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Kingfisher Sky - Hallway Of Dreams CD (album) cover


Kingfisher Sky

Heavy Prog

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3 stars When a new prog rock band writes songs - real songs - does it well, and debuts one of the most appealing releases in the scene, it merits some appreciation. A huge untapped talent like classically trained singer Judith Rijnveld certainly doesn't hurt, nor the solid leadership of drummer Ivar de Graaf and contributions from a great band of two guitars, bass and keys. No cuts over five minutes, pretentious themes, or other prog trappings so easily fallen into (save the storybook lyrics), 'Hallway of Dreams' satisfies in ways other high-minded art records simply do not, and it's a real pleasure.

Kingfisher Sky make heavy progressive rock, of that there is little doubt, bringing together brooding majikal folk, heavy metal, ersatz Celtic and Bjork-like rhythm/voice mantra. But the band's strength is its simplified and concentrated songsmithing, melodic focus and emotional impact. Rijnveld's charm and womanly wiles are irresistible and we get something a bit like Fleetwood Mac's strong feminine front and quiet but sure male backbone. But the music is not as restrained and precious as Nicks-era Mac, dipping more often into the pools of Zeppelin, Tool, Heart, and even the little dramas of Tori Amos. Opener 'The Craving' rocks nicely and is a good starter, nothing special but then they're just getting started. It's the kind of song pumped through the speakers before a concert and makes you wonder who it is. The title cut similarly timbres but perhaps drops the ball with the pop stylings, still an impressive mix of rich harmonic tunework with sudden leaps into Toolish progmetal. But the next, 'Balance of Power', really does it. Rijenveld's lovely distant wail greets us for a night of moondancing, de Graaf's fluid drum phrases, and the band's solid wall of power-rock for an album highpoint, a song that could easily climb the charts if anyone knew about it. 'November' as well, a near-perfect example of the standard song format followed by the semi-Elizabethen folk delicacies of 'Big Fish', Plant/Page droning in 'Through My Eyes', the clean modern cybernetics on 'Seven Feet' and 'Persephone'. And the flawless 'Her White Dress' as it screams *Hit!* into the ears of an oblivious market and shows us the simplicity of one beautiful song. Anyone who secretly loves a good 70s-style tunesmith could do a lot worse than this superb outfit, and in that light, 'Hallway of Dreams' is highly recommended.

Report this review (#183677)
Posted Friday, September 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Kingfisher Sky is a band put together by the former drummer of Within Temptation, a beauty and the beast goth-metal band not here on PA as of this writing. I have not heard much from WT so cannot make comparisons. But KS are fronted by a female singer as well, Judith Rijnveld, who has a very nice, almost operatic voice. It is very pure but does not have a distinctness that some other females in prog today have, but you certainly can't say anything bad about it. I am sure that the different teams here on PA had a heck of a time categorizing KS, as their music surely does not fit into one specific category. Heavy Prog was surely a compromise and probably the best one they could find. So what of the music?

I'm not sure whether to conclude that they have an identity crisis or just like mixing up power metal with sometimes dreamy music that lets Judith carry the day. And that is often within the same song. So it makes it difficult to say if you like Band "X" you will go for KS. The metal can be very heavy, but surely would not be enough for big time prog metal listeners. There are heavy doses of piano, acoustic guitar and atmospheric keyboards. They use these to try and create melodies when the metal is not engaged, to varying degrees of success. There are certainly more melodic bands making music today. All the music was written by Rijnveld and Ijar de Graaf, the aforementioned drummer, and he makes sure the drums are a large part of the sound without being too much. They even sometimes have a bit of a tribal feel to them. The songs are all in the 3 and a half to 5 minute range, so no grand musical journeys here. The production is pristine and the musicians are certainly no slouches.

This is a showcase for Rijnveld's lovely voice and if female vocals with a good dose of metal without being over the top are your cup of tea, then this might be the album for you. There may just be too much of a swing between metal and symphonic elements to please purists of either genre. But it is a well done album and there is talent here that may please some here on PA. I would encourage finding samples before trying. I have waffled between 3 and 4 stars for this one. It just does not click with me as much as many of my four star albums so have to go with three.

Report this review (#185643)
Posted Tuesday, October 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars Average.

This makes me think of the movie Twilight: appealling to the youngsters, lots of 'oh-I'm-so-sad-and-don't - know-why' and 'creeepy-but-handsome-teenager-looks-like-a-vampire' feelings. Seen it, heard it, got it already!

What to say? No epics, not even a song clocking past 5 minutes (so radio friendly). The girl sounds like Within Temptation/Lacuna Coil/ Epica; so nothing, absolutely nothing new on the horizon. What grinds my gears the most is the fact that the record has a great production, and a lot of time in production knob twitching's been what? Another clone based on a clone. Man, so many bands with fresher ideas could've benefit all this time and money! But hey, kids want goths, give'em goths.

After hearing this style over and over again, I even wonder why more and more bands are heading towards this tangent since this as been the flavor of the month for the past what, 8 years? I guess everybody wants their piece of the cake.

If you like Lacuna Coil and Evanescence, this is one another amongst so many.

A big yawn for me.

Report this review (#195403)
Posted Sunday, December 28, 2008 | Review Permalink

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