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IQ

Neo-Prog • United Kingdom


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IQ picture
IQ biography
Founded in Southampton, England in 1981

What's the difference between a band and a cult band? A charismatic frontman, able to seduce the audience with a single look? A mastermind, conducting his fellow geniuses to sheer excellence? A dedicated and addicted following lasting three decades? An outstanding live concept combining stage charisma, true emotions and self-ironic humor?

Take it all, add a catalogue in which every new entry is described as 'the latest masterpiece' and you get IQ.

Rising from the ashes of THE LENS in 1981, the original line up of Peter NICHOLLS, Michael HOLMES, Martin ORFORD, Paul COOK and Tim ESAU formed a band achieving the impossible - the combination of such diverse styles as prog, punk, jazz and even reggae. Their first cassette album, later re-released on GEP as 'SEVEN STORIES INTO 98', is still an outstanding example of that.

Both their first vinyl albums 'TALES FROM THE LUSH ATTIC' and 'THE WAKE' gained instant classic status in the 'new wave of British progressive rock'. Soon the band became a regular in London's world famous Marquee club, performed more than 200 gigs each year in the UK (as seen in the 'LIVE FROM LONDON' video from 1985), and quickly attained a strong and loyal following.

After signing to POLYGRAM in 1987 with new singer Paul MENEL, they released 'NOMZAMO' featuring the single 'PROMISES' which made it high in the Dutch charts. European tours and the album 'ARE YOU SITTING COMFORTABLY?' followed, but MENEL and bass player Tim ESAU left the band shortly after in 1989.

What could have been the end was in fact just another beginning. NICHOLLS rejoined and was welcomed back enthusiastically at concerts in London and Paris. At the same time GEP was founded by musicians and associates of IQ with the rarities album 'JīAI POLLETTE DīARNU' becoming the label's debut release.

In 1993 IQ's new album 'EVER' thrilled fans old and new with a modern and yet traditional interpretation of progressive rock. With new bassist John JOWITT (ex-ARK) the band embarked on a storming tour of the UK and mainland Europe, and played acclaimed festival appearances in the USA and South America. The tour was captured on film at the celebrated 'FOREVER LIVE' show in Kleve and was released in a special box set featuring video, double CD and large booklet.

In 1997, IQ released 'SUBTERRENEA', a ...
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IQ discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

IQ top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.82 | 506 ratings
Tales From The Lush Attic
1983
3.79 | 597 ratings
The Wake
1985
2.87 | 350 ratings
Nomzamo
1987
2.79 | 326 ratings
Are You Sitting Comfortably ?
1989
4.05 | 690 ratings
Ever
1993
3.99 | 690 ratings
Subterranea
1997
3.41 | 164 ratings
Seven Stories Into 98
1998
4.01 | 685 ratings
The Seventh House
2000
4.04 | 946 ratings
Dark Matter
2004
4.10 | 939 ratings
Frequency
2009
4.23 | 1290 ratings
The Road Of Bones
2014
4.16 | 417 ratings
Resistance
2019

IQ Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.10 | 88 ratings
Living Proof
1986
3.90 | 100 ratings
Forever Live
1996
4.19 | 21 ratings
Subterranea Tour Live Germany
1999
4.17 | 17 ratings
Head Long to Argentina
1999
4.21 | 19 ratings
La Maroquinerie, Paris 18 Nov. 2000
2000
4.28 | 86 ratings
Subterranea: The Concert
2000
4.50 | 34 ratings
The Archive Collection - IQ20
2002
4.56 | 69 ratings
The Wake - Live At De Boerderij, Zoetermeer
2010
4.00 | 3 ratings
De Boerderij Zoetermeer Holland 23 October 2011
2012
4.69 | 47 ratings
Live On The Road Of Bones
2015
4.73 | 6 ratings
A Show of Resistance
2020

IQ Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.34 | 69 ratings
Subterranea - The Concert
2000
4.43 | 60 ratings
IQ20 - The Twentieth Anniversary Show
2004
3.78 | 34 ratings
Live From London
2005
4.42 | 126 ratings
Stage
2006
3.86 | 32 ratings
Forever Live
2007
4.43 | 32 ratings
Scrape Across The Sky
2017

IQ Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.29 | 63 ratings
J'ai Pollette d'Arnu
1991
4.64 | 33 ratings
For Ever Live
1996
3.44 | 71 ratings
The Lost Attic - A Collection Of Rarities (1983-1999)
1999
4.38 | 52 ratings
The Wake 2010 Remaster
2010
3.29 | 17 ratings
Re:Mixed
2011
4.63 | 100 ratings
Tales from the Lush Attic 2013 Remix
2013
4.88 | 26 ratings
Ever - 2018 Remix - 25th Anniversary Collector's Edition
2018

