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IQ

Neo-Prog • United Kingdom


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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 'J´AI POLLETTE D´ARNU' 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 | 536 ratings
Tales from the Lush Attic
1983
3.80 | 641 ratings
The Wake
1985
2.82 | 374 ratings
Nomzamo
1987
2.78 | 344 ratings
Are You Sitting Comfortably ?
1989
4.07 | 731 ratings
Ever
1993
3.99 | 733 ratings
Subterranea
1997
3.39 | 181 ratings
Seven Stories into 98
1998
4.01 | 730 ratings
The Seventh House
2000
4.05 | 994 ratings
Dark Matter
2004
4.10 | 984 ratings
Frequency
2009
4.24 | 1362 ratings
The Road of Bones
2014
4.17 | 485 ratings
Resistance
2019

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

3.09 | 93 ratings
Living Proof
1986
3.91 | 105 ratings
Forever Live
1996
4.05 | 22 ratings
Subterranea Tour Live Germany
1999
4.03 | 19 ratings
Head Long to Argentina
1999
3.95 | 20 ratings
La Maroquinerie, Paris 18 Nov. 2000
2000
4.29 | 92 ratings
Subterranea: The Concert
2000
4.48 | 39 ratings
The Archive Collection - IQ20
2002
4.53 | 75 ratings
The Wake - Live At De Boerderij, Zoetermeer
2010
4.25 | 4 ratings
De Boerderij Zoetermeer Holland 23 October 2011
2012
4.64 | 55 ratings
Live On The Road Of Bones
2015
4.76 | 12 ratings
A Show of Resistance
2020

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

4.35 | 71 ratings
Subterranea - The Concert
2000
4.42 | 65 ratings
IQ20 - The Twentieth Anniversary Show
2004
3.77 | 35 ratings
Live From London
2005
4.42 | 128 ratings
Stage
2006
3.89 | 36 ratings
Forever Live
2007
4.44 | 36 ratings
Scrape Across the Sky
2017

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

3.31 | 69 ratings
J'ai Pollette d'Arnu
1991
4.65 | 35 ratings
For Ever Live
1996
3.43 | 77 ratings
The Lost Attic - A Collection Of Rarities (1983-1999)
1999
4.36 | 55 ratings
The Wake 2010 Remaster
2010
3.06 | 18 ratings
Re:Mixed
2011
4.63 | 103 ratings
Tales from the Lush Attic 2013 Remix
2013
4.86 | 35 ratings
Ever - 2018 Remix - 25th Anniversary Collector's Edition
2018
4.60 | 5 ratings
The Archive Collection 2003-2017
2021

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
2.73 | 39 ratings
Nine in a Pond is Here
1985
3.33 | 3 ratings
Nomzamo
1986
3.20 | 5 ratings
Intelligence Quotient
1986
2.93 | 5 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
3.38 | 8 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
3.00 | 2 ratings
Drive On
1989
2.00 | 2 ratings
Bulba Neeny Noo
1992
4.00 | 6 ratings
The Darkest Hour
1993
3.67 | 32 ratings
Frequency Tour
2008
4.04 | 28 ratings
Tales from a Dark Christmas
2017

IQ Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Road of Bones by IQ album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.24 | 1362 ratings

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The Road of Bones
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars IQ have been consistently churning out very decent neo-progressive albums since 2004 and that holds as of 2022 (Their "Resistance") is still in the high quality league.

As I could face at prog-rock festivals, IQ is almost universally accepted by many fans as it's accessible, carries on the message of the 70's (Genesis in particular) and delivers a very good product in the end. I bought a special edition of this release and didn't regret at all. While the first CD is better, more mature, the second one contains some great instrumental moments such as "Constellations".

