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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 '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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Buy IQ Music


Tales From the Lush Attic 2013 Re-MixTales From the Lush Attic 2013 Re-Mix
Ais 2013
$17.14
$15.88 (used)
Ever 2018 Remix: 25th AnniversaryEver 2018 Remix: 25th Anniversary
Giant Electric Pea 2018
$23.10
$22.41 (used)
The Road of BonesThe Road of Bones
Giant Electric Pea 2014
$18.08
$16.10 (used)
Scrape Across the Sky [Blu-ray]Scrape Across the Sky [Blu-ray]
Giant Electric Pea 2017
$20.22
$25.62 (used)
Seventh HouseSeventh House
Giant Electric Pea 2017
$24.50
$27.92 (used)
Dark MatterDark Matter
GEP 2013
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Wake: Expanded EditionWake: Expanded Edition
Giant Electric Pea 2016
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SubterraneaSubterranea
PID
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Seventh HouseSeventh House
Inside Out Germany 2004
$12.07
$11.08 (used)
EverEver
Giant Electric Pea 1998
$13.30
$22.99 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
IQ Sold On You Dutch 7" vinyl single record 872490-7 SQUAWK 1989 USD $15.75 Buy It Now 3h 8m
IQ vinyl LP album record Nomzamo UK VERH43 VERTIGO 1987 USD $24.99 Buy It Now 4h
Ever IQ CD album (CDLP) UK GEPCD1006 GIANT ELECTRIC PEA 1993 USD $19.12 Buy It Now 4h 30m
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Best Of The Iq Builder Audio CD X81 USD $4.94 Buy It Now 9h 40m
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IQ - Nomzamo (NEW CD) USD $15.81 Buy It Now 10h 31m
IQ - Tales From The Lush Attic MAJ 1001 UK LP A1/B1 1983 Classic One Shoe + Ins USD $25.04 Buy It Now 11h
IQ - Seventh House - CD - Import - **BRAND NEW/STILL SEALED** USD $30.49 Buy It Now 11h 58m
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IQ - Nomzamo USD $15.00 Buy It Now 17h 12m
(IQ396) The Shires, Brave - 2015 CD USD $5.26 Buy It Now 17h 45m
IQ Marquee Club Returns 27/9/86 EFGH USD $15.52 Buy It Now 17h 45m
IQ Marquee Club Returns 26/9/86 ABCD USD $15.52 Buy It Now 17h 45m
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(IQ398) Guns N Roses, Greatest Hits - 2004 CD USD $5.26 Buy It Now 17h 46m
(IQ400) Justin Bieber, Purpose - 2015 CD USD $4.60 Buy It Now 17h 46m
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(IQ402) Justin Bieber, Purpose - 2015 CD USD $3.28 Buy It Now 17h 46m
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(IQ408) 10CC, I'm Not In Love: The Essential Collection - 2012 double CD USD $5.26 Buy It Now 17h 47m
(IQ412) The Country Album, 45 tracks various artists - 2015 double CD USD $5.26 Buy It Now 17h 48m
(IQ413) The Country Album, 45 tracks various artists - 2015 double CD USD $4.60 Buy It Now 17h 48m
(IQ414) The Country Album, 45 tracks various artists - 2015 double CD USD $3.94 Buy It Now 17h 48m
(IQ415) Dreamboats & Petticoats, The Best Of The Love Songs - 2016 double CD USD $3.94 Buy It Now 17h 48m
(IQ416) Dreamboats & Petticoats, The Best Of The Love Songs - 2016 double CD USD $3.28 Buy It Now 17h 48m
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Job Lot of 2 Sonia Juke Box Singles - Chrysalis/IQ Records - VG- USD $1.31 [0 bids]
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(IQ421) The Stone Roses, Second Coming - 1994 CD USD $3.94 Buy It Now 22h 17m
