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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 'JŽAI POLLETTE DŽARNU' 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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ResistanceResistance
Giant Electric Pea 2019
$16.24
$17.55 (used)
Tales From the Lush Attic 2013 Re-MixTales From the Lush Attic 2013 Re-Mix
Ais 2013
$16.85
$13.08 (used)
Wake: Expanded EditionWake: Expanded Edition
Giant Electric Pea 2016
$11.72
$16.47 (used)
Seventh HouseSeventh House
Inside Out Germany 2004
$10.97
$9.98 (used)
The Road of BonesThe Road of Bones
Giant Electric Pea 2014
$17.63
$14.38 (used)
Dark MatterDark Matter
GEP 2013
$8.49
$6.61 (used)
SubterraneaSubterranea
PID 2010
$12.64
$16.53 (used)
Ever 2018 Remix: 25th AnniversaryEver 2018 Remix: 25th Anniversary
Giant Electric Pea 2018
$25.22
$24.64 (used)

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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)

3.84 | 479 ratings
Tales From The Lush Attic
1983
3.80 | 572 ratings
The Wake
1985
2.86 | 338 ratings
Nomzamo
1987
2.78 | 313 ratings
Are You Sitting Comfortably ?
1989
4.05 | 664 ratings
Ever
1993
3.97 | 662 ratings
Subterranea
1997
3.43 | 158 ratings
Seven Stories Into 98
1998
4.00 | 662 ratings
The Seventh House
2000
4.04 | 923 ratings
Dark Matter
2004
4.10 | 911 ratings
Frequency
2009
4.25 | 1219 ratings
The Road Of Bones
2014
4.28 | 273 ratings
Resistance
2019

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

3.11 | 87 ratings
Living Proof
1986
3.90 | 97 ratings
Forever Live
1996
4.14 | 21 ratings
Subterranea Tour Live Germany
1999
4.16 | 18 ratings
Head Long to Argentina
1999
4.10 | 20 ratings
La Maroquinerie, Paris 18 Nov. 2000
2000
4.22 | 83 ratings
Subterranea: The Concert
2000
4.52 | 35 ratings
The Archive Collection - IQ20
2002
4.50 | 68 ratings
The Wake - Live At De Boerderij, Zoetermeer
2010
4.00 | 3 ratings
De Boerderij Zoetermeer Holland 23 October 2011
2012
4.63 | 42 ratings
Live On The Road Of Bones
2015

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

4.36 | 68 ratings
Subterranea - The Concert
2000
4.44 | 59 ratings
IQ20 - The Twentieth Anniversary Show
2004
3.79 | 32 ratings
Live From London
2005
4.42 | 124 ratings
Stage
2006
3.90 | 33 ratings
Forever Live
2007
4.45 | 30 ratings
Scrape Across The Sky
2017

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

3.31 | 62 ratings
J'ai Pollette d'Arnu
1991
4.67 | 32 ratings
For Ever Live
1996
3.44 | 70 ratings
The Lost Attic - A Collection Of Rarities (1983-1999)
1999
4.38 | 49 ratings
The Wake 2010 Remaster
2010
3.29 | 17 ratings
Re:Mixed
2011
4.63 | 98 ratings
Tales from the Lush Attic 2013 Remix
2013
4.91 | 20 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
2.90 | 10 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 | 25 ratings
Tales from a Dark Christmas
2017

IQ Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Resistance by IQ album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.28 | 273 ratings

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Resistance
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by M27Barney

5 stars Release of 2019? Yes. Why? Where do I start? The double CD is the pinnacle of IQ's illustrious career so far, they have produced some fine,fine symphonic prog and nearly produced as good as this with Subterranea...but not quite. This CD flows and is quite simply a CD to compare with the great releases of 1973 & 1974 - and this release has a length greater than TFTO! The Bass/drums are straight from White/Squire circa 1974 and the keyboard work is more like Emerson than any other IQ release. CD1 is virtually over before you know it (immersed in bliss) and gives us the first lengthy magnum opus (For Another Lifetime) (very IQ retrospective but sublime), which is merely the tasty starters for DISC II - The Great Spirit Way! - Sweet flange-lips, I loved the track from listen 1 - but it has grown on me in the past three weeks - Best Prog Epic since Awaken? Aye it is that good.... I love the vocals throughout - and the Yes tribute song - (Fallout) - seals the deal - Buy this CD and play it till you realise a lot of other stuff in the past 30 years is lacking the bombastic essence of true Symphonic Prog - not this - FIVE HUNDRED STARS....
 Dark Matter by IQ album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.04 | 923 ratings