IQ Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 3 ratings
Fascination
1982
4.00 | 4 ratings
Awake And Nervous
1983
2.92 | 12 ratings
Barbell Is In
1984
4.17 | 6 ratings
The Legendary IQ Free Record
1984
3.20 | 5 ratings
Corners
1985
2.76 | 38 ratings
Nine in a Pond is Here
1985
3.33 | 3 ratings
Nomzamo
1986
3.20 | 5 ratings
Intelligence Quotient
1986
2.92 | 4 ratings
Promises (As The Years Go By)
1987
3.75 | 4 ratings
Here There And Everywhere
1987
3.33 | 3 ratings
No Love Lost
1987
3.33 | 6 ratings
Passing Strangers
1987
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Big Balls Of Bert Christ
1989
2.00 | 1 ratings
One More Boxer
1989
3.20 | 10 ratings
Sold On You
1989
2.00 | 1 ratings
Drive On
1989
2.00 | 2 ratings
Bulba Neeny Noo
1992
4.00 | 6 ratings
The Darkest Hour
1993
3.68 | 31 ratings
Frequency Tour
2008
4.02 | 26 ratings
Tales from a Dark Christmas
2017

IQ Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Seventh House by IQ album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.01 | 685 ratings

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The Seventh House
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by Squire Jaco

4 stars I'm not the biggest fan of what is commonly referred to as "neo-prog", but IQ is the best band in this genre, and "The Seventh House" is their best album up to that time. Somehow this Genesis-caliber band has stayed together through the years, and they consistently put out very good music, played well, with interesting lyrics (and album covers!). There's a "Lamb Lies Down" feel to the opening of "Wrong Side of Weird" before it morphs into a "Song Remains the Same" riff. Some great moments on this opener, but it seems to lose its way halfway along. Not so with the title track; IQ's BEST composition ever with great lyrics, a soaring chorus, and great song development all the way through. I also love the fast section of "Guiding Light" with some showcase drumming. But what were they thinking with the sappy "Shooting Angels"? - the only thing that keeps me from giving this album 5 stars overall.
 Frequency by IQ album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.10 | 939 ratings

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Frequency
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

5 stars IQ's 'Frequency' at first just sounded like another pleasant release by the band. A great production sound, some longer tracks, and some great progressive moments that even evoke King Crimson. The album also has some direct quotations of Genesis as usual. It was only after listening the album for months that I actually started to familiarize myself with it. The first song that stood out to me was 'Ryker Skies' with its imminent and dark sci-fi atmospheres. It just hits you and the interludes are very effective as well. The opening track 'Frequency' is a great up-tempo track as well. Then the rest of the album grew on me. I don't always like the almost mandatory cheesy Marillion-type endings of IQ's albums, but the aptly titles 'Closer' is actually one of my favorite songs on this album. Great drums patterns on the main theme and a strong majestic middle section. The band introduces Mark Westworth on keyboards here and he plays some fine keyboard solo's here. The guitar leads by Mike Holmes are particularly well recorded on this album, sometimes reminding me of the thick tone of Nick Barrett from Pendragon. After listening to it more often these days I can say this has become one of my favorite albums of the band. There isn't a single moment on it that interrupts its integrity or artistic finesse. Not at al challenging to listen to (like for instance 'Resistance'), this is by no means a special album in the band's discography. Yet, it is special to me. Can't wait for the first vinyl print that was announced this year (2020).
 The Road Of Bones by IQ album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.23 | 1290 ratings

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The Road Of Bones
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I must say it took me a long time really enjoy this album. At the time I got The Road Of Bones I had also had bought several others CDs and I guess others pleased me more at first listen, so I sest this one aside for a while. And everytime I took the trouble to listen to it again I was not captivated by the first two tracks,and I usually ended my session right there. It just sounded too much like Subterranea or The Seventh House, not my favorite IQ stuff. That kept happening until recently, when, by mistake, I put the second CD on and was amazed of how good it sounded. The bonus material was much better than the "official" one, or at least thatīs what I thought then. Nowadays, after repeated spins,I discovered that the whole work is one of their very best.

