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EVER

IQ

Neo-Prog


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IQ Ever album cover
4.04 | 445 ratings | 46 reviews | 36% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 1993

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Darkest Hour (10:52)
2. Fading Senses (6:36)
i. After All
ii. Fading Senses
3. Out Of Nowhere (5:10)
4. Further Away (14:30)
5. Leap Of Faith (7:22)
6. Came Down (5:57)

Total Time: 50:27

Lyrics

Search IQ Ever lyrics

Music tabs (tablatures)

Search IQ Ever tabs

Line-up / Musicians

- Peter Nicholls / lead and backing vocals
- Martin Orford / keyboards, flute, backing vocals
- Mike Holmes / guitars, guitar-synth
- John Jowitt / basses, bass pedals, backing vocals
- Paul Cook / drums, percussion

Releases information

CD Giant Electric Pea GEPCD 1006 (1993)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Cesar Inca for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy IQ Ever Music


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IQ Ever ratings distribution


4.04
(445 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(36%)
36%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(42%)
42%
Good, but non-essential (19%)
19%
Collectors/fans only (3%)
3%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

IQ Ever reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars IQ has been one of my all time favorite neo-prog bands and rates on an equal footing to the likes of MARILLION, PALLAS and PENDRAGON in my opinion. Ever is certainly the pinnacle album to have from IQ as it blends all elements delivering a well balanced, full concept like album. Musicianship is exceptionally high here with some great guitar/bass interplay covered by detailed, dark, symphonic synths which are surrounded by the detailed and solid drumming/percussion of Paul Cook. Peter Nichols delivers a solid vocal workout as well and brings in my opinion his best to the band here.

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Send comments to loserboy (BETA) | Report this review (#3697) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, March 13, 2004

Review by lor68
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Probably the best effort by IQ, a perfect balance in the middle between the mainstream exigencies, in the vein of a few bands from the UK, such as JADIS, and the Romantic style by the early GENESIS. A special mention for the following tracks: "Leap of Faith", in some circumstances resembling the instrumental section of "Cinema Show" by GENESIS, then "The Darkest Hour" and the mini-suite "Further Away".

One of the best New-Progressive works of the nineties, except on a few discontinuous and boring parts.

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Send comments to lor68 (BETA) | Report this review (#3699) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, April 02, 2004

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The musicians are very intelligent and very emotional here; they apply those 2 aspects in their songs: the result is a sentimental & complex album that makes you dream awaken!

Out of 6 tracks, 5 are outstanding; the other one, "Out of Nowhere" is very good. This record is one of the best concretization of a modern and original continuation of the GENESIS of the GABRIELl-era. After you've got the post-MARILLION neo prog culture, it becomes clear that the IQ albums of the 90's do not sound like MARILLION! They have their own sound and style. While MARILLION's prog principles and structured songs have brutally switched for a shocking & disappointing style of music, IQ progressed, refined their sound & production, and actually they never gave up, stronger than ever after each album made, especially this one.

This record contains VERY varied & professionally played keyboards parts. Unlike JADIS, Martin Orford does not only accompany the rest of the music; he absolutely produces unforgettable synth patterns, always melodic, magic, pleasant and emotional. The miscellaneous VERY melodic guitar solos and acoustic ones complete very well the sentimental and sophisticated omnipresent mood. Paul Cook's drums are, as always, excellent and varied. An interesting point is the bass: I really LOVE the very refined and subtle fretless parts! They fit so well with the other instruments! The bassist, John Jowitt, also played in JADIS: he is excellent here, never monotonous. Peter Nichols' lead vocals are very good, and the backing vocals are OUTSTANDING on "Came Down". I find the rhythm rather slow on most of the tracks: the musicians take the time to sound good and deliver emotions.

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

EXTREMELY RECOMMENDED!

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#3700) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, April 11, 2004

Review by richardh
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars IQ's masterpeice.Pete Nicholls returns and the band recover their purpose and direction.The songs,playing and production quality are of the highest with no real standout tracks but just a pleaure to listen to from front to back.A real desert island disc if EVER there was one!

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Send comments to richardh (BETA) | Report this review (#3701) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, April 29, 2004

Review by Hibou
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Although subsequent IQ albums would prove to be quite a match, none (IMHO) equal this masterpiece. Every single track on it has something magical about it and the album contains absolutely no dead moments whatsoever: it is pure genius from beginning to end. It's as if the band members had taken the best of everything they had ever written and compressed it all into a 50-minute CD. The melodies, the arrangements, the many twists and turns, everything here fits in neatly to produce an hallucinating effect and showcases an incredible array of musical colours that leave the listener speechless. These guys can turn your senses about so easily it's almost painful. Granted, Peter Nicholl's voice may not be as dynamic or powerful as that of a ROB SOWDEN (ARENA) or a STU NICHOLSON (GALAHAD), but I can't imagine anyone else doing such a fine job as he has done here. This music is genial, exhilirating, breathtaking.

"Ever": the kind of album that makes you want to shout out loud 'Thank God for Prog!!!'

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Send comments to Hibou (BETA) | Report this review (#3702) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, May 02, 2004

Review by chessman
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I bought this album recently, after purchasing The Seventh House. (Already reviewed by me.) I had heard that this one is regarded by some as their finest album. Well, it is certainly a decent effort, and it is hard not to like it. The opener, The Darkest Hour, starts out briskly enough, with nice guitar over keyboard, then settles into a steady paced rhthym, overlaid with a pleasant melody. There are some hints of Genesis here, both guitar wise and vocally, but they are only faint ones. The song has some nice textures and changes throughout, and the keyboards fill out the sound smoothly. I suspect that Martin Orford is the dominant member of the band, although Peter Nicholls does have a distinctive voice and Mike Holmes is a technically gifted guitarist, although he remains in the background much of the time. The track ends quietly and the album moves on to the second cut, Fading Senses. This is divided into 2 parts, the first part being the vocal, which has some nice gloomy lyrics - right up my street! The second part is instrumental, and very melodic at that, well constructed and easy on the ear. Then comes the 3rd song, Out Of Nowhere, which is my least favourite on the album. Drums and keyboards fade in nicely, but then the guitar comes in with a blatant copy of Queen's Now I'm Here. In fact, I found myself singing the first couple of lines to it. Now I quite like Queen, but this riffing doesn't suit IQ at all. Once the song gets going, it is in fact not bad, but seems hastily put together, and is, in my opinion, the closest the band has come to 'filler' material. It seems almost 'poppy'. However, the next track is the epic Further Away, lasting nearly 15 minutes, with intricate changes and nice lyrics. A well crafted piece of music which shows the band at its best. All the musicians work well here, and the song ebbs and flows. A good one! Track 5 is Leap Of Faith, which is another favourite of mine. Although the melody is rather obvious, the guitar solo at the end is very well put together and is eminently listenable! This leads, finally, into the last track, Came Down. For some reason, this reminded me of Afterglow, off Wind And Wuthering. From the way it is lead into, to the pace and style of the song. Not bad however! My three faves are The Darkest Hour, Further Away and Leap Of Faith. None of this is essential, but I would have given it an extra half star if it had been possible. The Seventh Hour is far superior, in my opinion, but then everyone thinks differently! If there is such a thing as 'middle of the road' in prog, then IQ, and latter- day Marillion must be the leaders in it. The music is safe, pleasant, almost easy listening. Technically excellent but without providing anything new to the genre. Worth a listen though!

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Send comments to chessman (BETA) | Report this review (#3705) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, December 05, 2004

Review by The Crow
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Wonderful and pure Neo-Progressive!!!

This album represented the Peter Nichols's return to IQ after 8 years out of the band, and hearing this album you can taste the magic between him and the rest of the band's musicians. His voice is very special, although he is very Peter Grabriel/Fish influenced...

The only thing I don't like of this album is the keyboards's sound, too much in the 80's way,fact that spoils some parts of many songs... Nevertheless, these songs have a lot of quality, without a doubt.

Best tracks for me: The Darkest Hour, Further Away and Came Down.

A must for Neo-Progressive lovers.

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Send comments to The Crow (BETA) | Report this review (#44363) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, August 26, 2005

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A True Masterpiece of Neo Progressive album!