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Dark Matter
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The neo-prog of IQ usually splits opinions in two categories. Some think of them as one of the best prog bands of the 21th century, excelling in their subgenre that is based on mid-seventies Genesis and early Marillion. Others keep on blaming the band for its lack of originality; calling them a Genesis rip-off - though that band steered in others directions four decennia ago now. Strangely enough the early IQ albums are than preferred over these later efforts, though 'Tales' sounds and awful lot more like Genesis than these later albums.

With their 2000 effort 'The Seventh House' the band established a solid modern production style that would only be slightly improved upon on every release after it. 'Dark Matter' is an album that's also split in two. The first four songs of the albums clearly show some artistic progression and are all among the catchiest of IQ long career. I love 'The Seventh House' (except for its final song), but four songs on 'Dark Matter' really have hooks that make it stand out even more. Furthermore, IQ knows how to combine musical complexity without creating a fragmented listening experience.

Opener 'Sacred Sound' is surprisingly optimistic for an album carrying this name. The ballad 'Red Dust Shadow' has some great changes of sound pallet and atmospheres. 'You Never Will' has a nice alternative metal bass riff and overal dark vibe. 'Born Brilliant' has this pleasant forward pulsing rhythm and an exciting timed vocal line by Peter Nicholls.

The Twenty-five minute epic 'Harvest of Souls' than shows IQ going back to its 'Supper's Ready'-influences, creating a song that - unlike the others - rather sounds like a summation of parts. All pleasant parts, but missing out on the pleasantness of a well-written song. Needles to say I'm less impressed by this second halve of this otherwise perfect album, though I imagine there are listeners out here for whom this song could be their favorite of the album.

In conclusion I would rate this among the best neo-prog out there, though I clearly prefer the first halve of the album.

 Living Proof by IQ album cover Live, 1986
3.11 | 87 ratings

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Living Proof
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars In the mid-1980s, just as Peter Nicholls was preparing for his stint away from the band, he was persuaded to stick around just long enough to produce the Live From London concert video at the Camden Palace Theatre. Living Proof was an initially unauthorised release - it's simply the soundtrack to that concert video, put out by IQ's old label after they broke from their former management.

IQ were unhappy with this for several reasons - Martin Orford's keyboard settings were apparently faulty (certainly they seem more aggressive and punchy than usual), and Peter had to struggle with a collapsing mic stand. (Indeed, there's a few points here where his vocals get entirely lost, presumably as a result of that.) In addition, the setlist wasn't really representative of IQ's performances at the time - neither of the major epics from Tales From the Lush Attic (The Last Human Gateway and The Enemy Smacks) because the video's producer vetoed them, forcing the band to reconfigure the set to account for their usual centrepieces being taken off the menu.

To cap it all off, the crowd in the video don't seem all that enthusiastic, presumably because they'd been pulled off the street to come see a free show (it wasn't an advertised concert); had it consisted of actual IQ fans, maybe they'd have been more keen. For these reasons, IQ felt that their performance on the day had been subpar and were deeply annoyed at the label for putting out this live album - according to their old mailing list FAQ it was only lack of funds on their part which stopped them suing over it.

However, come 1992 the band would be establishing their own label, Giant Electric Pea, and they seem to have come around on the release. Love it or hate it, the album represents perhaps the finest-sounding live material we have from the pre-Paul Menel era of the band, and so they repackaged, remastered, and reissued it for the enjoyment of fans. This tidied-up edition of the release is, despite the band's original misgivings, a real treat - yes, there's imperfections here and there, but the emphasis on material from The Wake (pretty much that entire album is represented here except for Headlong) plus some aptly-chosen other numbers (Awake and Nervous from Tales From the Lush Attic, Just Changing Hands - as commonly heard as a Lush Attic bonus track these days, and It All Stops Here, one of the best tracks fromSeven Stories Into Eight) results in a set list which gives the listener a decent-enough overview of IQ as they existed in their pre-Paul Menel incarnation.

