AFM Records [Release date 23.10.20]
Leaves’ Eyes are nothing if prolific, with eight albums, eight EPs and a live album since they formed back in 2003. ‘The Last Viking’ marks the final part of the band’s Viking trilogy, telling the story of the Viking King Harald III (the hard ruler), as he lays dying on the Battle near Stamford Bridge.
After a suitably grandiose intro piece ‘Death Of A King’, ‘Chain Of The Golden Horn’ gets things off to a galloping beat. Elina Siirala’s operatic vocals work well with the growled vocals of Alexander Krull – heck, even his surname screams swords and sorcery!
Leaves’ Eyes cleverly mix in chanting vocals and big, bombastic backing on ‘War Of Kings’, ‘Dark Love Empress’ and ‘Serpents and Sorcery’, stirring stuff. ‘Vanrangians’ is a belter, a Celtic rock riff with the dark and clean vocals combining to great effect. Even if symphonic metal is not your usual bag, give this song a listen – like Big Country does symphonic metal.
Vision Of Atlantis’s Clémentine Delauney guests on ‘Black Butterfly’, where both female vocalists match either nicely.
The title track closes the album, also being the album’s epic song. The atmospherics and arrangements on this one are simply superb, from the haunting Viking horns at the start through to the dazzling guitar solos, it doesn’t get much better than this in symphonic metal.
Leaves’ Eyes certainly take their music seriously, piling on the symphonic stylings and Elina Siirala has certainly adapted well into the band’s overall sound. A symphonic metal treat. ****
Review by Jason Ritchie
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