King Of Kings – Release September 18th, 2015
Leaves’ Eyes is a Symphonic/Viking/Pagan/Folk Metal formed by Norwegian lead singer Liv Kristine in 2003. This is their 6th studio album – King of Kings. I found this band with the release of their 2013 album Symphonies of The Night and became an instant fan. With the release of their new CD King Of Kings, I have become an even bigger fan with one of my favourite releases for 2015.
Completing this line up with keyboards and vocals is Alexander Krull and Thorsten Bauer on guitar and bass both since 2003. Joris Nijenhuis on drums and Pete Streit on guitar are both playing on their first Leaves’ Eyes CD.
This is a classic symphonic metal album. A true epic masterpiece of this style of music.
Kristine reaches a new high with her vocal range that has you in a trance and leaving the listener in awe!
With the London Voices Choir adding their incredible vocals, known for their work on blockbuster movie productions such as Lord Of The Rings, Star Wars, The Hobbit, Harry Potter and Interstellar, to the Viking Choir keeping to the roots of this band and the Russian Orchestra giving this a feel of a theatre production musical. Adding the work of Christian Roch on pipes, flutes and whistles lends a Celtic feeling to this album, a style Leave’s Eyes have been known for.
The regular release of this CD has 11 songs but after listening to this CD before its release, I had to pre-order the Media book with 2 bonus tracks and an extra CD with 14 tracks.
Starting out with “Sweven”, a short, sweet, mostly instrumental piece that gives a Viking feel to the album which is based on a Viking concept story from historic events.
“King Of Kings” the title track is a powerful song with Kristine showing her powerful voice and the backup vocals of Krull. “”Haludah The Black” continues this Viking classic story. The dual vocals are well shared and the musical talent of the band and the symphonic melodies to match.
“The Waking Eye” is the first single and video. Starts off slower with Kristine‘s beautiful vocals and gets a little more upbeat with a flowing chorus and the choir adding to the power of this song that you want to turn up or even better, hear it live.
“Feast Of the Year” is a short Celtic instrumental that leads right into the Celtic-influenced “Vengeance Venom” which is the style I have really enjoyed from this band’s past work. A joy to listen to with putting different styles not only into an album but throughout a song which this song has done.
“Sacred Vow” is more of a straight forward track but still has different textures of slowing down and speeding up.
“Edge of Steel” features Simone Simons of Epica and it is truly epic with Simons, Kristine and Krull sharing the vocals. As lyrically powerful as one of my favorite bands Sabaton’s songs about war, this is a concept well put together.
“Haraldskvaedi” is a slow song, but it is one of the most powerful songs on the album for me. Kristine‘s voice shines even without her soprano vocal range as throughout the album.
“Blazing Waters” the longest song on the album and features Lindy-Fay Hella of Wardruna. More of a rough voice but it levels out well with Kristine and the London Choir. Heavier on the guitars but still having that power Viking metal feel.
“Swords In Rock” has the Folk Celtic metal touch and a perfect way to finish off the regular CD.
Thankfully the deluxe has 2 more songs. “Spellbound” is an acoustic track and a great bonus track while “Trail Of Blood” is a great finale to this epic journey as it gives Krull more of the vocals and Kristine handling the chorus.
In the Deluxe version, the second CD has “The Waking Eye” piano version featuring Oliver Paltai of Kamelot. Acoustic versions of “Swords In Rock” and “Vengeance Venom” then 11 tracks all done instrumentally.
I give this CD a one up on 2015 releases by Nightwish, Xandria and Sirenia all three of which should be in everyone’s collection if you are a fan of Symphonic Metal.
Shawn “Animalize” Irwin