 Tales from a Dark Christmas by IQ album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2017
4.02 | 25 ratings

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Tales from a Dark Christmas
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The IQ 'Tales From A Dark Christmas' fan release was originally recorded as a special treat for attendees of their Christmas shows since 2017. The last few weeks the band has been shipping their (2 x 10inch) vinyl re-releases of this 50 minute long holiday record and I happened to receive mine on the same day as the original red-cover vinyl of 'Tales From the Lush Attic' (second hand copy). Since this album has had a proper release now, I don't see why this should not be regarded as a formal 'studio album'.

Ok', an IQ Christmas album. A joke right. Well, this is actually more like any IQ album of the last twelve years than you might imagine! The band is - of course - known for its dark atmospheric neo-progressive rock and because of its string of no less than eight winning albums since 1993's 'Ever' the band has become one of the most important bands of the genre today.

'Tales From A Dark Christmas' opens with the 'Christmas Intro' which is actually used to open the shows before the band starts playing. This instrumental track opens with layers of electronic music before developing into a full-blown progrock suite of Christmas melodies with a leading role for guitar-player Michael Holmes. Usually his solo's are 'just' an ingredient of the compositions, but he really shines here as a fiery passionate personality. 'I Believe in Father Christmas' is a Greg Lake (ELP) cover given a typical IQ treatment. A bit dark and moody for a Christmas song, but that applies for all tracks here! 'Merry Xmas Everybody' is a cover of Slade with some altered chords, a strong middle section and some intense drumming of Paul Cook. Again - that festive feel is replace by that dark gothic IQ vibe, but it kind of works (especially after hearing it a few times). I do miss the vocal harmonies of the original. 'O Tannenbaum' is a traditional jazz-trio (bass, piano, drums) rendition with an impressive piano solo by Neil Durant. Well played, but perhaps a bit out of place and a bit too long for it being just an interlude. The band's version of 'Let is Snow!' might be my favorite cover here; slow, moody and well arranged; it really creates that dark winter landscape scene.

The center stage of this record is taken by the twenty minute epic 'The Dark Christmas Suite'. IQ combines re-arranged - sometimes barely recognizable - Christmas classics with dark brooding symphonic interludes. Especially the opening section is pretty bleak, almost frightening. I love Peter Nicholls' fearful singing on the 'Winter Wonder Land' section. It is followed by short sections that would have fit in IQ's most recent masterpiece 'The Great Spirit Way', but are in fact (at least lyrically) covers of 'We Can Build A Snow Man', 'We Three Kings' and 'Star of Wonder' and 'Santa Claus is Coming to Town'. The gothic section is beautiful (it reminds me a bit of Arena's ending section of 'A Crack in the Ice'), as the band continues with 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentle Man' and finishes with 'The First Noel'. All in good taste and classic IQ prowess.

The production of this record is on par with IQ's most recent releases, though perhaps not as rich an detailed as their last two records. In conclusion 'Tales From A Dark Christmas' really is a sort of lost IQ album that on the one hand is totally different because of the holiday material, but on the other hand is still a great dark gothic neo-prog album of one of the best bands in progressive rock history. The arrangements come across as inspired and recorded and produced in good spirit as well! Actually, this album fails on only one level; as a pleasant family friendly Christmas record for the holiday season..

I'm loving this IQ rarity more and more as I keep listening to it. Four stars over Bethlehem for sure. Merry Xmas everybody!

