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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.

Customer Reviews

Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful...

Beautiful Music, Beautiful Vocals, Beautiful Lyrics. This album is an ethereal escape into the world of Celtic faith, Celtic history, Celtic art, and Celtic mystery. Joanne Hogg's angelic voice soars on the songs "Kells (Opening Theme)", "Revelation", and "Kells". The songs "Chi-Rho" and "The River Flows" do not soar as high, but the vocals are clear and flawless. The only drawback for this album is that most of it is instrumental tracks. Only five of the 14 tracks have a substantial volume of lyrics. The ordinary listener may get lost in the lengthy musical journeys; but the patient listener enjoys the reward of a peaceful and multi-layered ethereal pilgrimage narrated by one of the most beautiful voices in modern music.

My Favorite IONA Album

As the first reviewer said: "Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!" All of IONA's albums are a treat to soak in, but this one probably has the most depth, involving rich Celtic history and the famous "Book of Kells." Based on the Four Gospels, it is almost overwhelming to take in the historic book, the Celtic history, the lyrics, the vocals, and the music.

stumbling block????!!

I'm sure the comment about this album being a stumbling block for some because it is based on the Gospels was well intended. However, it does sting as if it is SURPRISING that a band of THIS caliber would be (choke) Christian. ("Don't let the Christian message fool you, these guys are actually GOOD. chuck,chuck") I wish the world would understand that just because someone is a Christian it doesn't mean they are less. It means they have found what God intended us to all have...forgiveness. Everyday. I think it gives many the freedom to chill and become more than they ever dreamed. Some of the most amazing thinkers, scientists and artists are Christian....why should we be surprised? This album is amazing and has, and will continue to be a bridge for many to Christianity... a stumbling block? Ouch....I've heard of the Gospels being intimidating or convicting to a "non" or "pre"believer.....but would you tell God that His music was a stumbling block? After all, God invented it. That said, I still loved your review and the others and agree with all of you. God has His annointing on Iona. They are world-caliber and totally gifted. I am so grateful to them for not being ashamed of the Gospel or selling out to appease the masses or dumb-down to the mainstream.


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...
Full Bio
The Book of Kells, Iona
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