Friends .. something has gone totally wrong with me: how come I've been reviewing 572 prog albums in this site and I never touched this master piece album? Oh no . this is a fatal error! In fact, this album means a lot to me because it remarked the return of my trust with prog genre in 1997 / 1998. Why? Practically after Fish left Marillion, I did not see any future of prog music and I was not aware at all by the time this album was released. Until one day I visited my old prog friend, Ricky, 's house in Bandung sometime in 1997/1998. He played me this album and it struck my head the first time he spun the CD for me. Fabulous music! I asked him on how he purchased the CD and he introduced me to Malcolm of Cyclops where I finally placed my order of this CD. Yeah man . prog's back to my life again after practically 5 years (or so) I was a passive prog lover. What I mean "passive" was that I still proggin' but I did not grow my collection - I just played old stuffs of Marillion first four albums, early Genesis, Pink Floyd, VdGG, Gentle Giant, IQ The Wake, etc.

As I mentioned at my review on "ForEver Live", this album was uniquely released through a live performance that was recorded and released later in the double CD format of "ForEver Live". So it's a critical album as far as the band's career in prog music arena. The masterpiece of masterpiece of six tracks presented here is Further Away where the band admitted themselves that this song which consumes 14 minutes duration was hard to play on stage. They dropped this track to be featured in the live CD after long tension during rehearsal. I have to admit that this track is so powerful in terms of neat composition, multi-part structure, many tempo changes with very smooth transition. It starts off with a mellow and melodic opening of keyboard and vocals, augmented with innovative bass work by John Jowitt. The first three minutes is truly a killing melody with harmonious sounds. At the end of of three minutes part the music blasts off in heavy mode with powerful soft guitar riffs and dynamic basslines. The excellent sonic quality helps elevate the great nuance of music with jaw dropping drum line. WOW! What an energetic music man ..!!! The song ends up with another mellow part with floating keyboard work. Masterpiece! (Note: whenever I play this album I always repeat this track for 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 times. It's so rewarding my friend ..!)

Nothing is good track in this album as each track is totally excellent PLUS or masterpiece. The opening track "The Darkest Hour" has a hard driving rhythm and pounding bass lines augmented with keyboards. This rocking track with heavy 70s prog touch is performed excellently by the band. The band then provides a slower track with "Fading Senses" which has a catchy melody using excellent combination of Nicholl's voice and long sustain keyboard work by Orford. "Out Of Nowhere" brings the music back into another upbeat tempo and high energy combining the work of drums, bass and keyboard nicely - in a sort of staccato style music. Powerful music. The two concluding tracks "Leap of Faith" and "Came Down" wrap the album excellently. These two songs also very strong in melody.

It's actually not a concept album from IQ. However, listening (read: enjoying!) this album is like going through a series of parts in one cohesive story because the combination of melody, tempo, compositions and beats from one song to another have formed naturally like a journey, like following a story. I have no little complaint at all with this wonderful album; even the sonic quality is excellent. I always play this album with LOUD volume at my amplifier while reading the lyrics and sing together with Nicholls. It's a great joy, I tell you ..

So, how would I recommend this album to you? Simple, GET IT man! Especially if you love symphonic prog with catchy melody in moderate complexity of the composition. Yes, most of IQ music are not complex but they are very enjoyable and accessible to many ears. This album is a masterpiece of neo prog album. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild Mother Brown has lost her child ...

Progressively yours, GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#62313) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, December 30, 2005

Review by Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars IQ is one band I've really shifted position on over the last couple of years. While I'd previously dismissed all post-Fish Marillion neo-prog bands on the basis of some unfortunate encounters with Galahad and Pendragon, I was gradually won over to IQ's cause by the sheer power of their 2004 release Dark Matter. That album now stands alongside Marillion's best in my estimation, and it has caused me to investigate IQ's past with renewed vigour.

Ever was my first stop, and despite being a decade older than Dark Matter it sounds almost like a sister album (lending weight perhaps to the accusation that IQ keep making the same album over and over again). The main strengths of IQ, in my opinion, are the vocal presence of Peter Nicholls and Martin Orford's keyboards, and they are very much to the forefront here. I'd have to say that overall though, this is clearly a weaker, less consistent album than Dark Matter.

Although there are some strong (albeit occasionally pop-inflected) songs in Leap Of Faith and Come Down, this album can be quite frustrating. The Darkest Hour is rather meandering and Out Of Nowhere is outright 80s pop-rock cliche. It's safe to say that the shorter songs generally don't match the standards of the average composition on Dark Matter and there are, in fact, times when my old prejudice against the "overly synthy synthesizers, tinny drums and bland lead guitar sounds" of neo-prog resurfaces.

Even when this album comes into its own, on the 14 minute centerpiece Further Away, the song drags on a bit. Still, it's surely one of IQ's best songs and gives notice of the kind of heights the band would later scale with Dark Matter. With an ethereal beginning (all swirly bells and light dancing synths) underpinned by (the oft-unnoticed) John Jowitt's delicate bass work, this piece is then led by Nicholls into much rockier territory. It threatens to get boring after a while, but an Offord synth special at the 7 minute mark threatens to turn the song on its head. Unfortunately the momentum is frittered away by the time the song concludes.

Still Ever is not too discouraging an album, and indeed might make quite a decent entry point for the newcomer ... as long as they bear in mind that the best was yet to come! ... 53% on the MPV scale

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Send comments to Trotsky (BETA) | Report this review (#64735) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, January 14, 2006

Review by NJprogfan
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars After a few years hiatus, Mr Nichols returned to the fold and the band recorded a near masterpiece. What I like most about IQ is the gothiness. Not many Neo-prog bands I can think of that compares to IQ when it comes to mixing a gothic atmosphere with a tinge of mid-period Genesis. With Peter Nichols sad vocals singing songs of longing tied in with Holmes Hackett-like guitar and Olfords fantastic keyboard work, you have a combination that, for me, is the best in the genre. The album starts off with a song titled, "The Darkest Hour", which actually is NOT the darkest. It's more upbeat, especially in the beginning, although towards the end it slides into a more gothic groove. The following track, "Fading Senses" has all the trademarks of classic IQ., Nichol's haunting lyrics coupled with Olford's church/choir keys gives you a forboding feeling. It's in the second section of the song that Holmes guitar has a sadness that reminds you of classic horror soundtracks, vampire-like and spooky. Really cool song! "Out Of Nowhere" starts out rocking and is catchy as heck. A great 5 minute track. "Further Away" is the longest track and has the sound that IQ would use for the rest of their career up to this day. Very Genesis like courtesy of Holmes guitar, you'll definately hear "Wind And Wuthering" throughout the song, but he does have his own style especially when he reaches the higher, soaring notes. A fantastic track with Olford going crazy on keyboards halfway through. "Leap Of Faith" and "Came Down" meld together to make up another long track. Nichol's best singing are on these songs, with "Leap Of Faith" another classic IQ track with that wonderful gothic feeling running throughout. Olford definately takes some cues from Banks on this track, (Listen at the 5 minute mark). Overall, you can't go wrong with this album. A classic in the genre and a good starting point for the new to neo-prog. Is it their best? Not yet, but it's damn close.

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Send comments to NJprogfan (BETA) | Report this review (#80743) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, June 09, 2006

Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars IQ's album Ever ushered in the return of Peter Nichols to the lineup after a brief hiatus in the late 80s (in which they recorded two albums with a different vocalist, Nonzamo and Are You Sitting Comfortably?). This album also ushered in a return to the more progressive IQ, as their previous two efforts were more mainstream oriented and they lost the edge that they once had. What you can expect from this album is intricate and technical instrumental passages coupled with well timed and well executed vocal sections to create some of the most complex neo prog out there. The entire band shines, from the lush and melodic solos of Mike Holmes, to the keyboard wizardry of Martin Orford, to the precise and superb bass playing of John Jowitt, and to the technical and lush drumming of Paul Cook. This album is not their best, but it certainly is not their worst.