I guess this CD was a challenge for the band, being the first one to be completely written without founder member Martin Orford .And I did not know at the time that not even Orfordīs replacement on the previous Frequency (2009), Mark Westworth, was gone and newcomer Neil Durant had taken over keyboards duties! On the other hand, original members Paul Cook (drums) and Tim Esau (bass) are back, thus meaning that 4/5 of the classic line up is playing here! And both are on top form, with Esau showing great bass lines here, specially when he plays some fretless bass.

What really amazes me the most if the fact that this is surely a keyboards driven record, with novice Neil Durant taking a major role on this record. Although his style is not exactly the same as Orfords, his extensive use of vintage sounding keyboards, along with few more "modern" stuff, gives the tracks an unmistaken IQ feeling on all tracks, and yet he also brings some fresh and exciting new tones and colors to the music. He is the main figure here. The downside is the fact that Michael Holmes trademark, tasteful guitar solos for some reason are few and far between. The Road of Bones would be a five star record if he had add more of that on this album.

As for the songs themselves, this is a killer album, with only winners and no fillers. Their sound is becoming more and more complex and symphonic, even if still melodic and accessible. The first CD is a concept album about a serial killer and thatīs the one that takes more time to really sink in, but itīs a magnificent work, while the bonus disc is, at least, as good as the official one. Itīs hard to pont out a highlight since the quality of the stuff is so high and varied. But I must say that the 19 minute epic Without Walls is defintely one, while Constellations and Until The End are also favorites. But, nowadays, I always hear them both from start to finish now without skipping a single track. The production is excellent, as are the arrangements and performances.

Conclusion: One of the best IQ CDs,ever. If it was not for the lack of more Michael Holmes guitar solos this could be their very best. But a brilliant and inspired opus that will please anyone who likes great synmphonic prog music. 4,5 stars.

 Resistance by IQ album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.16 | 417 ratings

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Resistance
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by Torch1969

5 stars I have been a long time IQ fan, and what strikes me most is the constant quality of their output. This is an unsurpassed aspect of their output, no other prog band of their genearation has managed to maintain this level of quality throughout their career (Marillion, Pendragon, Jadis etc. all have some 'duds' in their discography). Even the two more 'commercial' albums of the eighties (with Paul Menel on vocals) maintain this high quality standard.

So on to their latest offering: Resistance. A double album maintaining the same high quality as referred to above. The Road of Bones (their previous record) was also released as a double cd, but they labelled the 2nd cd as a 'bonus'. Not that it mattered, as the bonus was of the same high standard as the main feature. On Resistance, IQ stay true to their signature sound that was ultimately developed on the Road of Bones. Few surprises are added to the mix (the rather 'heavy' opener 'a Missile' or the slow burning 'Fire and Security'). Excessive experimentation is not on the menu here. What we do get is IQ at their finest; dark, emotive, lush progressive rock. Highlights are the (almost mandatory?) epics ('The Great Spirit Away', 'Fall Out'), the above mentioned 'a Missile', 'Shallow Bay', 'For Another Lifetime'. But, it needs to be said; it's hard to point highlights for this brilliant record. There's no filler to be found on this long record (1 hour, 49 minutes long to be exact).

Highly recommended!

 The Road Of Bones by IQ album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.23 | 1290 ratings

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The Road Of Bones
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

4 stars IQ is arguably the most prolific neo-prog group of the 21th century so far. I started listening to 'The Road of Bones' after I got hooked on its follow-up 'Resistance' from 2019. Both these albums have a full second disc of strong B-material, which brings the playtime of this album over the 100 minutes.

'The Road of Bones' album (the first disc) offers a gentle, adult and well-produced version of IQ that seems especially keen on honoring and up-dating its debut album 'Tales From the Lush Attic'. References to 'The Last Human Gateway' can be found in choice of sounds, chord progressions and how the compositions flow. There is lots of atmospheric spaciousness in these compositions and little of the rock/metal density that for instance 'Dark Matter' from 2004 offers. The compositions are given the space to evolve and there's relatively little instrumental keyboard melodies/progressions or guitar-leads for an IQ album. The album has some bleaker moments in which Peter Nicholls sings in a lamenting tone (the title track comes to mind), but overall the album doesn't offer much the sci-fi doom that would dominate 'Resistance'. By referencing to their early period and adding a layer of adult atmospheric growth (like Pink Floyd would do on The Division Bell) the band has found itself a renewed interest from the broad progressive community. I myself am not blown away by this first disc, because I think its beautiful content is a bit spread out. IQ sounds extremely well-versed in advanced symphonic progrock, but in the meanwhile looses some of its spontaneous edge.

