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IQ Subterranea album cover
4.01 | 762 ratings | 59 reviews | 39% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1997

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1 (52:22)
1. Overture (4:38)
2. Provider (1:36)
3. Subterranea (5:53)
4. Sleepless Incidental (6:23)
5. Failsafe (8:57)
6. Speak My Name (3:34)
7. Tunnel Vision (7:24)
8. Infernal Chorus (5:09)
9. King of Fools (2:02)
10. The Sense in Sanity (4:47)
11. State of Mine (1:59)

CD 2 (50:09)
1. Laid Low (1:29)
2. Breathtaker (6:04)
3. Capricorn (5:16)
4. The Other Side (2:22)
5. Unsolid Ground (5:04)
6. Somewhere in Time (7:11)
7. High Waters (2:43)
8. The Narrow Margin (20:00)

Total Time 102:31

Line-up / Musicians

- Peter Nicholls / lead & backing vocals
- Mike Holmes / guitars, guitar-synth, additionnal keyboards (?), producer
- Martin Orford / keyboards, backing vocals
- John Jowitt / basses, bass pedals (?), backing vocals
- Paul Cook / drums & percussion

- Tony Wright / saxophone

Releases information

Artwork: Tony Lythgoe

2CD Giant Electric Pea - GEPCD 1021 (1997, UK)
2CD Inside Out Music ‎- SPV 0922853A DCD (2005, xW)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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IQ Subterranea ratings distribution

(762 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(39%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (17%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

IQ Subterranea reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
2 stars Some of the younger progheads I know have tried to have their " Tales of Topographic Lamb Lies Ocean the Broadway ", but to me this sounds like totally a prefabricated formula that owes much to their 70's inspiration but lacks the imagination of the greats. As a lot of people claim that this is a masterpiece , I say this is a pale copy of what they could do if they managed a personnality of their own. Everything seems to remind you of something else on here (As on most TFK albums too).

I always had the unfortunate feeling that most progheads elevating thios kind of album to the levels of masterpieces were fooling themselves and were trying to live out a fantasy that the this decade was living up to the 70's standards. Of course, how unfair to ask this of a group of musicians, but really, they were the ones making the records that were sounding just like what they were aiming at.

Review by Marcelo
3 stars Maybe one of the better known albums of the neo progressive, and one of those opus that can demonstrate what a band is. IMO, IQ is better than Pendragon, Marillion and many neo prog groups, but it doesn't mean a superband. Genesis-Gabriel evidently influenced, "Subterranea" gives us more than hundred minutes of typical neo prog music, sometimes brilliant, sometimes reiterative, with the logical modern sound and the changing tunes, but -despite the work is pleasant to listen- two discs are too long if they turn around always in the same way. "Subterranea" first disc is my favorite, maybe I felt a little bit bored when second disc was playing. The fourth track, "Sleepless Incidental", is the best song. About second disc, the long suite "The Narrow Margin" is interesting too, but I must confess I was tired and waiting the end. IQ's music is melodic and enough powerful, even tough some tracks show us a little bit "commercial" feeling. "Subterranea" doesn't reach the brightness of "The Seventh House" but, nevertheless, this is a good stuff, and almost essential for those who love neo prog style.
Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars WOW! What a GREAT album! Please, stop pretending that this album is a "Lamb Lies Down On Broadway" clone! Apart the fact that it lasts around 100 minutes and that it is a concept album too, "Subterranea" is a totally different album.

Near 20 tracks, most of them are not epic, except "Narrow Margin", which lasts around 20 minutes. The album must preferably be listened in its entirety: there are some variations on the same theme. All the tracks have something interesting. the tracks are not extremely complex, but the ambience & atmospheres created are really pleasant and addictive, and the tracks are really progressive, never monotonous. Martin Orford uses an omnipresent organ, but, unlike MARILLION - "Brave", it never sounds outdated. He often plays addictive fresh piano parts. His ultra modern keyboards can be very floating and atmospheric, often having the New Age style, like on "Tunnel Vision", "Sense of Sanity" and "The Other Side". Many tracks are really rythmic, almost prog hard rock, followed by fresh, dreamy & emotional ambient pauses. The electric guitar is very rythmic, having many melodic solos like on the "Ever" album. There are some excellent acoustic guitars too, which are absolutely relevant with the modern & fresh overall sound. The bass is excellent, and Jowitt sometimes plays a VERY pleasant fretless bass, like on "Speak My Name" and "Capricorn". Peter Nicholls sings well, and he does not "MEOW" his voice like on the "Ever" album. Paul Cook plays excellent slow drums parts, which is really appreciated, avoiding to sound too fast for the slow rythm: Nevertheless his parts are never dull and never simple. One must mention some great sentimental saxophone parts, like on "Capricorn", fitting VERY well with the modern IQ sound. The moving textures involved are REALLY accessible: this record is easy to listen! The tracks are not really depressing, much less than MARILLION - "Brave". All the instruments are well synchronized, and they work together, for the song, not trying to steal the show. As if all these perfect tracks were not enough, IQ managed to end it with a throbbing ultra epic masterpiece named "Narrow Margin"! This extremely well made track will remind you some parts of GENESIS (GABRIEL-era), especially "Watcher of the Skies". IQ is a band that has always progressed, and it seems they are now at their best! Finally, "Subterranea" has similitudes with the records "Ever" and "Seventh House"; however I find "Subterranea" more accessible! Definitely one of the best prog albums of the 90's.


Review by richardh
4 stars Double albums are notoriously difficult to pull off but IQ have a good go here.The concept and songs make a good deal of sense and they never reduce anything to mere ramblings.Great headphone 'stuff'!
Review by loserboy
4 stars Very much in the vein of GENESIS, "Subterrenea" explores the deep and dark aspects of metropolitan life. Like "The Lamb", "Subterrenea" uses a 2 record set to accomplish this concept-like story, however, this is where the similarities end. IQ bring their own unique sound to the forefront and push the boundaries of prog music yet again. The intro alone will sell you on the release as orchestration is mixed with electric instruments giving an epic feel to the whole recording. Each song is built on the storyline and is very well presented and packaged. This is very well recorded and sound seperation is quite good on the ol' stereo. This is IQ's most challenging project yet and needs to be heard in its entirety.
Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars 'Subterranea' is not only my all-time favourite IQ's effort, but also my favourite concept- disc from the 90s. From day one I was captivated by the somber, mysterious ambience portrayed all along this album... even months before I became aware of the dramatic narrative that unifies the lyrical contents of the sung tracks. The repertoire focuses most of its strngth on well defined melodic lines, helped by arrangements that are dealt with both finesse and contemporary sensibility: sure there's enough amount of rhythm and mood twists, but they are not as prominent as on previous albums by the band (like 'Tales' or 'Ever', for instance). The instrumentalists' common attitude is that of creating a sort of OST for the " virtual movie" that surfaces from the storyline. That explains the presence of ethereal layers on synth and guitar synth ('Provider', the coda of 'Sleepless Incidental', the final sections of 'Tunnel Vision' and 'Breathtaker', the marimba-like synth on 'Sense in Sanity') and effective instrumental interludes (the dreamy 'The Other Side', the bombastic 'State of Mine'): some critics have noted down that there are some allegedly annoying instrumental fillers in 'Subterranea', but I appreciate them (and don't call them "fillers") as what they are, transitional moments between a crucial "scene" and the following one. Nicholls' vocal performance reaches the same level of excellence and emotional commitment as in 'Ever', though not as overwhelming, since in 'Subterranea' he tells us a story (while in 'Ever' the subjects were more directly personal). Orford's and Holmes' performances are as precise and energetic as always, but definitely, in adding some clear touches of avant-garde tricks (somewhat inspired by the industrial wave), the guitar/keyboard ensamble feels particularly "modern". The rhythm section sounds a bit rockier, in comparison to the preceding effort, providing a well-oiled foundation for their partners. Mi fav tracks are 'Sleepless Incidental', 'Failsafe', 'Infernal Chorus', 'Somewhere in Time', and the closing 20 minute long epic 'The Narrow Margin'... and let's not forget the eerie ballad 'Speak My Name', which incarnates an oasis of emotional candor in the middle of the overall obscure nature of the repertoire. All things considered, this repertoire needs to be appreciated as an entire unit, since the presence of some recurring themes serves as the spinal tap that sustains its integral coherence. My conclusion: the exhibition of tight musicianship, emotional singing and refined writing in 'Subterranea' makes it IMHO a prog gem of our times.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars My friend, Tom Malik, just lent me a DVD titled as "The Enigma of KASPAR HAUSER", a Germany movie production based on a true story. "Watch this movie as this is a real story that inspires IQ in SUBTERRANEA album", Tom said to me. I did watch the movie. That's why it's about time now to review this seminal work of IQ.

This album deserves for "detail" review as this concept album is a brilliant product that has ever been made by the band. I own this album since its day of release but I refrain myself to review it because it's so special album. Even, I think, this long review won't be enough to cover all.

Before I discuss in detail about this album, I need to clear some issues up front. I believe that if we talk about music creation nowadays, it's very hard to classify the "originality" of the music because I think all music are "derivatives". My point is simple, I don't want to reduce my rating to any album of this band due to their music is derivative or they are a GENESIS clone, or whatever. To me, IQ is one of the most inspirational bands that I have ever known to-date. Be it their music direction is similar with GENESIS or not, I don't really care. I think it's the band choice to be in the vein of GENESIS. Even, I admire this band in their ability to create TOUCHY melody in some musical segments of their songs. Almost in any song they have written, I find great melody (probably in only couple of minutes or even seconds) in particular segments of songs they write. The melody really touches your heart. In this melody creation they are not less creative compared to GENESIS.