The first composition is very symphonic, slow and quite solemn, focusing on heavy sound rather than dynamics but with a typically good IQ melody. The same holds for the second track but I think it's a tad weaker despite interesting 80's inspired moments. "Without walls" is a compositional masterpiece, well developed and constructed with tension rising to release the fire after the first 7 minutes, finally we have a longer instrumental section with keyboard textures, then comes a highly dynamic section that reminds me bit of 1974's Yes. Just when it comes to the most progressive piece in the 12th minute and moog running all over with melotron behind, it already stops in the 13th minute by adding vocals :-/. They could have made more out of that special moment. Nevertheless, the composition becomes peaceful and melodic again. The remaining two compositions on the regular album are decent but less memorable. Don't stop listening yet and put on the second CD which showcases a lot of memorable moments, I recommend "Constellations" and the fully instrumental "Hardcore".

 Nomzamo by IQ album cover Studio Album, 1987
2.82 | 374 ratings

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Nomzamo
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars In my quest to hear every single IQ album after hearing at least 6 outstanding releases, I knew sooner or later I would stumble across one that would not measure up, and here it is folks. This is what happens when a great prog band sells out and gives into commercial pressure and it aint pretty. Gone are the epic, complex musically intricate dynamic opuses to make way for radio friendly pop pap such as the awful Passing Strangers and Human Nature.

With the departure of Peter Nicholls, IQ became a commercial pop band worse than Asia, with the import of vocalist Paul Menel who does not have the power of Nicholls in any respect. This year of release 1987 killed a lot of bands and tried to kill prog, so many bands were selling out to survive.

There are moments of prog in the instrumental sections and I particularly love Nomzano, Common Ground and Still Life, all beautiful emotional pieces, but its a band that lost direction here. Screaming sounds like its trying to be a hit song, and thats likely because the record label was pressuring them into this. Thankfully the next albums were a vast improvement. They release masterpieces one after another so I hope I can be forgiven for the harsh critique.

Overall Nomzano is a lacklustre album reeking of mediocrity and one of the most torturous exercises I had to endure for a long time. I am now off to wash my ears out with some decent IQ. Ryker Skies will do nicely.

 Tales from the Lush Attic by IQ album cover Studio Album, 1983
3.82 | 536 ratings

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Tales from the Lush Attic
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars Pouring through the back catalogue of IQ during isolation is very therapeutic, the music is so uplifting and passionate. This debut is all killer, no filler and for a debut its absolutely outstanding on every lever. Peter Nicholls voice is dynamic and the musicianship is masterful. Tales from the lush Attic is a Neo classic, released the same year as Marillions best album Script for a Jesters Tear, can you see how ironic that is. The IQ albums to follow in the 80s were nowhere near this complex and accomplished.

Both Marillion and IQ demonstrate strong influences of Genesis and at times Nicholls channels Gabriels inimitable style it can be said. However IQ stand alone as definitive prog masters, one listen to the 20 minute epic The Last Human Gateway will be evidence. What an incredible magnum opus and still being played in recent concerts in its entirety. It even has a 7/8 time signature in one section circa Apocalypse style, and bookends with lush keyboards and fragmented drums in its odd time signature.

The other tracks are an odd assortment including a piano solo and heavy guitars in the glorious Awake and Nervous. The last track The Enemy Smacks is a masterpiece with a wild, abandonment of guitars, keys and time sigs.

So unexpectantly I find myself giving the very first IQ release 4 stars. They are simply one of the greatest prog bands out there, make no mistake.

 The Seventh House by IQ album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.01 | 730 ratings

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The Seventh House
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars After hearing 4 masterpieces of IQ, Ever, Frequency, Road of Bones and Resistance, i am drawn to hear their entire catalogue so eventually I heard The Seventh House. Basically its their seventh release but for me it did not live up to the masterclass virtuosity of the mentioned albums. On a personal level it did not strike me as hard as the newer albums perhaps because the band actually improved over the years and have raised the bar so high those newer albums are a tough act to compare to. Yet The Seventh House was an earlier release so my expectations may not have been so high had I heard it back in 2000.

It starts off well enough with the blitzkrieg force of The Wrong Side Of Weird, a mini epic at almost 13 minutes. Erosion follows that is nothing special to my ears but improves with the dynamic structure of The Seventh House, at 15 minutes it simply grasps me and doesn't let go. Zero Hour shoots by unnoticed by me but I adored Shooting Angels with its incredible musicianship and Peters vocals. A definitive highlight. The album finishes with Guiding Light and its a great closing number.