(IQ422) Classic FM: Vaughan Williams, A London Symphony - 2011 CD USD $6.58 Buy It Now 22h 17m
(IQ423) Classic FM: Bach, Cello Suites Nos 4-6 - 2009 CD USD $6.58 Buy It Now 22h 18m
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(IQ425) Elton John, Rocket Man: The Definitive Hits - 2007 CD USD $3.94 Buy It Now 22h 18m
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(IQ429) Rod Stewart, Another Country - 2015 CD USD $3.94 Buy It Now 22h 19m
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(IQ433) Craig Ogden & Friends, The Perfect Summer Guitar Album - 2015 CD USD $3.94 Buy It Now 22h 19m
(IQ434) The Phantom Of The Opera, Original London Cast - 1987 CD USD $3.94 Buy It Now 22h 19m
(IQ435) Paul Weller, Modern Classics: The Greatest Hits - 1998 CD USD $3.94 Buy It Now 22h 20m
(IQ436) Stereophonics, Just Enough Education To Perform - 2001 CD USD $3.94 Buy It Now 22h 20m
(IQ437) Stereophonics, Just Enough Education To Perform - 2001 CD USD $3.94 Buy It Now 22h 20m
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(IQ441) Boyzone, Back Again ... No Matter What - 2008 CD USD $3.94 Buy It Now 22h 21m
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(IQ445) Thin Lizzy, Waiting For An Alibi: The Collection - 2011 CD USD $3.94 Buy It Now 22h 21m
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(IQ448) Marvin Gaye, The Very Best Of - 1994 CD USD $3.94 Buy It Now 22h 22m
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(IQ450) Kiri Te Kanawa, The Ultimate Collection - 2013 CD USD $6.58 Buy It Now 22h 22m
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IQ Sold On You RARE 1988 WEST GERMANY CD single 80s USD $34.30 Buy It Now 22h 22m
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(IQ453) Bryan Adams, The Best Of Me - 1999 CD USD $3.94 Buy It Now 22h 23m
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(IQ458) D12, Shady XV - 2014 double CD USD $6.58 Buy It Now 22h 23m
IQ-THE ROAD OF BONES (REGULAR EDITION)-JAPAN CD Fi83 USD $28.99 Buy It Now 22h 28m
IQ - TALES FROM THE LUSH ATTIC vinyl LP 1983 w/ LYRIC INSERT USD $19.78 Buy It Now 23h 31m
Frankie Goes To Hollywood - Welcome To The Pleasuredome 2 x LP 1984 ZTT - ZTT IQ USD $14.99 Buy It Now 23h 43m
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FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD welcome to the pleasuredome DOUBLE LP EX-/EX- ZTT IQ1, USD $44.38 Buy It Now 1 day
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I.Q. 'Passing Strangers' 1987 UK 7" / 45 vinyl single - IQ USD $9.22 Buy It Now 1 day
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Master Low-LOW IQ 01 PX-041 JAPAN CD OBI A-26063+ USD $5.97 Buy It Now 1 day
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IQ Xmas Show Ticket Stub, Mean Fiddler, London 2005 + Martin Orford signed beer USD $19.77 Buy It Now 1 day
IQ Legendary Christmas Show, Mean Fiddler, 10th December 2005 t-shirt - Size L USD $32.96 Buy It Now 1 day
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IQ - Frequency(Spec- Edition CD+DVD), 2009 SPV GmbH / InsideOut USD $95.00 Buy It Now 1 day
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(IQ477) Anne Murray, The Best ... So Far - 1994 CD USD $6.58 Buy It Now 2 days
(IQ478) Avicii, True (Avicii By Avicii) - 2014 CD USD $7.90 Buy It Now 2 days
(IQ479) Jessie J, Sweet Talker - 2014 Deluxe CD USD $3.94 Buy It Now 2 days

