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Iona - Heaven's Bright Sun CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.34 | 20 ratings

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Andy Long
4 stars At long last, after months of anticipation, the Iona double live album, Heaven's Bright Sun (ALD 092), has surfaced and as soon as you press 'play' on the first disc you know immediately that the wait has been worthwhile. There's obviously no need for me to introduce you to Iona's music, but anyone who has ever watched them play live will know that, despite having a very complicated sound, they always play a stunning set, combining top artistry with an array of influences in a seemingly effortless cycle of musical prowess.

The band played three gigs in the middle of last winter which were all recorded especially for this release. The evening included a thorough cross-section of choices from each of their four studio albums and successfully mixed the more commercial songs with some of the more atmospheric instrumentals. Thus the haunting melody of the opening track, Turning Tide, the jazz-tainted Flight Of The Wild Goose and the ambient Columcille are interlaced with Treasure, Today and Irish Day in which Dave does his best Runrig guitar impression.

Phil Barker from Sal Solo's band is in the bass chair for this album and proves himself well suited to the task. Some of the highlights for me were Inside My Heart, a quieter moment from the Journey album which develops into a powerful guitar solo and Heaven's Bright Sun, an instrumental which conveys the majesty of Christ. Two new pieces are included, a moody arrangement of the traditional folk song I Will Give My Love An Apple and, as promised, a set of reels, imaginatively titled Reels. A fourteen minute rendition of When I Survey brings the album to a dramatic climax and this, combined with all the other elements of the live set, will serve to make this a landmark album for Iona.

Andy Long | 4/5 |


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