IQ is a neo progressive rock band that is very consistent with the kind of music they play. Musically, there has not been major leap that's taken by the band to expand their music horizon. They do however, consistently create wonderful compositions in the same kind of music in the boundary of neo progressive rock. This album is by no exception, still maintain the same sort of music. I consider this album is a masterpiece with following rationales: First, it has a great songwriting whereby the music composition has a strong structural integrity within specified track or among tracks. Listening to this album is like hearing a story, regardless that it's a concept album or not. You don't even need to know about it at all. Second, IQ is still one of the best rock groups that is capable of creating and delivering tasty, touchy and memorable melodies in most of its musical segments. Take an example of fist track "The Wrong Side of Weird" - you will find so many tasty melodies, especially during transitions, using soft guitar riffs or keyboard. Third, with a passage of time, the music of IQ has become mature compared to previous albums. The first token of this happened when they launched "EVER". I would say after EVER was launched, IQ music has constantly be better by the passage of time.
Are you ready to surf with their beautifully crafted music? Buy the CD now! You won't regret, guaranteed! If you like early MARILLION, PALLAS, ARENA, PENDRAGON, you would definitely like this album!
Yeah, let me start with a melodious "The Wrong Side of Weird" opening track. This track is rich with melodies and beautiful segments. The guitar fills are typical of IQ and it is effectively used during transition from one melody to another or during a changing tempo. It's not an upbeat track but it has changing tempo with smooth transitions. It does happen also to the second track "Erosion" that has a mellow and melodic opening. When the music enters to its body, it reminds me to IQ early album "The Wake" music style. I think it reminiscent "Headlong" or "Widow's Peak" of that album. Sort of.
The third track "The Seventh House" is opened with a simple guitar fills and some piano touch with a tiny voice of Nichols (many people complaint about the voice quality of Nichols that does not fit with IQ music. I don't care! I think his voice is perfect for IQ!). The intro of this track is very melodic and stunning and stimulates me to sing at the same time listening to this track. The music is wonderful when all instruments are played together with a basic rhythm of guitar work. Well, honestly, I like the guitar playing style of Mike Holmes: not so complicated but it's very nice! There is a changing tempo to a more uplifting one around the middle of the track indicated by drumming sound. Rhythm wise, there is some "foxtrot" like music. The rest of the track is en encore part with heavy keyboard sound at background and high tone voice of Nichols, followed by lead guitar work until it fades away.
"Zero Hour" has an intro part that reminds me to Genesis "Turn it On Again". Luckily, it's not the same and even the track is a mellow one. As in Subterranea album, this track has a solo saxophone at its interlude. "Shooting Angel" is rather a spacey kind of music at its intro, combining the soft guitar fills (Floydian?) and keyboard sound. It moves to an upbeat music when it enters the body. When it enters the interlude, this band tries to create something different when there is an atmospheric piece before it continues to lead guitar solo.
"Guiding Light" is very melodious and uplifting. It has a touchy intro with vocal line and piano at the beginning. The intro part reminds me to "Speak My Name" of Subterranea album even though the melody is different. It also, for some reason, reminds me to Dream Theater's "Space Dye Vest" of "Awake" album. You may disagree with me, but that's what I feel. Don't get me wrong though, all of these three tracks have totally different structures. The music of "The Guiding Light" slowly enters to a more upbeat tempo with stunning lead guitar solo. Thanks God, it's relatively long lead guitar act - followed by soft keyboard before the vocal is back.
It's an ESSENTIAL album. IQ is not a psychedelic band, however, its music can create an atmosphere that elevates you to the "other world". Melodic and uplifting! MARILLION post Fish era should have learned a lot from IQ. Rating for "The Seventh House" album is 5/5.