The second disc is quite the opposite. Notably less detailed in its production (though the quality of the sound is equally good), it shows the band experimenting with drum-loops, drones, sound samples, heavy prog, electronic soundscapes and a more diverse type of song-writing. The compositions are less finished and refined, but the chord progressions and melodies are more to my liking here; more nerve-wrecking, dark and abstract. This is IQ in its free-thinking mode and it really triggers my attention, for it makes the music that less predictable.

I think the combining of the finesse of the first disc and the experimental side of the second disc of 'The Road of Bones' is what makes 'Resistance' one my favorite albums ever made. For this album I can highly recommend the 2cd version that should offer more than enough neo-prog delight for all fans of IQ.

 A Show of Resistance by IQ album cover Live, 2020
4.73 | 6 ratings

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A Show of Resistance
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by Zoltanxvamos

5 stars 𝗔 𝗦𝗵𝗼𝘄 𝗼𝗳 𝗡𝗶𝗹 𝗥𝗲𝘀𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲

I was there on the streaming event, I found that this live album and the live video were everything the band needed to release during these dire times. The setlist of this live release was very strong, the stage work was incredible for the band, the performance was well done, and everyone played very well. I adored the fact that the band actually brought songs from 'Ever', 'Subterranea', and 'Dark Matter', it helped make the setlist much stronger, and sound more than just a 'Resistance' album tour. This live album had a good mix of their best material, even featuring songs from 'Tales From The Lush Attic' and 'Frequency'.

Overall, this was a great listen and I thoroughly enjoyed this. I thank IQ for being a great band and helping us through these extreme times by hosting a livestream of a fantastic concert.

 Resistance by IQ album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.16 | 417 ratings

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Resistance
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by Hercules
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is going to hurt me. A lot. I love IQ. They are indisputably one of my favourite bands and make up a large part of my listening schedule. I love each and every album with Peter Nichols and even like the Menel ones. I wondered if they could produce another masterwork without the genius that is Martin Orford, but they achieved it with The Road of Bones, an album so good that even the bonus CD is better than most albums by anyone else. So when the new album was announced, my vinyl order was in immediately and, when it arrived, it was straight on to the TT. Two hours later, I was sitting in bewilderment. This was clearly IQ, but the wonderful melodies, variation of mood and the flow from part to part that was so characteristic of their music was missing. There's none of the beauty of Constellations or the drama and menace of the title track of The Road of Bones itself. The musicianship is, as ever, exceptional, and both Paul Cook and Tim Esau spread their wings more than on TROB. Neil Durant's keyboards are well played if a bit dominant; he hasn't found the consistent magic that Martin Orford had of being both bombastic yet supportive of and complementary to his bandmates. Mike Holmes, who is one of the truly great guitarists but seemed slightly subdued on TROB, stretches out with more of his characteristic solos than on TROB. Peter Nicholls has improved as a vocalist too since the early days and is now a very fine singer. However, the lyrics on this album are a bit like someone took 10000 words on a bit of paper, threw them in the air and sang them as they landed. A bit like Yes, in fact, and not like the coherent story telling on some previous tracks. The problem is none of these guys' playing: it's the material. I've listened to this album about 5 times and I really don't think I will ever listen to it again. The composition of the music is uninspired. IQ have done marvellous epics like Harvest of Souls or The Narrow Margin, but the ones on here are just nothing special. The whole first CD (or its vinyl equivalent) is just desperately substandard for IQ. Things do pick up a bit on CD2. The Great Spirit Way has its moments and Fallout is excellent, but I just wish I didn't have to wait almost 100 minutes for it. In truth I had warning that the new album might be a let down: I saw them live at The Met in Bury in 2018 and they played 2 songs from the new album they were working on, which were both instantly forgettable. I hope IQ will keep going and produce another master work. Sadly, this album is not it. 2.5 stars, which I will round up to 3 because I'd have to commit seppuku if I gave them 2. God, writing that review REALLY hurt.
 Tales From The Lush Attic by IQ album cover Studio Album, 1983
3.82 | 506 ratings

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Tales From The Lush Attic
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I'm quite the modern IQ fan, but after finally finding the vinyl of their debut I wasn't that impressed. Along with Marillion's first, 'Tales From The Lush Attic' by IQ represents the birth of the neo-progressive movement. During most of the record one can almost imagine all band members thinking about how to recreate the vibe of Genesis' 'The Lamb Dies Down on Broadway'. Singer Peter Nicholls hasn't really found his own voice here, but does a nice enough tribute to Peter Gabriel. The Genesis hommage doesn't bother me much, the production of the record is the main problem here. I'm sad to say the band itself is at least partly to blame here; all the tempo's on this album are dead wrong; too fast and distorted by over-excited or rushed playing. The production sound doesn't help either. Probably due a lack of imagination of the producer chose an almost working-man post-punk type of dry sound, which gives this otherwise imaginative music a very odd 'pub' feel.