However, I WILL NOT tolerate any band who intentionally or unintentionally creates a music segment that is "90%" similar with other band. I have noticed this happen in some prog bands that I will review in other part. For IQ, I never find them doing such thing.

"Subterranea" is an album that you MUST HAVE in your prog collection. It's definitely in the neo progressive arena where it has a strong melody with keyboard-based music composition in a relatively medium tempo. It's a concept album about a 17-year old boy that appeared in city N, 1828. He could not speak but one word. He was buried in the cellar since he was born. No one knows what was the reason and who set him free.

Don't (please don't!) ever try to compare this album with "The Lamb Lies Down .." because it's totally different. I tell you, honestly, all tracks of this album are excellent. While, "The lamb Lies .." has one track, at least, that I hate very much "The Waiting Room"!! Uuugh .. tell me who's gonna understand this musician's ego? Hey, don't worry .. I'm a great fan of GENESIS. Judging this album with "number of CDs" only is not wise at all. IMHO.

"Subterranea" album does not use a tag line melody that is repeatedly used throughout the album. Each song has its own melody but the transition between songs were created smoothly. There are some intentional break between songs as well. "Overture" is an instrumental piece that set the atmosphere for the whole album. If you wanna know what sort of TOUCHY melody I meant at above, you can find at minutes "1:36" of this track where Holmes' guitar fills make a melody. It's really touchy! It happens couple of seconds only but it helps put matters into perspective. Remember, this is a concept album.

"Provider" is something I call as an overview of the story. It has a great vocal by Nicholls with spacey keyboard sound in the background. "Are you inside, provider, or am I?". This short piece is then followed by a drumming part that opens "Subterranea" (third track). It's a medium tempo and melodic song. Nicholls sings nicely. The keyboard played by Orford is great, combined with simple guitar touch by Holmes. This track is much more enjoyable if you play it loud. "Powerhouse, sacred vows, trigger happy punk ..". The incorporation of saxophone has accentuated the track beautifully. (Actually, I don't like sax sound. But, for this track .. I love it!).

The transition to next track "Sleepless Incidental" happens smoothly with a thin acoustic guitar and keyboard sounds. Nicholls voice dominates the scene at the intro part until a dazzling drums, bass and organ sounds enter the music. Now the band creates another "touchy" great melody. This time happens right after Nicholls sings "I'm only taking time. And I'm not where I want to be now" (minute 3:37) where solo organ by Martin Orford takes lead with other instruments are quiet. This piece strengthens and accentuates the song wonderfully. Its nuance is church but its melody is something that I sometime relate to our country's ethnical song. Cool. I don't believe that mankind can create such a wonderful piece here. This time is longer because it endures altogether with lead guitar play until the song ends. Oh God .. this melody makes me cry, really!

"Failsafe" is another heavy melody track opened by a solo organ right after previous track was finished. The keyboard sound that Orford plays at background is nice throughout the song. "Speak My Name" is a nice ballad with only vocal and keyboard sound with acoustic guitar as interlude. This is another track with a great melody. Peter Nichols voice is powerful. He sings with his heart. "Every time you speak my name .. you speak my name.." . This mellow track is a relaxation before it enters to the uplifting and dynamic song "Tunnel Vision" (one of my favorite tracks). I usually play this track outloud to satisfy my listening pleasure. I like when Nichols sings at the intro "Don't want to lead a revolution. Let another go ahead ." Wow! I like the lyrics and the melody (of course). The musical piece is also excellent. I catch another touchy melody again played by guitar fill of Holmes. Really nice. I bet you will love this track! The lead guitar interlude is cool.

I don't plan to review each track of Disc 1. I just want to conclude the discussion of Disc 1 with my impression that disc 1 is concluded by the band brilliantly with two nice tracks that must be enjoyed as one: "The sense of In Sanity" (slow track dominated by vocal and vibraphone sound) and followed by "State of Mine" (higher tone track with all instruments play together dominated by keyboard sound). I feel so relaxed with the end track of Disc 1.

Disc 2 is opened with a nice piano and howling guitar in "Laid Low" (instrumental). It "reminds" me to GENESIS "After The Ordeal" but it is shorter. "Breathtaker"'s melody sounds similar with some part of Disc 1 music in its intro. But when the vocal part enters, it's totally different nice melody. I enjoy all tracks in Disc 2 with an exception on 5th track "Unsolid Ground" which sounds so poppy to me. But, never mind. This album is excellent overall. Disc 2 is concluded by an epic track "The Narrow Margin" with 20 minutes duration. This track should be enjoyed by listening to previous track "High waters" which has strong melody. Again, there is no "alike" with "The Lamb .." as in "The Lamb" there is no 20 minute track, my friend.

I have no argument for not giving FIVE STAR for this album as this album has a very strong songwriting, excellent sonic production of the CD, and great musicianship. All musicians do not attempt to demonstrate their skills dominantly, but as a whole album they are able to create an ultimate "emotional ecstasy" to their listeners (and especially to their loyal fans) through their touchy melodies.

What do you think? - Gatot Widayanto, Indonesia.

Review by Alucard
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The concept of Concept albums can vary quiet a lot, the Lamb and Tommy being both quiet strange but some of the individual songs still tell a story in itself. In the Life version of Subterrenea Peter Nicholls published a storyline (like Peter Gabriel for the Lamb) which is quiet obscure to me, but even then I don't see the connection between the story and the lyrics.They are very abstract TMHO quiet shallow.This can be good for 1 or 2 songs but in the whole lyrics there is no decription of whatever might be going on in this story. For a record which is mainly sung I find the melodic material quiet poor. It is mostly athmopheric and I prefer the instrumental parts to the songs.I like a lot the keyboard work but the compositions to put it in value are missing. And why is the IQ symbol on every page in the booklett? Maybe this is the main Theme of Subterrenea : IQ introspection.
Review by Menswear
4 stars Oh the challenge of the infamous double album. It could sink your career in a wink, but also when it's properly made with a sense of decency for the listener, woo-hoo and up we go. I'm not the one bashing on the hard working pionneers of the double-album legacy, au contraire, those are one of my favorite treats.

The White Album (Beatles), Tommy (Who), The Wall (Pink Floyd), Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (Smashing Pumpkins), Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me (The Cure)...all success.

IQ is a definte survivor of the very, very ingrate 90's. They managed to pull through the 80's quite fairly. Easier than the 90's? Well, the neo scene was on the rise and they emerged in the right years with the right approach. Although the music wasn't what it is now in the 80's. Internet, boys bands, cult of the beauty (male and female) and the big $$$ factor is now the lot of a band of youngsters since Nirvana. Gotta have a look by all means. Gotta sell soda pop, clothes and half a million records. So if you're past your golden marketing years (IQ is for sure), the jump in the Y2K could scare the hell out of you.

Well the 90's are way behind and IQ gave a try to put all their material in one album at that time. George Harisson said: "What do you do when you have all those songs floating around? Gotta put them on paper before they're gone." The need to tell a story is probably the main attract for IQ to assemble a colossal project as Subterranea. And the whole thing about the allusion about The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway is bullcorn, right?

A heavy meal for a newbie, I must admit it tooked me a while to digest all the songs, and getting my mind to anticipate the melodies. After a long digestion, I realized how solid this album is. Tends to get some filling in the end, but Disk 1 is a total, total killer. No kidding, some of the best stuff of the 90's.

Peter Nicholls' voice sounds like a cross of Neil Tennant (Pet Shop Boys) and Brett Anderson (Suede). Super groovy basses by John Howitt. This guy's really subtle, but I wish I could play as fluidly as him! And what a surprise when I realized that Paul Cook was the drummer! Is he THE Paul Cook from the SEX PISTOLS??? Oh wow! Man would it be cool if it was the same guy, but it's not. Major disappointment, but hey.

Anyway, Nicholls voice and airy keyboards in front, expect lots of melodies to enjoy and lots of headaches to understand the twisted story. But some will not share the lack of complexity and the sluggish progression of the plot.On top it sounds so badly from the past. Couldn't they change their approach?!? This record takes it's time to start and don't have any surprises. Just good music done professionaly.

Close but no cigar.

Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Like I mentioned in my previous review of Spock's Beard's Snow, most groups at one point try to create an innovative story and expand over two discs or in the old days two vinyls. While some concepts are easier to digest (for example Spock's Beard's Snow or The Who's Quadrophenia) others are terribly cryptic and the story is extremely hard to follow (Pain of Salvation's BE). This album lands more on the cryptic and dense part than the easy to digest, in my opinion. In fact, it was only recently (when I asked an IQ fan) what the story for this album was. Despite the incredibly dense story line, musically this album has some real shining moments, but like most concept albums is wrought with the problem of overuse of ideas. Nicholls is the dominating factor on this album with the vocals being more of a lead instrument than ever. But that doesn't mean that the rest of the group is just backing, the musicians in the group worked as hard as ever creating music to give a backdrop to the certain atmosphere of each piece, be it the ambient Provider, or the rocking and somewhat heavy epic of The Narrow Margin. I guess in the end it all comes down to opinion.

