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Dave Brons

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Dave Brons Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost album cover
4.17 | 28 ratings | 3 reviews | 25% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2020

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Song of Illuvatar (4:56)
2. Eń (6:09)
3. Into the Perilous Realm (5:10)
4. Awakened by Starlight (6:19)
5. Under the Same Sun (5:02)
6. The Shire: A Long Expected Party (4:46)
7. The Pass of Caradhras (3:36)
8. A Prayer for the Fallen (2:11)
9. The Riders of Rohan (4:18)
10. Minas Morgul (4:30)
11. The Ring Bearers (6:56)
12. The Houses of Healing (3:50)
13. All the End of All Things (3:35)
14. White Shores and a Swift Sunrise (6:03)

Total Time 67:21

Line-up / Musicians

- Dave Brons (Celestial Fire) / electric guitar, orchestration, arranging, easy piano (7,8,9)
- John Biglands / drums & cymbals, acoustic guitar (11)
- Daniel Day / bass, low whistle, classical guitar (5)
- Mark Swift / piano, organ

- Dave Bainbridge (Iona, Celestial Fire) / mixing, additional keyboards, electric guitar, percussion
- Sally Minnear (Celestial Fire) / Lady Galadriel narration, lead vocals, ethereal vocal looping
- Catherine Ashcroft / uilleann pipes & low whistle & tin whistle (14)

- Maria Mullen and the Great Yorkshire Chorus / choir, improvised vocal textures
- Jane Bryan / flute, alto flute, piccolo
- Ian Brons / cello
- Stephen Bradnum / trombone, French horn, bass trombone, euphonium, tuba
- John Dey / trumpets
- John Clay / cornet
- David Hogan / clarinet, soprano saxophone
- Frank Van Essen (Iona, Dave Bainbridge, Celestial Fire) / violin, violas, the violin solo (5)
- Rich "Red" Davenport / Gandalf narration
- Jaiden Vai Brons / vocals (9,11)
- Kai Rohan Brons / Frodo's narration (12)

Releases information

Format: CD, Digital
January 6, 2020

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
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DAVE BRONS Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost ratings distribution

(28 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(25%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
Good, but non-essential (29%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

DAVE BRONS Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Every year, there are a few surprising, out of the blue and frankly world-class prog releases from lesser-known artists or bands that really keeps the flame of discovery alight. The wretch of 2020 is no exception, as I had heard of guitarist Dave Brons on the "Celestial Fire Live in the UK" 2017 release from Dave Bainbridge, a thoroughly exceptional masterpiece in an audience setting. My expectations were not very focused but I caught myself looking up regularly with a huge grin of surprise and contentment, the very first listen, a rather rare event. "Not All those who Wander Are Lost" is a colossal monument to inspired Celtic-tinged prog-rock in the fine tradition of bands such as Iona, Colin Masson, The Morrigan, Dave Bainbridge solo etc..., a style I particularly love, as Irish/Scot and otherwise Celtic traditional music has an aura of melancholia that just cannot be denied, especially when blended with rock and prog tendencies. Most of the usual suspects are present to lend a hand or a lung, starting with Bainbridge who delights in mixing and playing keys and guitar. Sally Minnear of Celestial Fire sings brilliantly throughout, and Iona's Frank van Essen adds violin to a few tracks. Newcomers Catherine Ashcroft on Uillean pipes and various whistles, John Biglands on drums, bassist Daniel Day and pianist Mark Swift are all major contributors, as well as a large selection of woodwinds, brass, and flutes.

The theme is Middle Earth and Tolkien, probably the most overt prog influence of all, but fear not, this is not laden with endless narration (there are some wee bits here though) and maudlin orchestrations, as the tracks and arrangements pack quite a punch, verging at times on metallic riffs propelled by huge choir work, delicate piano motifs and lots of variety in the voice department (from spoken word, to whispers, to tranquil singing and finally out right belting). Dave Brons plays guitar with indisputable passion and elegance, putting his considerable talents on display, but the remainder of the band are no slouches, as the bass carves impressively, in sync with superb drumming and that ornate piano hitting all the emotive buttons. The biggest thrill on this recording and its number one asset is the unrelenting contrast between the gently reflective moments and the buildups to immeasurable symphonics that verge on bombast. Case in point: the achingly beautiful "Under the Same Sun" that starts out misty and serene, eventually evolving into sheer sonic magnificence, with a sizzling, over the top, guitar solo, a wild violin rant from Van Essen, dabs of pipes and whistles. All 14 pieces contribute to the whole much like a well-chaptered book, each one a mini jewel, tumbling forward at a prefect pace, keeping the listener transfixed and with bated breath. Yes, it can get "whole lot of Irish" with traditional swerves such as on pieces such as "Ea", "Into the Perilous Realm", "Awakened by Starlight" or "The Shire" but when Brons kicks in with a blistering lead, you know that your ears are quite satisfied! The thunderous choir work throughout, courtesy of Maria Mullen and the Yorkshire Chorus, adds considerably to the organic spirit of the music.

The soft moments are simply breathtaking as Mark Swift's majestic piano weaves a sorrowful path, such as on the mournful "A Prayer for the Fallen ", or the deft Brons acoustic guitar intro to "The Ring Bearers "before the piano and voice enter the fray, and the subsequent build up into an explosive expanse. The stunningly haunting piano reappears on "The House of Healing" before that morphs also into utter bravado. The feverish pieces are sensationally blitzed and desperate, such as on "Ea" with rapid-fire cannonades from all the soloists, mainly Brons who can rip with the best of them but kudos the Irish pipes as well, especially when the two get to duel as on the "The Riders of Rohan". On "Minas Morgul", the symphonics are cleverly crafty, solidly buoyed by enormous bass and drum support, almost a "Kashmir meets Carmina Burana" feel giving Brons the platform to blaze on guitar with Satriani-Vai-Holdsworth influenced licks.

