IQ's first release on InsideOut Music America contains some the bands best recording since the amazing comeback album Ever. This also marks the second time IQ has been on a major label, the first of course was in the Menel years when they were signed to Polydor Records.
I was at Baja Prog where parts of Dark Matter were debuted. In fact, the lyrics of the epic "Harvest of Souls" was written the night before. Although there are no real change in direction, we still get by far one of the best offerings of the modern symphonic/neo prog genres.
Years ago, Iíd say that IQ would be categorized as a neo prog band but they have evolved over the past 11 years to a Symphonic status. There are some nods to genesis here, how can there not be. I think if anything theyíre homages rather than cloning that sound..The combination of the amazing instrumentation where the band never steps on each otherís toes and the lyrics make for a solid IQ release. Each of their releases have a special meaning to me, even the ones done by Menel. Remember most prog bands went to the pop direction and stayed. IQ returned to prog after two pop oriented albums. Thatís an accomplishment in itself. Genesis never did that, now did they?!
My only complaint, if you can call it that, is the cd is a bit on the short side but with songs like the powerful opener "Sacred Ground" to the dark and foreboding "Red Dust Shadow" that complaint dissolves, But wait thereís more, the afore mentioned epic, Harvest of Souls. Sometimes itís synonymous with prog to have a 20+ minute epic to be christened a ďprogĒ band. And some of those that add their ďepicĒ never have the flowing structure, both musically and lyrically) of "Harvest of Souls". Itís never forced, and Iím sure the boys would probably gone for a few minutes more. Most reviewers are saying this is no Supperís Ready but I donít think that came to mind when they wrote the song.
I am a longtime fan (not a fan boy) of IQ and without a doubt Dark Matter is a great addition to their already wonderful catalog. Itís not ground breaking but solid , wonderful 70's inspired progressive rock release. This IS a must for longtime IQ fans as well as fans of great symphonic based rock. So go to your favorite vendor and get Dark Matter!
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on June 29th, 2004