Release date January 12th 2018.
Leaves’ Eyes are an established symphonic metal band and ‘Sign Of The Dragonhead’ is their seventh studio album but their first with lead vocalist Elina Siirala.
The band sell out shows all across Europe, Asia, North and South America and had a very successful US tour with Sabaton in 2017, so you know this is going to be pretty awesome before the turntable starts turning.
Each album puts music to a chapter of Nordic mythology or history and this new album continues with this theme. Storytelling lyrics, dramatic and theatrical music with a powerful metal heartbeat to it all. ‘Sign Of The Dragonhead’ has a choral opening capturing the essence of the band within minutes of the start. The ethereal soprano voice of Elina contrasting with the death metal vocal from Alex Krull is masterful. ‘Across The Sea’ has a shanty feel, toe tappingly catchy, a fullness to the music although it borders on a little too folky feeling for me personally.
‘Like A Mountain’ is mystical and flowing with some very soft, light acapella moments. ‘Jomsborg’ is more of the same with a distinct shanty feel which grows as the music develops and becomes more atmospheric and darker. A chanting chorus turns the track into an anthem.
‘VÖlva’ has the blend of fiddles, guitars, fast paced rhythmic drumming, key changes and a big chorus. One of the stronger songs on the album. ’Riders On The Wind’ is fast paced with pipes and drums giving it a different almost bigger feel and a respite from the shanty/folk tone of the other tracks; it is a strong piece of symphonic Viking rock.
‘Fairer Than The Sun’ is a lovely song; acoustic guitar, orchestral strings and the beauty and haunting tone of Elina’s vocal proves why she is the perfect replacement for former vocalist Liv Kristine. ‘Shadows In The Night’ has a heavier feel with grimy guitars and a deliciously dark vocal from Krull providing the contrast to the sweetness of Elina’s.
‘Rulers Of The Wind And Waves’ is a really classy instrumental which demonstrates the fluidity, chemistry and talent of the band. ‘Fires In The North’, chanting, fuzzy riffs and an ear wormer of a chorus leading into the final track ‘Waves Of Euphoria’, a classy ending to a very well-produced album.
All in all this is a good album and one which grows on you the more you listen. I would have liked to have had more darkness from Krull and there are a few too similar sounding tracks, but there are also some redeeming features, two of which are the vocalists who when they duet are pretty awesome.
Sign Of The Dragonhead
Across The Sea
Like A Mountain
Riders On The Wind
Fairer Than The Sun
Shadows In The Night
Rulers Of The Wind And Waves
Fires In The North
Waves Of Euphoria
Leaves’ Eyes are:
Elina Siirala – Vocals
Alexander Krull – Vocals
Thorsten Bauer – Guitar, Bass
Peter Streit – Guitar
Joris Nijenhuis – Drums