The flavor that nearly any symphonic metal band brings to the table is still hard to describe since I started listening to it after so many years. It’s like that ice cream type that has a name, but you’re not certain that it tastes like you have been told because you’re sure as hell that there’s something else in there…. And you might not know what it is, but it’s there and you love it. I would apply the same metaphor to the band LEAVES’ EYES. They caught my attention the very first time I heard them, and I’ve been loving them every time. Vocalist Liv Kristine has one of the most beautiful voices that can exist in metal, the band is European which is another blasting factor, and their songs create a mystic sensation of being in ancient Scandinavian times and actually living in that moment.
LEAVES’ EYES has just released their sixth studio album, King of Kings (AFM Records). My expectations of this record ranked in the awesomeness, and that’s exactly where it landed, including the fact that the LONDON VOICES ensemble (contributing to the soundtrack of The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Harry Potter, et al) is adding their sweet ingredient to the the album, which is an awesome plus for us geeks! It seems like forty-three minutes of LEAVES’ EYES is not enough, but when you enjoy every second of it, there’s nothing else to ask for.
“Sweven”, the opening song is a really good musical introduction and reminder of LEAVES’ EYES taste, followed by “King of Kings”, which has this magical style in every sense along the track, very slow and powerful riffs that take you nowhere but to the Vikings’ land around 800 A.D. “Halvdan the Black” makes me picture a group of natives doing some kind of their own ritual before going to war. “The Waking Eye” is another great song where there’s a perfect mix between metal music and hypnotizing vocals, ideal to continue the journey through ancient Northern Europe. “Vengeance Venom” landed as one of my favorite tracks, with a taste of folk metal that deserves a loud PROST!
The following songs are a little longer, and of course, very pleasant to listen to. “Sacred Vow” holds more epic elements including the harmonization of keyboards and backup chorus, steady drums and noisy guitars to remind you that you’re listening to a style of metal that can impress anyone. “Edge of Steel” talks of course about that weapon of honor that only the most brave men (and perhaps some women) would hold to stand their ground. This song includes guest vocals from Simone Simons of EPICA and a taste of growls from keyboardist Alexander Krull. One of the things that I love about bands like LEAVES’ EYES is that there’s at least one very long song, just because four to five minutes is not long enough to get you to a complete climax. “Blazing Waters” is exactly this track, full of action, holding a story, brutal at some point, it has an awesome combination of elements that take a well-developed song higher and higher until you leave completely satisfied. “Swords in Rock” is a great dancing song, it will leave you with the smile that you should have after you spend your hard earned money to support these incredibly talented artists.
The band members Thorsten Bauer (bass, guitars), Joris Nijenhuis (drums), Pete Streit (guitars), Liv Kristine (vocals) and Alexander Krull (producer, keyboards,vocals) have really done a great job with LEAVES’ EYES’ sixth album. Any kind of music that is symphonic, folk, Viking or pagan is something that I can never deny, and I’m glad that I’m writing these words now to thank absolutely great musicians for creating a set of eleven songs that I can play when I want my mind to roll and let itself go. Pick this album up and support the best metal that this planet has given us ever.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “King of Kings”, “Halvdan the Black”, “Vengeance Venom”, “Edge of Steel”, “Blazing Waters”.