At this point I think it'd be best if I tell you the story from the source I've heard (forum member Richardh), "Secret Underground Lab. People are kept there from birth for observation/experimental purposes. Then they escape. Our protagonist lives on the top ..finds love along the way ...then all the escapees get captured and are all burnt to death trying to get away (The Narrow Margin) apart from our protagonist who decides he doesn't like the world above and volunteers to go back down..but he is the only one left. End.".

The album is about 100 minutes long and split essentially evenly onto two discs, with the first having the bulk of the album. Opening with the instrumental piece Overture (like most conceptual pieces do anyway) from the get go one can see a more concise and to the point IQ musically. The hardest thing to digest about this story is the vocals, which in my opinion require looking into heavily if you even want to find a trace of the storyline in them. Pieces like Subterranea and Failsafe could be stand alone pieces, though, they have that edge over the rest of the pieces, which seem like a more cohesive whole. You can also hear a budding experimentation in the group in The Sense in Sanity, which utilizes what I believe to be marimba for the entire piece (which plays a solid 7/4 motif). Musically. the guys haven't changed their sound drastically, they still bow down to the same cliche that they have been for their entire career, but they've always been able to make it work and it is no different here.

The second disc could have used a bit of self editing and the album would have made a fantastic single album, by the way. Laid Low is essentially an instrumental that could have been cut out because all it is is a repitition of the same theme from State of Mine (the song that ended the first disc). Still, though, there are a few tracks that are really quite good and I couldn't imagine the album without them. Somewhere in Time has a fantastic main melody and Nicholls' vocals are quite soothing at times. Mike Holmes is also fantastic on this track performing in his style that has become quickly identifiable these days (for me at least). The Narrow Margin is the final, and longest piece on the album running at exactly 20 minutes. And like most IQ epics it runs at a formula, but any trace of said formula can be only found in minute places. I actually couldn't imagine a more fitting ending to the album, as it runs the mill of emotions and ends essentially with what began the album (the Provider theme is repeated again with the same lyrics).

So I guess in the end it all comes down to if you can take long concept pieces where most of the time you'll be unaware of a concept unless you really look into it. Musically, I love this album as it is short and to the point, but they're not afraid to let loose and really get something going at the same time. If you're expecting an album like The Wake or Ever you'll come up a bit short, but for those who really want a rollercoaster ride of emotions, then this album may be the one for you. Me? I'm in the middle, as I find a lot of this album to be interesting, but a few fatal flaws mar it from being anywhere near a masterpiece (this is all my opinion, though). 3.5/5.

Review by NJprogfan
4 stars IQ's most famous album up to that point in their career, it marked a try at the old prog concept chestnut: a loner/oddball out in the world. Musically, it's a strong album with IQ's trademark gothic prog showing up in spots, ('Tunnel Vision', 'The Sense Of Sanity') with a few absolute stunners, ('Failsafe' with Holme's unmistakable and unforgetable guitar melody and the massive track 'The Narrow Margin'). Not that there isn't other fine tracks. The title track uses a rarely played sax in an IQ song, and the instrumentals 'State Of Mind' and 'Laid Low' will give you goosebumps. It's the few unremarkable songs that tip the balance away from classic status. 'Capricorn' is too much like Pendragon's boring Pink Floydish prog and 'Unsolid Ground' is too straight-forward rock. Tracks like 'Somewhere In Time' have classic Nichol's lyrics sung with his unique and excellent voice. It's when 'The Narrow Margin' hits that you sit up and take notice of the power and imagination of this band. Twenty minutes long, it's a tad too long but makes up with some tasty Hackett-like guitar in the 6 minute mark, then at the nine minute mark...BAM! classic IQ with Cook's drumwork shining. From here on out it's a tour-de-force for the band with every player in full command and playing superior melodies. I've played this album many times and what I come away with is the different sounds they try. They progressed like all good bands do. Although there's a few stumbles on both discs, it's a stunning album and is a must for all IQ fans. For those not familiar with the band, it could actually be a good starting point. Not a 5-star album, but boy they tried their darnest.
Review by evenless
4 stars IQ - Subterranea

Very fine album in the same style as IQ's 1993 album "Ever" , but this time IQ managed to deliver a genuine 2 disc concept album!

IQ's "Subterannea" probably is one of my favourite concept albums of all time together with MARILLION's "Brave" and the very recent "Posthumous Silence" by the German neo-progressive rock band "SYLVAN". I do not only think those three bands all delivered a fine concept album, but I also think those three bands are the three finest bands in the neo-progressive genre.

I discovered IQ by their brilliant last album "Dark Matter" and worked my way back through their catalogue from there on, so "Subterannea" was my second introduction to IQ and what an introduction it was!

For me the big difference between those two album was that I liked "Dark Matter" already at first listen and I noticed that "Subterannea" took some more time to "settle in". But usually this is what I like best, because you find the album only getting better and better each time you listen to it. I must have spun both discs around ten times before I started to listen to some other music again.

Both disc of this concept album are great, but highlights from disc one would probably be the title track "Subterranea", "Sleepless Incidental" with a great harmonic organ kicking in during the middle section of the song and finally "The Sense in Sanity". Highlights of the second disc are "Capricorn" which contains a nice solo on saxophone, the delicate "Somewhere in Time" and the twenty minute epic "The Narrow Margin" on which the "middle section" really stands out.

Anyone familiar with "The Narrow Margin" will certainly enjoy the following lyrics and will probably hear the music playing on the background while reading them:

"Told me, go the way of your heart I'll be waiting for you But wherever you are, you're not inside me now"

WOW! Anyone unfamiliar with this album or even worse, with IQ, I would recommend to quickly add "Subterannea" or "Dark Matter" to your "prog- archives".

Yours sincerely,


Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars This is a very difficult exercise : try and release a great double album.

If you look at the history of the giants, none to very few of them (IMO) were merely capable of producing masterpieces of that kind.

Take Pink Floyd with "The Wall" : lots of boring and useless numbers (especially on CD1), take Genesis and "The Lamb" : average tracks on side one : "Cuckoo Cocoon" and "The Grand Parade..."; very weak numbers on side three : "The Waiting Room", "The Supernatural Anaesthetist", "Silent Sorrow in Empty Boats", and "Ravine" on side four.

The Lamb still being my fave prog concept album of all times (but I rated only with four stars). I have listening to it hundred of times since its initial release, have seen it once performed by Genesis (you know, when they were five) and saw no less than four representations by "The Musical Box" which brought me back to the magics of the original show.

I believe that "The Who" were the only ones fully successful to create a double concept album with "Tommy".

So, what can we expect from "Subterranea" ?

In a way I fully agree with Gatot that this work should in factnot be compared with "The Lamb" but there are still some similarities that I will outline when then occur.

I have to say, that this work is pretty nice to listen to : very few weak numbers, but very little jewels as well. The album flows nicely and with no surprise till the title track which is one of my fave (and one of the few regularly on their live setlist from this album).

"Failsafe" might well be the first number having something to do with "The Lamb". Here and there some similarities in the keys with "Slippermen" but not too much, as well as some piano/vocals reminding the intro of "The Lamb" (the title track) but short as well. Nothing to do with "The Lamb" but towards the end (twice), the riff from "Watcher" is instantly recognizable as well. A good number after all which will also do a longer career in their live sets.

The emotional and sad tone of Peter (Nicholls) is wonderfully highlighted in "Speak My Name". A soft and gentle acoustic number full of melancholy (he's a melancholy man...). To compensate, we'll get some heavier attack with "Tunnel Vision". But this mood will be reverted to a short and welcome spacey section, full of lighness and inspiration. One of the first solo from Holmes as well (but there won't be many). Another highlight.

"Watcher Of The Skies" (what a great song !) is back again in the intro of "Infernal Chorus". This song has been re-used countless times by lots of bands but since it is one of my preferred track, I can not refrain from liking most of its derivates as well. The last trio of songs from disc one are a bit weaker, especially "King Of Fools". "State of Mind" being again a short but fully Genesis inspired number.

All in all, disc one is rather good but not grandiose.

Disc two holds some "transitional" tracks. "Laid Low" and "The Other Side" (but they are very short ones).

"Breathtaker" is a harder and less inspired song, as "Capricorn" but on the softer edge. With "Unsolid Ground" IQ is back in business but still does not reach the quality of disc one. The first track to do so is "Somewhere in Time", more complex than the five previous ones. Variations, good vocals and strong backing band. This is a pure traditional IQ song. Very pleasant, aerial at times while "High Waters" features a great second half and instrumental part (but it only last for a mere minute).

So, the hopes now rely on IQ's second epic song (after "The Last Human Gateway" on their debut album). "The Narrow Margin" will fortunately holds its promises. Emotional lyrics, brilliant vocal interpretation, very good guitar play. The whole band seems to be very much inspired. Due to its lenght (over twenty minutes) IQ will deliver some instrumental passages as well. I must say that in this ocean of lyrics, they are very welcome even if, at times, Genesis's fanthom is coming out (again "Watcher").

Disc two only works for two/three tracks.

Bearing in mind that both CD's only hold just over 100 minutes of music, IQ would have better been inspired to release a full lenght CD (you know like TFK, with 78 minutes of music). This choice was possible with the digital technology (not with the vinyl one). They would have released a better album, I think. I have read the story of "Subtarranea" and honestly it does not really stunned me. I am more confused than dazed actually.