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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)

3.83 | 456 ratings
Tales From The Lush Attic
1983
3.80 | 549 ratings
The Wake
1985
2.80 | 319 ratings
Nomzamo
1987
2.74 | 298 ratings
Are You Sitting Comfortably?
1989
4.05 | 625 ratings
Ever
1993
3.97 | 633 ratings
Subterranea
1997
3.43 | 148 ratings
Seven Stories Into 98
1998
4.00 | 628 ratings
The Seventh House
2000
4.04 | 886 ratings
Dark Matter
2004
4.10 | 871 ratings
Frequency
2009
4.25 | 1150 ratings
The Road Of Bones
2014

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

3.02 | 83 ratings
Living Proof
1986
3.83 | 95 ratings
Forever Live
1996
4.14 | 21 ratings
Subterranea Tour Live Germany
1999
4.16 | 18 ratings
Head Long to Argentina
1999
4.28 | 18 ratings
La Maroquinerie, Paris 18 Nov. 2000
2000
4.22 | 83 ratings
Subterranea: The Concert
2000
4.54 | 35 ratings
The Archive Collection - IQ20
2002
4.50 | 67 ratings
The Wake - Live At De Boerderij, Zoetermeer
2010
4.00 | 3 ratings
De Boerderij Zoetermeer Holland 23 October 2011
2012
4.66 | 38 ratings
Live On The Road Of Bones
2015

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

4.36 | 66 ratings
Subterranea - The Concert
2000
4.43 | 57 ratings
IQ20 - The Twentieth Anniversary Show
2004
3.78 | 31 ratings
Live From London
2005
4.43 | 119 ratings
Stage
2006
3.88 | 31 ratings
Forever Live
2007
4.40 | 23 ratings
Scrape Across The Sky
2017

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

3.30 | 60 ratings
J'ai Pollette d'Arnu
1991
4.68 | 32 ratings
For Ever Live
1996
3.44 | 68 ratings
The Lost Attic - A Collection Of Rarities (1983-1999)
1999
4.38 | 46 ratings
The Wake 2010 Remaster
2010
3.31 | 16 ratings
Re:Mixed
2011
4.63 | 94 ratings
Tales from the Lush Attic 2013 Remix
2013
4.96 | 12 ratings
Ever - 2018 Remix - 25th Anniversary Collector's Edition
2018

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

3.50 | 2 ratings
Fascination
1982
3.67 | 3 ratings
Awake And Nervous
1983
2.89 | 9 ratings
Barbell Is In
1984
4.17 | 6 ratings
The Legendary IQ Free Record
1984
3.20 | 5 ratings
Corners
1985
2.72 | 36 ratings
Nine in a Pond is Here
1985
3.33 | 3 ratings
Nomzamo
1986
3.50 | 4 ratings
Intelligence Quotient
1986
2.75 | 3 ratings
Promises (As The Years Go By)
1987
3.75 | 4 ratings
Here There And Everywhere
1987
3.00 | 2 ratings
No Love Lost
1987
3.00 | 5 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
3.69 | 30 ratings
Frequency Tour
2008
4.04 | 23 ratings
Tales from a Dark Christmas
2017

IQ Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Are You Sitting Comfortably? by IQ album cover Studio Album, 1989
2.74 | 298 ratings

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Are You Sitting Comfortably?
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by Zoltanxvamos

5 stars Second best IQ Album, Keep in mind iQ is a Neo-Prog Rock Band. Nostalgia and Falling Apart At The Seams are extremely oldschool prog, especially Nostalgia being a very Steve Hackett piece, being compared to Please Don't Touch. Falling Apart At The Seams is a complex piece of music with odd time, lyrical beauty, oldschool prog sound and mix, writing and other wise. Sold on you is a brilliant piece as well, as well as Wurensh, War Heroes, Through My Fingers and Nothing At All. The only song I can live without is Drive On, it's a fairly good song but it doesn't fit the album in terms of consistency to the theme of the album, but overall a good song. This album is a masterpiece in iQ's continuing history.
 Tales From The Lush Attic by IQ album cover Studio Album, 1983
3.83 | 456 ratings

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Tales From The Lush Attic
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

3 stars After their debut in cassette demo with Seven Stories into Eight, IQ released their first official LP named Tales From the Lush Attic!

And they made history with this release because along with Script for a Jester's Tear, it is considered one of the first true neo-prog albums. But unlike the Marillion's debut, the sound of this self-produced album is not so great, especially in terms of vocals. In this album Peter Nichols does not sings in the refined, sharp and elegant style of more recent albums. Let's be honest, he sounds like a lousy iteration of Peter Gabriel.

That's a pity, because the quality of the album is otherwise excellent. The epic The Last Human Gateway is awesome and should be rewarded as one of the best neo-prog songs of the 80's. The rest of the record is a bit more irregular, especially the shorter tracks and this fact along with the aforementioned weak production is the reason that this album does not achieve a higher rating.