The Darkest Hour opens the album strong with some solid riffing in 7/8 and some great keyboard textures from Orford. Once Nichols voice enters the song, the listener can already hear the old IQ come back. Add some solid guitar arpeggios from Holmes and some solid drumming from Cook. The chorus breakdown is a nice mixture of solid bass textures and some great synthesizer lines from Orford. Expect some solid and intricate instrumental sections for the rest of the 10 minutes, it's surely worth it. Fading Senses is a nice acoustic guitar driven tune. The grand piano also has a great theme, and the bass line is very well written. The middle of the song is where the group finally all kicks in. Mike Holmes gives a very dynamic guitar solo here before a strong chord based riff is presented. Martin Orford then gets his chance to show his skill and gives a very spacey keyboard solo before a strong keyboard based ascending riff is played.

Out of Nowhere fades in with a strong 7/4 riff before a guitar based riff is played under Nichols vocal. This is one of the poppier tracks on the album, but none the less it is a strong song. Further Away is the second epic of the album, clocking in at around 14 minutes. A very keyboard based introduction is augmented with a fitting flute motif compliment of Martin Orford. Jowitt really shines during this introduction, giving a dynamic bass performance that couples well with the swells of Mike Holmes' guitar. Strong riffs in 6/4 that sounds reminiscent of one of the themes in Born Brilliant (or is it the other way around?). This is the opus of the album, with a spectacular closing instrumental section that really showcases the skills of Mike Holmes.

Leap of Faith features some creative Holmes riffing and a more Marillion circa Script For a Jester's Tear sound in terms of atmosphere. A strong 7/8 riff is played the 3:30 mark; man do IQ love the time signature 7/8. The reprisal of a riff from The Darkest Hour is played here; this riff I speak of is in 5/8. Came Down closes the album with a melodic Mike Holmes solo and some very epic lyrics from Nichols. In the end, themes from the rest of the album are presented and played very effectively, giving the album a fitting ending.

Overall, Ever was IQ's return to the status quo. They hit the mark again with this album and there's not much I can fault this album with, except that there really is no real invention in IQ's sound. But other than that, there is not a lot to dislike about this album. 4.5/5.

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Send comments to Cygnus X-2 (BETA) | Report this review (#81656) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Review by Peter
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars EVER, a 1993 entry from IQ, is my third acquisition from these quintessential neo-proggers, and provides me with yet more impetus to further explore the English band's catalogue: I've not been disappointed yet.

Yes, this is another very strong album from the group who are arguably the strongest act working today in "neo progressive," the sub-genre which hearkens back to the classic prog of the 70s. Given that EVER is a neo prog album, there is really no "new" musical ground being broken here, but that's not why we listen to IQ. No, we don't play IQ to explore strange new musical lands (leave that, perhaps, to bands such as the Mars Volta, Godspeed You Black Emperor, Deus Ex Machina, and others). Rather, one listens to IQ to re-visit the pomp and magic of early prog - albeit through a modern sonic and technological filter. For my money, no current band can evoke that vaunted bygone era better than IQ. If you're a fan of classic "symphonic" progressive rock, and are open to discovering some newer stuff in the same vein, you need to get into these guys!

Nor are IQ mere pale imitations (see Pendragon) of their honoured predecessors. Although their sound and inspiration clearly go back to acts like mid-seventies Genesis (as with Marillion, if there had been no Genesis, there'd likely have been no IQ - at least not in this form), IQ display enough originality and just plain strong songwriting skills to steer adequately clear of "rip-off" or "clone" territory. On this disc (as on others - see my reviews of THE WAKE and DARK MATTER), IQ push all of the right prog buttons, and at the right time. (Indeed, they show laudable restraint in not employing the entirety of their classic prog palate in every song. Unlike certain other popular neo acts, they know when to end a song - or album - and keep matters tight and focused.) There is prog rock power and polish to spare on EVER, in harmonious balance with generous amounts of real beauty, evocative lyrics that bear more than a cursory examination, and, as ever, top-notch musicianship and a deserving conviction in the material.

Each of the six pieces here represents prog listening time very well spent, so I'll forgo track by track analysis, but to say that the fourteen minute-plus "Further Away" is truly epic, awesome and varied just as longer prog pieces should be. The last two numbers, "Leap of Faith" and "Came Down" (which dovetail into a unitary whole) are also especially good - there is a grandeur here that hasn't been so convincingly heard since before Hackett left Genesis, or ELP alienated many of their fans with the tangential excesses of their WORKS albums.

From thunderous opening to majestic close, EVER is an album to play again and again. Symphonic and neo fans take heed: IQ is a band to listen to, and you just can't go wrong with EVER. Four stars: unless your prog listening sticks stubbornly to the 70s, you should have this delightful disc in your collection. Great stuff -- crank it up, close your eyes, and smile!

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Send comments to Peter (BETA) | Report this review (#84387) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, July 21, 2006

Review by Modrigue
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars IQ's best album. I am not a neo-prog fan, but this album deserves some attention. Ever contains interesting and inspired moments and is probably the result of what would have happened if Pink Floyd had made a child to Dream Theater (or the opposite...).

The disc starts by stetting down a dark and magic atmosphere with The Darkest Hour. It goes on with catchy guitar riffs reminiscent of Rush. The melody is peaceful, alternating with mysterious and calm passages. Fading Senses contains two parts. The first one is quite enchanting and enjoyable, and the second part features an egyptian-like space metal riff ! Mindblowing ! Out of Nowhere has some Dream Theater's Images' accents and is a rather rocky tune. The 14 minutes epic Further Away features IQ on top form ! The introduction transports you in a feeric place, to let a darker and heavier atmosphere take place. An heavy metal fantasy piece ! Guitar and keyboards solos reveal knights and wizards. The final is pretty calm and spacey. However, the three last minutes are maybe unnecessary. The end of the disc is the weakest part. Leap of Faith contains interesting moments but sounds sometimes lazy and the last song Came Down is VERY cheesy.

Ever is IQ's most inspired effort and features ones of their great epic tracks. Recommended to discover IQ or to Dream Theater's and Pink Floyd's fans not into neo- progressive genre ! 3.5 stars !

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Send comments to Modrigue (BETA) | Report this review (#108246) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, January 21, 2007

Review by evenless
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Best IQ album Ever?

If I would have to mention my favourite IQ album 3 titles immediately come to mind: 1) Ever, 2) Subterranea and 3) Dark Matter. Of course with a double disc like Subterannea it is much harder to keep one's full attention during the entire album than on a 6 track album like Ever , Nevertheless, it's even quite difficult to create a single disc album consisting out of 6 wonderful songs. Ever manages to do this!

So to whom would I recommend this album? Well, actually to anyone who loves neo- progressive music from bands like ARENA, MARILLION, PENDRAGON & PALLAS. If you are new to IQ I would recommend Ever, Subterranea or Dark Matter , but also the excellent live DVD's "IQ20" & "Stage".

A wonderful album ForEver !

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Send comments to evenless (BETA) | Report this review (#111916) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, February 12, 2007

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars It has been four years already since IQ have released their last studio album. With this one, we"ll be back to the roots. On both sides.

First ; the old IQ sound is fortunately back ! Second : Peter Nicholls is again on the command of the lead vocals. Not that I disliked Paul Menel (I have already expressed my opinion about this in the appropriate reviews). So, I was really thrilled to discover this "old" new IQ album (do you follow me ?).

We are immediately brought back in the mood of their early work with the opening number : "The Darkest Hour". It holds all the items IQ fans love (which are equal to the ones that their distractors hate). This great song is with no doubt reminiscent of Genesis, but IQ has never denied this filiation. When you see them played live, Nicholls's tone of voice will automatically remind you with the other Peter's one. But I guess that I must be a privileged one for having seen Peter with Genesis on stage (back in April 1975) and be able to compare.

IQ is a band that I appreciate a lot. Live or in the studio. They bring me lots of emotion. Just listen to "Fading Senses" to hear what I'm talking about. This rather simple song is just beautiful. Peter sounding a bit sad and lonely, though. But so is he. And so I love him.

If you ever would like to be sure about IQ's influence, I guess that the intro of "Out Of Nowhere" will give you the answer. "Watcher Of The Skies" man ! Since they are doing it with such respect for the band we all praised on PA, I can not even be worried with the similarity. Just a wink. There will even be an almost similar riff as in "Now I'm Here" from Queen (you know, the rock band) further on in this song. The finale though is again fully "Watcher" inspired.