 Resistance by IQ album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.28 | 273 ratings

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Resistance
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by maani
Special Collaborator Founding Moderator

4 stars IQ and Marillion arguably "started" neo-prog (with their near-simultaneous 1983 releases, Script for a Jester's Tear and Tales from the Lush Attic, respectively). And they continue to be its standard-bearers, and most consistently creative, innovative and virtuoso bands. And although I don't agree with many of my colleagues here that Resistance is BETTER than Road of Bones, it is certainly equal (or almost so) in its relentless brilliance of lyrics, musicianship, and sound. Few bands can provide the stunning beauty of If Anything, the progressive fireworks of A Missile and Stay Down, the extended progressive magnificence of for Another Lifetime and The Great Spirit Way, and the sonic intensity of Alampandria all on one album? Peter Nicholls continues to write some of the most wonderful, if often esoteric, lyrics, and he has been and continues to be my favorite current vocalist in prog. And the band, with keyboardist Neil Durant now comfortably ensconced, continues to write and play some of the most compelling music in the genre. As others have pointed out, IQ is most heavily influenced by Genesis (as were so many early neo-prog bands), but as I have noted ad nauseam on these pages, for me the success of a neo-prog band is in the way in which they channel those influences through their own individual filters. IQ (and Marillion) does this better than anyone: I have always felt that they essentially continue to re-write Genesis' long-form songs (everything from Watcher and Friday, to Can Utility and Supper's Ready, from Firth of Fifth and Cinema Show, to Lilywhite Lilith and One For the Vine), particularly with Holmes' sound (the reverb and echo-heavy sound that Hackett made his own) and playing (Hackett's style is quite evident). This is not a criticism, it is the highest of compliments. I don't think there is a band whose new albums I anticipate more than IQ. They are simply a wonder. The consistency of their writing and performance, and the technical virtuosity of their playing, as well as Nicholls' expressive vocals, make them among the best of the best of prog. Bravo.
 Resistance by IQ album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.28 | 273 ratings

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Resistance
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars You'd have thought that sooner or later IQ would have released a bad or mediocre album to break the run of top- notch studio releases they've been on since 1993's Ever, but that day has not come yet; Resistance is another double- album of high-quality neo-prog from a band who've been the undisputed kings of the style for the last quarter of a century.

In latter years IQ have been cautious about the pace of their studio releases, affording themselves ample time to polish their material before unleashing it on our ears. This time around, they reward patient fans with an abundance of material, with the album running to two CDs as standard. (The Road of Bones also had two discs in its special edition.)

As others have noted, the new twist IQ offer this time around largely comes in the form of the keyboard work of Neil Durant, who'd spent Road of Bones acclimatising himself to his new role. Here he expresses more of his own distinctive sound, rather than mimic IQ keyboardists past, and with it adds a certain wistful, cinematic flair to proceedings. With songs ranging from heavy, crushing hard prog to almost pop-like ballads to more standard IQ fare, this is an album which is easily as diverse as the similarly melodramatic Subterranea, and I look forward to unfolding its secrets for many years to come just as I have with that piece.

 The Road Of Bones by IQ album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.25 | 1219 ratings

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The Road Of Bones
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by dougmcauliffe

4 stars After being dissapointed by the newest IQ effort (which was my introduction to the band), I retreated to what was considered their best effort on PA. I will be talking about the single album as I have not listened to the bonus disc. If I do get around to it, I will promptly update the review. The first thing I can say is that IQ definitely does have a unique sound I suppose in part to their somewhat modern, metallicy sounding production. I must commend the man on the keys as he does a great job filling this album with detail. Lets talk about the songs...

From The Outside In starts off sounding like a prog metal song, but it's got a real nice groove as well as a good vocal performance. Around the halfway mark, what I can best describe as an electric harpsichord fades in and is definitely one of my favorite parts of the song. 8/10

The Road of Bones is somewhat minimalist and I really like it. Once again there's a plentiful amount of detail. It builds up to a big heavy crescendo at the end. 7.5/10

Without Walls, the 19 minute epic of the album. It is a little spotty at times in my opinion, but its an overall enjoyable song with a great peak. I believe it would benefit if maybe 2 minutes from the middle were cut out, but the final 6 minutes are pure bliss and the highest high that the album reaches. 8/10

Ocean, easily my favorite track on the album. It is also the shortest... but nevertheless it is soaring and just doesn't get old. 9.5/10

Until the End is a little bit in the same boat as Without Walls where I think some of the middle sections could be comfortably cut down just a tad, but once again the ending makes up for it. The final 5 minutes or so goes from a huge near transcending play out to a simple section with just vocals and piano ending the album on a very good note. 8/10

A very consistently solid album. Not quite at that 5 star level, but an excellent addition to any prog collection for certain!

