. "The Magic Roundabout" (8:18) Really? Did we really have to choose this title? And then try a "Watcher in the Skies"-like extended intro? I must admit, I rather love the tone of the lead guitar. (Kind of Flock of Seagulls-like.) Horrible vocal. What's happened to Peter Nicholls? (15/20)

4. "Corners" (6:20) "Man on the Corner"? Better vocal. (7.5/10)

5. "Widow's Peak" (9:12) nice atmosphere established by the spacious opening. Kicks into gear nicely except I hate the use of a swish cymbal for the four-beat crash hits. Otherwise, this is the best song on the album and Peter Nicholls best performance. Only problem is how totally GENESIS this sounds. (17.5/20)

6. "The Thousand Days" (5:12) another song that sounds so much like the 80s?and especially 80s GENESIS. Nice work with the keys for the final 90 seconds. (8/10)

7. "Headlong" (7:25) Opens with a gentle harpsichord-like guitar and keys with a nice, touching vocal. In the third minute, after Peter's first verse is finished, a thick bass and drums rise from below for an instrumental section. Then everything drops away for a return of the sentimental vocal's second verse. Unfortunately, there's nothing very new or fresh here. (12/15)

Total time 48:53

Bonus "Dans le parc du chateau noir" (7:37) Peter's first real attempt at a serious Peter Gabriel impersonation (with a little Hammill-ishness thrown in there for good measure). Sounds SO MUCH like 1978 BABYLON album. Nice drumming. Great guitar. My other favorite song on the album. (13.5/15)

In its original state, without the bonus track, I give this album a C+/three stars; with the bonus track at B-/3.5 stars.

Review by Menswear
5 stars The Green Album.

Sporting a weird art cover, The Wake surely attracts the eye: what is this?!? To me it's the Green Album. What does it talk about? I' I'm not sure, really. The lyrics are cryptic, as usual, but 'Never sleeping, I saw my abduction from Solid areas fallen with grace' an and such prose staggers my mind with interrogation signs. What is he talking about? I'm not even sure they know themselves!

I was 9 years old when this record came out and if I had a chance to discover it at the time, I would tell you right away that it's a long way from Duran Duran (my big fav at the time). I would've also tell you that it's very, very colorful and enigmatic; I mean, wh why is there a sad clown on the cover?

I'm aware of all the comparison between The Wake and Misplaced Childhood. Many will say that Childhood is much more accomplished, polished and coherent. The art of Childhood is irresistible, the songs are more dramatic and it creates a much deeper impact on the mind. Agreed, Childhood is one hell of a classic and breeded countless clones, more bad ones than good. But IQ created on his side a weirder monster from the 'Genesis' ashes, and this is were I'm signing in. IQ injects much more bombastic energy, almost yelling out it's message. IQ let the heartaches out and invites the dynamic theatrics in, pushing you to listen more carefully.

IQ gave birth to something unique, colorful, thickly foggy and LOUD, in a parallel lane of Marillion, but never rejoining. This is a ma mammoth of an album that rocks the crap out the 80's. It's less for girls, no soapy ballads or romantic touches, it paints an epic ca canvas in deafening rocking colors.

To be able to pull out such a vigorous rabbit out of their hat and giving life back to a dying art is a reason in itself to call it a classic.

Review by The Crow
4 stars IQ's second album brought us a much more mature band with an obviously consolidated sound compared to their debut!

In fact, in "The Wake" we can already hear a preview of what would be the band's great albums in the 90s such as "Ever" or "Subterranea".

Unfortunately, after recording this album, Peter Nichols was absent for almost 10 years, causing a sound change that would not be recovered until the aforementioned "Ever".

In any case, this "The Wake" remains as a testimony of the great capacity that this band already had in its beginnings, offering one of the best neo-progressive albums of the 80s, despite the fact that naturally the production is already somewhat dated.

Best Tracks: Outer Limits (great signature bass line, and some impressive keyboard solos in the instrumental sections), The Magic Roundabout (my favorite of the album, with another absolutely stunning bass line), Widows Peak (another great IQ's trademark song, with a Peter Nichols using a somewhat deeper tone that suits the theme quite well) and Headlong (splendid and epic composition)

My Rating: ****

Review by Hector Enrique
3 stars In the midst of the complex context faced by the bands that were the standard bearers in the revitalisation of the progressive movement, not only to resist the onslaught of the new musical currents of the decade, but also to deal with the scepticism that lurked in the specialised critics regarding the originality and value of their initiatives, IQ released their second album, "The Wake", in 1985. A conceptual work related to the sensitive and mysterious transition from earthly life to the unknown afterlife as a plot (a theme that with the corresponding hostile, bloody and thunderous nuances is also dealt with by Opeth in their "My Arms, Your Hearse" from 1998) to develop a proposal that goes through moments of darkness, despair and luminous hope.

