Dave Bainbridge: Celestial Fire

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

You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.

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 Glass
Deputy Editor, Classic Rock

Polly is deputy editor at Classic Rock magazine, where she writes and commissions regular pieces and longer reads (including new band coverage), and has interviewed rock's biggest and newest names. She also contributes to Louder, Prog and Metal Hammer and talks about songs on the 20 Minute Club podcast. Elsewhere she's had work published in The Musician, delicious. magazine and others, and written biographies for various album campaigns. In a previous life as a women's magazine junior she interviewed Tracey Emin and Lily James – and wangled Rival Sons into the arts pages. In her spare time she writes fiction and cooks.