Label : Suburban Records

Review by John Davies

Well, the Netherlands has done it again! Kingfisher Sky is yet another outstanding band to come from this country, and their debut CD “Hallway of Dreams” is proof that not only is the Netherlands producing the highest number of female fronted metal bands, but also some of the best. On top of that, it seems that many of the top female vocalists in this genre are coming from there as well and Judith Rijnveld of Kingfisher Sky will no doubt be joining those ranks very soon. She has one of the most beautiful voices I’ve ever heard, very sultry and low key with perfect clarity and a smooth vibrato. Her voice sends shivers through me and completely captivates me. The other creative partner in this band is former Within Temptation member Ivar de Graaf. He left WT just as they were beginning to achieve world recognition so that he could pursue his own passion for song writing. Judging by the quality of music on this album, he made a brave but worthwhile decision. If he had not left WT, we may not have ever heard the excellent progressive rock songs found on this album! I’ve been trying to come up with a word that best describes the music on this album, and I think ‘elegant’ fits well. It seems that every note, every instrument and every drum beat is written with so much care. Everything happens at exactly the right time, soulful vocal passages, to intricate bridges to cutting guitar chords coming in with delicate precision. The vocal melodies are mercilessly enchanting, and once you hear Judith’s voice you are hopelessly hooked. Her voice in the ballad ‘November’ is particularly beautiful and melancholic. I love the guitar work on this album. There are loads of crisp acoustic guitar passages that really show the musicianship of this band. The harder sounding electric guitars are well placed and add a nice metal edge where needed. There are no blistering lead breaks so much as carefully planned tasteful solos. Ivar really knows his way around the drum kit, and uses all parts of the kit without making things too busy, although I think he favors the toms a bit much at times. The drums are well mixed so that you can hear them clearly, but they are not overpowering anything else. There are many exceptional songs on this CD. “Persephone” and “Seven Feet” are both very good heavier progressive numbers, “Persephone” being a really thrilling cut. Judith’s voice is exceptionally strong and clear in “Through My Eyes” and probably shows her range more here than on any other song. “Balance of Power” is a medium paced song and has an incredibly pretty and catchy melody. “Big Fish” is a nice Celtic sounding piece with strings and some flute sections. The song “Brody” is amazing, with some gorgeous vocal layering and some killer metal riffage. The final vocal passage at the end of the song is just glorious. The last song, “Sempre Fedele” is just brilliant, and is a very nice ending to the album. Throughout the album, Judith’s vocals will leave you in awe. And from what I have seen of live video clips, she is just as accurate on stage as she is in the studio. In fact, the whole band is very impressive in or out of the studio. Although there are some metal aspects to some songs, I would not call this a metal album by any means. It is definitely more in the veins of progressive rock, which is exactly how the band describe themselves, having influences like Jethro Tull, Kate Bush and Tori Amos. The overall production/engineering is quite good. Even though there is a lot going on with a variety of instruments, there is good clarity. I thoroughly enjoyed this CD, and I would love to see this band live. I think Kingfisher Sky is destined to dwell among the other greats from the Netherlands such as After Forever, Nemesea, Autumn, Epica and Within Temptation and I think Judith Rijnveld is going to be a new favorite among fans of female fronted rock.

Rating – 90/100

 

Tracklist

  1. The Craving
  2. Hallway of Dreams
  3. Balance of Power
  4. November
  5. Big Fish
  6. Through My Eyes
  7. Seven Feet
  8. Persephone
  9. Her White Dress
  10. Brody
  11. Sempre Fedele

 

Line Up

  • Judith Rijnveld – Vocals
  • George van Olffen – Keyboards
  • Edo van der Kolk – Guitars
  • Daan Janzing – Guitars
  • Eric Hoogendoorn – Bass 
  • Ivar de Graaf – Drums 

 

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