Putting all these critiques aside, this albums isn't loved for no reason. Right from the opening keyboard theme from 'The Last Human Gateway' you can hear the love for the progressive genre. When Nicholls enters with his theatrical performance this moment can still be relived as a sort of reunion of seventies sentiments. This twenty minute suite unapologetically fires all that was good about symphonic prog; waves of synths, time-signatures, epic guitar leads and of course that conclusive finale in which everything comes together. On side two 'The Enemy Smacks' reaches equal peaks. The short 'Through The Corridors' has guitar solo's serving as riffs and suffers terribly for it. To bad, because without it side one would have been better.

Whether you'll really appreciate this album will depend on you having forgiving ears (or not) when it comes to the production. Its historical importance can't be denied - as does the love put into writing it. The artwork is quite good! Only the limited first run has the blue frame and you're more likely to find a red one. The band has also released a remix/remaster which sounds a lot better than my vinyl. I myself will however remain a frequent listener of their more recent output.

 Are You Sitting Comfortably ? by IQ album cover Studio Album, 1989
2.79 | 326 ratings

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Are You Sitting Comfortably ?
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by StevenPoore

3 stars AYSC? is hardly a work of under-rated genius but... y'know what? It's a pretty good album in itself. IQ purists may clutch their pearls now - I rather like the poppy tones of the Menel-era IQ. Drive On limps on rather than drives, and Sold On You is just pleasant, but I've never considered that this album ever wanted to be "challenging". What's wrong with injecting a bit of pop savvy into your music? War Heroes is solid and memorable because of that poppish leaning, Wurensh is hauled back from the brink of "everything but the kitchen sink" content and structure by the need to hold a tune, and Nothing At All is, ironically, very much something to celebrate as an album closer. Keep your "challenging" 19/7 rhythms and atonal sqronks to yourselves, I'll happily put my feet up with this.
 Are You Sitting Comfortably ? by IQ album cover Studio Album, 1989
2.79 | 326 ratings

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Are You Sitting Comfortably ?
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by Zoltanxvamos

5 stars Well here we are, the first review I ever did, and this is going to be my first review back. 'Are You Sitting Comfortably?', despite what most say about this album, is not a dud. This album has incredible soundscapes and staggering chord progressions. So, now I will give each individual song a review.

War Heroes | Ok, for an opener, it's not bad. It has a bit of a bland chord progression, and the song in general is quite repetitive. Is this song bad? No. Is this song great? No. But it is good, and it has it's times where it's a fun song to listen to.

Drive On | Better than the opener by a landslide, this has a hook and it works with the rest album. This has a grabbing chord progression and a good atmosphere.

Nostalgia | The Steve Hackett Rip-off on the album and frankly, this is some of the most prog on the album and it's just well written. The chord progression and atmosphere on this is absolutely staggering.

Falling Apart At The Seams | A longer bit of a longer piece but man this good. This is Neo-Prog at its finest, its Prog at its finest! The chords, structure, atmosphere and just everything is great. This is a top 10 IQ song.

Sold On You | I guess the only real attempt at a pop song, but if this is suppose to be a pop song, its failing miserably. This is a great Soft Rock/Prog song with a catchy hook and gripping lyrics. Sure this is an attempt at a hit but it's still great. Give it a chance and I'm sure it will grow on you.

Through My Fingers | An interesting and slower piece, it's got it's good moments but overall this song is nothing entirely special. It's got a good chord progression but its not overly atmospheric and it's not a very needed song. Still good though, still very good.

Wurensh | The big song on the album, this is a gold song by the band. Songwriting was a huge priority on this song and they nailed it, it's got a growing intro and it's got really great lyrics. The atmosphere on this piece is as good as it gets for this album.

Nothing At All | The closing piece, emotion to the max and just a purely well written. This is really just the perfect end to this beautiful album.

So what have we learned? Is this a pop album like people say it is, not in the slightest. Is this prog? Absolutely. This is a very poorly rated album and I'll never know why. I hope people listen to this and give it a second chance. This really is a staggering album by the band.

Thanks to kev rowland for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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