(9/10) That Leaves' Eye belong to the figureheads of female-fronted symphonic metal isn't a secret. This has to do with the fact that the guys are around already since 12 years and released a bunch of really well done albums. It's five that has been published till now and the sixth one is out right now.
"King of Kings" can easily keep the ambitious level of the predecessors. Actually I think that the new longplayer shows the band even on a next level. This has to do with the songs, but also with the arrangements that are so powerful to catch your attention from the first note onwards.
A few days ago I wrote in the review about the new Amorphis album about the beauty of Finish and Scandinavian nature and the parallels to the music. Actually the same goes for the new Leaves' Eye album as well. It's the transformation of awesome nature into a musical skeleton that is done in perfection on "King of Kings".
The guys embedded this into the story about "Halvdan The Black" which is one of Odin's sons. The cover shows the army of Northmen that is very well representing the sound on "King of Kings" too by a strong and tight sound with a lot of dedication. This longplayer stands like a rock.
"Sweven" is the intro to the world of Scandinavian mythology followed by the title track. "King of Kings" is a midpace song that lives very much by the beautiful vocals of Liv Kristine. The song is a real hymn with a marching rhyhtm and excellent melodies.
Forceful drums introduce "Halvdan the Black". The tunes itself is a great mixture of good and evil; will say, Kristine's female vocals and Krull's dark growls. Even though this combination exists since ages it is Leaves' Eye that makes perfect use of it. Maybe it's due to the fact that Kristine and Krull are a couple in real live too that brings those two voices together in pure harmony. However, it's a match.
"The Walking Eye" is a catchy rocker before the Celtic intermezzo "Feast of the Year" gives you moment of rest. "Vengeance Venom" continues with the folk elements that are embedded in this melodic tune. "Scared Vow" belongs the the furious tracks on "King of Kings". The number has has a vigorous rhythm with some more silent sections in the verse.
One out of the many highlights on this longplayer comes next. "Edge of Steel" is build on an immensive riff and a marching beat that pushes the song. But it's the vocals that are making the difference. Liv Kristine and Simone Simmons from Epica do a duet on this track, supported by Krulls growls. All this together gives the song a dimension that I haven't heard better so far. This track comes with all the bells and whistles and is a masterpiece of symphonic metal. It is pure bombast that sounds at no point overdone.
After having heard such an song it's a good moment for some more silent notes. "Haraldskvædi" gives you this peaceful moment. It's a well-crafted ballad that is the perfect counterpart to "Edge of Steel".
With seven minutes, "Blazing Waters" is the longest piece of music on the longplayer. As "Edge of Steel" it's a duet - this time with Lindy Fay Hella from Waldruna. The song is a harsh metal beast with a raging rhythm and a melodic chorus. This cineastic track has a real 'wow factor' that culminates in the great solo part half way down the road.
The end is marked by "Swords in Rock" which is a folk-based metal tune that has an almost swinging expression. It's an ease going and catchy composition that has the potential to become a great live song
I must say that I'm impressed by this album. Leaves' Eye released with "King of Kings" THE reference album for symphonic female-fronted metal; a longplayer that dethrones Nightwish. Now it's Leaves' Eye's new album that sets the new standard for the future. This album is a MUST HAVE.
- King of Kings
- The Walking Eye
- Feast of the Year
- Vengeance Venom
- Sacred Vow
- Edge of Steel
- Blazing waters
- Swords of Rock
Label: AFM records
Genre: Symphonic Metal
Release Date EU: September 18th, 2015