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IQ - Nomzamo CD (album) cover





2.86 | 336 ratings

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2 stars Paul Menel was already in charge of the leading vocals on the (studio) live album "Nine In A Pound Is Here". We could notice that his tone of voice, although less poignant was not too far away from Peter's one (Nicholls, I mean). This ensured a smooth transition for their work as far as the voice is concerned. In terms of creativity, I have to admit that the band did not produce their best work under Paul's period.

I ranked their first two studio albums more in the symph prog category, but with this one, neo-prog is definitely more appropriate. "Nomzamo" is far from being original. It seems that IQ has (unfortunately) followed the same evolution than Genesis and Yes in those days. This is easily noticeable on the opening number "No Love Lost" (Genesis, "Invisible Touch"), "Promises"or "Screaming" (Yes "90125", and Asia of course). The latter two ones being really poor with these AOR sounds that I quite dislike. But this was the mood of these days, so maybe they did this only to survive and come up with better ideas later on (which they will do) ?

The title track is more in the prog vein but is totally uninspired and dull. A kind of tribal prog song (a new genre maybe ?). It is a combination of Genesis while they were three (if you see what I mean) with Gabriel on the vocals ! Paul Menel trying desperately to match the master's voice. I'm not totally against bands spinning off the Genesis influence (like the previous IQ albums) but only when the best side of the masters serves as base of inspiration. I really see no need to try an emulate one of the greatest prog band in the history during their crappy (and long) period (1981-1991).

We'll even get some good songs in here : the first one being "Still Life". The quiet mood will be the occasion for Paul to use Fish's so emotional vocal style. The sax will bring a nice touch (although another giant did use this quite extensively, Floyd to name it). Still not very original, but at least a pleasant break.

We are back to the poppish / AORish sound with "Passing Strangers". One of the poorest track ever written by IQ (together with "Screraming" also featured here). But to earn the title of the worst IQ song, it can of course not compete with "Corners" (from "The Wake").

Even if the next track might seem to be an epic (in term of lenght) but has little to do with this definition. Prog-FM. That's it. But above average on this album. As will "Common Ground" but only thanks to a great (but short) guitar break in the last portion of the song which leads to a great finale. So, we got finally three great IQ minutes featured on this album so far. But this track will be the last one of the original album.

We are very fortunate (!) to get three bonus tracks on the remastered version. A stripped of version for "No Love Lost" which is not too bad I must say. I even prefer this duet (piano, vocals) than the traditional version. A good live version for "Common Ground" which was one of the best track of this album. "Colourful" is not worse than the majority of the original album. Actually it is very pleasant. Melancholic like IQ can be. The vocal duet is rather nice. It should have replaced "Passing Strangers" or ""Screraming" easily. At the end of the day, these bonus tracks are very welcome.

I am not sure that the departure of Peter fully explains this downward quality in their work; they would probably have developped the same type of music anyway. But we'll never be able to confirm this. Of course if you are found of AOR / FM music (and there are a lot of fans who appreciate this type of music) you might find it interesting. If you are new to IQ, DO NOT start with this album. It is only dedicated to die-hard fans (at best). I would even say for completionists (as I am). So, the rating is somewhere in the middle (between one and two stars). I will rounded up because I really like IQ, but only for this reason. Two stars.

ZowieZiggy | 2/5 |


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