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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best EVER
I have now lived with a pre-ordered copy of Dark Matter for several weeks. It's an album that sounds even better with each repeated listening. For IQ fans the sound and ambience closely matches, what was until now my favourite IQ album, EVER. However,
the band's collective and individual performances and writing seem to have reached a new peak. Nicholls singing, not...
Published on 18 Jun 2004 by Sebastian Masso

versus
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good neo-progressive rock album
Well produced and lush-sounding progressive rock, borrowing unashamedly from the bands of the 1970s but with a more commercial sound. Some catchy riffs here and there, and very good playing throughout. Worthwhile investment for fans of progressive rock, but not for people who like 3-minute tracks.
Published on 22 Feb 2005


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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best EVER, 18 Jun 2004
By 
Sebastian Masso (petersfield, hants United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dark Matter (Audio CD)
I have now lived with a pre-ordered copy of Dark Matter for several weeks. It's an album that sounds even better with each repeated listening. For IQ fans the sound and ambience closely matches, what was until now my favourite IQ album, EVER. However,
the band's collective and individual performances and writing seem to have reached a new peak. Nicholls singing, not always to everyones taste, is at its best and most accessable. Offords wall of keyboard sounds (mellotron, hammond, church organ) is simply awesome. Cook's drumming has a lighter more jazzy feel to it and Holmes' guitar work, particularly the acoustic work, is his best yet. Jowitts' base work combines wonderfully with Cook.
At times they do sound like early Genesis (and one track like Floyd), but simply because they use the same sound scapes, the songs are original and have that distinct IQ sound.
The albums absolute highlight is the epic Harvest of Souls, clocking in at 25 minutes there is not a dull moment. This epic contains four or five of IQ's best EVER melodies and has to be their best track to date. The album opener Sacred Sound has a very typical IQ feel to it and is another corker. Squeezed in between are three very interesting shorter tracks.
Highly recommended to all lovers of progressive rock and the outstanding album of 2004 so far.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New Scholars of the Old School, 6 Mar 2007
By 
This review is from: Dark Matter (Audio CD)
I haven't heard a band of this calibre and with this degree of musical courage in a long time, what a delight it is to hear a band that both understands and embraces the true spirit of old school 70s progressive rock! The 'Genesis copyist' label I had heard associated with these chaps is a gross over simplification of their clear grasp of what makes great prog i.e. PASSION and GRANDEUR! Echoes (sic) of Floyd, Yes, Crimson, ELP, Camel, Greenslade and many others, drift in and out of the sounscape, and for me the effect is that of a deep appreciation of the tradition rather than plagiarism and mimicry, with all members blending their formidable skills to create a melodic, symphonic whole that celebrates the genre in all its glory, yet with a voice that is somehow all their own

From the sublime rising chords of opener Sacred Sound, through the darker moments of Red Dust Shadow and You Never Will, the casual arrogance of Born Brilliant (featuring some splendidly sinister slide guitar) and on to the grand finale of the epic Harvest Of Souls, the quality of this outfit is immediately apparent. The material has its sombre side, as the title indeed suggests, but the music remains uplifting throughout, and my only criticsm might be that Harvest Of Souls drags a little in places, but only a little.

Keyboard player Martin Orford in particular is worthy of high praise for opting for classic mellotron and Hammond-esque organ in keeping with the prog tradition. Conjuring the warm, rich tones and physical presence of Hugh Banton, the dynamic chord progressions and climactic intensity of Tony Banks, and the nimbled fingered dexterity and massive romantic expansiveness of Rick Wakeman, he provides the essential depth and dimensions necessary for any self-respecting prog album.

Peter Nichols has a clear and distinctive voice (with a touch of Geddy Lee sans the helium falsetto), and he handles the singing duties admirably. The rhythmn section of John Jowitt and Paul Cook propel the music along with both power and intricacy, moving with synchronised ease between the tricksy time changes, and guitarist Mike Holmes sets off the whole with bursts of soaring melody, swirling atmospherics and gritty, earthy slide work worthy of messrs Hackett, Gilmour or Howe.

All in all, a breathe of fresh air and stunning and accomplished piece of work in the field of modern prog. I truly hope that there is more to come!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Old fogie review, 26 Aug 2005
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This review is from: Dark Matter (Audio CD)
As a child of the Yes/Genesis era, I have been somewhat dissapointed over the years, (living in the past?), with the offerings from the new wave of bands in this genre. However, when IQ came on the scene they produced music which was different to the norm, they had a distinct feel, their own sound. Dark Matter has grown on me, the more I play the more I like, so much so I would rate it as their best overall not quite 5* but not far off. Put it on, turn it up and enjoy!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic of its genre, 6 May 2005
By 
Growing old gracefully (East Sussex, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dark Matter (Audio CD)
Not being a fan of IQ's previous material, I was surprised to find myself liking the track 'You Never Will' on a compilation CD. Intrigued, I bought the album last year and have played it at least once a week since then.
To my mind, this is a classic progressive rock album, with nods (although not slavish) to Pink Floyd, King Crimson (especially the mellotron samples) and Genesis. 'Harvest of Souls' is a superb multi-part track that has keyboard and guitar textures that hark back to 'Supper's Ready'. That's a compliment, by the way.
I still can't get into the previous material though.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like a fine wine., 23 Mar 2008
This review is from: Dark Matter (Audio CD)
Rather like a vintage wine, IQ really have improved with age. At a time in their lives when they have achieved mellow maturity, this is reflected in their music; relaxed and comfortable in their own skin and throwing as many epic, grandiose and progressive elements at an album as they want. And they are accomplished with it too. No longer the awkward pretenders to Marillion's progressive crown in the 80s; IQ stand head and shoulders above most in their chosen field and this album reflects all that is great about IQ.