So overall this is a bit of a rollercoaster for me, with great heights and sweeping lows. However as usual when it comes to IQ the quality is outstanding and even though it didn't measure up to the lofty heights of the trilogy of masterpieces in the latter years, there is no denying the power and glory of the music of IQ.

 Resistance by IQ album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.17 | 485 ratings

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Resistance
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

5 stars The perfect album to listen to during lockdown. I adore Frequency album and Road of Bones are both masterpieces of prog and I did not think they could be bettered. Resistance is yet another masterpiece, making IQ one of the most consistent prog bands of recent times.

Resistance is a very dark concept and yet very uplifting. It begins with beautiful synth lines and builds into an aggressive power riff with pounding bass and drums; IQ in full flight are a wonder to behold. A Missile starts the album with a blaze of prog time switches and segues into one powerhouse track after another. Stay Down is a glorious track with emotional vocals from the amazing Peter Nicholls. Shallow Bay is absolutely incredible musicianship and it ends with the mindblowing For Another Lifetime that has a running time of 15:22 and takes us on a soul searching journey with astonishing musical excellence and some chilling vocals.

CD 2 opens with the magnum opus The Great Spirit Way which is just short of 23 minutes long. It is a masterful multi movement suite with shades of light and dark and by the end I was moved to tears by its emotional power. Fire and Security and Perfect Space are excellent also, leading to the epic 20 minute finale Fallout. This last track is brilliant, and the sweeping keyboard passages are so moving and majestic, absolutely beautiful music.

Peter Nicholls, Michael Holmes, Neil Durant, Tim Esau and Paul Cook are outstanding and IQ are one of the best bands out there. I look forward to what else they have in store. Their music is about as good as it gets.

 Living Proof by IQ album cover Live, 1986
3.09 | 93 ratings

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Living Proof
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

3 stars "Living Proof" was an album released without IQ's permission during the 80's, with a very poor sound, which was later reissued with a little more quality.

However, the sound still leaves a lot to be desired, especially on Peter's vocals, making this live album of interest only to the staunchest fans of the English band, since the live versions included here hardly outperform their respective studio recordings.

Despite everything, it still retains something of that mythical aura that this album had during the time when it was believed that it was the last thing Peter Nichols was ever going to record with IQ. Hopefully, history proved us wrong!

Best Tracks: the songs from the excellent 'The Wake' sound especially good here. Widows Peak is still the best song of the group's first stage.

My Rating: ***

 The Wake by IQ album cover Studio Album, 1985
3.80 | 641 ratings

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The Wake
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

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

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

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

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

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

My Rating: ****

 Dark Matter by IQ album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.05 | 994 ratings

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Dark Matter
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by Dapper~Blueberries

5 stars I have been sort of going on a more modern Prog journey recently, more specifically in the Neo Prog sub genre. Just recently (I think maybe even last night) I listened to all of the albums from one of my favorite bands ever, Marillion. It was a journey of amazing performances and amazing use of the genre. So I figured the next band I'd listen to in this genre would be IQ. I heard a bit about them through some YouTubers like Notes Review and some articles about Neo Prog as a whole. I was intrigued to try them out for a spin. I started with their 1985 album, The Wake. It was fine, nothing to special, but I just could not really grasp it or just get into it. I never felt a connection with me and it. But I was still intrigued. It was good enough for me to try out one of their more critically acclaimed albums. Therefore, I decided that the next best album I would go with would be their 2004 album, Dark Matter, and oh boy, when the first song played, I immediately knew this was gonna be great.

I listened to this album 2 times by now. The first time I played it off and on due to homework and stuff like that. However the second time I listened to it fully without stopping, and my god is it so rewarding. Paying attention and feeling the music is so good. This album is really good in that aspect in what it does and achieves. For one the production value is top notch. Nothing sounds too cluttered or to big, but never to spacey and small. It's perfectly tightly packed without it feeling claustrophobic in it's sound. Not only that but how the album progresses each so satisfying. It feels like each song is progressing through and through without the need for unnecessary breaks or stops, giving it a lush and beautiful charm. This is best shown in the 24+ minute suite, Harvest of Souls. The track is a gemstone in my book, and how each stage of the suite progresses to one and another, and how each stage feels interlinked but different feels super nice and comfortable to just sit back and engulf in.