Best Tracks: The Last Human Gateway, Awake and Nervous and The Enemy Smacks.

Conclusion: despite the bad production, Tales From the Lush Attic is an obligated record to understand the birth of the neo-prog sub-genre.

My rating: ***

 Frequency by IQ album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.10 | 871 ratings

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Frequency
IQ Neo-Prog

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

4 stars IQ waited five long years to follow up their monstrous neo-prog classic "Dark Matter" but finally in 2009 their tenth studio arrived in the form of FREQUENCY. There had been many shake ups for the band over the previous five years with the most significant coming in the form of the retirement of co-founder and keyboardist Martin Orford who would not only leave the band but would leave the music business altogether. His replacement was found in Mark Westworth formerly of Darwin's Radio and Grey Lady Down. If that wasn't enough, long time drummer Paul Cook also jumped ship after more than twenty years of service. His replacement was found in Andy Edwards formerly of Frost*, Flash Range and soon to be in Magenta.

While it seems that IQ must've taken a major hit from all the turbulence in the lineup, at this point the band had been cranking out their own unique product for so long that the members carried on without missing a beat. In fact, if anything, FREQUENCY demonstrates perfectly that the adding of new blood is exactly what a band needs from time to time to keep from becoming stagnant. Not that IQ were in danger of doing just that but FREQUENCY definitely has elements of musicianship that differ from the previous albums although they blend in seamlessly to the overarching neo-prog style that IQ had crafted over its 30 year history. While IQ has remained quite popular in cult prog circles, they have still flown under the radar of mainstream rock but despite the staunch loyalty of fans, they can smell a wipe out a mile away and FREQUENCY passed all the quality tests with flying colors.

FREQUENCY consists of a mere seven tracks that just clock in over the 62 minute mark and in their wake unleash some of the most provocative tracks of the band's career. Once again, the band emphasizes the liberal use of keyboards. Certain keyboard sounds entertain the melodic deliveries while other provide the massive atmospheric backdrops that offering the sweeping sonic panoramic scope of the musical delivery. The band do not deviate significantly from their established formula and incorporate the usual guitar, bass and drum sounds to accompany the swarm of keyboard sounds that provides the majority of differing timbres. The compositions are teased out into amazingly rich and emotional sprawlers that tackle the usual nebulous powerlessness we all experience in controlling our own destinies through intricate storylines.

As with their other 21st century albums, IQ implement healthy doses of heavy rock to contrast the softer passages and the general formula of building up intricate melodies into thundering climaxes still provides the uncompromising formula that the band had been implementing since they got their feet on the ground again on 1993's "Ever." And once again vocalist Peter Nicholls delivers a flawless performance where he handles the jumps from placid near whispers to operatic heights without missing a beat. He also tackles many of the backing vocals which add interesting layers of depth. If there's perhaps one track that stands out its "Ryker Skies" which finds an interesting mix of the usual lush sensual neo-prog passages but also finds a crushing bass groove and soaring guitar riffs but also has some really cool electronic segments that give IQ a new cyber-industrial sort of vibe. The near 14 minute "The Province Of Kings" is another jittery prog rocker that tackles both heavy rock and synthesized sophistication like no other track with killer Who like keyboard dances.

IQ have been nothing but extraordinarily consistent for the majority of their career and FREQUENCY really just continues a stream of strong albums that doesn't suffer one iota from two new members finding themselves on board. In fact, Westworth is more than capable of matching Orford's exquisite keyboard playing palette of a million sounds in a million different keys and for a band that relies on the keyboardist above all others, it's quite the complement to say that Westworth successfully filled some pretty tall shoes and still managed to add his own personal touches to the mix. For the most part a perfect album but "One Fatal Mistake" and "Closer" are a bit too generic for my liking. Still yet one more excellent album to add to the IQ canon.

 Frequency by IQ album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.10 | 871 ratings

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Frequency
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Frequency is another gem from the most consistent Neo-Prog band Ever!!!

