A lot has happened in the five years since "Frequency": With Neil Durant a new keyboarder has joined the band, and bass player Tim Esau has returned. The newly formed band has passed the live fire test long ago, and with "The Road Of Bones" they now deliver one of the albums for which fans have been appreciating them since the early eighties: Progressive rock music with a dark impact, complexly arranged, wonderfully produced and with a Peter Nicholls, who grows beyond himself vocally time and time again. The record starts as you know it from IQ: "From The Outside In" is a powerful, melodic song, which reminds a little of "Ryker Skies". Unusual are the last minutes, when the storm dissolves into an ominous xylophone noise and the play ends threateningly. With the title track follows the strongest composition of the album. The number is very withdrawn in the first minutes, Nicholls now strongly reminds of Peter Gabriel. Two minutes before the end, the song clusters to a violent sound attack, rarely heard by IQ in this way. "Without Walls" is with nineteen minutes the core piece of "The Road Of Bones" and at first difficult to penetrate. Compared to the pieces before, this monolith appears rugged and repellent, which is of course due to the dark lyrics. A hard piece of work, but after listening several times the song begins to reveal itself more and more. The balladesque "Ocean" is a decent song, but in the context of the other pieces it is by no means outstanding. His task is rather to prepare the stage for the grand finale: The twelve-minute "Until The End" begins - atypical for IQ - with oriental-sounding instrumentation. It never really finds its way into the track, but that's what makes it so attractive. IQ have always endeavoured to write big, beautiful melodies despite all their complexity, but in this track they initially refuse a catchy structure. Also the end is surprising, when the turmoil leads into a reduced piano passage, then into an acoustic guitar solo and Nicholls sings with a vocal brilliance over tender piano tones. The conclusion of a fascinating acoustic journey. After the studio sessions IQ had so many songs that it would have been enough for a double album. In favour of compactness, however, they decided against this variant. The remaining six tracks, which are in no way inferior in terms of quality behind the five "official" numbers, are included as a bonus CD in the Special Edition. A Solomonic solution.
Top track: The Road Of Bones