REVIEW: Leave’s Eyes – King of Kings

At the top of the pack, as far as symphonic metal goes, Leaves’ Eyes has spent over a decade brining us world’s history set to music, and this time around, the lyrics are about Norway’s first king, Harald Fairhair. To create the magic that is this album, they’ve had help by the White Russian Symphony Orchestra, as well as the London Voices choir. If this wasn’t enough, the album also features guest-vocals by Simone Simons from Epica and Lindy-Fay Hella from Wardruna.

The first thing I notice about the album is the distinct atmosphere. While Leaves’ Eyes has a strong catalogue with enchanting melodies and epic arrangements, this one catches my ear a little bit more, as it has incorporated a bit of that medieval, or perhaps viking elements which helps setting the mood and tune for the entire album, which is set in the viking era.

The lyrics are well-written with a strong story-telling vibe. Together with this arrangements, it brings you right into wherever the songs may be set. And it gets even better by the occasional instrumentals. One thing that I really liked about this album, was that I didn’t really notice when the song changed. And unlike Butcher Babies, were all the songs would sound the same, this time it was all because of the instrumental which prepared you for the next song, and helped you get into the mood. I love these kind of things – when the bands or artists really make an effort to make it a listening journey, rather than just an album.

So let’s talk a bit more about the songs. I’m going to move straight onto my personal favorites – “King of Kings” – the epic, atmospheric bar-setting titel-track of the album which gives you a premonition about what is about to come, the more intense “Halvdan The Black”, the feasting song “Vengeance Venom”, the epic “Sacred Vow” and can we take a moment to appreciate “Edge of Steel”, featuring Simone Simons from Epica. And I guess Epic would be the right word to describe this song. It does make me think a little bit about “The Quantum Enigma”, so I’m not surprised I like it. The calming rhythms in “Haraldskvæði”, all of this wrapped up with the playful “Sword in Stone”.

But, to sum this up, I really like this album, okay. It’s a solid album with quality material. Well-arranged, well-written, well, everything really. It’s a step up from the previous albums, and even a tad bit better if you ask me. I hope they stay on this track in the future, but regardless – they should be proud of themselves as far as this album goes.

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(Label: AFM Records)

CDON I Amazon I Ginza

// Sara
Note; Lindy-Fay Hella guests on “Blazing Waters.

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