And this time IQ had to face some serious setbacks before the recording of this album, being the most serious one the loss of their co-founder and longtime keyboardist Martin Orford. I am sure that than affected this record, because despite the keyboards are pretty good, the typical Orford sound is missed. He contributed to the composition of all the tracks, and not having here in the record is rather strange.

Nevertheless, the band managed to get going and they recorded another solid album full of impressive moments and great passages. It is also a transition album in my opinion, because acts as a link of the old sound of the band, which ended with the also excellent Dark Matter, and the more modern, dark and compelling tones of the masterpiece Road of Bones.

So maybe this album is not the best from IQ. However, even being an average record for IQ, it is still better than the majority of prog records of 2009.

Best Tracks: Stronger than Friction (the most classic IQ-sounding track of the album), One Fatal Mistake (very touching lyrics), The Province of the King (the most impressive track of the album, instrumentally speaking) and Closer (I just love this song, especially the acoustic guitars)

Conclusion: Frequency is a transition album. It was recorded in a convoluted era for the band being the only album where the former keyboardist Mark Westworth and drummer Andy Edwards participated. It was also the last album with John Jowitt on board, and it contained music from Martin Orford after his departure of the band.

Nevertheless, the quality of the music is still very high and despite it is a weaker album than Dark Matter in my opinion, Frequency is another excellent IQ release and it gave us a glimpse of a very interesting new direction, which ended in the incredible Road of Bones.

My rating: ****

 Ever - 2018 Remix - 25th Anniversary Collector's Edition by IQ album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2018
4.96 | 12 ratings

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Ever - 2018 Remix - 25th Anniversary Collector's Edition
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

5 stars I cannot resist reviewing this 25th anniversary edition of the stunning IQ's Ever!

Because this remix is simply fantastic. The guitars are much more present this time reveling details which were in hiding in the original mix and everything sounds just clean, clear and beautiful. It is still a record made in the 90's, for sure, but it sounds just perfect yet.

Ever was always one of the best neo-prog albums of the 90's, along with others like Marillion's Brave and Clepsydra's Fears, but with this remix this album has maybe reached the top of the podium.

Best Tracks: it is not a weak moment to be found in Ever, really. However, Came Down is just my favorite IQ song!

Conclusion: this edition of Ever is the definitive one. The sound is perfect, crystal clear and this remix has achieved that the music sounds not so old fashioned these days.

That's was my main complaint with the original Ever, it sounded a bit old despite being a magnificent record. So with this remix I can finally give this great album five solid stars!!!

My rating: *****

 Seven Stories Into 98 by IQ album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.43 | 148 ratings

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Seven Stories Into 98
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This double album from the splendid British neo-prog band IQ contains the original recording of Seven Stories into Eight which is the true first full length of the band released in cassette back in 1982, and it's re-recording of 1998!

And I must say that the original one has a lot of charm, and I prefer it over the newest recording. It has its flaws and the sound is very improvable, but it's pure passion of a bunch of young musicians with true talent inside of them. And this album shows part of this talent in tracks like the very progressive and beautiful Intelligence Quotient, the complex Fascination and the very compelling It All Stops Here.

In all these tracks IQ shows the personality and proper sound that would make them one of the best neo-prog band in history! They were clearly not a Genesis or Marillion rip off, and they made it clear in this cassette.

The new version of the album has a better singing from Nicholls, beautiful keyboards and crystal clear guitars. Everything sounds perfect! But the flaws of the songwriting are even more evident than before specially in the new and worse version of Barbell is In and the strange For the Taking, which comes from the band where Peter Nicholls was prior to IQ and it contains incredible (and gruesome) lyrics.

All sounded better in 98 compared to 82, but part of the magic and authenticity was also gone. So, I clearly prefer the old version of the album!

Best Tracks: Capital Letters, Intelligence Quotient, Fascination and It All Stops Here.

Conclusion: another good album from IQ which gives you two version of the same record for the price of one! The newest version of 98 sounds better and the playing and singing are outstanding. But the subpar songwriting makes itself even more evident.

Therefore, I prefer the old version of Seven Stories into Eight with the typical cassette sound of 1982 and all the charm and passion of this musicians who would make history in prog music a few years later with a bunch of memorable albums.