Already from the energised and initial "Outer Limits" with Tim Esau's low and disturbing bass hits simulating the beating of a heart about to be extinguished accompanied by Martin Orford's eighties synth artillery and Paul Cook's raw drums, and the melodic verses of the eloquent Peter Nicholls reinforced by Mike Holmes' brief but determined guitar solo in the aggressive "The Wake", the influences of the Genesian universe sifted by IQ's particular style overfly the album; both in the changing "The Magic Roundabout" and Orford's anguished and anxious keyboards backed by Esau's marked bass in its prolonged and forceful introduction, and in the world music essay of "Corners" with the interesting sitar as protagonist, a piece in the style of the Peter Gabriel of those years.

And without leaving aside their progressive streak as a guide, IQ was not aseptic to the musical trend of that time, new wave elements (of bands like Cure or A Flock of Seagulls for example) are perceived in the guitar riffs of the extensive "Widow's Peak" and above all in those of the accelerated "The Thousand Days", before bringing the album to a close with the emotive optimism of "Headlong", one of the pieces that began to cement the style that would help define the Englishmen over the years.

Although "The Wake" is a good album, as well as a key piece for the consolidation of the band and the Neo Progressive movement, in my opinion it is a step below the freshness and daring that their debut album "Tales from the Lush Attic" brought with it.

3/3.5 stars

Latest members reviews

2 stars Time for the second album, nothing special again (I'm listening to all their albums). They were trying to find their own sound, but again it's very similar to their prog heroes. I think there's more cohesive material, better arrangements, but I can't stop thinking and remembering classic songs, and ... (read more)

Report this review (#2956161) | Posted by progrockeveryday | Monday, October 2, 2023 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I.Q.'s second effort distinguishes it from the first almost immediately with brighter, more professional sounding production quality. A stronger work compositionally shows the band increasing in confidence. Song by Song: Outer Limits: slowly builds the instruments together, really great vintage ... (read more)

Report this review (#2580609) | Posted by The Ace Face | Wednesday, July 21, 2021 | Review Permanlink

2 stars IQ is a band that I'm not terribly familiar with, but I've heard a decent amount of their discography. Neo-prog as a whole is a genre of which I know only a handful of bands, and is still something that I'm still attempting to delve into. Because IQ is considered one of the seminal bands in th ... (read more)

Report this review (#1286313) | Posted by Obsidian Pigeon | Tuesday, September 30, 2014 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The second IQ release is "The Wake". In similar vein as the bands' debut, musically sounding, no big shifts in style, except, there are none of the lengthy compositions as was the case with "Tales from the Lush Attic". The title track is a definite stand out here as is the brilliant Widow's ... (read more)

Report this review (#1091901) | Posted by Ozymandias | Wednesday, December 18, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars When I hear the first sounds of Headlong, which form Nicholls's voice and keyboards of Orford, I go back to my youth when I discovered this sensational album. Symphonic purists '70s with whom exchanged, ironically despised. The neo prog was an affront to the ideals of the pillars of the symphony. A ... (read more)

Report this review (#916086) | Posted by sinslice | Tuesday, February 19, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars (9/10) Hot on the heels of an ambitious debut, instead of resting comfortably on this achievement IQ carved out their own identity on their second record, "The Wake". Everything is updated: the production values are improved; Peter Nicholls sounds more assured as a singer; Mike Holmes guitar is s ... (read more)

Report this review (#850992) | Posted by ScorchedFirth | Monday, November 5, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Yeah, yeah. I've heard it all before. A 'great' Neo Prog album that turns out to be... well, not so great! Good news! This one is different... This is the seminal sound of Neo-Prog, and nothing less. It sets a standard by which others can be compared. It's just got the right sound and feel. ... (read more)

Report this review (#381460) | Posted by sussexbowler | Monday, January 17, 2011 | Review Permanlink