 Resistance by IQ album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.28 | 273 ratings

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Resistance
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars Through a consistent string of albums that date back to 1993's "Ever," IQ has established itself as somewhat as the new godfather of the neo-prog world as well as one of the superstars of the progressive rock world in general. Carefully crafting each album and polishing them like fine gemstones which on the average has taken about five years between albums, IQ returns in 2019 with the band's 11th album RESISTANCE. Consisting of the same lineup as 2014's "The Road Of Bones," RESISTANCE continues that album's direction with even bolder atmospheric statements, new touches of symphonic orchestration and a knack for amalgamating intricate melodies with tight instrumental interplay all accompanied by Peter Nicholls' distinct and instantly recognizable vocal style.

While "The Road Of Bones" was released in two formats: a single album release and also as a double album, RESISTANCE goes for the gusto and has appeared only as a double album that is essentially two distinct albums with the second half exhibiting a different atmospheric mood that sets itself apart but never strays too far from the consistent IQ sound that permeates each and every album. With a total running time of almost 109 minutes, RESISTANCE comes across as a sprawling epic that takes the neo-prog paradigm further into the 21st century. With "The Road Of Bones," IQ upped the ante as far as instrumental deliveries go. The band saw the new keyboard talents of Neil Durant as well as former members drummer Paul Cook and bassist Tim Essau rejoining the ranks.

RESISTANCE in many ways is the continuation of its predecessor only five years into the future where it feels like technological gains have taken the band into a new futurist paradigm shift. While the classic IQ rhythms, melodies and neo-prog essentials are the backbone of RESISTANCE, the album excels in many ways. Firstly, Neil Durant has expanded his keyboard duties to include a whole host of new techniques and sonic timbres that expand in myriad directions. It's almost as if the mere role of keyboards as been expanded into the entire sprawling genre of progressive electronic, where Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze surreality has created a complete secondary backdrop to the rock aspects but only used tastefully.

Also taking the band into further fields of complexity is the excellent drumming skills of Paul Cook whose percussive drive seemed to lead rather than follow on "The Road Of Bones" and continues that trait on RESISTANCE however in many cases he backs off and takes on the traditional role as merely keeping the beat while the atmospheric constructs and melodic development of the themes expands its tentacles into the sprawling behemoth tracks that tackle the usual suspected emotional tugs and musical dramatic flair that IQ has mastered so well. While the heavy guitar parts were toned down beginning with the last album, they still existed and used as contrast and that is still the case with much of the album seeming almost devoid of guitar sounds and others such as the Floydian "Shallow Bay" providing the Steve Hackett wailing guitar licks and others like "Rise" showcasing the heavier bombast not so prevalent on this album.

With this much music there's always bound to be a throwaway track or two and RESISTANCE is not well resistant to including such filler. Tracks like "If Anything" seem a little too tame and derivative of past glories and pale in company of the stronger tracks but at the same time they are not completely gag reflex inducing, just a bit tame and verge on the border with AOR sensibilities. "For A Lifetime" on the other hand is one of the strongest tracks with carnival music providing the main melodic theme which allows an interesting array of creepy atmospheric gloom and a slinking theremin sound that ratchets up the dread. Perhaps the most unique IQ track ever as it breaks into slow-tempo rock and meanders over the 15 minute mark.

The second disc features the two longest tracks of all. "The Great Spirit Way" just missing the 22 minute mark is one of the strongest of the lot. In many ways the build up reminds me of some aspects of 90s Dream Theater in how the guitar stomps slowly build but the atmospheres and keyboards are clearly in IQ's neo-prog turf. Durant creates some of the most memorable ambient backdrops on this one. He also creates dramatic keyboard stabs that remind me of classic 70s rock bands like The Who. Overall the track meanders through a vast territory of past and present ideas. It includes cool passages that exhibit wind chimes and orchestrations. It flows perfectly and shows IQ at its most innovative.

