125. The Book of Kells – Iona
THE BOOK OF KELLS (1992)
Easily one of the three or four most pretty albums to grace this list, the sophomore release of Celtic/Progressive rock band, Iona, remains one of the most finely crafted and stunningly beautiful albums in CCM history. From the creative artwork to the authentic and atmospheric quality of the music, one pictures themselves planted somewhere on the Scottish coast or seated on the isle of Iona overlooking the cold northern Atlantic.
it’s easy to forget that this amazing Joanne Hogg led band started on the short lived What? Records label before moving to Forefront for later releases. Former Kaja (Kajagoogoo) bassist Nick Begg appears here also playing the challenging Chapman Stick. Terl Bryant play drums, and shows why he is the most underrated drummer in CCM. His work is utterly hypnotic.
Based on the famous “Book of Kells,” a book believed to have been created on the isle of Iona during the 8th century depicting in art the message proclaimed in the Gospels. Iona’s music here brings to live in audio the same wonder and passion associated with the art that portrays the greatest story ever told. Combining both the Celtic, atmospheric sound similar to that of Clannad, there is also a hint of more progressive music with alternative leanings and even world music and native American influences at times. Jeff Johnson fans would approve.
Revelation is just that; a music revelation. Mathew – The Man is more progressive and clocks in at nearly 12 minutes with changes, progressions and mood shift that make it appear like several songs and not just one masterpiece. “Chi-Rho” is such a great song and expresses the beautiful Christology found in Paul’s writings.
Like many albums within the genre, it is best listened to in its entirety and from beginning to end. the album ebbs and flows with Gospel message and the fullness of that massage is pieced together throughout the entire project. Brilliantly conceived and presented, this, of all of Iona’s projects is an AYSO.