The final two tracks really aim for a crescendo of emotions in consecrating the merits of this incredible recording, that covers the entire spectrum of sound and fury, the deliberately clever weaving of contrasts and styles. In perhaps typical fashion, the end comes with an anthemic, choir-infested farewell, as the glorious "White Shores and A Swift Sunrise" put this one ever so gently to bed. This album is absurdly entertaining, with an infinite sense of fairy tale magic, propelled by commitment, power and passion. No mush, no filler, no weak patching the blanks with needless notes. As such, this masterpiece is in my top 10 of 2020 releases, without the slightest hesitation.

5 Unearthed travellers

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars If you like your IONA a little heavier, this Celtic-Tolkien rock opera may be your cup of tea. And what a roster of guests helping him out!

1. "The Song Of Illuvatar" (4:56) very IONA-like instrumental (with opening narration). (8.5/10)

2. "Eń" (6:09) aggressive electric guitar-led opening turns soft with solo piano base before falling into more calmly-paced song in which lead guitar is cleverly mirrored by female vocalise and full choir. At the three-minute mark things pause for a reboot as the breathy voice of Sally Minnear sings a few words. Then a more Celtic-oriented "reel" with full prog and choir regalia. The guitar playing is impressive throughout and the choral support works nicely. Very good Celtic prog. (9/10)

3. "Into The Perilous Realm" (5:10) The words sung by Sally and choir in the middle and end seem almost inconsequential--as if they are intended to provide another thread into the musical weave, not convey anything through the English language they use. Odd. Nice melodies and very tightly performed, mature composition, though. (8.75/10)

4. "Awakened By Starlight" (6:19) starting off very gently, with a piano/keyboard base, the song slowly builds behind a strong John Serrie-like melody before reaching for stratospheric heights in the fifth minute. Again, no words, despite singers. (8.75/10)

5. "Under The Same Sun" (5:02) fast-picked nylon string guitar is joined in the second minute by Celtic instruments and orchestral instruments. Has a Hans Zimmer/Pirates of the Caribbean-feel lurking beneath--which bursts forth at the two-minute mark. (8.67/10)

6. "The Shire : A Long Expected Party" (4:46) once again, narration opens this, and then guitar and traditional Celtic folk instruments start expressing their interpretation of the events in the title. This song is very similar to an IONA song from their 2000 masterpiece, Open Sky. (8.75/10)

7. "The Pass Of Caradhras" (3:36) more Pirates of the Caribbean-like music follows the first Gandalf set up, but then the Grey Wizard speaks again, causing a shift in the music--all of which is recovered at 1:55. Two very skilled guitarists having their fun. (8.67/10)

8. "A Prayer For The Fallen" (2:11) somber piano echoes through the Vale in this sad song. Hallelujah. (4.25/5) 9. "The Riders Of Rohan" (4:18) piano and a young girl's breathy voice open this before rolling bass and swirling keyboard arpeggi move us into a interest and very theatric chase theme. (8.75/10)

10. "Minas Morgul" (4:30) dark and brooding with excellent help from the orchestral instruments. By now the John Mitchell/Devin Townsend-like guitar shreds are feeling similar--impressive but a bit like a two-trick pony. (8.67/10)

11. "The Ring Bearers" (6:56) acoustic guitar finger play opens this one. Piano and low bowed bass and strings join in as Sally Minnear sings for a bit. But by the end of two minutes she's pretty much done and the instrumental performances have taken over--plus, once again her efforts feel as if they are placed second to those of the instruments. Still, this is my favorite song on the album--there's some nice stylistic and dynamic shifts in this song that many of the others lack. (14/15)

12. "The Houses Of Healing" (3:50) echoed upper-octave piano play opens this (over gentle strings). The piano moves down and speeds up as traditional Celtic folk instruments join in. At 2:30 all the power electric prog instruments and motifs take over. The end of this one has a Roine Stolt or AYREON feel to it. (9/10)

13. "All The End Of All Things" (3:35) weepy lead electric guitar playing over deep organ-like sound palette. Part Colin Tench, part Jeff Beck, this is a nice bit of guitar playing. It comes bursting forward at the end of the second minute with some orchestrated walls of sound progressing a bombastic four-descending chords motif before backing off for the final 30 seconds. (9/10)

14. "White Shores And A Swift Sunrise" (6:03) feels like a genuine Irish "goodbye/fare-thee-well" song--before turning Disney at the beginning of the third minute with the full choir singing--with lyrics! Great etheric IONA-like protracted outro. (9/10)

Total Time 67:21

While it's instrumental performances are impressive, overall the album's string of songs all seem to lack something in the melody department for my tastes. Plus, I find it ironic that a concept album based on one of the 20th Century's most admired lyric literati offers very few words and even fewer moments of singing of lyrics. I think more use of the choir, more use of singing with lyrics, would have been nice. Still: a mighty fine concept, execution, and product.

B+/four stars; an excellent addition to any prog lover's music collection.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Dave Brons' latest solo album Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost is conceptually themed around the world and stories of Tolkien, from the song of Iluvatar to the end of LotR. While not a unique concept for a prog album by any means, Brons manages to nicely capture the unique atmosphere of the Middle ... (read more)

Report this review (#2432546) | Posted by Morsenator | Monday, July 27, 2020 | Review Permanlink

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