The second lengthiest track is the near 20 minute closer "Fallout," which features a heavenly ambient intro that incrementally ratchets up the tension and extends the ideas of a single track into a monstrous behemoth of a track. Notable for not merely being a bunch of ideas stitched together but feeling like a consistently morphing track that sticks to a theme. So all in all, RESISTANCE is another excellent development in the IQ universe with two stellar discs worth of impeccably produced material that finds the aspects of the album in perfect cohesion. The greatest development is clearly the highly developed ambience and atmospheric constructs however the band has continued to become bolder as time goes.

Once again, i find the latest IQ release to be an excellent album but as with most of the band's efforts, it seems to fall short from perfection. My main gripe with these grandiose instrumental developments is that Peter Nicholls still exhibits the exact same style without expanding the vocal possibilities. Add to that a few filler tracks and the album tends to become a bit of a chore to sit through at least in one sitting. While there is plenty to love for neo-prog fans here, i just wish a few of the shorter tracks were edited out and that Nicholls would find a way to sound less monotonous as every album starts to sound like the same vocal motifs despite the musical accompaniment. Perhaps a second vocalist adding counterpoints would solve this. Still though, a well done album and an instant prog classic.

 The Road Of Bones by IQ album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.25 | 1219 ratings

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The Road Of Bones
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars Very few bands have the ability to continue to improve after three decades on the scene, but the neo-prog legend IQ is no ordinary band for sure. Forged in the early prog revival scene of the early 80s, this band has consistently delivered one compelling album after another with only a few speed bumps on the way ('Are You Sitting Comfortably' = puke icon). Part of this surely has to do with IQ only releasing a new product roughly once every five years so the band takes the proper time to make sure that all the t's are crossed and all i's dotted as they forge a new fine-tuned slab of 21st century neo-prog.

Following 2009's 'Frequency,' the band returned in 2014 with its 11th studio album THE ROAD OF BONES which resulted in a major lineup and change of the guard. Firstly, Neil Durant replaced Mark Westworth on keyboards as well as the return of original members Paul Cook on drums and Tim Esau on bass. Esau hadn't played on an IQ album since 1989's 'Are You Sitting Comfortably?,' an album so bad that i can understand why he wanted to jump ship as it was sinking. Remarkably though IQ returned to form with 1993's 'Ever' and has delivered a consistent neo-prog canon ever since. While the band may have absorbed former members on THE ROAD OF BONES, the stylistic approach is not retro at all and instead finds the band expanding its horizons.

THE ROAD OF BONES was released in two formats. Firstly as a single album that contained five tracks with a running time of just over 53 minutes and also as a double album with the second disc adding an extra six tracks bringing the total running time to over 102 minutes and thus practically doubling the playing time. A wise decision however for those of us who didn't do our homework before our purchase didn't realize the double disc option and mistakenly ordered the single disc. While this may sound sufficient for the casual listener, for the hardcore IQ fan, this two disc version is definitely the way to go as there is no quality decline between the discs. In fact, the second disc explores even more possibilities that evolve the neo-prog paradigm into brave new worlds.

While many components of IQ's sound are a given such as Peter Nicholls' melancholic vocal style lamenting narrations about dark and depressing subject matter, the musical components of IQ's sound took a leap forward with THE ROAD OF BONES. Not only is the music darker and noticeably softer than previous albums but the instrumentation is more varied with the interplay between instruments crafting new variations of possibilities. Firstly the drumming and percussive parts of Paul Cook have taken things to a new level. IQ's percussive drive on previous albums has been chiefly subordinate to the melodic flow and overall thematic nature of the subject matter but on this album his drumming skills actually provide the leading role in many cases upon which many of the intricate melodies and counterpoints follow.

