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progVisions

progVisions is a progressive rock e-zine, published in English and made by an international group of members. Our objective is to become a centre of information that contributes to the knowledge, growth and development of progressive rock.

album reviews

album review

IQ - Subterranea: The concert - 2000

It was foreseeable. If "Ever" had its edition in video and in CD ("Forever live") it was a moral obligation for IQ to release the story of "Subterranea" in a similar format. Fortunately in this case the buyers have the opportunity to acquire for separate the video and the double CD, something those that are not exaggeratedly fans of the band will appreciate.

I suppose that all of you know "Subterranea", one of the better works of the Neoprogressive of all times made by one of the few sincere bands and pioneers that exist inside this style. Although "Ever" is, for my pleasure, their masterwork without discussion, Subterranea doesn't walk behind as for musical quality.

Before entering to value this "Subterranea: the concert", I should acknowledge that there are subjective as well as objective reasons that make me, in general, not like too much the live albums. The subjective reason is that, simply, I feel too much envy when listening in my house to a concert from a band that, except in the case of a miracle, I will never see on a scenario. The foreign progVisions readers maybe don't understand it, but in Spain (except in Barcelona) we do not have progressive concerts. The objective reason is that, in general, the live CDs have more tricks than a karate movie. In the history of music, many supposedly live albums have been recorded that, either were recorded in a studio with background noise ("Unleashed in the east" of Judas Priest or "Alive II" of Kiss), or they have really been recorded in direct but altered too much in study ("A show of hands" among other thousands examples).

Well, the case is that "Subterranea: the concert" is part of that limited numbers of live-CDs that sound real and like the authentic sound in direct. Maybe I miss some other elements that could have made this double CD a jewel of general interest. Those elements would be, from the formal point of view, some bigger volume in the atmosphere or the audience’s participation in the pieces. From a profound point of view I think that IQ should have varied more the songs in their solos or arrangements or maybe have included topics that had been created for "Subterranea" as "The universal scam" or "Eyes of the blind" –included in "The lost attic" - or "The overload" -included in the first solo album of Orford -. In that case the value of the album would have increased largely.

Having said that, "Subterranea: the concert" is a very interesting direct album. The presentation and the artwork are of great quality, with many pictures, additional information and annotations of Nicholls on the concept of "Subterranea". As you will be able to imagine, the instrumental execution on the part of the musicians is simply perfect, as well as the vocal work of Nicholls. The band unleashes the complete conceptual work with a more vigorous rhythm that in studio although, like I have said, with few significant variations with regards to the original work, except at the end of "Capricorn", with a great contribution of Tony Wright's sax.

In summary, I believe that "Subterranea: the concert" is a recommended CD for the fans of the progressive style, not just of IQ. The record has enough quality and own personality and it is faultlessly executed by one of the best bands in the genre. Also, thanks to bands like IQ we maintain that healthy habit of the 70´s that was the release of robust double live albums.

Alfonso Algora - August 2000
rating - Giant Electric Pea

 

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