Three stars.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars This double concept album continues in the same vein as "Ever" although to me it is more melodic. This is a surprisingly consistant work as far as double albums go with songs 8-10 on the first disc being the only weak section in my opinion.The concept got it's inspiration from a true story from Germany about a wild boy who was found wandering around who had apparently no previous contact with people.

According to Martin Orford as related on the now defunct Dutch IQ Home Page and quoted on the ProGGnosis web-site "The story of the album is about a man who has been confined for an experiment and has therefore been isolated from our society-he gets his food provided but has no contact with the outside world ("Provider"). At a certain point in time he is released by his capturer and emerges in our society where he experiences things...for the first time("Subterranea"). After some hard times among the homeless ("Sleeping Incedental") he is taken in by a religious cult but refuses to be converted by them ("Failsafe"). He meets a girl...who gives him a name. He has a deep friendship / romance with this person("Speak My Name") but in the end she is taken away from him ("Tunnel Vision"). Then he notices he is being followed by henchmen from the man who had held him prisoner for all those years. He captures one of them and forces him to reveal the name of the man responsible for his misery (Mockenrue) and then kills his follower ("Infernal Chorus")..."State Of Mind" is supposed to represent the protagonist on the run, and during the second disc he tries to find this Mockenrue and take revenge. Along the way he realises that life on the outside world is much harder than his earlier, controlled life ("Unsolid Ground"). At a certain point he takes on a disguise to be able to find out what's happening ("Capricorn") then he notices that he's not the only one with this experience, he sees other people who show the same marks / symbol he's been tagged with-seemingly there are more subjects for Mockenrue's experiment("Somewhere In Time"). The mark is the IQ logo which can be found in various places in the cd booklet. Mockenrue's victims decide to team up and take revenge ("High Waters").The group ends up in a large building to which Mockenrue sets fire ("The Narrow Margin"). In the end the protagonist manages to get out of there alive (the only one) and realises he is a menace to himself and society and decides to go back into his confinement."

My favourite song on the first disc is "Sleepless Incedental" that opens with strummed guitar that recalls PORCUPINE TREE as vocals come in.This is a moving song with some heaviness and a more aggressive sound after 2 minutes.The last 2 minutes are pure instrumental bliss. "Subterranea" is also a terrific song that is uptempo and catchy. The sax 5 minutes in sounds great. "Failsafe" is another highlight from disc one. On disc two my favourite song is "Somewhere In Time". I like the contrast of the ballad like intro with gentle vocals and a pastoral soundscape with the almost metal sound 3 1/2 minutes in. "Capricorn" opens with guitar melodies that sound like "Kayleigh" from MARILLION. Some good soaring guitar later followed by a sax solo.The song ends with the sound of the wind blowing that continues into the next song "The Other Side" that is so different from all the other songs. It's very atmospheric with synths, flute and gentle guitar. Not as good as IONA does it though. "The Narrow Margin" is a twenty minute song with plenty of tempo and mood shifts. It's a real ride !

Up to this point in time this is their best work. The production is perfect and I have to mention the excellent drumming as well. Ok they all shine on this ambitious endeavour.

Review by progrules
4 stars I recently did my review of Dark Matter and tried to explain why I didn't like that album compared to Ever. I don't think I explained very well but now that I'm reviewing this superb double album by this British neo band I think it all falls on its place.

Because it's actually all about getting it and grasping it. And of course a certain album must get to you in a way. There has to be a connection between you and the artists composing and performing it. And then still it's a mysterious thing how exactly that works. I guess we will never know. It just happens (or in case of no connection, it doesn't). But then still it's strange that one and the same band can leave you totally cold with one release (Dark Matter) and that same band totally gets you in a spell with another release.

Right now I'm listening to this doubler one last time, I haven't heard it for over a year by now and maybe that's a little part of the secret, I knew I loved it in the past and then it's always interesting if after some time the miracle still is on. Well, I can tell you, it is !

What a fantastic concept album this is. Especially with disc one the 4th and 5th track (Sleepless Incidental and Failsafe) I cannot tell how good it is. It's simply fantastic, I have no doubt this is IQ's best and always will be. The two mentioned tracks are two of the best on the doubler (along with TunnelVision as well), I have to admit that but on the other disc we also have the great epic The Narrow Margin. But all the other tracks fall behind in quality with these.

And that's also the reason I can't call this a masterpiece but it's a lot better than two other good albums by IQ, Ever and Seventh House. It's their best and it gets 4 stars but actually it's even worth a bit more (4,2).

Review by friso
5 stars IQ's 'Subterranea' must really have been a revelation back in '97. Such a relief, a full sci-fi rock neo prog concept album without a weak moment, with many highlights, a strong 'epic' and a relatively good production. Furthermore it really makes sense as a concept album; I really get the feeling I'm going on a journey when I listen to it. Listening to it now, in 2020 (after the release of Resistance), the album has almost become a nostalgic piece of prog of before that big progressive wave that would hit in the new century.

On 'Subterranea' the song-writing (both the sung parts and the instrumental parts) is among the most cohesive and expressive of the genre. The songs are often dark, fearful and the sense of being lost in this sci-fi universe fits well with the modern synths of Martin Orford and glassy and melodic (though slightly thin recorded) electric guitars of Mike Holmes. The album also has its share of emotional ballad-type song, of which 'Capricorn' is particularly grasping. Peter Nicholls started his career with IQ imitating Peter Gabriel, but eventually found is own unique voice. Nicholls is perfectly suited to sing a bit like an actor; creating the story with his tone of voice and bringing the lyrics in a lively immersed way. The new listeners will have to pierce through a think layer of neo-prog abstractness (first the music sounds ' way out there') before they'll reach the type of depth this musical experience has to offer. Of course this album is highly indebted to Genesis' 'The Lamb Dies Down on Broadway', but I would argue that IQ did more than any other band to further that type of progrock that Genesis left behind in the late seventies.

This is an album I hold dear and I would be hard pressed to name a '90 prog release (in any sub-genre) that is significantly better.

Review by Hercules
5 stars In the year or so since I joined this site, I have found a few great bands, some mediocre ones and some truly awful ones. But none of the great bands I have discovered comes near IQ. I bought their entire catalogue; having heard many of the tracks on you tube, I wanted to see how this album works as a concept album. After 20 or so listens, I feel I can now come to a conclusion.

It works brilliantly. Nearly all the tracks are of a very high standard and the idea links them well. This band are superlative musicians, have a control of melody which beats almost all the great bands of the 70s (Camel and Genesis excepted) and the lyrics are intelligent and thoughtful. They bring back memories of the golden era wtihout being like any of the bands from that time, influenced by what went before but not mere imitations.

I have heard many who rant about neo-prog bands and how unoriginal they are (the first review I saw when I scrolled down I saw was an example and made my blood boil) but that is missing the point. At the end of the 70s most of the bands either called it a day or sold out, went commercial and abandoned prog. IQ, along with Marillion and Pendragon (to name a few bands) picked up the prog baton and ran with it, evolving and changing the direction of prog. The result is magnificent albums like this one.

The album needs to be listened to in its entirety. Most tracks are fairly straightforward except the epic and majestic The Narrow Margin, but Tunnel Vision and Sleepless Incidental are highlights. Martin Orford sprinkles his magical keyboards everywhere and Peter Nicholls produces the best vocal performance of his life. Mike Holmes is a grossly underrated guitarist, capable of beautiful solos and solid fills, whilst the rhythm section is a powerhouse, especially John Jowett's driving bass.

Comparisons will inevitably be made with The Lamb but they are pretty irrelevant - Subterranea is more consistent and (heresy!) I think better overall, simply because the story is more engaging (I never identified with Rael or the American cultural slant) and there are fewer bad tracks.

To conclude, this is an absolutely essential album and a rare masterpiece from the 90s.

Review by Matti
4 stars Here's the 100th rating for this album. No less than four stars! I first heard this in 2000, around the time when I was very willing to find some new prog bands but was disillusioned time after time by the stuff that the library databases categorized as prog. Most of it was simply too close to heavy for my taste. IQ was musically something that immediately responded to my idea of how a Neo Prog band should sound like. Clarity of sounds (keyboards dominating but far from OVER-dominating), melodic rollercoaster rides, compositions that are suitably catchy without cheesiness, and most of all, music clearly identified as PROG, descending from Yes, Genesis, Camel, ELP... And remembering that my path into Prog went via MARILLION and backwards from them, it's easy to see why IQ caught my interest. In a sense IQ seemed to modernize the same classic Prog vocabulary as Fish-era Marillion had done; if GENESIS had steered into more ambitious (Neo) Prog in the 80's instead of pop dominance, they might have produced music reminiscent of IQ's.

Well, there was a negative side to my delight. It took a while before Peter Nicholls' somewhat nasal voice stopped annoying me. With PENDRAGON it was the same, but slightly different: I got more and more annoyed by Nick Barrett's singing STYLE, whereas Nicholls uses his own voice pretty well after all, and IQ wouldn't be IQ without his voice. It somehow suits to the overall sound.

There aren't any disastrous tracks here, though some I dislike a bit, only a small minority really. A bunch of instrumentals is the cherry on the top. From the prog's point of view the 20-minute closer Narrow Margin is a highlight without a doubt, but a good deal of the rest is just as fine, only with shorter running times. One of my personal favourites is the calm and mystic Sense In Sanity, followed seamlessly by a Banks-like instrumental burst State Of Mine. The total length of this 2-CD album is no more than 102 minutes, but I'm not going to say They Should Have Made It Into One Terrific Disc. In fact I would rather say so about the Tales Of The Topograpgic Oceans by YES, which does suffer from the so called dinosaur disease. Subterranea is a completely healthy baby, and one of the most recommendable albums of Neo Prog scene.

