AFM Records [Release date 12.01.18]
Back in April 2016 Leaves’ Eyes parted ways with singer Liv Kristine, which led to various accounts of how the departure came about surfacing on social media and ill feeling between both parties. So this album is pretty key for Leave’s Eyes to win fans over.
Enter Elina Siirala of EnkElination as Liv’s replacement and the album’s storyline continues the one started on ‘King Of Kings’, namely the stories of Norway’s first king Harald Fairhair (Harald Hårfagre) – to be fair the album cover gives you a pretty good idea that Vikings will be featured!
Musically Leaves’ Eye have gone for shorter blasts of symphonic metal, some work really well like ‘Jomsborg’, a real rousing chorus and Elina Siirala makes her presence felt with her high range, almost operatic vocals. They do fall down a little on the title track though as Alexander Krull’s growling vocals sound muddied, not unlike a cassette player chewing up a tape.
‘Fairer Than The Sun’ is a gentler number where the band add in a folk backing – uilleann pipes and mandolin I think – to create one of the two stand out songs on here. The other being ‘Riders On The Wind’, blimey Leaves’ Eye do Big Country! It certainly sounds like it on the guitar riff and with its lively chorus (Krull’s vocals on this one fit the song perfectly), makes for a song that would be enjoyed outside the symphonic metal scene.
‘Sign Of The Dragonhead’ is not a bad album, it just needed to be a real ‘wow’ in order to satisfy fans and move the band past their recent troubles. Elina Siirala certainly makes her mark and that is one real positive. ***
Review by Jason Ritchie
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