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Dave Bainbridge: Celestial Fire

A holy punch from jazz-seasoned Celtic/Christian prog Brit.

During the 90s, Dave Bainbridge worked with a glittering cast – from Robert Fripp to Nick Beggs – as head man of Celtic prog outfit Iona.

So it’s fitting that this solo adventure features a veritable ‘who’s who’ of contemporary progressive types (Neal Morse/Jordan Rudess drummer Collin Leijenaar, Threshold’s Damian Wilson, Nightwish’s Uilleann pipes dude Troy Donockley). Healthily supported, Bainbridge combines Irish folk sensibilities with Dream Theater-esque prog metal and spiralling Flower Kings-meets-new-age tones. The likes of The First Autumn introduce a Mostly Autumn-style folk-prog side, made gutsier with strident guitar flourishes in tracks like For Such A Time As This. Everything’s rendered more sparkly with delicate piano fills and the general sense of a grand, medieval orchestra at work – think Keith Emerson and John Petrucci’s pagan love child. Certain Celtic tendencies may prove less commanding for some, but the rich musicianship at work generates a satisfying, sophisticated prog/folk tapestry. Just don’t let the awful, poor-man’s sci-fi typeface used for the track listing on the back cover put you off.

Polly is Features Editor at Classic Rock magazine, where she commissions regular pieces and longer reads (including new band coverage) and writes a few things. She also writes for Louder, Prog and Metal Hammer, and talks about songs on the 20 Minute Club podcast. In her spare time she writes fiction and cooks.