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The Book of Kells

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Album Review

This is the second release by the Christian progressive rock band Iona. Like their first release, and now to a greater degree, Iona's music is quite challenging to listen to. With multi-layered instrumentation, forever changing moods, and lyrics that require constant attention, this music is not easily digested. And this 72-minute album, centered on The Book of Kells, necessitates a thorough listen if one desires to understand and appreciate its concept in total. There's plenty to keep one's interest too, like Joanne Hogg's angelic voice, David Bainbridge's skillful guitar work, or the hypnotic flutes, whistles, and Irish pipes. However, inherent with such lengthy albums is the presence of filler material, so if you're in search of inspirational or passionate rock & roll, most of The Book of Kells will undoubtedly fall into the filler category. Actually, this music seems like it's intended for a mystical motion picture soundtrack. In a way, it all ready is. Given the deep thought and consideration required to understand this album fully, it does serve as a soundtrack for the mind's eye.


Genre: World

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Though Iona is included with Enya and Clannad in the list of contemporary Celtic artists, the Scottish band's influences -- including jazz-fusion, prog-rock and ancient Christian themes -- are more varied. Named for an island off Scotland's western coast, the group was formed in the late '80s by vocalist Joanne Hogg and multi-instrumentalists David Fitzgerald and Dave Bainbridge. For Iona's 1990 self-titled debut album included further acquisitions: drummer Terl Bryant, bassist Nick Beggs (former...
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The Book of Kells, Iona
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