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Stealing the Fire — A Raven for a Dove
(Bandcamp no#, 2023, DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2023-09-07

A Raven for a Dove Cover art

There was a full twenty years between Stealing the Fire’s debut, Hot Ice and Wondrous Strange Snow, and the follow-up, 2020’s King of Shadows. It seems that now the British trio is maintaining a more regular schedule, with In Memory of an Absent Friend in 2022 (a four-song instrumental EP), and now their latest A Raven for a Dove. Still, they seem more like a studio project than a working band; I’m not sure if they have auxiliary members to make live performances possible, but either way, what they have on offer here is a powerful slab of excellent neo-progressive, influenced perhaps by the classic British prog school, bands like Camel, Trick-era Genesis, Solstice, classic Marillion, and a touch of Yes, with a powerful keyboard presence throughout. Their music is split between instrumental pieces and vocal numbers, all epic length — the shortest piece is the opening instrumental “The Green Heart and the Summer Queen” that clocks in just shy of ten minutes, the longest is the sprawling multi-part epic “The Seventh Hill” clocking in at eighteen, the other three pieces falling at various lengths in between. Needless to say, the band’s oeuvre consists of ambitious progressive rock. The female vocalist, Saffron Paffron, has a unique voice that at times reminds me of the singers in Solstice, not a heavy bluesy belter, but she does deliver the goods — sometimes double-tracked — with an appropriate power level. The instrumentalists are Tim Lane (keyboards, guitars, bass, software tools for drums and saxophone, compositions) and Chris Bond (synths, keyboards, production and lyrics), and as you can see they are wearing multiple hats to make this all happen. A lot of emphasis on keyboards all throughout their work, though the guitars and bass are outstanding as well, and one might not even recognize that the drums are programmed. Stealing the Fire gave everything on this endeavor, and it certainly shows, A Raven for a Dove is easily their best effort to date.

Filed under: New releases, 2023 releases

Related artist(s): Stealing the Fire

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