Now I know this album is definitely one of my favorite albums, heck maybe my favorite Neo Prog album to date, and I am rating this a five star, however I should at least give some criticism. This is more of a nitpick, but I do feel like this album goes a bit too much towards the direction a lot of 70s Prog bands had, specifically Genesis. While I do very much love that sound, more modern Prog I expect and evolution, having a more modern style than the ones seen from bands like Yes or Camel. This is more of a slight and small criticism on an otherwise brilliant album, and it definitely doesn't have much of a dent with the album itself, however I felt like I needed to give an extra two cents on the album.

So if you cannot tell, I friggin love this album to death. It's beautiful, it's enigmatic, it's satisfying to hear, and it has a really great production value to tie it all together. I wouldn't mind having this in a record collection, not one bit.

 Ever by IQ album cover Studio Album, 1993
4.07 | 731 ratings

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Ever
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by ElChanclas

4 stars As a fairly new IQ band (started digging into their catalog barely mid 2020) I do have one clear thought and disclaimer: I can't picture the band without Nicholls on vocals, not that I don't think that Paul Menel (Nomzamo & Are you sitting comfortably) might be a good singer, I just think that Peter is the best suit to this band's frontman role. With that being said, Ever pinpoints the return of Nicholls on vocals and to my ears the first IQ album to register that particular sound, melody craft and song-album structure that will be the band's signature to date.

The opening track The Darkest Hour starts with that characteristic fat bass line accompanied by some keys and electric guitar nuances before fading into the song body per se, sounding more late 80's style than early 90's? maybe more Marillion-like and I point Paul Cook's drumming for bringing that feeling to this mini epic and memorable tune. There's a light but important change midways, switching from the bright melodic atmosphere to a more darker and sinister statement in accordance with the lyrical content showcasing the brilliance that these musicians accomplish in their creations, beautiful guitar licks then lead to the final 2 plus minutes where the light came back to illuminate the listener's experience, classic IQ. The very emotional Fading Senses blends in without notice in a celestial and mellow way, with Nicholls performing at a very mature level transmitting the beautiful sadness of the concept before Mike Holmes brings the iconic Horror-like guitar licks like a haunted castle conductor for the rhythmic section, so tight and to the point that it almost goes without notice, same unique melody feel that Martin's keyboards will add to the table before the ending of the song? then some backing bird tweeting prepare the listener to another rhythmic section debate for the beginning of Out of Nowhere, the rocker of the album. Holmes heavy metal-like riffing opens a new mood sounding more like their previous work opposing (without degrading) the more prog sound of the first two songs with Nichols vocals resembling the Wake era, but not for long?coincidentally or smart enough that's the shortest piece of the record. Further away brings back the epic we were craving all along in a 14 plus minutes exceptional musical crafting. Blueprint Neo Prog melodic bass and keys mark the steps on which Nichols builds his vocal entrance, then again comes the heavy (but more dense and compact) riffing from Holmes while Cook's drumming confirms why he is one of the most beloved drummers of the genre

Lyrics: "Tension seekers and public speakers defend these they have come to judge, seasonned liars and false messiahs descend to lay on the feeling touch, and I've seen too much, day by day and I don't know why...after all, don't we matter the same?", and then the classic IQ guitar licks with the fat bass lines and fantasy built keyboards?too much?too perfect?too IQ, smartest of music played by amazingly talented musicians? and next fairytale bright melodies to bring balance to the darkness

Lyrics: "I was the first in that sinister bed closing the shutters and cutting the thread, shackled and fettered I know who you are bleeding the heart and the mind as the rivers run red, somebody said, "Here is Hell" how can someone make so sinister and sad lyrics sound so beautiful?