Review by stefro
2 stars The group's most ambitious work to date is, unfortunately, also the one which see's IQ eschew their complex, Genesis-inspired neo-prog sound in favour of a more straight-forward 'rock' approach. 'Subterranea' features over 100 minutes of music spread over two discs, yet there are only a handful of stand-out tracks, such as the 'The Wake'-lit title track and the energetic 'Tunnel Vision'. The overall sound is light and airy, with the group's musical nucleus of keyboardist Martin Orford and guitarist Mike Holmes seemingly particularly un-inspired. Some have written that 'Subterranea' is the apex of IQ's career, but just because the album is long and features a complex story does not automatically mean it can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the other great concept abums sch as Pink Floyd's 'The Wall' or Thick As A Brick' by Jethro Tull. 'Subterranea' pales in comparison to IQ's classic albums, the superb 1983 debut 'Tales From The Lush Attic' and it's seminal follow-up of two years later 'The Wake', and it's a real shame because it seems that the group have thrown everything including the kitchen sink into making this mammoth, double-disc release a reality. Overlong, dull and instrumentally rather bland, 'Subterranea' is a rare dip in form for this otherwise excellent and iconic neo-prog band. Every group has their weaker moments(just ask Genesis about 'And Then There Were Three' or query Yes about their awful '90125' comeback 'pop' album), and, sadly, IQ's has come when they seemed to be trying hardest. Pity. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010
Review by SouthSideoftheSky
2 stars The narrow margin

Subterranea is not a bad album as such. So why only two stars? Well, my rating needs to be seen in the wider context of IQ's discography. This album came out just after the excellent Ever, and just before the very good The Seventh House. Subterranea is, to my mind, a lesser album. And as such, even if I find it rather enjoyable, I just cannot give it the same rating that I gave to The Seventh House (and that album, in turn, though stronger, is not deserving of the same high rating as Ever and Dark Matter). The two primary reasons I like Subterranea less than most other IQ albums is that the songs are not as strong and memorable, and that it is too long for its own good. Maybe, if it was condensed into a single disc with only the best material, it could perhaps have reached the same level of quality as The Seventh House, but even so it could never have matched IQ's best albums.

The conceptual nature of the album is not sufficient to retain the listener's full attention from start to end. At some point, I feel that it is just more of the same and it becomes a bit monotonous. Still, there is good stuff to be found here. If you are an IQ fan, and you don't have this album, by all means get it. You will almost certainly like it (as I do). But if you are new to IQ, this is definitely the wrong place to start, in my opinion. Any other post-Ever IQ album gives a better introduction to the band.

Recommended for fans and collectors, but not among the best IQ albums

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars Contemporary prog at its finest

It took IQ some four years to release a follow up album to the fine "Ever" from 1993. The unchanged line up were not however sitting on their hands, "Subterranea" proving to be the band's first double (CD) concept album. Admirably, they came up with a suitably grandiose theme for the album, the story centring on a man who is the victim of a tortuous experiment. The man is initially subjected to prolonged captivity in isolation, then allowed out into the real world. The tale then takes us through his experiences as he tries to cope with an accelerated life of discovery. Needless to say, adverse and sinister forces are at work exacerbating the challenge.

If we wish to be cynical, we can spend time looking for precedents for such a tale. For me though the time is better spent accepting that such concepts are one of the facets which distinguishes prog. The only question to be answered is how good is the album?! Such a question is particularity valid when it comes to this sort of presentation, as the concept can sometimes overwhelm the project to the detriment of the music.

The album opens impressively with a symphonic "Overture" which blends orchestral sounds with pounding rhythms and anthemic tones. In the best traditions of such albums, the tracks are generally kept short (although the final track runs to some 20 minutes) being linked together to form a continuous piece.

The musical style of IQ lends itself well to this format, the highly melodic roots of each song being fully exploited as each piece is brought to fruition. While the album is undoubtedly best heard as a complete project, the majority of the individual tracks stand up well as isolated numbers in their own right. Tracks such as the title piece would have fitted in perfectly on any of the band's albums, the guest sax on this particular track offering an impressive additional dimension.

To single out tracks though is to pay a disservice both to the complete piece, and to those not mentioned. I could focus on the magnificence of "Capricorn" with its superb sax and guitar, or the majestic 9 minutes which is "Failsafe", or of course the epic finale. I say again though, while each track stands proud in its own right, this is an album to be heard as a complete entity.

The prog genre (in name at least) has been pulled this way and that in recent times. Many bands and fans of those bands have discovered that it is now trendy to be labelled as prog, and attempt to jump on the bandwagon. It is though to bands such as IQ that we have to look for the spirit of prog being carried forward towards and into the 21st century. This is an album of contemporary prog at its absolute finest.

Review by Warthur
5 stars Subterranea is an album which has grown on me over time. At first, I'd have given it a four star rating on the basis of the individual songs, but the more I listen to it the more I think the whole experience is greater than the sum of its parts. Whereas Ever refreshed and renewed the sound of The Wake, Subterranea brings the IQ sound all the way up to date; much like Marillion's run of masterpieces from Brave to This Strange Engine, the album finds the band expanding the boundaries of their sound.

Despite the double-disc concept album format and the inclusion of a 20 minute finale in the form of The Narrow Margin, there's something conspicuously absent from Subterranea, and that's the band attempting to sounding progger-than-prog as other bands might be inclined to attempt on a piece such as this. Where a proggy touch would be beneficial - as on epics like The Narrow Margin - they go for it, where an approach drawing from other contemporary music genres would work better, they plump for that instead. (One of my favourite examples of the latter is the gorgeous Capricorn, a mellow rock number with an achingly beautiful sax solo.)

All this good stuff is combined with a genuinely interesting and novel plot for a concept album, updating the legend of Kasper Hauser for the X-Files generation, and whilst each individual song might not be a prog masterpiece, they're never less than compelling listening, and taken together the emotional arc the album tracks proves irresistible. I don't listen to it as often as Ever or The Wake, but that's mainly because I need to set aside more time to listen to the thing all the way through than for those two; of late, I've come to believe it's just as good as them.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars IQ's "Subterranea" is a double concept album that is the band at their most ambitious.

Following up the "Ever" masterpiece is no mean feat so everything is upsized to a whopping running time of 103 minutes. The album boasts some of IQ's longest songs such as the 20 minute 'The Narrow Margin' to close the album off in style, and also has very short tracks edging towards 2 minutes, such as 'Provider' 'State of Mine' and 'Laid Low'. It is an odd album for IQ who are tackling a massive project here with 2 CDs of non stop prog at the end of the 90s (1997) but it is certainly full of some amazing musicianship and compositions. Peter Nicholl's vocals are always crystalline and easy on the ears, and he is joined by legends of IQ, Martin Orford on keyboards, and flute, Mike Holmes on guitars, John Jowitt on bass, and Paul Cook on drums. This is the class act that brought us "Ever" and earlier "The Wake" (though Tim Essau was the bassist on this album). It is not surprising that the album came out with a great deal of enthusiasm by the prog community but I have noticed that in the eyes of many the album failed to deliver, falling just short of a masterpiece, and in fact many were disappointed.

Perhaps more is less in this case and this album suffers the overblown excessive disease of "Tales From Topographic Oceans"-itis. The symptoms of the disease are excessive cryptic conceptual material and songs that are forgettable and get lost in their own overblown structures. This is a real journey and one needs to really put aside a great deal of time to indulge in it and perhaps be in the right frame of mind. It is certainly not an album that will appeal to all but nevertheless is still replete with incredible moments of beauty and amazing musicianship. The concept is hard to grasp but concerns an Secret Underground Lab where scientific experiments are conducted, and the people try to escape to the surface, and get incinerated in the process. One lone man who lives above decides, after a failed relationship, that the world he lives in is far worse and ventures into the underground, but ultimately finds he is the only one there and so is trapped, alienated and alone.

The album is certainly more bombastic than previous material beginning with majesty and pomp with 'Overture'. The clean voice of Nicholl's is heard on 'Provider', followed by the first great moment, 'Subterranea', with futuristic synth rhythms and a heavier guitar phrase on a rollicking beat. The bassline is one of the best from IQ, and I love the upbeat feeling on this. The lyrics are fascinating; "Cadillac, heart attack, back of this beyond, push a king, TV queen, accommodating blonde, a traitors gaze while you wait." The slowed synth interlude brings it to an ambience, before it returns to the cynical lyrics and melodies, "can I hold on, can I belong to all the things you are, there's no sane in, chaos reigns in subterranea." The sax at the end is a sheer delight and this track is a definitive highlight. 'Sleepless Incidental' follows seamlessly with calming vocals, and some great guitar phrases. The keyboard solo at the end is Orford at his best and it is augmented by soaring lead guitars. 'Failsafe' is a 9 minute track with some nice musicianship and then it bogs down with a lacklustre ballad in 'Speak My Name', that lulls me off to dreamland.