The second long song " Further Away" won't hold the untold promises of its lenght. Just another good IQ song, but no real and splendid epic. One could have hoped something more grandiose from IQ. It will hold its portion of emotion and Mike will display a very nice guitar break just ahead the finale which is fully Genesis oriented again. But it is a bit too short for an almost fifteen minutes song.

One of my preferred song on this album is "Leap Of Faith". Very nice keys for this gentle song. Simple and effective. Mike will be great again during his finale solo. It will nicely flow into "Came Down" which will beautifully close the album. But the mood is a bit too much on the sad side and Genesis is too much present.

I fully adhere to the fact that this enormous band (from 1970 till 1978) has been a major source of inspiration for a lot of bands, but still I would expect some more personality, even from IQ which I like very much.

This album is of course much better than the two previous studio ones from the Menel days. Again, I' m not sure that this line-up would have generated better stuff in those difficult days (end of eighties) .

I'm just happy to listen to some good IQ music again but I can hardly go beyond three stars in my rating.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#123476) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, May 26, 2007

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I don't think there is any doubt that the band came into the recording studio (to make this album) with a renewed passion and emotion. After all he was back wasn't he ? The "he" being Peter Nicholls who last sang for IQ on "The Wake" album some 8 years previous.They also had a new bass player for this one in John Jowitt, so you know there was a renewed energy and the creative juices were flowing.

"The Darkest Hour" opens in such an outstanding way with keys, guitars and drums.They are back ! Then we get to hear the vocals of Peter Nicholls as he joins in. And i'm sure the faithful IQ fans (who hoped for this reunion of the band with Peter for some 8 long years) had a lump in their throats at this point.The waves of synths are great before the 6 minute mark, and the soaring guitar 8 mintes in from Holmes doesn't disappoint. Orford closes this song out with lots of piano melodies. "Fading Senses" is a mellow reflective song that is dominated by keys and vocals, that is until the change in mood 3 minutes in. When pounding drums and heavy guitar take over, as synths come and go.

"Out of Nowhere" opens with the birds singing as drums and mellotron come in. We are treated to a good rhythm as bass, drums and guitar provide support to Peter's fantastic vocals.This is a catchy tune with some majestic mellotron after 3 minutes as well as later. "Further Away" opens with light keys and mellotron as vocals come in. This is a slow moving mellow tune until the drums signal a change 3 minutes in.The band sort of lets it rip ! They just rock out, it's great ! They do settle back to original melody before returning back to the uptempo soundscape. "Leap of Faith" opens with reserved vocals and light keys, the sound is heavenly 2 minutes in. Eventually the keys and guitar trade solos.This song blends right into "Came Down". It features these slowly pounding drums as a tasteful guitar melody is played. Vocals and synths arrive to add more beauty to the pastoral ending of this record.

I'm not surprised to hear how many people rate this IQ album as their favourite. It is rather reserved, tasteful and beautiful. A triumphant comeback record for this great band.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#124804) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Review by Fight Club
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars IQ's Ever marks the return of vocalist, Peter Nicholls and a more solid sound. After a few weak albums, IQ seems to have found their sound with this one. The Genesis and 70s progressive rock influence is more clear again and with Peter's voice back in the mix it seems IQ may have made one of the strongest neo-prog albums of the 90s.

This is a very strong album by perhaps the most notable act in the neo-prog scene today. This album echoes back to the glory days of Fish-era Marillion and Gabriel-era Genesis. There's not really anything highly innovative going on here, but don't get me wrong it's still a good album. I'm very glad to see the return of Nicholls on this album, because in my opinion he is one of the essential ingredients to IQ's sound. He is one of the things that separates IQ from the loads of other Genesis and Marillion imitators. He has an operatic voice like that of Fish and Gabriel, but it also has a unique "twang" that makes it not just another neo-prog group, but IQ.

However, I find that the great and unique sound of his voice is also one of the things that makes IQ weak at times. When I listen to their music I often find that a great deal of emphasis is placed on the vocals and lyrics. You might be thinking "so what, don't a lot of musicians do that?" but the problem is the music is somewhat sacrificed for vocals. Don't get me wrong there are still a good amount of catchy themes and guitar work, it's just I find the more interesting stuff goes on when Nicholls isn't singing. This isn't always the case though, which is most proved on Ever. Almost 100% emphasis is placed on the musical quality.

The opener, "The Darkest Hour" is a great example of the overall sound produced by IQ. Starting out with a great 7/8 bass groove and keyboards harmonies, the track proves the band can be witty and dynamic while keeping a sense of emotion and good songwriting. It's unconventional, elaborate and cohesive, representing all of the aspects of IQ's prolific career.

Production is excellent. The omnipresent keyboards and guitar with loads of delay offers a very clear 80s sound. Everything has a very live feel to it, like it's echoing throughout a stadium. The listener can feel the piano and clean guitar tones reverberating off the walls like they are in the midst of the greatest concert of their life. It is all very lush and very clear.

They touch upon a various number of feeling and emotions as the album progresses from one song to another. Ranging from the jittery excitement of "Darkest Hour" to almost a sense of impending doom on "Fading Senses", this album is a trip for the listener. This is accentuated by the use of eccentric keyboard solos and pulsating bass grooves. These accomplished musicians give everything they have, which is one of the reasons I appreciate their style so much.

Musical skill is not the top priority with this group, however. As good as the keyboard and bass player are (who I am most impressed by) they don't sacrifice sound for musicianship. The guitarist often shows his true lights through the winding guitar solos and crescendos. Unfortunately, I don't find that the drummer offers much to the dynamics here. Not many polyrhythms or syncopation here ladies and gentleman.

Out of all the positive points I have mentioned in my review, there are a couple things that drag this album down significantly. At times the music can seem to be going nowhere as if the band doesn't have an idea of what to write next. Instead of cutting out the tedious parts they tend to leave them in, which drags the music on for longer than it should. An example of this would be the 14-minute "Leap of Faith". While it has some great themes and memorable moments, it just does not need to last 14 minutes. If condensed by a few minutes it may stand as a better, shorter song. The band can often be tedious, which is why this is a better album than the 100-minute Subterranea. The music often seems very dependent on the soaring keyboards as well. The guitar riffs are always low in the mix and offer more as filler than a vital contribution to the sound. As I said before as well, the drums only keep a constant backbeat and don't use much variation. This can tend to be boring for a non-progger.

IQ is one of the more "classic" sounding modern progressive acts, and one of the best of them, but they still haven't put out a true masterpiece album. Ever has tight compositional songwriting and some good themes, but it simply does not have the inspiration and memorable hooks to achieve masterpiece status. For those new to prog, this album will be a grower, getting better and better with each listen. However, for people used to the prog formula this album will seem to rehash the old cliches of the great 70s acts and may grow old with extended listening. Therefore, being not quite a classic but still topping most 90s prog I give this album an 8/10. Very good release, but nonessential.

My rating: 8/10

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Send comments to Fight Club (BETA) | Report this review (#144288) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, October 13, 2007

Review by progrules
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars As a true neo-progger I'm having a hard time reviewing IQ-albums. IQ is one of the most important neo prog bands in history but still I can't find my way to really liking them. I don't know if it's the mellow voice of Peter Nicholls that causes the problem or the fact that their music simply doesn't have the energy that's required to suit my taste. Probably it's a combination of those two that is the reason I will never be a real IQ-fan.

Still I bought a number of albums by this band, because well, you can never be sure about your opinion and this bands gets a lot of credits so they have to come from somewhere. Maybe I'm misjudging them, another reason is that Subterranea was one of my first purchases and I did like that one, so that also makes you think: you never know, there might be another jewel in their discography.

How about Ever ? Well, to begin with: this album contains the best IQ-song ever to me, Further away (maybe along with Narrow Margin). This is a great song, very good composition, nice instrumental passages and quite energetic for IQ standard. And there are three more songs on this release I'm quite fond of: Darkest Hour, Fading senses and especially Leap of faith which was a pleasant surprise to me last time I checked out the disk.

So all in all this wasn't so bad, I really do believe IQ has too much class to deserve 1 or 2 stars (except for The Wake which was really poor to me). Still I can't imagine me giving any album by this band 5 stars. They are just not really my cup of tea. Still 4 stars for this (3.5).

