Album Reviews

Leaves’ Eyes – Symphonies Of The Night Review

leaveseyes_cover

Released By: Napalm Records

Release Date: November 26, 2013

Genre: Symphonic Metal

Links: http://www.leaveseyes.de/

 

Line Up:

Liv Kristine – Vocals

Alexander Krull – Vocals

Sander van der Meer – Guitar

Thorsten Bauer – Guitar, Bass

Felix Born – Drums

 

Tracklist:

1. Hell To The Heavens

2. Fading Earth

3. Maid Of Lorraine

4. Galswintha

5. Symphony Of The Night

6. Saint Cecilia

7. Hymn To The Lone Sands

8. Angel And The Ghost

9. Eleonore de Provence

10. Nightshade

11. Ophelia

 

Despite never caring much for Theatre Of Tragedy I’ve always loved Liv Kristine’s voice, so it’s no surprise that I’ve become quite the fan of her current band Leaves’ Eyes over the years. I was immediately impressed by the folk elements on Vinland Saga, yet slightly disappointed by the heavier and more gothic sounding Njord, with its more generic beauty and the beast approach. Thankfully, their fourth album Meredead managed to blow me away and become my favorite, with its greater focus on folk elements than ever before. They seem to be a band that doesn’t like to settle on one particular sound for too long, however, so it’s no surprise that they have done something different once again on their latest album, Symphonies Of The Night. On my first listen I was a bit disappointed, but over time it has grown on me quite a bit, and while I don’t think it’s as good as Meredead or Vinland Saga, it’s definitely better than Njord and their underwhelming debut Lovelorn.

This time around, they decided to go in a much heavier direction, and while elements of all their previous albums can be easily noticed, on the whole it feels closest to Njord, except much heavier in spots. In fact, part of my initial disappointment was that a few songs on the first half feel like they could have come from a more recent Nightwish album, particularly with how the guitar sounds on the opener Hell To The Heavens and especially on Maid Of Lorraine. The problem I have with this, is that I’ve always thought they were best when emphasizing the more melodic side of their music, while those two songs are as aggressive as they’ve ever been, and everything from the boring guitar sound, to the extremely basic and repetitive drumming, and even Alexander Krull’s beastly growl, all comes together to create a pretty bad first impression. If not for Liv Kristine’s wonderful tone, and her newly developed operatic vocals (which are even more present here than on Meredead), those two songs would be hard for me to get through. Fading Earth is a diamond in the rough, and is the kind of simple and catchy song they seem to excel at, and thankfully Liv Kristine gets to sing the entire song on her own.

The album gets much better as it goes along. Galswintha brings back some of their folk elements, in a song that’s beautiful and very melodic while maintaining some of the intensity found on the majority of the album. After that comes the fairly solid title track, and then the album hits its peak from tracks 6-9, before closing out pretty nicely with two ballads that show off Liv’s voice some more. Out of all the ballads, though, Saint Cecilia is probably the best as Liv uses her operatic voice the whole way through and it sounds stunning.

After that song comes the first of my two favorites, Hymn To The Lone Sands. It’s another folk influenced song, and it has a really calm and beautiful opening, before exploding into possibly one of the most epic songs they’ve ever done. It’s once again much heavier, but this time I think they pull it off much better, as it’s much faster and more dynamic, plus the guitars and drums sound more complex and impressive than on the aforementioned weaker songs. More surprisingly, while I typically find Alexander Krull’s growls to be the weak point of the band, and I sometimes wish they would be dropped entirely, on this song he actually does a very good job and adds a level of intensity that provides a nice contrast to Liv’s vocals. All in all, that’s quite possibly my favorite song they’ve ever made, though the longest track on the album, Eleonore de Provence, is almost as good. Krull’s growls once again work fairly well, but the highlight is the chorus where the band pulls a surprise and enters into power metal territory, with blazing guitars and some of their most memorable vocal lines ever.

Aside from a weak beginning, Symphonies Of The Night is another strong album from Leaves’ Eyes, and is perhaps their most diverse and certainly their heaviest. While I would have preferred more of the folk elements found on my two favorite albums of theirs, I think most of their fans should be very satisfied, and some may like it even more than me. Either way, fans of female fronted symphonic metal are certainly recommended to buy it.

 

Written by Travis

Ratings    Travis    8/10

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