Leap of Faith, my favorite song from the album simply feels like an upgraded continuation of the previous song, so intelligently placed in the queue to almost distract the listener who's trying to decipher when it ends or when it begins, magnificent. Martin and Holmes battle for the primary roll giving us the pleasure of hearing such an exquisite tándem, a musical legacy like no other. I would have loved to see that tour live, watch all these incredible performances on stage, flawless and pristine, like all they do. Nothing lasts forever, unfortunately?Came Down follows the greatness already described, maintaining the same mood, look and feel of the previous 40 plus minutes, this time accepting the unwanted job of ending the masterpiece?vocal harmonies, guitar licks, tight rhythmic section and tasty and elegant keys all over again. If you reading this review have never listened to this band before this is your must to go album, success guaranteed!

 Resistance by IQ album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.17 | 485 ratings

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Resistance
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by The Ace Face

5 stars IQ experienced a breakthrough on 2014's Road of Bones, as a new keyboardist and returned bassist spurred a creative period that led to a full double album of brilliantly written, tightly constructed and played prog, a new peak for them. 5 years later, they come back with another double album of material, and as much as I love Road of Bones, this manages to top that. A first disc of shorter songs that all seem to thematically connect and cohere followed by a second disc with dual epics and more shorter songs? Yes please. Let's dive in:

A Missile: This is one hell of an opener, with hard charging and super heavy riffing breaking out of the gate into a stone cold classic. The organ and synthesizer complement the heaviness perfectly, but this song breaks through when it adds the second chorus, breaking out of the darkness to epic bombast courtesy of Neil Durant's synthesizers. The usual slow breakdown section is nice and eerie, with the keyboards sounding JUST a tad too "midi", but it doesn't take away from the song. Also evident on this song, which will become a theme with this album, Paul Cook's drums are going so fast and so chaotic it feels like the whole enterprise is notes away from flying off the rails and collapsing. That it never does is testament to their tightness, but man this guy is cutting loose on this album.

Rise: ambient keyboard intros with some haunting lyrics from Nicholls in the opening, leading to the heavy yet atmospheric riffing section. The riffs keep dropping out for more of the haunting vocals, and it's so hard to describe but the overall effect of these choices creates an emotional reality for the song that grabs you and holds on. Nicholls desperate lyrics about angels dying, the age of man, create this feeling of a far off battle for the soul of the universe, which reflects the album's cosmic cover beautifully. The song builds and builds to a crashing climax, with a soft coda at the end. IQ manages to make these songs memorable without needing to break into the usual prog fireworks of solos because their composition strength has grown to the point where the band themselves are the flash, rather than the chops.

Stay Down: stunningly beautiful piano melody starts us off while Nicholls sings about time standing still, mournful and sad. Chiming acoustic guitar begins to accompany this, before picking up to double time while the classic choir mellotron accompanies. This is basically a Genesis passage, but it works and is of a piece with IQ's sound. Beautiful stuff, and the melody then gradually becomes sinister as Nicholls' voice rises higher and higher and the song takes a dark turn. The moment he cries "Damn your eyes and you stay down" is the purely masterful work of a band that knows how to craft their emotional and cathartic climaxes. The crashing guitar and drums give way to a drum roll with some lovely guitar lead work from Holmes, the first we've heard him play as soloist on the album so far. That restraint makes it all the more worth it when it comes. The urgent drums underpin Nicholls' final vocal section that drives to the final crashing climax. Just masterfully done.

Alampandria: Spacey keyboards dominate most of this sort song before a short rock section with vocals and a guitar solo end it, but that brevity belies the feel of the song, which almost feels like a continuation of Stay Down's harder climax. All strung together intentionally for maximum impact of emotional climaxes and the necessary lulls and interludes.

Shallow Bay: Nice mournful piano notes, and a good slower paced song with a great emotional sound. Mellotron backing up a nice beat and melodies from the bass and guitar. Just a perfectly written and developed song with great shifts in key and tone, followed by one of Holmes' classic soulful soaring guitar solos.