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Send comments to progrules (BETA) | Report this review (#155277) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, December 13, 2007

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Being arguably the most solid band to emerge from the modern wave of 80s British prog rock, IQ has released some real masterpieces that honor both their career and the prog genre in general (inc. neo, of course). One of those master opuses has to be "Ever", the 1993 release that marked the return of vocalist Peter Nicholls, the presentation of newcomer bass player John Jowitt and the starting point for the second (and best) musical era for the band. Everything that had been missed since the "Wake" days is here: melodically ambitious compositions, true symphonic arrangements, lyrics as evocative as they are mysterious. Nicholls' singing has varied, since the punk-friendly edge is gone in favor of a more subtle nuance, which in turn makes his voice exploit its melancholic potential more thoroughly. And this is where the new things begin to make themselves noticed: a more introspective vibe in the compositions, an enhanced poetry in Nicholls' lyrics, a more balanced sound production, a more focused dynamics in the rhythm section. In many ways, "Ever" encapsulates the sort of mood and sound that the first Nicholls-era albums were headlong for but didn't manage to accomplish. The album's mood clearly signals a new melodic predominance, as it became to be confirmed in the "Subterranea" and "Seventh House" albums, but there is also a particular reason for the overall melancholy of "Ever": relatives and friends were gone from this world during the writing and recording of the band's material, so that had to inspire the dominant atmosphere of meditation and reflectivity in a very strong way. The opening epic 'The Darkest Hour' kicks off with a powerful instrumental prologue that sounds like the prog dream unfulfilled in the Menel days: something like Rush meets Genesis with a touch of Camel, which wouldn't have been out of place beside 'Wurensh' (from "Are You Sitting Comfortably?") or 'Human Nature' (from "Nomzamo"). Once Nicholls settles in, the whole band is driven back to the "Wake" days with the refurbished scheme that I've described earlier. The sung epilogue states a beautifully emotional moment of serene sadness, properly driven by the piano lines. 'Fading Senses' coherently succeeds 'The Darkest Hour' concerning the aforesaid prologue: its sung section is kind of bucolic, reinforcing the momentum's tranquil sadness; the instrumental second section is eerie, almost dreamy, exploiting the main motif's simplicity very craftily. 'Out of Nowhere', with its up tempo pace and hooks, explores the pop-related facet of neo-prog with undisputed tightness. It bears enough room to provide some of Holmes' lighter side and Orford's AOR ghosts. Speaking of ghosts, here comes 'Further Away', the "Wuthering Heights"-inspired epic that incarnates the album's most bombastic moments. All the way through the melodies and arranged sequences we hear the succession of sadness, anger, despair and hope that signal the two main characters' love story. Holmes' final lead is just awesome, the ensemble's deliveries are solidly driven through the recurring 6/8 and 9/8 signatures, and Nicholls states one of his finest performances in the album. After this highlight comes another, 'Leap of Faith', a beautiful song that starts as a piano-led mid tempo and eventually turns into a typical prog parade of well-crafted guitar/key solos and fluidly shifting signatures. The segued closing ballad 'Came Down' pertinently culminates the overall mood displayed in the album. Despite being a slow song and not bearing overwhelming keyboard orchestrations, it feels really powerful. IQ for "Ever"!

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Send comments to Cesar Inca (BETA) | Report this review (#179954) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, August 18, 2008

Review by LiquidEternity
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars With this release, IQ added a lot of flavor into the neo-prog genre.

In a category of music often cited as being fairly stale and not very involved, IQ stands as one of the most innovative and creative forces. Not content just to rehash sounds first heard from the symphonic acts of the 70s, IQ dances forward with some modern sounds and a good bit more appropriate aggression. I think the divining factor here that makes IQ and especially Ever is the level of energy the band puts into their music. A lot of neo-prog bands write long songs with progressive elements, but they power these songs with melodic melancholy more often than not. While IQ's music is not necessarily happy or even not melancholic, somehow they pump their music full of some sort of interest and energy. One factor in this is the voice of the band, Peter Nicholls. His charismatic and unique voice adds a level of excellence to this band that is missing from most of their peers. Also, the rest of the band plays on a high wire, balancing fast but melodic guitar lines with excellent drum and bass rhythm work.

Each of the songs here has its own identity and its own strengths. The opener The Darkest Hour is a more standard IQ tune, setting the benchmark for what their average song should sound like. Fading Senses and Out of Nowhere are both high energy bits with some great keyboard patches and a lot of bottom (also an element often missing from neo-prog). The album epic, Further Away, is probably the least interesting track to me, but even still it is a splendid tune to listen to. Leap of Faith features a wonderful instrumental conclusion with wild bass and some absolutely lovely keyboard work. The final track, Came Down, flows from Leap of Faith very nicely, and wraps up the album in a very gentle and beautiful way. The tracks all stand on their own, true, but the album works very nicely as a whole.

If you aren't very familiar with the neo-prog genre, this is an ideal place to begin. This is probably the height of the genre, right here.

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Send comments to LiquidEternity (BETA) | Report this review (#184478) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, October 02, 2008

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
4 stars Leap of faith

Unlike other subgenres here on Prog Archives, the Neo-Prog genre seemed to have taken a long time to get off the ground. Most of the usual suspects like Pallas, Pendragon, and IQ all started out already in the late 70's/early 80's but it wasn't until the 90's and 00's that they made their best works. (The majority of the albums in the Neo-Prog top 20 are from the new millennium which stands in sharp contrast to all other subgenres where most or even all of the top albums are from the genre in question's first few years of existence). After four albums in the 80's, IQ entered the 90's with Ever, which was their strongest release at the time and remains a classic of (Neo)progressive Rock.

The band's first two albums suffered from bad production and after that original vocalist Peter Nicholls left the band. Then they made two further albums with a different vocalist which received a somewhat lukewarm reception from the fans. In my opinion, all of the first four albums had at least some good moments, but it was on Ever that all the pieces finally fell into place. Nicholls returned for the present album which, in my opinion, was the album on which IQ finally found the direction that they would follow on subsequent albums. Ever is thus, as I see it, the first album by IQ as we know them from later releases. (This is not to say that the two albums with Paul Menel on lead vocals are bad (I actually enjoy Are You Sitting Comfortably?), but they are so different from later IQ releases that they could have been by a different band.)

I have to admit that I haven't always liked this album (or the band) as much as I do now. Looking back, I cannot quite see why, as this is excellent music! This album has grown on me over the years since I first heard it and I have now added a fourth star to my initially lower (too low!) rating. Ever is a great album and certainly one of IQ's best ever (together with the more recent Dark Matter).

Highly recommended!

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Posted Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Review by TheGazzardian
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The earliest IQ album I've heard, and if the progarchives ratings are to be believed, their best to date. Ironically, of the three of their albums I've heard so far, this one is my least favorite. Unlike Dark Matter, there is no one song that really lifts the album up. This album is roughly as good as Frequency, to me; great music in typical Neo/Symphonic manner.

The stronger tracks on the album include Out of Nowhere, which rocks really well with both the keys and the guitars, and Further Away, which has some lower points that prevent it from being the best it could be, but has some of the highest moments on the album (especially some of the keyboard parts). Came Down finds Peter Nicholl's singing with a bit more delicacy than on the rest of the album, but there's really not much else I can think to say about it.

Other than that, this album doesn't sound particularly different from the other IQ I have heard, so there is not much more to say. Another good three star album.

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Posted Monday, December 28, 2009

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
3 stars Out of the three IQ albums that I've experienced so far Ever is easily my favorite but that isn't really saying much considering that I can't call it an excellent album experience.

The album consists of six compositions where two are masterful, two great and two not so much. The Darkest Hour belongs to the latter category because it doesn't justify its length of 11 minutes. If anything, this is more like a 5 minute composition stretched out to the 11 minute mark by adding a keyboard and guitar solos. It might have just as well been stretched out to a 15 minute mark by adding a bass and a drum solo as well! The chorus melody is pretty bland and doesn't make the whole experience all that interesting to my ears. Fading Senses is a nice ballad that somehow manages to incorporate a very grand sounding conclusion that doesn't really have much to do with the first 4 minutes of the song. Out Of Nowhere is a miss for me since this is just another uncomfortable stab at creating a single and doesn't add up to much for us who want to hear Neo-Prog.

