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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Kingfisher Sky

Hallway of Dreams

Review by Gary Hill

It’s a safe bet that prog purists will mark this one off their list as being metal. There are definitely a lot of heavy metal textures and sounds here. The thing is, there’s a lot more going on than that. I’d have to say that the female vocals and some of the arrangements bring in a lot of comparisons to Renaissance. This is a strong disc and a cool listening experience. If you are afraid of heavy metal, though, you’ll definitely want to avoid it.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Craving
Percussion starts things off. After a time they launch out into a fast paced crunchy riff. This eventually drops back to the song proper for the first vocals and we’re on our way, alternating between harder edged section and nearly balladic. This tune is a powerhouse, but (like most of the album) probably too metallic for the prog purists out there.
Hallway of Dreams
A killer piano based ballad structure makes up the first segment of this track, but they power it out later to more metallic structures. This feels kind of like a crunchy Renaissance to me. The track gets quite powerful at times.
Balance of Power
Acoustic tones that feel rather Celtic lead this off. The vocals soar over this while classical strings accompany. After the airy, non-lyrical vocals, we get the verse over the same backdrop. It’s a couple minutes into this track before it works out into metallic territory, but once it does it’s with a vengeance. This is a powerhouse jam, but it includes a drop to a more retro hard rock sound (a bit like Deep Purple). Then we get traces of Rush (more metallic) before they work back into the song proper.
November
To me this feels like a 1960’s folk tune done with a harder-edged modern progressive rock approach. We also get some music here that’s similar to European epic metal.

Big Fish
This one is rather Celtic and never makes its way anywhere near metal. It’s a balladic piece that certainly calls to mind Renaissance.

Through My Eyes
They bring this one in with a killer acoustic rock motif. This format carries that track as they work through the first vocal segments, mind you with a more powered up texture. This is another point where you might think of Renaissance a bit. They work it out after a time, though, to more metallic territory. They drop it back down too  the song proper for more vocal work, but then power back out into the metal moments.

Seven Feet
We get more of the band’s trademark brand of metallic progressive rock. There isn’t a big difference in terms of the musical formula here, but that doesn’t mean that this song is ineffectual or even that it feels redundant. The piano ballad section that is included on this is especially powerful.
Persephone
Starting with percussion, when the vocals enter it again feels rather like Renaissance. They pound out with harder edged sounds after a time, though – and this is rather like Dream Theater. After this segment we get a cool, almost spooky movement that has some spoken (but processed) vocals. Then we’re back through the same pattern of segments, but rather than give us a reprise of the creepy portion, they drop it way back to the acoustic based movement that lead it off. Acapella vocals end it.
Her White Dress
This should appeal more to the prog purists. It’s got a bit of a modern sound, but it’s nowhere near metallic. Instead this is a beautiful progressive rock ballad-type piece with elements that call to mind Renaissance quite a bit. This is one of the highlights of the disc and it does rise up to a more full and potent arrangement later, without bringing in any crunch.

Brody
They begin this with more sounds rather like the later portions of “Her White Dress.” This cranks out into more metallic territory (ala Dream Theater) later, though. For my money the most effective part of this track, though, is when they pull it back down to the more ballad-like and the vocals weave their tale with intense emotion.. They do bring back a bit of a metal texture as they carry on building this up and up and up with each iteration. Eventually it gives way to a reprise of the metallic riff driven sounds as the closing section.
Sempre Fedele
They put together the general modes of the band here in a new combination. In other words, the musical bricks they use are of the same size and shape as they are in most of the other music here, but the wall they build has its own identity. I’d have to say that this is one of the more powerful tracks on show.
 
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