No Subterranea now. Dark means depth.
There was a light beaming out of the last IQ album, "The Seventh House", but since then the ways of the world have gone wrong, and "Dark Matter" is imploding like black hole, boiling inside, fire hidden deep within. A monumental yet beautiful creation, the new record pulls a listener in, into its sparkling, anxious core, by the "Sacred Ground" insisting organ-and-guitar riff with only a hint of serenity in Peter Nichols' croon. From this, springs an acoustic lull of "Red Dust Shadow" that has a strong decadent, claustrophobic. though warm due to Martin Orford-delivered orchestration. lining to it. The classic prog influences flashing on the band's collective sleeve now, the melodies, all great, feel understated, and John Jowitt's to-the-fore bass brings the needed punctuation on more than one occasion.
And here's an epic beast, a brave step these days: six-part "Harvest Of Soul" clocks in 24-odd minutes and posesses enough themes to become an album in its own right. Subjects, too - for the second chapter, "The Wrong Host", IQ break out of their abstract world to sing about America, with tremulous drift of the opening piece, "First Of The Last", turning into Paul Simon-esque dry irony wrapped into the frenetic aural swirl. The tension grows, and if not for the sonic tapestry tunefulness, the anti-war stance might have been too heavy, but the music wins the day. A glorious achievement.
Let's just hope they won't go wrong, Roger Waters-way, after such a dark matter.