My rating: ***

 The Seventh House by IQ album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.00 | 628 ratings

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The Seventh House
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Just before the ending of the last millennium IQ gave away another excellent collection of the best neo-prog out there!

The Seventh Houses leave a bit the epic and conceptual sounds of Subterranea, with lyrics much more philosophical and less mundane, but maintaining a soberer style than in Ever and older works, and therefore not so old fashioned. And that's great, because although maintaining all their trademarks, IQ knew how to evolve enough to keep the interest on their music.

And The Seventh House was definitely a step in the right direction!

The vocals of Nichols are also not so high pitched like before (but more than in Road of Bones, for example...) and for this reason I find them better. The songwriting is not great all the time, finding a pair of average tracks like Erosion and Zero Hour, but the quality of others like The Seventh House and Guiding Light so outstanding that I could not give this album less than for stars!

Best Tracks: The Wrong Side of Weird (obscure and solid opener), The Seventh House (one of the best IQ songs in my opinion) and Guiding Light (beautiful lyrics and a great instrumental section)

Conclusion: maybe The Seventh House is not so good as Ever in general terms, and it also lacks the scope and magnificence of Subterranea, but it's easily above 90% of all the Neo-Prog releases of the 90's nevertheless.

For this reason and for some truly magical tracks included here, I find The Seventh House another excellent addition to IQ's discography!

My rating: ****

 Dark Matter by IQ album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.04 | 886 ratings

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Dark Matter
IQ Neo-Prog

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

4 stars IQ had learned the hard way that straying from your musical proclivities that emanate the air of genuineness could lead to complete disaster. After the fiasco of their 80s failed ventures into crossover pop which frankly found the band skid out of control and falling into the worst possible crap possible, IQ had redeemed themselves by returning to form with 1993's "Ever" which found the band hitting their stride with a string of stellar neo-prog albums that took a cue from 70s Genesis, 80s Marillion amongst others and continued the tradition in a convincing satisfying way. While hitting a peak of sort with the outlandish double album "Subterranea" it seemed there was nowhere left to go but the band sallied forth with the turn of the millennium release "The Seventh House" which didn't find band reinventing the wheel but nevertheless stuck firmly with their established niche within the neo-prog world.

Four years later the band returned with its eighth studio album DARK MATTER which likewise didn't deviate from the established formula of drawn out atmospheric compositions that alternated soft symphonic prog passages with heavier rock flirting with metal rock and a nebulous overarching concept that i suspect matters less to the fans than the interesting musical backing, at least for yours truly. While "The Seventh House" seemed like a step down from "Subterranea" in that it played things a little too safe and didn't exactly dazzle in the wow factor, DARK MATTER changes all that with a more cleverly designed package that develops catchier melodies, stronger compositions and more varied instrumental workouts to support them. In fact, this album draws heavily from the 70s symphonic greats such as Genesis with tracks like "Supper's Ready" a prime suspect for the inspirational mojo magic and the band remained the exact same lineup which allowed a multi-year chemistry to blossom and it shows.

DARK MATTER displays IQ performing at their very best. Peter Nicholls staying strong with his controlled vocal delivery of emotional lyrical tugs in perfect poetic expressiveness, Mike Holmes alternating between powerful power chords and Hackett inspired soaring solos and Martin Orford's cranking out the masterful keyboard deliveries that put IQ in the big boys club of progressive rock as he ekes out tender grooves and church organ fueled bombast that adds and provides the primary currency of IQ's neo-prog sound properties so gracefully. Likewise the dualistic effect of John Jowitt's bass grooves and Paul Cook's precisely delivered percussive tact all conspire to create a beautifully performed melodic progressive rock album that dishes out five tracks including the 24 and a half closer "Harvest Of Souls" that offers seven developments through the monumental suite.

The tone is set with the atmospheric and ethereal intro of "Sacred Sound" that sounds like the soundtrack to a helium balloon ready to break free from Earth's gravitational pull that slowly introduces the groove oriented 7/8 time signature and allows Orford's organ riffing to slowly gestate into a monstrous rumble of keyboard excellence. Nicholls joins in as the bass and drums individually create a corresponding counterpoint that finds the band blending together in perfect harmony. The next three shorter tracks find a slew of changes including tender acoustic guitar passages, Pink Floyd inspired space rock, mellotron, mellotron and more mellotron as well as a more typical IQ style that honestly doesn't distinguish itself drastically from previous efforts such as "The Seventh House."

