Buy Album: https://mikekershaw.bandcamp.com/album/arms-open-wide
Band Website: https://www.kershmusic.com/
Mike Kershaw – Lead and backing vocals, keyboards, programming
Gareth Cole – Guitars
Leopold Blue-Sky – Bass guitar
Stefan Hepe – Drums
Stuart Nicholson – Vocals on All That Matters Is The Fear
Owen Kershaw – Spoken words on Fear Factory
1. Fear Factory
2. Facing The Fear
3. All That Matters Is The Fear
4. The Fear Inside Me
5. I Wish Your Eyes Were Mine
6. A Promise
7. Keys To The Kingdom
8. Dark Spaces
“Atmospheric Progressive Rock” is what Mike Kershaw’s website says best describes his music, and rightfully so. I can’t think of a better way to describe it myself.
Now progressive rock is not my first ideal go to when I turn on Spotify or go to my CDs but I understand the pleasant appeal to it now. This is one of those albums I feel like hippies would have fawned over whilst smoking a lot of weed in the 70s. I just get that kind of vibe from it. There are hints of early David Bowie and it’s almost Twin Peaks-like in its softest moments. So a bit of the 70s, a bit of the 80s cheesy horror/drama wrapped up in something else. I feel like that added extra is if you took bands like Nightwish and removed the vocals. Or looked into progressive rock bands such as Jadis and Suns of the Tundra. Even more bizarrely think Jethro Tull but without the flute.
That now being said exploring the weirdness of the album is something else. The first four tracks on the album focus on fear, but not just fear, the elements of fear itself, the urgency, need to hide, horror and facing it. The fourth track on the album – the last of the fear saga is one of the better tracks on the album. It’s different from the others, starting with tribal-like drumming and ominous singing the guitar kicks in and the tempo ups itself bringing life to the album. The synths lend the added eeriness and horror to the track. Track five is the more ‘mainstream’ track of the album and most likely to be played on the radio. It strays slightly away from the rest of the album but not too much so that it’s completely different. It’s also the first upbeat one after the fear-based tracks. It definitely contains some good guitar solos and this is where you can most hear the Jethro Tull.
All in all, this isn’t a bad album. Personally, I wouldn’t say it was for me but I know there are others out there that would most definitely enjoy it.