'Tunnel Vision wakes me again with the great heavy guitar riff, and more forceful vocals. I like the melodies on this and angular time sigs, leading to glorious guitar soling, with squeals and sustained string bends. The bass pulsates nicely and it culminates in a refreshing synth motif. 'Infernal Chorus' seamlessly follows and builds a strong marching percussion and guitar over synth layers. The sig shifts to accommodate a chugging riff before Nicholl's vocals return; "avoiding confrontation in this infernal chorus, who watches he who watches, no one above suspicion." The song has a magical synth melody that reminds me of Ultravox for a moment. The song stops for a pause and then launches into some killer keyboards, simply stunning work from Orford. The lyrics are surprisingly dark at this point; "I am your murdering angel of death, silently you will provide what I need, give me a focus give me a name, back to your maker and turn to his side, unresurrected and unrecognised." A decent track with some shining musicianship. It ends with a chilling effect like chains dragging and an alien wail. The album is getting into darker territory and we are soon getting conceptually deeper with 'King Of Fools'. The pulsing synth is effective along with rhythmic vocals and ominous key pads. It blends with a heartbeat into 'The Sense In Sanity', tinged with an intro of Oriental chimes that maintain a polyphonic rhythm and synths wash over. Nicholl's melancholy tones are distinct; "Ignited by the realising eyes, unwrapped around the solitary sound, a failing voice, collapsing on the unfamiliar ground, an empty heart am I the only one." The minimalism of a voice and synth works well to break away from the busier soundscape. It merges into 'State Of Mine', with a distorted guitar riff that fades up and louder synth phrases. The instrumental ends the first CD on a pleasant uplifting note.

CD 2 begins with a brief piano introduction on 'Laid Low', with a spacey lead guitar, and then 'Breathtaker' that clocks just over 6 minutes, comes in with more aggressive vocals; "beyond imagination, born of blood and fire, in splendid isolation, I have lived corrupted and inspiring, no longer god's Appolo, no more Mercury, down among the unbelievers," and then an expletive follows and surprised me as it is unlike IQ. This is a raw approach and perhaps as heavy as the band gets at this stage in their career. A tirade of keyboards follows and some thunder accompanies Nicholls next verse. At the end of the song the rain pours down in a stormcloud and the acoustic intro of 'Capricorn' shines through. The lyrics are heard "The night holds a multitude of uncovered sins", and then a wonderful saxophone sound lights up the dark. The music reminds me of Marillion here, and as always the guitars soar to the stratosphere.

The icy winds and distant sax prepare us for the Oriental flavours of 'The Other Side', a brief musical transition of acoustic chimes and bamboo flute. It is a river of dreamy and beautiful ambience, and segues to 'Unsolid Ground'. This track has a steady guitar riff and relaxing vocals, and builds to a stronger beat. It sounds more commercial and straight forward, but I like the lead break and electronic sequenced synths. The album at this stage is bogging down a bit and I needed something more complex and impressive.

'Somewhere In Time' answers my wishes with acoustic vibrations in the intro. The vocals are heartfelt; "on and on want to feel somehow, somewhere in time, you'll see it all the way, what I do now, gives into impulse, reaches in between, gets back a notion, still remembers a dream." The flute work here is really nice and has an Irish feel, and then a sequenced synth fades up turning everything to a futuristic style. Lead guitars blaze through the fog of synths and the beat is transformed to more uptempo. A cool riff locks in for a moment and there is a delightful bassline from Jowitt. The guitar riffs are excellent on this track and come and go until the great synth solo at the end. This is followed by 'High Waters', another piano ballad and it leads inevitably to the massive epic of the album.

'The Narrow Margin' is a 20 minute monster that I was hoping would be as good as other epics I have heard over the years. It begins with an odd percussion and pretty piano runs, and then vocals are heard; "divided by loyalty, surrounded by emotion, nobody under here remembers any mercy at all, we stay down, deciding the borderline, did no one tell you, I couldn't have made you mine, because I feel your pain more than my own." I have no idea what the concept is about but is sounds spiritually linked, perhaps a journey into darkness of subterranean levels of consciousness, and then escaping by a narrow margin. It doesn't really matter, but the music still manages to transfix even at the end despite some lulls in between. At 5:30 a gorgeous lead guitar sound is heard and then a bass heavy beat begins. The song is about to divert into a new feel, and the next verse is even more melancholy; "try to sleep, I will come but I'm still waiting for you, and wherever you are, I'm still inside you now." Nicholls's sings of unrequited love and not being able to hide from his true feelings. He sings, "I could never go back", and a heavier riff crunches in, a more metal approach and it is enhanced with an amazing lead guitar solo. This is a wonderful moment on the epic, and I love the angular riffs, leading to a staccato rhythm accentuated by fast piano runs. The lyrics focus on darker themes; "voices circulating around the musty hall, and the kerosene is ignited, incandescent in the crossfire, do my eyes betray the longest night of all." An explosion is heard breaking the rhythm and an ethereal atmosphere takes over at 12 minutes, quite disturbing after all the upbeat music. A new fast and fragmented riff fades up and is followed by bright keyboard soloing. The band are off and running here and at their best. The lengthy instrumental section is powerful and enthusiastically executed. It runs out of steam at the end but nevertheless it is nice to hear such an ambitious lengthy track at the end of the 90s era.

It was quite an expedition, a lengthy voyage into the world of IQ, but at the end there is enough here to warrant high praise. It is not a masterpiece, due to some lulls in the excitement, but overall there are some wonderful shining moments on "Subtrerranea". It suffers from prog excess but if you give it time the melodies will impress and the musicianship is nothing short of excellent throughout. I prefer "Ever" and "Frequency" where the 1 CD is packed with non-stop brilliance, whereas this 2 CD album does not maintain a consistent quality with a few songs that may have been best left off. However, there is no denying that the band went for the concept album hammer and tongs, and the result is a wondrous journey into Neo prog territory.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars From the end 94' and on, while IQ were hitting the road promoting the ''Ever'' album, they begun playing snippets and early forms of tracks from what was to become their most ambitious work.As the recordings of their new album were coming to reality, IQ even refused to play live, focusing on this grandiose effort.After a couple of cancelled release dates, finally ''Subterranea'', a 2-CD and over 100 minutes concept album, sees the light at the end of 1997 on Giant Electric Pea.

For many this album is the reincarnation of ''The lamb lies on Broadway'', both because it is a long theatrical and inventive fantasy story and because IQ were always a heavily GENESIS-influenced group.The story is built around a man, isolated from reality, part of a weird experiment, who is eventually let loose by the men they imprisoned him and begins a long trip for searching the reasons he was kept locked.His story passes many different stages, meeting plenty of characters, in a dramatic attempt to find the truth about his existence.

Practically IQ did not abandon the style of music they made them one of the most beloved Progressive Rock bands worldwide.This time though it is extremely highly recommended to follow the lyrics as part of the listening in order to penetrate as more as possible into this fantasy story.What really differs is maybe the slightly increased use of more mellow parts, some with acoustic guitars, and the diverse singing style of Nichols, part of the varied atmosphere of the album.But again it is impossible for IQ to miss their main target, which is to produce elaborate, well-polished and grandiose Progressive Rock with lots of bombastic grooves and symphonic references.But these would mean nothing if there weren't of the fantastic melodies IQ are used to bring on surface.Despite the lyrical importance of the album the group still manages to keep a great balance between vocal and instrumental moments.Some of the best music ever produced by IQ is also included in this work and the listener will face series of smooth piano arrangements and calm vocal performance blended with powerful compositions full of sharp and angular synthesizers, pounding bass lines, hard drumming and shining guitar lines.The most impressive fact though is that the group decided to close the album with the longest track of the album, the 20-min. ''The Narrow Margin'', already a classic composition of IQ, full of changing climates, haunting melodies, dark passages and more uptempo moments with excellent and tight musicianship from the start to the very end.

A Progressive Rock classic?Maybe yes, definitely a Neo Prog classic considering how hard it is to come up with both an impressive concept story and a very long album, that never tires the listener.No doubt, IQ succeded in both sections with this album.Highly recommended.

Review by lazland
5 stars There is a reason sometimes when a wallow in sheer nostalgia is something more than wallowing in glory days of yore. There are certain times when you listen to a certain slab of music, and remember just how damned good it was. No, change that. Just how damned good it IS!

I had not listened to this wonderful concept album in a fair while until this evening, when, looking forward to the latest IQ opus I have pre-ordered, I thought, let's go back. Let's remind myself of just why I am taking a punt on music I have not even heard yet, and won't receive until at least two months after shelling out hard earned money.

This album, perhaps more than most, is why. I loved IQ from the very beginning, and followed them alongside the other exponents of the new wave of British prog. This one, released in 1997, demonstrated to me that IQ, perhaps better than any other "neo" act, were capable of staying true to their roots and influences, but also taking them forward with the lush, almost orchestral, modern digital era sound. For this is an album not rooted in 1974, but the late nineties.

It is a "deep" concept, for sure, and certainly one that many classic original prog bands would have been proud of. The story revolves around a man tortured and imprisoned in solitary confinement experimentation, who is released into the wider world with unpleasant consequences and, tortured internally, returns to his lone self and world.

Just how, then, such a tome can give rise to such a brilliantly uplifting track such as Speak My Name is a bit of a mystery, and, in reality, speaks genius. The title track, following a Who-esque Overture, sets the scene perfectly for what follows, a perfect blend of symphonic musical story telling and precise, clinical, but also heartwarming in places, and never anything less than captivating vocally and musically. It also contains a marvellous guest sax piece - note to naysayers.....Genesis never had this!

