Most major record companies are only interested in the Lady Gaga's and Madonna's of this world and in earning as much money as possible. For that reason more and more bands and artists experience difficulties in financing the recordings of their music. However, crowdfunding has proved to be a good way to make it possible. The relatively new method to co-finance albums by fans has already become indispensable for many bands. This also applies to the Dutch rock band Kingfisher Sky. So, actually we have to thank their fans that Arms Of Morpheus saw the light of day after their debut Hallway Of Dreams (2007) and its successor Skin Of The Earth (2010, see review). Currently the band consist of Judith Rijnveld (lead vocals), Ivar de Graaf (drums, Irish Bouzouki, acoustic guitar), Edo van der Kolk (guitar), Chris Henny (guitar), Maaike Peterse (violoncello), Nick Verschoor (bass) and David Gutiérrez Rojas (keyboards).
At the end of my review of their previous album I wrote that people who like prog rock with some metal and folk influences may be interested in the music recorded by Kingfisher Sky. They don't sound as commercial as Delain or Within Temptation and they're not as loud as Epica or Nightwish, but nevertheless I recommended Kingfisher Sky to the fans of these bands! Well, this more or less applies to Arms Of Morpheus as well, although I think that this is a too simple way to describe their latest work since the elaborated music on this new CD clearly shows a style of their own. The musical influences are even more diverse than on previous recordings. It seems as if the band members have been inspired by rock operas, pop, rock, classical, oriental, world and Celtic music, which certainly has enriched the compositions on Arms Of Morpheus.
Although the total length of the album indicates that it's a rather short one, I didn't get this feeling while listening. The eleven tracks have all a maximum length of five minutes or less in which a lot happens music wise. This makes you constantly focussed which feels as if they last longer. The music sounds mostly dreamy having subjects as sleep, coma, hypnosis, insomnia, myths, love, anguish and death, but all with a dark edge that also contributes to the melancholic atmosphere of Arms Of Morpheus. The album has a very open sound allowing the musicians to shine throughout.
Also the guest musicians Kristoffer Gildenlöw (ex-Pain Of Salvation, Dial, bass), Bouke Visser (tin whistle), Fieke van den Hurk (hurdy-gurdy) and Valerio Recenti (My Propane, vocals) get enough room to be heard. They are all responsible for the strong compositions on Arms Of Morpheus. I don't want to go any deeper into these compositions except for the final track. Maddy is a tribute to Marina Schäfer, a German fan who founded the fan club Sempre Fedele in 2008 after visiting one of the concerts of the band. In July 2010 she unexpectedly passed away at the age of only 32. This song is truly heartbreaking and sung with a lot of emotion.
Hats off to Kingfisher Sky and all the people involved in making Arms Of Morpheus an excellent album, especially all the fans who made it possible that the band could reach an higher level on this album compared to the sound and the compositions on previous albums. A fine album indeed!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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