IQ - Dark Matter

Year of Release: 2004
Label: GEP Records
Catalog Number: GEPCD1034
Format: CD
Total Time: 52:16:00

It's not often that a band exceeds my expectations. I had my preconceived notions about IQ long before I decided to buy Dark Matter. Not all of them were unfounded, as I have listened to some of the bands 80's output, but was never the least bit impressed by what I had heard. As I placed my order for Dark Matter, I went in not expecting to like it.

The keyboard playing of Martin Orford immediately impressed me. Orford instantly takes command on the opening "Sacred Ground," his playing carries the song through its 11-plus minutes with organ and lead playing. Orford's classic keyboard sounds are amazing, getting some great Hammond sounds from a Korg CX-3. The vocal line instantly grabs me with its hook through the chorus, and yet if memory serves me, Nicholls voice was one of the things that had turned me off about the band. Admittedly, he has a limited range, and a voice that may take some getting used to, but I think he has done a fine job throughout Dark Matter. An excellent mellotron sample (I assume) falls into the middle of the "Red Dust Shadow," a slower, yet powerful track. "You Never Will" seems rather ordinary until you get to the keyboard solo section, which really gives the track its kick. Holmes also adds a tasty guitar solo (which he does quite well throughout the disc), never flashy, but always effective. "Born Brilliant" is my least favorite track, as there does not seem to be much change or flow to the song.

The track that many will list as their favorite is the 24-minute "Harvest Of Souls." The band brings out the influences with some obvious references to Genesis. Acoustic guitar opens the track with Nicholls singing over the top. Orford joins in and begins to build the music, leading into the next section "The Wrong Host;" with a riff that you could imagine Tony Banks playing. The comparisons must be made, but not to detract from the music, it is just a band that is showing its influences, yet adding their own stamp. Holmes gets an opportunity to get in some aggressive lead guitar, and the melodies stand out especially in "Nocturne." Let's just say that this track is the most complex, and yet it is not done to just be a 24-minute song, as it works great from start to finish.

IQ has impressed me with their musicianship and songwriting. Inside/Out has also done a nice job with the CD packaging. Dark Matter is intriguing, melodic symphonic progressive music. After 20 years, it's about time I gave IQ a fair shake, so how about you?

Released in North America by InsideOut Music America (INO-60802) and in Europe by InsideOutMusic (SPV 085-60802 CD)

Sacred Sound (11:40) / Red Dust Shadow (5:53) / You Never Will (4:54) / Born Brilliant (5:20) / Harvest Of Souls (24:30)

Peter Nicholls - lead vocals
Martin Orford - keyboards, bass pedals, backing vocals
Michael Holmes - guitars John Jowitt - gass, backing vocals Paul Cook - drums, percussion

Tales From The Lush Attic (1983)
The Wake (1985)
Nine In A Pond Is Here (1985)
Living Proof (1986)
Nomzamo (1987)
Are You Sitting Comfortably? (1989)
J'ai Pollette D'arnu (1991)
Ever (1994)
Forever Live (1996)
Subterranea (1997)
Seven Stories Into 98 (1998)
The Lost Attic (1998)
Subterranea: The Concert (2000)
The Seventh House (2001)
The Archive Collection - IQ20 (2003)
Dark Matter (2004)
Frequency Tour CD 1 (2008)
Frequency Tour CD 2 (2008)
Frequency (2009)
The Wake: Live At De Boerderij (2010)
The Wake (Deluxe Edition) (2010)
Re:Mixed (2011)
The Archive Collection - IQ30 (2012)
Tales From The Lush Attic 2013 Remix (2013)
The Road Of Bones (2014)
Live On The Road Of Bones (2016)

Subterranea: The Concert Video (VHS) (2000)
Subterranea: The Concert DVD (DVD) (2002)
IQ20 - The Twentieth Anniversary Show (DVD) (2004)
Live From London (DVD) (2005)
Stage (DVD) (2006)
Forever Live (DVD) (2007)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin UK

Added: September 5th 2004
Reviewer: Eric Porter

Artist website:
Hits: 1046
Language: english


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