Peter Nicholls is absolutely at the top of his game, more so than on Ever in my opinion, his voice gorgeously fragile in its strength (yes, much like Gabriel in that manner), but the real star and driving force behind all that is so Progressive on this album is Martin Orford, whose soundscapes dominate and provide such a lush musical storyline in themselves. Just listen to his burst on State of Mine especially, which lead a gloriously heavy symphonic passage of music, which, itself, leads to a beautiful , expansive, duo on piano and electric guitar with Mike Holmes on Laid Low. When these segue into the dark and hard Breathtaker, you realise that this album is rather more than a carbon copy of days gone by, but something utterly unique and new.

The end epic, The Narrow Margin, clocking in at 20 minutes brings proceedings to a suitably grandiose end. In fact, it would not be until the ridiculously brilliant Harvest of Souls that the band would outdo themselves in how to bring expansive, epic, loud, and proud prog rock to life in such a warm way. This is a track of a band at the top of their game, a collective bringing complex fantasy to expansive life.

In a couple of months time, I, and other collaborators on this site who have followed IQ for over 30 years now, will, no doubt, wax lyrical about the maturity of the new album. There will be more than a few reading those reviews who were either babes in arms, or, God forbid, not even born, when Subterranea was released. You will, no doubt, wonder just what all the fuss is about in the 21st century.

This album is what the fuss is all about. This album is more than just a paeon to 1970's glory, it is the sound of a band who produced a work of such beauty and wondrous sounds in 1997 that made many of us just know that, seventeen years later, we would still be listening to classy progressive rock, because such gorgeous sounds and thoughts simply could never die. To summarise, you are still listening to prog because of albums such as this.

Five stars. Essential. Wondrous. Beautiful. Grandiose. Nicholls, Orford, Holmes, Jowitt, and Cook. IQ. No further explanation is necessary.

Review by siLLy puPPy
5 stars IQ had a rocky road at the latter part of the 80s with a couple sub-stellar releases but managed to find a firm footing in the progressive rock arenas once again with their 1993 comeback "Ever." Apparently deciding to never repeat the mistakes of such bellyflops as "Are You Sitting Comfortably?" ever again, the band now had a stable lineup with creative juices just bubbling over in mega-effervescence and spent four years polishing their craft before they unleashed the grandiose double album monstrosity SUBTERRANEA which took all the excesses of prog and ran away with them unapologetically. This behemoth of a musical extravaganza will require many trips to the buffet, periods of stepping back for proper digestion and then further revisitation for the full-on effect to properly gel within the listener's inner music box.

IQ stepped it up in every possible way on SUBTERRANEA. Firstly with the lyrical contents they deliver a highly complex story about a man (remaining mysterious and nameless) who was held captive for most of his life and deprived of the most ordinary of experiences that most of us take for granted on a daily basis. After being released he's deluged by the Captain America effect meaning that he has woken up to a world that has passed him by in every regard and his struggle to catch up leaves him destitute and grasping for his sanity. The story becomes a full-fledged musical soap opera as he falls in love with a girl named Maya, discovers others who have been experimented and detained against their will and joins forces to take revenge against the miscreants who carried out these atrocities. The plot fails and this same guy ends up back to the very isolation from which the story began thus creating a full circle approach to story telling all the while backed up by some of the most compelling progressive musical deliveries that the 90s had to offer.

Lucky for IQ that Peter Nicholls returned to the helm as vocalist and lyrical contributor in chief because he churns out some of the most compelling yet mysteriously vague story content of his career as done right in true prog fashion leaving the other members to focus exclusively on the musical accompaniment which is nothing short of brilliant as IQ dishes out some of the strongest melodies and song structures of their career with each cadence wresting a heart felt explosion of emotional reaction as keyboard lines tinkle their way into a gravitational pull that is utterly irresistible. The group interplay is beyond strong as even the longest of tracks such as the double-discker's closer "The Narrow Margin" keeps the listener enthralled for its entirety. Nicholls' vocal performance is absolutely top notch and each track successfully builds upon what came before and creates a true complete album experience like very few others of the newly resurrected prog universe of the 90s succeeded in accomplishing.

While it's no secret that IQ was always a Peter Gabriel era Genesis type of band, SUBTERRANEA can certainly bring the double album "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway" to mind not only in its scope and delivery with accessible keyboard driven musical prosody accompanied by excellent lyrical elocution but offers a more obnubilated sense of meaning and only offers an impressionalist's perspective of a story that leaves more questions dangling about than it it answers however even if you couldn't give a flying bleep about the lyrics, the music on this one offers a diverse array of neo-prog perfection that adheres to all the genre expectations of beautifully laid out extended compositions that ratchet up the emotional responses in a systematic and melodic way. This isn't one for the casual listener and like many complex works requires some commitment to understand but with a little devotion can be easily extricated from its inscrutable initial impressions.

Review by The Crow
4 stars Subterranea was the confirmation that after the Peter Nicholls comeback IQ was in top form!

And here we can find thanks to a pristine production a band which has become even more ambitious than the in the excellent Ever, introducing elements like marimba and saxophone in some pieces and making their music darker and even more interesting.

The only problem I have with Subterranea is that being a double CD, some track are just filling and they are not impressive. That's a problem that almost every double disc album has, and this is not an exception. However, the music is excellent most of the time.

Conclusion: Subterranea does not reach Ever in terms of overall quality, but it was the confirmation that IQ has here to staty. Excellent work!

Best Tracks: Failsafe (Neo-Prog at its best!), Speak my Name (breathtaking), Tunnel Vision (strong, dark, solid), Breathtaker (a perfect song) and The Narrow Margin (splendid epic and a great ending for the album)

My rating: ****

Review by VianaProghead
5 stars Review Nº 623

"Subterranea" is the sixth studio album of IQ that was released in 1997. "Subterranea" is a conceptual album with nineteen tracks. As a double album, it's notoriously the difficulty to pull off but the concept and the songs never reduce the work to mere ramblings. The music on "Subterranea" was written by IQ and the lyrics were written by Nicholls.

The line up on "Subterranea" is Peter Nicholls (lead and backing vocals), Mike Holmes (guitars), Martin Orford (backing vocals, flute and keyboards), John Jowitt (backing vocals and bass) and Paul Cook (drums and percussion). "Subterranea" had also the participation of Tony Wright (saxophone) as a guest musician.

In the end of 1994 the band started playing some new compositions to the audiences in their live shows. In November 1996 the band announced that the release of their new album would be in September 1997 and that the band had decided to make a double conceptual album with theatrical stage show with a full length performance of the album. So, the band worked hard at the different parts of the whole concept, the music, the lyrics, the sleeve and the stage. In June 1997 the recording sessions for the new album began. On August the finishing touches were put on the mixing process to be finally released. The album features photographic artwork and pictures that illustrate the concept of the album.

The concept of "Subterranea" is focused about a man who's been the subject of an experiment. He's been held captive throughout his whole life not having contact with the outside world, till he's let loose in the outside world. He has to digest all these new things. He gets involved with a religious cult, but he refuses to be converted. One day, he meets a girl and fall in love with her. He has a romance with her but she is taken away from him. He became very anger. He realises that he's being watched and he's part of an experiment. He decided to know why. He realises that he's not the only victim of the experiment. The victims decide to band together and take revenge. In a confrontation, he meets the responsible for the experiment. In the end, he resigns himself to going back into the same isolation where he started.

"Subterranea" is supposed to be the major work of IQ. And all means have been used to achieve that. IQ offers us more than an hour and a half of music on a double CD. To embarking on the writing of a conceptual album is a necessary passage for any self-respecting prog band but it's a huge risk too. However, they completely won the challenge. With such duration, the music of "Subterranea" is incredibly rich with a great atmosphere. As we know, IQ is a band that knows how to transcribe emotions very well. The music is rooted in IQ's neo-prog past with rather simple songs, driven by Martin Orford's keyboards and Peter Nicholls' theatrical and emotion-packed vocals, dressed in the progressive rock grandeur and with very strong melodies. This intense use of keyboards immediately leads them to be labelled neo-progressive. Its use is pushed to the extreme with the many parts where it's doubled, the synthetic chords mixing with the piano. However, unlike many bands that sound pompous, IQ plays the card of finesse, creating an impressive work.

"Overture" and above all the subsequent "Provider" are great introductions despite the initial orchestral tuning. The usual IQ clichés are mature and very well dosed and the keyboard carpets sound new. In terms of composition, it's the smaller pieces that stand out. "King Of Fools" convinces with guitar synths, as does "The Other Side", the already mentioned "Provider" and also "Laid Low" or "High Waters". Here, the leitmotifs are usually brought out or presented, which are taken up in other pieces and chased through the instruments and voices. As a result, "Subterranea" gains a coherent structure that is appropriate for a concept work. Here and there, there are also a few adventures that IQ hadn't dared to do before, like cheeky disturbing gimmicks with major and minor in keyboard solos "Failsafe", over-the-top vibrato effects, "Subterranea" and "Breathtaker", and the pitch delay as a harmony instrument on "The Other Side". And then there's "The Narrow Margin", the only long track on the album. Here we have individual parts that are brought together into a harmonious whole by many leitmotif connections, especially against the background of the album.