After a weak first half the album manages to pull off a majestic second act that at first even made me believe that Ever had a chance at excellence. Further Away might not be the most interesting 15 minute composition but it does offer a solid flow from start to finish placing itself somewhere between a good and an excellent performance. Luckily once Leap Of Faith hits the speakers with the memorable keyboard intro we finally get the first truly excellent composition from IQ! What breath of fresh air after prog by numbers up until now! I also have to give the band credit for not expanding this performance into another lengthy track which might have been difficult to resist considering all of the masterful moments incorporated here. Came Down is a continuation of the previous track with a transition that reminds me of Afterglow from Wind And Wuthering. This is a luscious ballad that ends the album on a high note.

Just like Marillion's transition from Script For A Jester's Tear to Fugazi and Misplaced Childhood the sound offered on Ever is not on this as dark as it was on The Wake, especially since the '90s production makes a huge improvement in the sound production department. The album comes close to excellence and have it not been for the shaky first half then I wouldn't hesitate to give it a higher rating.

***** star songs: Leap Of Faith (7:21) Came Down (5:56)

**** star songs: Fading Senses (6:35) Further Away (14:30)

*** star songs: The Darkest Hour (10:52) Out Of Nowhere (5:09)

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Send comments to Rune2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#279432) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, April 26, 2010

Review by Flucktrot
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Perhaps there is something that others are getting from this album, based on the proportion of those who say that Ever is IQ's best album, but I have to say that if I listed my top 3 albums from the band, Ever would definitely be left out (maybe even left out of my top 5). Historically it is important in that IQ reunited when it seemed unlikely there would be more output from them, but I hear a band that is still finding its new direction. Nicholls continues to improve his delivery, the production is improved, and the compositions--especially the extended ones--are tighter, but all of these factors would noticeably improve on this in later albums.

The Darkest Hour is the highlight, and it ranks up in the top 10 or so tracks released by the band, in my opinion. It's catchy, bouncy, and was also very fun to see live. Great way to kick off the album, and to announce that IQ is back with great music.

However, the rest of the album is more mixed to me. The longest piece, Further Away, has some solid moments, such as the heavy 6/4 section, but the softer parts are just not exciting enough to sufficiently lead into or out of the exciting bits. On other tracks, such as Fading Senses and Leap of Faith, there are some decent melodies and somewhat creative varying of time signatures, but in my opinion the tempo is simply too slow. Compared to Seventh House, when IQ would nicely kick up the tempo when they had a rocking line, in these tracks, they just don't seem confident enough to give it the gas that the material deserves.

So, the seeds for future prog greatness are planted with Ever, but they just needed a few more years to really begin to bear fruit. Certainly some solid neo-prog, but for me, the music on Ever fits the phrase "good, but non-essential" like a glove.

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Posted Saturday, June 12, 2010

Review by stefro
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Featuring the return of original lead-singer Pete Nicholls, 'Ever' was IQ's fifth album and a most welcome return to their neo-prog roots after the ill-judged major-label pop-rock of 1987's 'Nomzamo' and it's 1989 follow-up 'Are You Sitting Comfortably?'. Neither album had been particularly well received and, following the decision of the band's label Phonogram to drop the group, Nicholls replacement Paul Menel and original bassist Tim Esau both quit in search of musical pastures new, temporarily slimming IQ down to a three-piece before Nicholls decision to re-join in 1992. Former It Bites bassist John Jowitt would eventually complete the newly re-branded line-up, and after signing up with the newly established independent label Giant Electric Pea the band entered Manchester's Parkland studio's to record what was in effect a follow-up to their seminal 1985 release 'The Wake', the band eschewing the slick commercialism of the previous two albums produced under the IQ banner in favour of reviving their original, Genesis-inspired, un-ashamedly prog-rock style that had garnered the band a large-and-loyal cult following at the beginning of the 1980's. Following-up 'The Wake' was always going to be a stiff challenge but 'Ever' showed that IQ were, happily, still the formidable and highly inventive band of yesterday, the intervening eight-year gap doing nothing to diminish the group's complex musical ideologies. Song such as the multi-layered opener 'The Darkest Hour' and it's epic, two-art follow-up 'Fading Senses' reveal a band on top-notch form, adding steelier guitars and up-tempo beats to their established keyboard-heavy formula. However, whilst 'Ever' did prove to be a triumphant return-to-form for IQ, it can also be see as possibly their most imporant album to date, both re-invogorating a band who, to many, seem finished, and providing an important stepping-stone onto the next level of their career, enabling the group to develop their sound and therefore produce albums such as the 100-minute-plus, 1998 double- album 'Subterranea', the darkly-hued 2005 release 'Dark Matter' and their highly-praised latest effort 'Frequency', stretching IQ's burgeoning career upto the thirty-year mark. Musically, 'Ever' doesn't quite hit the same peaks as it's prog-styled predecessors, with the latter-half of the album displaying a slightly soft, pop-inspired lilt, but there can be no underestimating the importance of the album's timing. 1993 was a time when grunge bands such as Nirvana and Soundgarden ruled the musical roost, and the band's such as IQ were at the very margins, strugling to gain a foothold in the music industry. 'Ever' allowed IQ the time and space to carefully plan their career and as a result they have given us a plethora of excellent albums and become one of modern prog's top acts. 'Ever' is by no means their greatest achievement, but it''s one of their most important. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010

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Posted Sunday, July 25, 2010

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars Intelligent

Having been absent from the line up since 1985, during which time IQ recorded 2 further albums, original vocalist Peter Nicholls returned to the fold for this the band's fifth album. Bassist Tim Essau left the band along with Paul Menel, Tim's place being taken by John Jowitt, whose tenure in the band has only recently ended. While these line up changes are of course significant, the far more important news is that with "Ever" IQ ditched their aspirations for commercial success, reverting instead to the fine neo-prog of their early days.

The opening "The Darkest Hour" is one of the finest pieces the band have recorded. Performed at a regal pace, the track boasts great mellotron like synth, fine vocals and a first class arrangement. Mike Holmes guitar sound is more Hackett like than ever, but while the Genesis influences are still apparent, this really is neo-prog defined.

There is a touch of irony to "Fading Senses", one of the shorter tracks at around 6 minutes, as it is the only track to have sub-sections. The two sections are however quite noticeable in an "All good people" sort of way (although there is otherwise no similarity). Retaining the regal tempo, the latter (title) section is primarily an appealing instrumental. While the track segues into the following "Out Of Nowhere", the complex "Apocalypse in 7/8ths" like intro signifies a heavier, more rock orientated number.

If "Out of nowhere" represents the edge of the spectrum of the album on the commercial side, its diagonal opposite is the following 14½ minute "Further Away". To describe this piece as a typical IQ classic is simultaneously inadequate but accurate. Centred a similar drum pattern to that mentioned above, the track boasts all the tenets of a first rate neo-prog number.

After an epic piece like "Further away", it makes sense to move to a more gentle mood, and "Leap Of Faith" does just that. Here the emphasis is on a particularly strong melody which Nicholls delivers superbly. The track would have fitted in well on "A trick of the tail", it is that sort of soft-prog. The seamless segue into "Came Down" is very much in keeping with the way "Afterglow" is reached, and indeed "Came down" is admirably "Afterglow" like.

In all, one of the best IQ albums of their entire career. On a par with "Dark matter", "Ever" represents all the tenets which make for a great neo-prog album. Recommended.

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Posted Friday, October 07, 2011

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars The period between Are You Sitting Comfortably? and the creation of Ever was a time of crises and tragedy for IQ. As well as Tim Esau and Paul Menel taking their leave of the band, the remaining group members were rocked by a series of deaths of people close to them - including Les "Ledge" Marshall, the long-time friend of the band and bassist who momentarily replaced Tim, and former Twelfth Night frontman Geoff Mann, whose untimely demise was a shock to all the members of the extended neo-prog family who emerged from London's Marquee club in the early 1980s.

John Jowitt stepped into the breach to take on bass, whilst Peter Nicholls was so moved by the events that had occurred that he readily agreed to return to the vacant vocalist spot. All five performers were determined to save the band in honour of Ledge's memory, and as the new album took form the commercial musical direction taken with the two Paul Menel albums was comprehensively abandoned. It's quite fitting, in fact, that Ever seems to pick up IQ's more complex neo-prog style right where The Wake left off - because whilst The Wake was a concept album about death from the point of view of someone who has died, Ever tackles very similar subject matter from the point of view of those who are left behind.