It's all been said in earlier reviews, so look on this review as an endorsement of those heaping praise on this fine album; but I have to mention 'Harvest of Souls' as truly amazing insofar as 25 minutes pass by without one evening realising it - an awesome track, which challenges the likes of Genesis' 'Supper's Ready', Yes' 'Close to the Edge' and Floyd's 'Echoes' for finest prog epic. Only a 70s snob would deny just how great this track is. Brilliant.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real prog treasure, 5 Dec 2007
By 
M. J. Sexton "Prog rocker" (Crayford, Kent United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dark Matter (Audio CD)
Hard to top Zombie Woof's earlier review as he really says it all. I s'ppose my only footnote follows from his praise of keyboard maestro Martin Orford who shocked the bands fanbase by leaving earlier this year. IQ didnt hang around in appointing Mark Westworth (Darwin's Radio) and it will be interesting to see how the new look progsters fare from here. Whether the successor to this album can match or exceed the standard set here remains to be seen.
added Oct 08. Look forward to New Year 09 when new boys Andy Edwards and Mark Westworth can be heard on Frequency, the band's next album.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intelligence Quotient High, 13 Jun 2007
By 
A. J. Rabet "Rabs" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dark Matter (Audio CD)
In the words of the track "Born Brilliant" on this album IQ are to a certain extent "Pretentious and derivative, You've seen it all before" however what's wrong with a bit of that? Yes their rhythm arrangements and in particular missing beats in the drumming and drumming on the offbeat is reminiscent of Genesis in the Foxtrot era but all groups are guilty of having influences and some are worse than IQ. For example is not Oasis little more than a third rate Beatles cover band?

The songs here have one great strength over many prog bands and that is the lyrics are not merely drivel as per Jon Anderson at his best (Bless him I love Yes) but are actually trying to deal with worldly matters such as the loss of your father in "Red Dust Shadow" and our consumer American led society in "Harvest of Souls"

I find the vocalist in this band (Peter Nicholls) a lot stronger than others in this field and his voice holds up under the pounding it takes. I also admire the rhythm section of Paul Cook and John Jowitt notwithstanding their obvious Genesis/Yes influences

Well worth a listen and a worthy addition to any prog fans collection.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good neo-progressive rock album, 22 Feb 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Dark Matter (Audio CD)
Well produced and lush-sounding progressive rock, borrowing unashamedly from the bands of the 1970s but with a more commercial sound. Some catchy riffs here and there, and very good playing throughout. Worthwhile investment for fans of progressive rock, but not for people who like 3-minute tracks.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid effort from one of UK's best prog bands, 18 Jun 2004
By 
Dr. D. B. Sillars - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dark Matter (Audio CD)
IQ are one the UK's foremost progressive rock bands. Over a number of releases they have honed their modern progressive sound to such an extent that their last couple of albums have been quite excellent in their style and execution. 1998's "Subterannea" was a sprawling ambitious, 2 CD concept piece along the lines of Genesis's "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway". But, 2001's "The Seventh House" is for me their best. Each track is beautifully structured and composed, the playing and compositions tight and with a contemporary sheen, bringing their distinctive prog sound bang up to date.
So to "Dark Matter". As the title and album sleeve suggest this is a much darker affair than previous efforts. Musically it is much starker in execution. The contemporary edge is somewhat displaced by Martin Orfords use of organ and mellotron samples. There are no digital keyboard sounds this time, which is probably done on purpose to suit the mood of the album. Special mention must go to John Jowitt who uses a variety of basses to good effect throughout, especially on fretless bass. It is an enjoyable release, though not as obviously impressive as "The Seventh House". The IQ trademark style is there and that's maybe partly where the problem is. There is nothing here that we have not really heard before. That's not saying that the compositions are not good, they are and the darker edge does add some distinctiveness. The closing "Harvest of Souls" is at 24 minutes the centrepiece of the album, though it doesn't really take off to justify the epic status. Maybe I was expecting just too much after such a long time since their last album. Whatever, there is still enough here to enjoy and credit must be given to them producing a much lower key album, something not flashy or obviously out to impress. I do expect that the subtleties of the compositions will after many plays reveal a much better album than I have given credit to here.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prog rock heaven!, 26 Aug 2011
By 
G. McAdam "garymcadam" (North Yorkshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dark Matter (Audio CD)
Decided to give this one a punt on the strength of several favourable reviews here & elsewhere - suffice it to say that I'm glad I did! This really is a prog classic - epic songs (especially the 24 1/2 minute centrepiece "Harvest of Souls"), excellent instrument work by Martin Orford (keys), Mike Holmes (guitars), Paul Cook (drums) & John Jowitt (bass) and topped off by Peter Nicholl's soaring voice (think Peter Gabriel in his pomp and you won't be too far away). One could argue that they sound a bit too like early Genesis for their own good, but when they can come out with such gems as "You Never Will", "Red Dust Shadow" & "Sacred Sound" it doesn't really matter (as long as you're a prog fan of course!). This really is an example of a band close to the height of their powers and as such the album is well worth a place in any music collection.
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