Conclusion: "Subterranea" is an amazing album. This conceptual album is so strong that practically eclipsed all the previous studio albums of the group. It was also easily compared with "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway" of Genesis. I think there is something of it here, despite the concept be more cryptic and obscure and the music be rooted in the neo-prog style. This is generally an underrated work of them. Despite the clearly differences, it reminds me "Tales From Topographic Oceans" of Yes. Both are two very misunderstood albums by many prog fans. I never hesitated in giving the highest rating to that album and I have no problems in doing the same with this one too. For me, it's the best studio album of the band, so far, and one of the best albums ever. "Subterranea" is IQ's biggest musical accomplishment and will get under the skin of any prog fan. Definitely, I think this is certainly one of the best progressive albums of the 90's.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Review by Hector Enrique
4 stars Back on the progressive path with "Ever", and just like their Genesis referents with "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway", IQ fulfilled the dream of the double concept album with "Subterranea", the band's sixth. The enigmatic story of the teenager Kaspar Hauser, who appeared in the German city of Nuremberg back in 1828 without having had direct contact with other people, a famous character of scientific study related to human behaviour in situations aseptic to social relations and murdered in unclear circumstances in 1833 at the age of 21, is the source of inspiration for this massive and somber work of more than 100 minutes.

Divided into two parts of generous mileage, "Subterranea" presents IQ's fictionalised version of Kaspar's various experiences in the world that opened up before his eyes, using a generally intimate and complicit narration by Peter Nicholls and wrapped in intriguing and intricate walls of sound that both the guitars of Mike Holmes, the wide range of synthesizers and their infinite effects of Martin Orford, the rugged and imposing bass of John Jowitt and the more active participation than usual of Paul Cook on percussion, build.

Carefully crafted pieces flow harmonically without pause or haste, like the thick, hypnotic half-time instrumental "Overture", or the Genesian "Sleepless Incidental" and "Failsafe", or the beautiful and moving "Speak My Name" with Nicholls lulled by Orford's luminous keyboards and a delicate acoustic plucking by Holmes (one of the band's best ballads), or the aching melancholy of "The Sense In Sanity" overlaid by Orford's atmospheric synths, and the bridge that the instrumentals "State Of Mine" and "Laid Low" build to cross over from the first to the second part of the album, where the suffocating "Capricorn" and the emotive sax of guest Tony Wright, the electronic experimentation of "The Other Side" and the heartbreaking "High Water" with Holmes' melancholic guitar stand out, but above all the substantial 20 minutes of the epic "The Narrow Margin" that runs between classic elements of the genre, nods in its middle section to the jazziest Camel and shades of futuristic insanity, and whose denouement unleashes an excellent guitar solo before closing the piece and the album with gentle acoustic notes, a gem.

"Subterranea" not only cemented IQ's progressive comeback, but positioned them as one of their greatest exponents of the nineties onwards.

Very good.

4 stars

Latest members reviews

3 stars Subterranea is a weird album for me. IQ, from Ever onwards, produce consistently high quality progressive albums with great musicianship and playing... but that consistency also sort of makes a lot of them sound the same. So, Subterranea only gets a short review from me. This is the classic ... (read more)

Report this review (#2580766) | Posted by The Ace Face | Thursday, July 22, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This, for me, is IQ's masterpiece. Despite the classic The Wake, the revamping of the band that is Dark Matter, or the beautifully crafted new The Road of Bones, Subterranea is this double album with a straightforward concept with fantastic (here meaning "fantasy" and great as well) interplay betwee ... (read more)

Report this review (#2042738) | Posted by guiservidoni | Tuesday, October 9, 2018 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Four years after the last (good) record, IQ comes back in the same formation (and a guest sax player) with a double concept album. Daring a more ambitious format would also be of greater risk, but they prove to be up to the stakes: more than 1 hour & 1/2 of music, with its ups-and-downs surely, but ... (read more)

Report this review (#1566933) | Posted by Quinino | Wednesday, May 18, 2016 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Another concept album from a Neo-Prog band. That's what one might think when they stumble across Subterranea for the first time. But hold on, for me this is a wee bit different. I got Subterranea shortly after it was published, and I already had all older IQ albums at the time, so I thought I kne ... (read more)

Report this review (#1353687) | Posted by Losimba | Monday, January 26, 2015 | Review Permanlink

4 stars There are many elements we can highlight in every IQ album, an excellent production, very good neo progressive compositions, excellent bass sound, good keyboard landscapes, wonderful guitar arrangements and a very particular way of singing by Peter Nicholls. Subterranea is a fantastic double a ... (read more)

Report this review (#1031280) | Posted by Memo_anathemo | Monday, September 9, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars What a great double album, artwork. I saw this band in Buenos Aires presenting Subterranea in 1998 and the perfomance was as good as one might expect. I don´t understand some people consider second disc lower than first. Second disc is little less intense, but close with a epic gem like Narrow Margi ... (read more)

Report this review (#916101) | Posted by sinslice | Tuesday, February 19, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars (9/10) Wow. Just wow. From the first song ("Overture") it is very clear that this will be an album of grand ambition. "Subterranea" is a gargantuan concept album, weighing in at over 100 minutes. There are many highlights in this album. I want to keep this review a reasonable length, so I will tr ... (read more)

Report this review (#853642) | Posted by ScorchedFirth | Friday, November 9, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars "Aenigma Sui Temporis" Inspired by the mysterious and fascinating figure of Kaspar Hauser, "Subterranea" is undoubtedly a good quality album; in fact, the value of the songs, taken individually, are almost all excellent. However, among all the IQ albums after the comeback of Peter Nicholls, ... (read more)

Report this review (#711514) | Posted by Dark Nazgul | Friday, April 6, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Subterranea is a good, prog rock album. Atmospheric, nicely executed, with some excellent compositions and very strong moments. Its main weakness is that IQ tried to do too much and the second CD was almost unnecessary, becoming almost repetitive. The epic Narrow Margin, running for 20 minutes ... (read more)

Report this review (#614679) | Posted by SentimentalMercenary | Saturday, January 21, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Let's talk about IQ's Subterranea. While most people seem cite 1985's The Wake, 1993's Ever, or even one of the band's more recent efforts as their favourite IQ album, and although those albums are both amazing, this 1997 concept album always struck the right chord with me. Subterranea holds ... (read more)

Report this review (#563483) | Posted by FunkyM | Sunday, November 6, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I find IQ's "Subterranea" exciting, but yet a little boring at the same time. I just cant help comparing it to Genesis' "Lamb lies down on Brodway" It's cut in the same vein, double disc, one main caracter that we follow through the whole record. It is flawed in the same vein too. The album i ... (read more)

Report this review (#457976) | Posted by Moonstone | Tuesday, June 7, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I initially dismissed IQ as a band I just did not care for. In fact, I dismissed neo-prog as a genre for quite some time as I was getting into progressive rock. But, I bought the album "Dark Matter" on a whim after hearing some good reviews and found it to be really excellent. It caused me to delv ... (read more)

Report this review (#379991) | Posted by natewait | Friday, January 14, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars A definite must-have for any neo-prog lover (or to anyone wishing to discover neo-prog). I took quiet a time prior publishing my review on the IQ Subterranea album. As you can imagine, given my nickname, I have a special admiration for this masterpiece double-album. Indeed, I consider that t ... (read more)

Report this review (#216218) | Posted by Subterranean | Saturday, May 16, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Here we have Subterranea, a very long work with some very good songs, and some not so good songs. For those of you interested in the Neo-Prog scene as it plays out in the 90's, with its super-charged emotional power, grand themes, and symphonic crescendos, this album is for you. However, if you ... (read more)

Report this review (#170755) | Posted by kabright | Monday, May 12, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album has blown me away, even after only 5+ listens. This is quite rare for concept albums, as I don't all ways find them too easy to digest. The instrumentation is incredible for the most part, much of it fairly ambient (remining me, in a good way, of Tales from Topographic Oceans, and p ... (read more)

Report this review (#126161) | Posted by Brutha2 | Sunday, June 17, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A Great album, left me inspired and transfixed on the masterful skills of this great neo prog band. First CD I've heard from them and it's only inspired me to listen to more. A CD I listen to often and find the music powerful and well placed. The movements in this modern 90's sounding album is ... (read more)

Report this review (#124577) | Posted by Xeroth | Sunday, June 3, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars My only contact with this band was with the "Nonzamo" record and I was invited to not care for them anymore. Bad record. But now someone put in my hands this double CD and much to my surprise I have to recognize this guys really rock. To tell you the truth you are recognizing here and there some ... (read more)

Report this review (#119521) | Posted by steelyhead | Monday, April 23, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars 2.75 stars really. I've been reviewing IQ's albums in reverse, and am probably going to sound like I am repeating myself with this reivew.........much like the music of IQ. Which is not to say that it is bad or that I don't like it to some extent. For the most part, I don't reveiw albums tha ... (read more)

Report this review (#95965) | Posted by | Friday, October 27, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars IQ is a fairly new band to me- and this was my first experience with them. After hearing the tune "The Narrow Margin" I HAD to perchase the album. At 20 minutes- the song flies by like a 10 minute song. It truely is an amzing track and worth the album alone in my opinion. That specific track p ... (read more)

Report this review (#95862) | Posted by Drew | Thursday, October 26, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is a great album, a near-masterpiece. I came close to giving it 5 stars, but a couple of things brought the score down. One is that, this band clearly owes a lot to classic Genesis. That actually isn't bad by itself, but the singer unfortunately isn't as interesting and dynamic as Gabriel. D ... (read more)

Report this review (#94350) | Posted by enteredwinter | Thursday, October 12, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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