If Anything: a beautiful slower paced ballad, with a drum machine of all things, that is a beautiful pacing choice after Shallow Bay brought the first part of the first disc to an emotional high. Low keyboards, fretless bass, classical guitar all accentuate Nicholls' beautiful vocal. The early fadeout makes room for some crashing sounds, like the darkness from earlier returning, and several haunting organ chords take us into the next song.

For Another Lifetime: A carnival calliope sound gets this 15 minute epic closer off to an off kilter start. The melody goes from creepy and odd to more emotional and back again, as Nicholls' lyrics predictably seem both meaningful and meaningless at the same time, but always seem perfectly suited to the music. The band kicks in with a slow moving section, progressing the eerie melodies from before into some great lead guitar parts with synths coloring in the margins to complete the atmosphere. The bass has some great riffs and licks. Nicholls' sings in the new section before the tempo kicks up and the synth and guitar leads take the song into another gear. Another slower but much heavier section follows, with some creative riffing and dark mellotron voice parts continuing to intensify the atmosphere. This heavier section seamlessly segues, bit by bit, into a more upbeat and uplifting melody in such a brilliant series of shifts. This final section ends, classically, with beautiful guitar solos and mellotron choirs taking us up to the heavens, and a piano and vocal ending to bring a nice coda.

The Great Spirit Way: Harvest of Souls topped the Last Human Gateway, Without Walls topped Harvest of Souls, and now the Great Spirit Way tops Without Walls as the best epic IQ has done, and maybe the best song they've ever done period. Starts out usual, with spacey atmospherics and then the drums kick in with some excellent jazzy fills to build up to the stunningly vibrant first opening instrumental section, guitar soaring and drums positively hitting every beat there is to be hit and then some, before introducing the first vocal section with some unpredictable riffing and building keyboard chords that all mesh together beautifully. The drums are going so nuts underneath it seems again like the train is going to run off the tracks but the band keeps up with him, driving forward with force and beauty like they've never done before. Nicholls' beautiful lyrics complement the music nicely. The band finally slows down after charging ahead for a lovely 6/8 instrumental melody section with all instruments interplaying effortlessly. Nicholls' vocals in this section continue with the cosmic spiritual theme that seems loose but intentional. It ends after the 7 minute mark, with the keyboard theme from the opening returning to lead the band into a more intense and complicated section as Holmes' guitar takes the lead melody, and Cook's drums continue their ramshackle attempt to constantly be adding fills while still driving the band forward and brilliantly succeeding. Durant's keyboards complement Nicholls' vocals nicely as the lyrics take a more sinister tone. Durant adds a tasteful synthesizer solo that doesn't overstay its welcome and fits perfectly with everything else. Drums remain in overdrive constantly urgently champing at the bit. The driving music settles down slightly, and the piano and classical guitar duet with melodies as the drums slowly drop out, and the cavernous bass synths carry the music down to its quiet interlude section. Keyboard theme returns again, with intermittent bass and bass drum thumps to remind us the band isn't gone, they're just resting. Piano melody starts to creep in as Nicholls' voice sings us through the rest until the drums roll in to build to a new section, with synth melody taking over a la supper's ready and driving the song back up to a new peak. Following this, a glorious reprise of the opening section and beautiful 6/8 time section again, with the organ truly shining while the bass riffs wherever it wants to, just the sound of a band totally in sync with one another. The song winds down beautifully into classical guitar, a tour de force. There's a direct segue into?

Fire and Security: Weakest song on the album, but a nice creepy little song with good playing and a good guitar solo

Perfect Space: I've listened to this song many times but cannot pin it down. In 8 minutes, IQ morph this song through so many stages its impossible to classify. More of that breakneck drumming, driving this song through. Extremely excellent playing from everyone, continuing the high water mark this album is setting.

Fallout: The final song on the second disc, and the second 20 minute epic. This one is less climactic than a bit of a comedown for the album as a whole, which is a nice way to end it. Ending on the great spirit way would be a bit cliché. A spacey opening section lads to a nice vocal, and this song takes lots of unexpected turns. Lots of great guitar solos from Holmes, who has been mostly restrained throughout the album.

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

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