This evolution from narrative fantasy about the afterlife to contemplative musing about bereavement shows a maturing in the band's lyrical focus, and it's accompanied by a maturing in their sound. It isn't as gloomy an album as it might have been by any stretch of the imagination - it has its sad and subdued moments, as the subject matter demands, but there's also peace, tranquility, joy, excitement, and a sniff of nostalgia; in other words, all the best emotions you might feel when recalling happy times that cannot be reclaimed (due to death, distance, or any other reason) but which seem as vivid as though they were yesterday. It's one of the most incredible comeback albums I've ever heard.

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Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Review by b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars IQ never sounded better before this album, maybe only on The wake that for sure. Released in 1993 and named Ever, this album must be seen as one ofthe best neo prog albums of the 90s. A return to form after unintresting and almost comercial Are You Sitting Comfortably? and Nomzamo from the late 80s. Ever is really a very good album full of intresting passages and warm vocal lines. Every musician shines here, Nichols is back behind the mic after some years spended outside IQ and he done one of the best vocal arrangements he ever done on an IQ album. Opening with elegant and yet complex mid paced piece The Darkest Hour, I guess one of the best pieces IQ ever recorded, with amazing musicianship nad top notch ideas, the drums , the guitar the keyboards are simply perfect - complex neo prog of the highest calibre. The rest of the pieces goes this way, all are winners here, the longest track Further Away is another top notch track. All in all a very worthy album of a band that in the late '80s seamns to lost his identity, but founded gain after 3-4 years with this album. After Ever IQ climb higher and higher with each album, and I don;t think they got weak album from this one on, all are top notch including the The wake from previous era of the band. Dark matter, Seventh house and their last album to date Frequency all are very demanding neo prog rleases that every neo prog fan must own it. From me Ever is excellent and desearves to treated this way - 4.5 stars easy among the finest albums of that decade for sure and probably my fav IQ album .

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Posted Monday, May 21, 2012

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
5 stars "Ever" has that iconic cover that I always seemed to correlate with the music of IQ; curvy blue radiance and a beautiful Romanian visage with cubist features. It is the radiant beauty and jagged edges that remind me of their music. The band revel in complex time changes and a heavy emphasis on virtuosic instrumentation. The vocals on this are wonderful from the same vocalist of IQ's "The Wake" which was a mere sign of the master quality of "Ever". The lead guitar expertise of Mike Holmes is always a delight, as are the wondrous keyboards of Martin Orford.

It begins with the epic sounds of 'The Darkest Hour' that has a delightful melody and very powerful guitars. The lead break at 5 and a half minutes in is excellent and it is followed by ribbons of synths. This interlude is neo prog at its best, and in fact the entire song is one of IQ's finest compositions. The lyrics are transfixing; "out of the way of anyone, wilder than you are, anyone who ever had a heart, wouldn't deny me, woe betied the one not to be undone, who will remember, start it again when does it end, I'm in there somewhere, nobody can carry me over." The lead guitar solo follows and it culminates in a tranquil passage of ambience. The piano, guitar and synth pads generate a peaceful backdrop to Nicholl's final thoughts; "if I should fall from your side, keep it in your mind, how I tried to keep it here, how I promised you'd be safe, and you never said a word, and you never cried." One of the best IQ tracks in their long tenure in the neo prog scene.

After this glorious opening the next track is 'Fading Senses', that is in two sections, i. After All, ii. Fading Senses. This one has quiet, relaxing synths and vocals. It builds to a heavier beat and lead guitar solos that are very emotionally charged, and a time sig shift is augmented by heavier sounds, that merge seamlessly back to a spacey synth. The musicianship is mesmirising throughout and as good as it gets for prog in the early 90s, when prog was beginning to make a comeback. This is one of the best IQ tracks in their quitter repertoire.

'Out Of Nowhere' comes in with a syncopated guitar and drum rhythm, sounding like Genesis for a time. The distorted guitar riff chugs moderately as Nicholl's crystal clear vocals speak of not giving in to doubt; "some are born into their lives, with a need to be destroyed, it's the wrong thing on my mind, the only thing we can't survive." I love this song with its melodic upbeat style, and Nicholl's inimitable vocals. It has a more straight forward commercial sound but it works well enough as a melodic break from the complexity previously.

'Further Away' is another lengthy track at 14:30, and begins with Marillion-style chiming synths that lock into a motif layer for the flute to float on. The vocals are lower register and very relaxed; "torn from my hand so heavy now you're a world away, these little lies are grown so cold and will I see you when I turn around." The flute embellishments are gorgeous, adding a haunting beauty. The heavier guitars and odd rhythms are strong and drive the track along on its journey. Along the way there are scintillating keyboard solos, spacey synthscapes and lead guitar solos emotionally pouring out like golden honey.

'Leap Of Faith' follows with passages of tranquillity leading to glorious synth and lead guitar trade offs. It segues directly into 'Came Down', with a steady beat and lead guitar melodies. The vocals are melancholy and subdued; "all the time we didn't share, when we set adrift half forgotten lies, will the madness still be there, when you turn away, the distance in your eyes speaks the words that you won't say." The verses lead to an uplifting chorus with harmonies and the distinct feeling the album is drawing to a close. The final instrumentation gives us one more chance to hear Holmes' lead soling, simply stunning in its execution.

"Ever" is a masterful symphonically-driven album, creatively rich and infused with soulful passion and dramatic energy. After 8 years absence from the band, Peter Nicholls returns and injects a refreshed enthusiasm and vibrancy to the band's sound. Every track is delightful featuring some of the best neo- prog I have had the pleasure to hear. It is an absolute joy to listen to a band that does not shy away from complex musicianship and keeps everything upbeat and positive. At the end of the album I feel refreshed and I know I have heard something very, very special indeed. The album comes with a plethora of rave reviews, and has enthused lovers of prog over the years who hail it as a masterpiece. Often these albums are overhyped and do not live up to expectations but in this case, the hype is well deserved. "Ever" is a bonafide masterpiece and is one of the reasons the band are so well known and have garnered a massive following. With music this good, it is impossible to ignore IQ, and this album is one of the treasures of 1993, and indeed the 90s decade itself.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#794979) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, July 26, 2012

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Neo Prog Team
3 stars ''Are You Sitting Comfortably?'' was followed by the darkest period in IQ's history.Tim Esau and Paul Menel left the band due to musical differences and were replaced by past singer Peter Nicholls (after his unsuccesful attempt with Niadem's Ghost) and bassist Les Marshall.However tragedy would struck shortly after, when Marshall died suddenly.This hard experience brought the IQ members closer, forming their own label Giant Electric Pea and releasing the live /rarities CD '' J'ai Pollette d'Arnu'' in 1991.With ex-Ark bassist John Jowitt joining IQ, the band performed several concerts (among them a virgin gig at 93' Progfest) and returned with the fifth studio album ''Ever'' the same year.

The new album marked a new start for IQ, which would return to more progressive arrangements, eventually leaving their ultra GENESIS-influenced style of their debut in the past and borrowing the best elements from the artistic sound of their poppier releases.The result is a work full of grandieur, haunting atmospheres, powerful grooves and intense lyricism.And while ''Ever'' is a bit inferior compared to the band's first couple of albums, it is definitely a very strong and intricate album.Jowitt's presence brought the great rhythmic bass lines the band was rather lacking and the sound of IQ is well-balanced between memorable grooves and keyboard-based arrangements with Orford's synths on the forefront.Menel was a great singer, but Nicholls will always be the trademark voice of IQ with his theatrical and sensitive vocal lines.The overall sound holds resemblences with ''The wake'' release, deep, atmospheric and enjoyable Neo Prog with dominant keyboard parts, careful lead and solo guitar parts and plenty of room for some instrumental ideas.The later are among the album's highlights, offering some really exciting moments of unforgettable soundscapes.

While ''Ever'' still has some black holes of mediocre musicianship by a band trying to make a really succesful comeback, for the most of its length this is an album with major enjoyable Neo Prog-ish material, played with passion.Strongly recommended, no surprise for another nice IQ album...3.5 stars.