To sum up THE ROAD OF BONES is quite simple. It's a lengthy sprawl of epic tracks that displays a decorative display of various rhythms, melodies and dynamics but is held together by the gravitational pull of Peter Nicholls' distinct fragile vocal style which narrates an impending tale of emotional gloom designed to unleash all the tearjerking emotional tugs. Overall the album is more atmospheric and less on the heavy rock side of the equation but the album does start off with some heavy rock bombast on 'From The Outside In' as well as on the title track at key moments before drifting into a more ethereal ambient realm. The track 'Without Walls' covers all grounds with a sprawling run of over 19 minutes as it wends and winds through classic IQ developments and unexpected detours.

With a darkness and consistency virtually unmatched since Marillioin's 80s reign as top neo-prog dogs, THE ROAD OF BONES provides an excellent display of melancholic thematic material wrapped in an excellent musical package. The tracks are more varied, the instrumental interplay is highly developed and the unique mastery of atmospheres seamlessly blending with the melodic flow and range of dynamics displays IQ at the top of its game. While the single disc version provides many new ideas forged, the second disc is even more liberal in allowing experimental touches to come out of the background and become the dominant features in some cases. Amazingly THE ROAD OF BONES retains a high level of professionalism and song quality throughout its run and that's including the second disc in that equation. Add to that an impeccable production job and you have a neo-prog classic. The only complaint i have about most IQ albums in general is that Nicholls' vocal style can become a bit monotonous at times. If his range was as dynamic as the instrumentation the album would be much richer but even as is, this is an excellent slice of prog.

 Nomzamo by IQ album cover Studio Album, 1987
2.86 | 338 ratings

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Nomzamo
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The vinyls of the early IQ albums are becoming increasingly hard to find. After walking for over two hours on the latest record fair I had to settle for 'Nomzamo'. Whereas their most recent release 'Resistance' could be seen as the bands most ambitious and progressive effort, 'Nomzamo' from 1987 stands furthest away from it on those regards. Peter Nicholls had left te band and new vocalist Paul Meno stepped in. Genre spear-header Marillion had pulled off commercial succes with their poppy song 'Keyleigh' and the other neo-progressive groups followed suit. These days bands are harshly criticized for 'turning pop' in the eighties, but I guess it must have been crazy hard to not feel that pull of that particular decade - the eighties.

So how bad is Nomzamo actually, listening to it thirty years later?

Now this album caries the mark of 'average' in all most every discipline. The vocals by Paul Meno are charming in their own way and obviously influenced by 'The Lamb'-era Genesis (most notably on the opening track 'No Love Lost'). My main concerns are with the small pitch imperfections of his vocal performance that bother me a lot, whereas (for instance) my girlfriend didn't even notice them. Otherwise this singer could have easily lead a Genesis tribute band. The sound of the album is another 'average'; the album has this light as a feather feel and could easily use one of those (otherwise so awful) low-end boost remasters. The poppy sounds on songs like 'Promises' and 'Passing Strangers' are really precisely what one would expect from an eighties symphonic poprock song. On the title song IQ opens with some jungle style percussion before finding a nice main instrumental lead. Fuzzing up that lead guitar and pulling it to the front would so much good there. The rest of the song is a bit directionless and the overall atmosphere a bit crude. 'Still Life' is an attempt to make a deep slow synth balled type Genesis popsong. The remaining synth during the song's fade-out are rather nice though. The two extended tracks 'Human Nature' and 'Common Ground' are clearly more advanced in their songwriting, atmospheres and instrumental performance. That light- weight sound doesn't help, but these songs could actually be made to work in a live performance with the band's current sound. 'Human Nature' is your everyday prog mini-epic, whereas 'Common Ground' is more a 'Cinema Show' type of song. Before giving up on this album these songs should be given a fair chance.

Conclusion. Well, my girlfriend instantly liked this album - as she is generally appreciative of eighties pop radio. That in turn forced me to give the album some strong consideration, for its ideally suited for listening together. In the end the vocal glitches of Paul Meno are my main problem with the Nomzamo album, otherwise its an average pop-progressive crossover by a band of which you can pick up at least eight better records (if you are looking for progressive that is). Eighties radio pop has a charm of its own and if you're nog allergic to it - why not give this album a try. Perhaps start with side two. Three stars, because my girlfriend is neither a collector or a fan of IQ and I'm not going to be a dick about it.

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

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