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IQ - Dark Matter CD (album) cover





4.03 | 864 ratings

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Symphonic Team
4 stars Hardly born brilliant, but they finally became so with this album

I have never been particularly impressed by IQ before, but Dark Matter is, in my opinion, a very strong album and by far the best album by the band. Finally, after more than 20 years in the music business they reached their peak here. While Dark Matter is different in several ways from earlier albums by the band, it is still very much IQ. What makes this album stand out in the band's catalogue is that the compositions are all among IQ's strongest and most memorable ever and that the sound is a bit more powerful than usual. But also, and this is more important, that I sense a new-found passion and enthusiasm in this music that creates a sense of urgency that I have often found lacking in IQ's music in the past. Most of the band's previous works have seemed a bit tired and almost lethargic to my ears and especially the longer songs have often been overlong and a bit one-dimensional. Here they sound reinvigorated and energetic.

Dark Matter features only five tracks and runs for just over fifty minutes. The closing number, Harvest Of Souls, is a nearly 25 minute piece that far outshines the band's previous attempts on this grand scale. It moves through several themes and moods, but stays focused throughout with a great melody and compositional structure. The keyboards are varied and some vintage keyboards are used which creates a more organic sound without making it come across as "retro-Prog". The presence of (what sounds like a) Hammond organ gives substance and even brings a slight heaviness to the sound which is not commonly associated with IQ. This is particularly evident on the opening and closing numbers. Also, (what sounds like a) church organ gives a haunting feel to some tracks. Overall, the sound and feel of this album is about as dark, mysterious and haunting as the great cover art. The production is impeccable and every instrument comes to its full right.

The shorter songs in between are equally strong and memorable and here we get to see the acoustic side of the band. This makes the album varied yet consistent. The vocals are very strong throughout as are the lyrics. Peter Nicholls sings like he means every word - like he is delivering a message he really cares about. Passion is, after all, the sign of great music.

IQ's best, highly recommended!

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |


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