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Posted Friday, August 10, 2012

Review by lazland
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Ever marked the (glorious) return to IQ of original vocalist, the exceptional Peter Nicholls, and also the debut album with classy bassist John Jowitt (who has, sadly, recently departed).

If is, therefore, something of a fresh beginning for the band, almost a sort of second debut, if you will. And what a fresh start it is. Right from the opening pomp bars, and the moment Nicholls enters the fray on the incredible The Darkest Hour, there is an energy and a frisson on this album which makes one sit up and take notice immediately. Of course, back in 1993, we old fans lapped it up following the relative disappointments of the preceding two albums without our hero. Perhaps more than on any other album, you get the absolute full range of his vocal talents, from the deliciously fragile, to the out and out rock star.

Ever also marked the album where the band abandoned any pretence of seeking grand commercial success. Ever is a Progressive Rock album pure and simple, with no hostage to commercial fortune whatsoever. Having said this, it is the case that only a band which grew up and learnt its craft in those heady days in the 1980's could possibly come up with something as markedly contrasting as Fading Senses. Only six and a half minutes long, it has two distinct sections. The first, After All is gentle and almost floating, whilst the eponymous second section is an altogether darker affair, marked out by a thumping rhythm section backing swirling, dark, Orford synths and Holmes riffs. The temptation on this must have been to turn it into one of those lengthy epics, but I am glad they didn't, because there is more packed into this than in many twenty minutes epics. You could also, of course, make a reasonably intelligent argument that the old style rocker Out Of Nowhere, in a different era, would have been a contender for the singles chart. Not in 1993, though.

The highlight of the album is the longest track, Further Away, at some fourteen and a half minutes. It represents all that is good about IQ, namely some incredible changes in tempo and mood. Some of Orford's passages, especially, are as dark and gothic as the great man ever put to record, whereas other passages put you more in mind of clear summer days, with Nicholls at his fragile best. Perhaps, though, the last comment on this byword for quality should be the staggering guitar performance of Mike Holmes, who reflects these moods perfectly, from gentle acoustic, to sharp, harsh, riffs, to gloriously uplifting sequences that sing above all else to lead us into the denouement.

Following this treat for ears and brain, the boys take us into altogether more gentle, and straightforward, territory with the shorter closing tracks, Leap of Faith and Came Down, both of which are hugely enjoyable, more "traditional" tracks. I love the manner in which the former gently segues into the latter with a gorgeous, lilting Holmes guitar passage.

Ever marked the commencement of an incredibly high quality run of albums by IQ. I do not think it is their best - they, in my opinion, are Subterranea and Dark Matter, but this is very close to those ridiculously high standards.

This is the sound of a united and determined band, and one that would continue to produce some of the highest quality prog rock. Four stars for this. Quite excellent, and worth buying for the sound of Mike Holmes at his very best alone, whose beauty takes us fading out of the album.

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Send comments to lazland (BETA) | Report this review (#1157569) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, April 05, 2014

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4 stars Neo-prog have been the harder gender for me to swallow. Of course it have some great bands and albums, I have good neo-prog albums here. But looking overall, neo-prog is cheesy. I like this kind of cheesy rhythmn and melodic riffs, but sometimes I miss something different into the genre. We ... (read more)

Report this review (#967648) | Posted by VOTOMS | Friday, May 31, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars (8/10) The return of enigmatic frontman, Peter Nicholls, was just what IQ needed for their 5th album, "Ever". There were some good moments on the two Paul Menel led albums, sure, but to me (and I am sure a lot of other IQ fans) Peter Nicholls will always be the voice of IQ. The other change to th ... (read more)

Report this review (#853299) | Posted by ScorchedFirth | Thursday, November 08, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars What do you get when Lamb-era Genesis meets Awake-era Dream Theater? IQ's Ever. At least, that is how it sounds to me. This album is truly gorgeous, if you are in to that type of thing, which I am, but only if its good, which this album is. This is the best IQ Ever got, if you want my opinio ... (read more)

Report this review (#163151) | Posted by kabright | Tuesday, March 04, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars With Ever, IQ move from their 80s synth-dominated sound to a the more modern Neo Progressive style that they would continue to develop until the present day. From this point on, there would be no drastic changes in style, unless one considers the ultimate sophistication of Dark Matter a progressio ... (read more)

Report this review (#155867) | Posted by stonebeard | Tuesday, December 18, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I'll try to explain what I feel for this IQ album. First of all it's IMO their best effort. Nevertheless I wouldn't put it among the neo prog albums ever. This is great stuff from a very respectable neo prog band, but even in "Ever" I still dislike some parts of the songs. There are always a few ... (read more)

Report this review (#153017) | Posted by Urs Blank | Wednesday, November 28, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars At the same level of the Wake, nearly good as Tales from.. but tecnically much much better. The band at its best, highly recommended for neo prog but even for Genesis-Hackett fans. The couple of songs leap of faith- came down is one of the better things you can listen in your car at high level o ... (read more)

Report this review (#145301) | Posted by babbus61 | Wednesday, October 17, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A great album, and only surpassed by the essential great records, mainly I'm enchanted by the vocals, the music which play's with the melodicity of Genesis, the heart of Rush, the gloom of VDGG, the soul of Marillion and that uniqueness that makes listening to IQ such a rewarding experience. ... (read more)

Report this review (#95717) | Posted by tuxon | Wednesday, October 25, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars For some reason, even though I generally dislike "neo" bands (such as Jadis, Pendragon, and Arena), I generally like IQ. I can't really explain why. The first album I heard was their debut, and it was a decent (if badly recorded) immitation of early Gensis. Very naive sounding, but lots of ene ... (read more)

Report this review (#80754) | Posted by | Friday, June 09, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars IQ's 1993 Ever is another ambient, moody, dark, yet very beautiful album. Following the tradition of IQ, the six tracks comprised in this album are mostly in a slow or mid tempo. Stay away from this you progmet-minded freaks! But if you need to take a time of peace of mind, here is the place. ... (read more)

Report this review (#79170) | Posted by ydewata | Wednesday, May 24, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Five stars, to one of the best prog albums ever listened! The returning of Peter Nicholls on vocals, has given a new life to IQ. This album which includes 4 masterpieces of prog rock (excluding out of nowhere which I dont like so much) is absolutely a pleasure to listener. Leap of Faith, one of ... (read more)

Report this review (#39522) | Posted by luc4fun | Friday, July 15, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I have to give this a Five - Coz it's a superb effort from minute 1 to the last minute of the last track. 1. The Darkest Hour (10:52) - Very dark and moody - full of malevolent guitar and atmospheric keyboards and with the usual IQ catchy lyrical melodies. 2. Fading Senses (6:36) - Again ver ... (read more)

Report this review (#37458) | Posted by Swinton MCR | Friday, June 24, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is one of IQ'S best efforts. The return of Peter Nichols to the microphone yielded some of the most energetic and compelling music in the band's long career. Not that Paul Menel wasn't adequate as a singer but the two albums he was a part of lacked most of the elements present in IQ's prev ... (read more)

Report this review (#3711) | Posted by Trafficdogg | Saturday, May 21, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars What a big and pleasant surprise this album was! Pete Nicholls back on vocals, a great bass player added to the team and a collection of simply great songs. What a difference with "Are you sitting comfortably" that was far too poppy for a progrock band as IQ! The album starts off with one of t ... (read more)

Report this review (#3709) | Posted by Theo Verstrael | Tuesday, May 10, 2005 | Review Permanlink

2 stars One must be getting on a bit but this is a very good album badly marred by some naff sound engineering of the drums. No problem with the bass drum but whenever the small drums come in (what are they called?) it just goes straight through me. If it wasn't for these drums this album would have ... (read more)

Report this review (#3708) | Posted by limeyrob | Sunday, March 27, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars A perfect album!! There are no weak points, this is one of my favourites symphonic-rock albums since MARILLION'S "Misplaced Childhood". The melodies transmit emotions constantly. This masterpiece proves his talen as musicians and as composers... ESSENTIAL!! ... (read more)

Report this review (#3707) | Posted by porcupine_boy | Sunday, March 13, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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