Friday, September 11, 2015
Leaves Eyes : King of Kings"
I Haven't reviewed any big overwrought symphonic metal in sometime so lets take a stab at this one. It opens with more of a folk metal feel, which I prefer to a horde of cellos chiming in, but it's merely an intro piece as the more Nightwish like title track proves to be the first song. The first thing I notice is that former Theater of Tragedy singer Liv Kristine's vocal has gotten stronger and more operatic. The album is a concept album that tells the story of Harald Fairhair the first King of Norway. "Halvdan the Black" finds things getting really Nighwish like, with layers of vocals and a pretty straight ahead power metal chug. Truth be told this kind of music has always been power metal for goth kids who outgrew Lacuna Coil. These guys can play and know how to fuse dynamics, in fact this album has more kick than what I have previously heard from them.
There are a few formulas these bands tap into one of them is get off to a delicate start, driving drum beat, not metal but not quite pop either though the vocal could have come from any anime soundtrack and then build it up from there. They mix the guitars a little further back than some to achieve this effect. The drummer doesn't relent on the double bass when this comes about. So now in rating this album I find myself looking for the moments that are uniquely Leaves Eyes and are not afraid to stray from the book of Symphonic Metal 101. Its moments like the Bag pipes and other folk instruments frolicking in the interlude before "Vengeance Venom" that is a clearer direction of where the band should go and while these elements are sprinkled about if pushed forward in the mix then the band would be onto something. Never the less the elements that are there keep things varied enough to make this one of the first real stand outs to me. There is a more melodramatic take on the folk thing on the double bass driven "Sacred Vow" which finds a more pop tone taken while she sings about the viking nation waging warfare.But like this kind of thing or not you have to admit Leaves Eyes are just as formidable as any of the other diva metal bands.
The divas battle it out as Simone Simons shows up for "Edge of Steel" which has some of the albums most metal riffing on it. There voices blend well. After the more folkish interlude "Blazing Waters" Linda Fay Hella from Wardruna lends her voice to this one. For what it is it is well done, it just depends how much frilly shirted bombast you can take with your metal. They do combine this with more folk on the closing song "Swords in Rock". You know for what this is it's well done , there is nothing on it that makes me cringe , I will acknowledge I am not the biggest fan of this sort of thing aside from Kamelot, who is a little darker and heavier , even with the more growled death metal vocals that sometimes scream out from the background on this album. There is not a lot of darkness , however they have pulled off the preformance they intended which is ambitous so they deserve and 8 for that.