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Iona - Another Realm CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.58 | 64 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars I have to admit, as excited as I was about the coming and arrival of this album, I am ultimately disappointed. Though Joanna Hogg's voice has never been better and the recording and production are outstanding, much of the music seems to never really pack a punch or to say anything new--especially on the first CD--which may be my main complaint: Disc 2 is full of GREAT music and beautiful melodies and playing while Disc 1 is full of . . . blah (aside from it's stunningly beautiful opening song, "As it Was"). The real IONA doesn't really show up until Disc 2!

My other complaint is that, for the very first time in listening to this group's output, I am saddened at the in-your-face Christian messages in the rather bland and straightforward lyrics (though, granted, mostly on Disc 1). No other IONA album in my recollection contains such a preponderance of church-like lyrics. The band has before excelled at 'hiding' its message in its poetic imagery and metaphor. Only Disc 2 seems to have this kind of magic. "Speak to Me," "Let the Waters Flow," "The Fearless Ones," and "White Horse" do the best at reminding one of the 'mystical' IONA of old. Disc 1 might as well be mainstream Christian rock. The songs on the second CD are by far 'prettier' and more powerful than those of the first, though still not as 'proggy' as one might hope.

5 Star songs: "As it Was," "Ruach," "Speak to Me," "Let the Waters Flow," "Saviour," "The Fearless Ones," "White Horse," "As it Shall Be" 4 star songs: "Clouds," "An Atmosphere of Miracles," "Let Your Glory Fall," "And the Angels Dance"

IMO, the best IONA CD released in 2011 is an album called "Ghosts..." by a German group called FREQUENCY DRIFT. Disc 2 of Another Realm comes in close second. Disc 2 earns a 4 star rating from me; Disc one 3 stars. I'm reminded of the quandary I found myself in while trying to rate Harmonium's "L'heptade" Mature, quality songwriting from mature, seasoned performers all performing at high levels to put together a very polished, very long album of songs which . . . has . . . something missing. Or something too much of. The collective effort, I'm afraid--as much as I love IONA and this music--can only muster 3 stars: Good, but not essential--unless you can just get Disc 2--which is highly recommended.

BrufordFreak | 3/5 |


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