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Leaves' Eyes: Vinland Saga

The Atmospheric/Gothic Metal band Leaves' Eyes has followed 2004's Lovelorn with The Vinland Saga and as soon as it began I felt it would be something special. Right off the bat you are brought into the tale of Nordic Sailors leaving their home Country in search of New Land. The first two tracks line up the story and do it very well. I also noticed that this time around the release would be a little bit heavier than the last. While I enjoyed Lovelorn I felt that it let me down as far as the heavy factor went, and Vinland Saga clearly makes up for it. Singer Liv Kristine Krull has one of the most beautiful voices I have ever heard in a Metal sense and while she does not scream, her melodies cut through the music like a knife. Liv also brings a little ethnic flair to the table by singing in her native language during a couple of the tracks. In addition to this, we have the mixture of some of the Black vocals courtesy of her husband and guitarist Alexander. The rest of the lineup remains the same as on the previous record. The mix of Black/Melodic vocals are best experienced in tracks like "Solemn Sea" and "The Thorn", both should be played very loud for maximum enjoyment.

For a sophomore effort the band has beaten the normally encountered curse. In fact The Vinland Saga is perhaps a better choice as a first time purchase when looking into this group. Song like "Elegy" and "Leaves Eyes" are worthy of regular rotation on Metal and Gothic radio stations if you ask me. It is my hope that existing mediums of this pick up on this band in particular and give them the level of exposure they deserve. There are some other interesting facets to some of the music on release. The song "Amhran" can almost come off as an Enya tune while a song like Twilight Sun has a very Nightwish quality to it. The listener can decide for themselves if I am on point with this, but it was what crossed my mind as I reviewed it.

Overall this is a very good piece and I found little that I did not enjoy. Lucky for US Listeners the people at Napalm Records have enabled us to purchase this domestically and not face a large price due to it being an import. I wanted to make note that there is also an EP of Elegy available and this includes a number of non-album tracks. They are both something to look into so take that as a high recommendation.

Track Listing
1) Vinland Saga
2) Farewell Proud Men
3) Elegy
4) Solemn Sea
5) Leave's Eyes
6) The Thorn
7) Misseri (Turn Green Meadows Into Grey)
8) Amhran (Song Of The Winds)
9) New Found Land
10) Mourning Tree
11) Twilight Sun
12) Ankomst

Added: September 8th 2005
Reviewer: Ken Pierce
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 4056
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Leaves' Eyes: Vinland Saga
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-09-08 18:54:37
My Score:

If you weren't already aware of it, Liv Kristine Krull, the lead singer for Leave's Eyes, is steadily becoming one of the best female singers in metal. This is especially evident with her performance on Vinland Saga, an enjoyable feast of symphonic sounds that will instantly appeal to the Nightwish and Lacuna Coil crowd, as well as lovers of melodic and orchestral metal. Liv sings her heart out on the soaring title track much like a young Annie Haslam from Renaissance, rocks with conviction on "Farewell Proud Men", and hits all the high notes on the progressive "Elegy", a song that also features plenty of crunchy guitar riffs, fluid solos, and plenty of keys.

For the more aggressive metal fan, not all the songs on Vinland Saga are light pieces, as the band cranks out some fearsome symphonic metal on "Solemn Sea" and "The Thorn" thanks to some death vocals from guitarist Andrew Krull, husband of Liv. On these, the contrast between Liv's soaring vocals and Andrew's deathly growls works quite well, and you almost wish they would do it a little more throughout the album.

Other highlights include the majestic "Misseri (Turn Green Meadows Into Grey)" and the lovely acoustic piece "Leave's Eyes". Another acoustic track, "Mourning Tree", besides being a gorgeous number, has a slight Celtic feel to it, with many layers of vocals from Liv, mystical violin, and silky guitar work.

Leave's Eyes has a bright future ahead of them. This is a band that will easily appeal to both the prog and symphonic metal crowd, and Vinland Saga is a winner all around.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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