A band expanding their sound and continuing to get better…
Review by Stephen Brophy
Release Date: 11 September 2015
Another band that has been busy in recent times, following up 2013’s Symphonies Of The Night with a brand new release is one of the top Symphonic Metal bands, Leaves’ Eyes. Featuring the immense talents of former Theater Of Tragedy vocalist Liv Kristine backed by the guys from Atrocity, their ninth album, King Of Kings is a concept album based again on Norse Mythology. This time the story is based on the sagas of Norway’s first King, Harald Fairhair (Harald Hårfagre) and centres on the battle at Hafrsfjord (Liv’s hometown) which lead to him becoming King. Along with the normal shades of light and dark, there is quite a strong Celtic influence and with the addition of the London Voices Choir everything is bigger, which is great. The riffs are solid and heavy and with the additional choral accompaniment, there’s that extra depth to the songs.
As always, Liv’s vocals are stunning. Take one of the albums standout tracks, ‘The Waking Eye’ where her vocals lure you deeper into the story. ‘Halvdan The Black’ – another of the top album tracks – has more of a Metal feel with a catchy riff setting the scene before Liv kicks in and Alexander Krull (also of Atrocity) adds to the crunchy edge. If anything, the choir on this track make it darker adding something slightly ominous to the track.
The opening of ‘Vengeance Venom’ is very much a Celtic/Pagan sound, something that drops in and out of the song around the choruses and is a little less symphonic but gives the whole album a broader balance. The chanted intro to ‘Edge Of Steel’ – one of the heavier songs on offer with some nice guitar work throughout and the rhythm section as solid as ever – doesn’t last long and we are soon straight into the heart of another great song, this time Liv being joined by Simone Simmons of Epica to almost spar with Krull.
‘Haraldskvæði’ is a soft meandering piece that leads into the more epic ‘Blazing Waters’ which wanders and builds and falls as it runs. It will be interesting if this particular song ever gets added to live sets. Clocking in at seven and a half minutes, there is a slight touch of Maiden in there somewhere, but the band always put their own stamp on pretty much everything they do. And with Alex producing their work it’s once again crystal clear and the star of the show was always going to be Liv’s voice. Excellent work once again.
If you are a fan of Leaves’ Eyes then this will be right up there with Vinland Saga and Symphonies Of The Night as one of their best releases. Once again they’ve produced a high quality album that tells an captivating and well laid-out tale. King of Kings is definitely worth a look at if you like anything in the Gothic/Symphonic/Metal sphere. The band and both vocalists are sounding great and with the added bonus of the London Voices Choir and guest appearances by both Simone Simmons (Epica) on ‘Edge Of Steel’ and Lindy-Fay Hella (Wardruna) on ‘Blazing Waters’, this is a band expanding their sound and continuing to get better. Long may that continue.
9 out of 10
- King Of Kings
- Halvadan The Black
- The Waking Eye
- Feast Of The Year
- Vengeance Venom
- Sacred Vow
- Edge Of Steel
- Blazing Waters
- Swords Of Rock