The true magnificence of DARK MATTER really results from the longer tracks which take up 2/3 of the real estate but the lengthy closer "Harvest Of Souls" is perhaps IQ's most accomplished track of their career with all the ingredients of IQ's recipe book performing together in the best possible ways. The track commences with tender arpeggiated acoustic guitar, ethereal atmospheric embellishments that find Nicholls perfectly enunciating every lyrical passage with his usual expected grace. This is an exciting track as it meanders from one played out melodic development to the next with all the usual mellow and heavy tradeoffs. The true highlight of the album for me is when Nicholls tenderly shouts "We Will Shoot You Where You Stand" and then an aggressive instrumental simulation of gunfire erupts and begins a killer development of the heaviest aspects within the IQ universe erupt into a series of stellar band interplay.

Another winner for IQ despite not being uniformly perfect. The opener and closer are two of the best tracks in the entire neo-prog world bar none not to mention within the prolific career of the band itself but the middle section while performed in the expected stellar fashion is a bit ordinary as far as the creativity is concerned. Still though, DARK MATTER continues the daunting task of keeping the high quality standards consistent and provides yet another successful chapter in the gloomier realms of 21st century neo-prog finding all the band's efforts at their instrumentally performed best. After DARK MATTER, Peter Cook would take a little hiatus until "The Road Of Bones" which found the band shifting gears a bit. If only the middle tracks had a bit more oomf and this would be a bona fide masterpiece but if find only the lengthiest tracks fit that bill. Another excellent album from one of neo-prog's masters.

 The Road Of Bones by IQ album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.25 | 1150 ratings

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The Road Of Bones
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Talking about a band with so much prestige, if I have to say that an album is their best to date that's a big deal...

But this is just what Road of Bones is. In my opinion, it's best IQ album to date. A dark, mature and epic collection of marvelous songs with almost no flaws or weak points. And talking about a double CD release, that's an extra point!

The rhythmic section is perfect, Holmes is so elegant and gifted as ever, the keyboards are awesome, modern and not so old-school like most of the Neo-Prog bands, and Peter Nichols... In my opinion, he has improved his singing throughout the years, being not so high pitched but much more mature and natural. And his lyrics are his most personal and obscure to date, making this album worthy to be heard again and again and again.

Best songs: Road of Bones, Without Walls, Ocean, Until The End, Constellations... Should I continue?

Conclusion: Road of Bones is not perfect. It contains an average song (Hardcore), some good ones (Ten Million Demos, Knucklehead, 1312 Overture) and a bunch of great ones (the rest). But it's really rewarding to hear a band with more than 30 years of history in such a great form, releasing their most complete, mature and well-made album to date.

For this reason and for the outstanding musical quality of Road of Bones, I'm giving this effort five solid stars, being one of the best Neo-Prog albums of all times.

My rating: *****

 Dark Matter by IQ album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.04 | 886 ratings

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Dark Matter
IQ Neo-Prog

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Dark Matter is the eighth album from IQ and it also marks the end of an era, because it's the last album they recorded with keyboardist Martin Orford, sadly retired from music industry these days. After him, IQ would not be the same (they are maybe even better now!)

This album contains only five tracks in the vein of other albums like Ever or The Seventh House (not so epic like Subterranea) with a slightly darker tone in general (not too dark, this is IQ folks!) being the first and the last one two true neo-prog masterpieces. The other three are maybe not so fantastic, but very solid nevertheless making the album very enjoyable from beginning to end.

The musicianship and production are simply amazing, and Peter Nichols sounds just perfect.

Best Tracks: Sacred Sound, Harvest of Souls and Born Brilliant mainly because the great lyrics.

Conclusion: Dark Matter is one of the best IQ albums, containing two outstanding songs and three very good ones. Catchy, satisfying neo-prog at its best! Maybe too conservative despite the darker tone of the lyrics and some musical passages, but this a minor defect in comparison of the otherwise excellent musical quality of this record.

My rating: ****

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

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