1 stars I suppose the most damning thing I can say about this album is that I've heard it a few times now and I barely remember what it sounds like. It seems to be trying to synthesize '80s pop with prog structure and it fails, completely. The keyboards are too focused around "spacey" textures to be a ... (read more)

Report this review (#308833) | Posted by 40footwolf | Sunday, November 7, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars IQ - one of a few number of bands whose song craft was very strong from the outset. Just listen to the reworked Seven Stories CD for that evidence. Tales was their first album proper and that showed plenty of promise, even if somewhat rushed. And maybe Gateway was extended beyond its means. ... (read more)

Report this review (#281991) | Posted by gingernut | Friday, May 14, 2010 | Review Permanlink

1 stars I give it a one star as a warning to those considering purchasing it. I was very disapointed, I thought it would be like the brilliant Tales From the Lush Attic with better production and the artists having more experience in the recording studio in able to transfer their compositional craft ... (read more)

Report this review (#281865) | Posted by SMSM | Thursday, May 13, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars "The Wake" is often viewed as one classical in IQ's discography as well as in the neo-prog foundations of the '80s. Being an amateur of neo-prog in general and of IQ (amongst others) in particular, it is somewhat difficult for me to go against the massive appraisal of this album... ... How ... (read more)

Report this review (#262213) | Posted by Subterranean | Saturday, January 23, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I am normally not a big fan of Neo Prog, although Neo-Prog is only another word for Symphonic Prog, my favorite type of prog. Yes, I am confusing. But I have taken a shine to IQ. Not only because this is the very thing my personality has precious little off. But also because their Genesis bas ... (read more)

Report this review (#240446) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Sunday, September 20, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A very good and interesting album. I first heard about this album when I was looking at bands similar to Marillion (another very good neo-prog band). At first I didn't like this album a whole lot, but I decided to give it a second chance. The keyboard work on here is fantastic, and so are all of ... (read more)

Report this review (#174990) | Posted by spookytooth | Monday, June 23, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Best release in 1985, better than famous Misplaced Childhood, the most progressive IQ album. There are three highlights, Outer Limits, Magic Roundabout and headlong are ones of my favorite songs ever. Wonderful Nicols voice, the emotional style of singing (almost crying) fulfilling dark climate o ... (read more)

Report this review (#164207) | Posted by Bkrzyz | Tuesday, March 18, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Yes, Peter Nicholls is not the most technically gifted singer. Yes, the album reeks of its time with dated keyboards and reverb drenched drums. But at the end of the day I listen to this album again and again. This album length rumination on death, in Nicholl's densest but best poetry, is brou ... (read more)

Report this review (#120316) | Posted by BobShort | Monday, April 30, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars When prog had nearly died, bands like IQ arose in the 80's. It's a shame they all try to copy Genesis though. This is real neo-prog, but probably neo-prog at it's best too. The lyrics here are very decent and so is the singing (altough it seems like the singer is trying to be Peter Gabriel). Th ... (read more)

Report this review (#112539) | Posted by Autoband | Sunday, February 18, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is a very good concept album. Certainly is has a very "80's" sound to it, but that obviously can't be helped. The songs all work well together, and the concept (about coming to terms with being dead...very cheery :-) works well and is comprehensible (unlike the concept of Subterrania). A ... (read more)

Report this review (#95968) | Posted by | Friday, October 27, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars On the wave of Marillion listenings, I tried to enlarge my neo-prog knowledges and went with IQ "The Wake". As for the most of albums I "study" before buying, I was expecting just this kind of music, I mean a Marillion way to read again 70's prog, but I found more some typical aspects of 80's mus ... (read more)

Report this review (#84069) | Posted by magog | Tuesday, July 18, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars IQ is according to me one of the best groups of (neo)progressive of 1980s (with Marillion). This album is magnificent. Naturally an inspiration to be looked for of the side Genesis and Yes, but so much the better if it is "to lay" an album of this value. A lot of lyric and symphony. Martin Or ... (read more)

Report this review (#45286) | Posted by miedj | Friday, September 2, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Para quem conheceu o IQ nos anos 90 - como o meu caso - causa uma certa estranheza logo que comea a ouvir esse trabalho oitentista. Depois, entramos no "clima" e percebemos que mais um bom trabalho do IQ, com destaques belssimos como a faixa "The Magic Roundabout", a rockeira "The Thousa ... (read more)

Report this review (#3636) | Posted by | Friday, May 27, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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