Since this is my maiden voyage with IQ-Marillion, The Flower Kings and Peter Gabriel came to mind more than once while listing to their stunning new album Dark Matter. Peter Nicholls has a very entrancing vocal style, much like the lead singer's of the band's I just mentioned. If you look at the track listing, there are only five, yet if you look at the time of each individual track the time begins to pile up very quickly.
The way "Sacred Sound" opens up the album, it makes you feel that a Lon Chaney movie is about to begin, not to worry though, everything changes and develops quite rapidly inside an IQ song. "Harvest of Souls," their curtain closing magnum opus clocks in at 24:29 and it is sheer brilliance, prog-rock at its very best, it gave me chills up and down my spine several times. Soaring sweet vocals punctuated by powerful guitar riffs (Michael Holmes) and sweeping magnificent keyboard strokes (Martin Orford), not to mention a rhythm section to die for (Paul Cook-Percussion, Cymbals, Drums & John Jowitt-Bass) are what the songs of IQ consist of. In its entirety, this album is the stuff dreams are made of for any prog-head, you can take that to the bank. Any prog-rock enthusiast will devour this ear candy with splendor; I have absolute confidence in that.
This album rivals Marillion's new masterpiece Marbles, and that my friends is a huge compliment as that album will stand as one of the best of 2004, and I have no doubt that this one will as well, it is that strong. "Born Brilliant" is a song that cuts like a razor's edge with thoughts and attitudes that come from the depths of a deranged mind, which fits the image of the cover on the CD. The first verse goes like this-"I'm cold and unapproachable, deceptive and a fraud, don’t need to keep attention, I hate to be ignored, the soul of no discretion, belligerent, won't think outside the box, I'm critical and careless, my open mind is shut and firmly locked" and "The baggage that I carry would sink a thousand ships." Oh my, sounds like the kind of person you would want to avoid at all cost!