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IQ - Nomzamo CD (album) cover





2.86 | 336 ratings

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4 stars "I think maybe we should go on out into the moonlight, out of the spotlight. And examine where we are and where we have been to. Where we're going is down without a happy ending." - IQ "Still Life"

My first collection for this album was in the format of cassette altogether with "The Wake" that represents my first introduction to the band sometime in the mid eighties when Marillion was heating the ground in the progressive arena. In February 1997 when I started my CD collection I upgraded Nomzamo into a CD format with three bonus tracks: "Colourflow", "No Love Lost" (piano/vocal version), "Common Ground" (live). Through this album IQ featured PL Menel as lyricist / vocal and Tim Esau in bass department. As you might have known that these two gentlemen stayed shortly with the band. The other three members were stable, i.e: Martin Orford on keys, Mike Holmes on guitar and Paul Cook (who recently left the band for a change in his life and his family - after IQ's last album, the ground breaking "Dark Matter") on drums.

Highlights of this album are the following songs: (6). "Human Nature", (4) "Still Life", (10) "No Love Lost", (1) "No Love Lost", (2) "Promises (as The Years Go By)", (3) "Nomzamo" and (11) "Common Ground". Nice try. As you've seen, I have identified most songs in this album as highlight. It suffices to say that this is an excellent addition to any prog collection. Yes, it is. Especially if you were there during the time when prog music was dying in the eighties, swept by the new wave and punk rock era. How could I say that this one was not an excellent one? It was very few bands that carried the torch of prog music. I knew only IQ, Marillion, Pallas, Pendragon. With the passage of time, even today, I still consider this album as excellent not only because of historical value but also the fact that the music composition is really good.

"Human Nature" (track 6) starts with wonderful keyboard and bass line followed with excellent voice - all performed in ambience. Drum enter the music and brings the music gradually into more upbeat one with stunning guitar work. In some transition sax fills the sound thinly. The interlude part of this track is really wonderful: started with lyrical part followed with guitar solo for a while and vocal returns back to music. On quieter passages with only guitar and keyboard followed with vocal "They pawned our world of peace ." you will find the early Genesis nuance. It's really great. This is the kind of track that you might expect IQ to perform. Fortunately, the band also performed this track in their live record album even though with different lead singer - Peter Nicholls.

"Still Life" (track 4) is a slow and melodic song with simple, straight-forward structure. One thing that makes this song is completely different with any pop song is that the effects used by keyboards and also the varieties of notes used by the band in this composition. Keyboard and bass guitar play important role in this track as this is a drum- less composition. Sax is also heavily used as fillers as well as solo in the middle of the track. Paul Menel's vocal is nice and powerful - most importantly he sings with his heart through this track. The part that has this lyrical part is killing me: "When we say hello we mean goodbye. Feigning paradise, wanting to cry. Love, all our passion I'm sorry to say. Is part of the game we play .". Oh my God .this is truly nice!

"No Love Lost" (track 10 and 1). Well, I prefer the piano and vocal version that appears as bonus track in this CD, track 10. Composition wise, this is a very strong track performed in a mellow style. The piano work represents the classical influence outfit and it enriches the composition of the song. Vocal is really clear, transparent and powerful. I would say that the quality of voice that Menel has is probably fit in with early Genesis music. Even, he fits with Marillion early albums as well. Actually, Marillion should have hired Menel when Fish left Marillion. Menel is an excellent lyricist as well. So, actually it's a perfect match! Back to this song - yeah, it's a wonderful music with great piano and vocal (track 10).

"Promises" (track 2) is a simple yet interesting song to enjoy. It has an upbeat tempo with happy musical nuance. It's the kind of song that you would like to hear early in the morning as the rhythm section is uplifting. It starts wonderfully with simple keyboard work followed with vocal lines: "Don't make any false promises" . JRENG! Followed with simple drumming that function as beat keeper and brings the music into uplifting mood. Well, you may argue: what? Is this prog music? It surely not at all! I agree. But . my philosophy is simple: music is emotion! And this track has done its job really well in creating ultimate sense of emotion! This track really touches my nerve deeply. I cannot let my mouth shut whenever this track is airing my music room. WOW! Man . it's a great track to enjoy. Even, I always repeat this song with very LOUD volume on power amps - including now when I'm writing this review. Oh my GOD . this is the true joy of writing the music I love ..

"Nomzamo" (track 3) is another great track with tight composition combining the world music style through the sounds of various percussion with symphonic prog music especially when Menel's voice enters the music. You may not believe that IQ performs this kind of music. But it's really good. When the drum enters the music it makes the song full of energy especially when keyboard solo and rhythm enters during lyrical break. Keyboard and drums bring the music into uplifting symphonic prog during interlude with percussion sounds at the background. It's a wonderful track that you should not miss ..

Oh .. my writing is getting longer now - I'd better stop it now. How can I stop reviewing the band that I love? It's tough man. But I have to do it as I know that by this time you must be getting bored reading it. Overall, this is not the band's true masterpiece, but I still recommend you to purchase this CD especially if you love what so called Neo Progressive Rock. It's an excellent addition to your neo prog collection. Keep on proggin' .!!!

Progressively yours,


Notes: This review is dedicated to you, the progarchives readers and die-hard fans of IQ around the globe. In specific, I dedicate this to IQ Fans Club in Indonesia who has persistently and consistently love the music of IQ since the band's inception: Bowo Neo, Oga Zano, Tatan A Taufik, Nirata Samadhi, Imam S, Rachmat Hery, Ricky Yess, I'an Yess, Atang Haido Takarai and many more that I can't list down here.

Gatot | 4/5 |


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