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Leave's Eyes - The Last Viking

Leave's Eyes
The Last Viking
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 24 September 2020, 11:41 AM

From their Facebook page, LEAVES’ EYES have always played in a league of their own. They have toured all populated continents, frequently reach top positions in the album charts and with every output they deliver a multimedia masterpiece when it comes to video clips and artwork. With “The Last Viking” they surpass their own standards with the original film documentary “Viking Spirit”. Filmed worldwide, the growing Viking re-enactment scene will be visually praised here. Front man Alex and the band became part of this community, long ago. With this film, historical facts merge with Nordic mythology, Viking-lifestyle and the sounds of LEAVES’ EYES, featuring friends and companions of the Viking scene. A long awaited complement to their body of work. Of course, “The Last Viking” won’t be the closure of LEAVES’ EYES – it only fuels expectations what these geniuses will come up next with. With “The Last Viking” set up their own musical monument that is just as captivating and strong as the saga of the last Viking King itself.

“Death of a King” leads off the album. It’s a brief, two-minute mood-setting instrumental, with female “ahhs” and some strong symphonic parts. The male growler is deep and guttural. It sounds like it could be the opener to the famous TV show “Game of Thrones.” “Chain of the Golden Horn” is the first proper track. It opens with a Power Metal feeling to me, drums galloping and guitars crunching riffs. The vocals carry two varying styles…clean female and harsh male. The symphonic elements are there but don’t over-power the song. Instead, it’s an even mix of components making for a well-crafted composition. “War of Kings” is a bit slower, with an ominous opening riff. Clean vocals are followed by angry harsh vocals in the verses, and in the chorus. The entire song echoes the sentiment of war.

“Black Butterfly” is powerful but also allows the melodies to come through. Harmonized clean vocals lead the charge, with some harsh vocals in support. A guitar solo ushers in a key change and it’s obvious that this is both a seasoned and talented band. “Serpents and Dragons” opens with harmonized vocals and then the drums get going…galloping over the landscape with harsh vocals providing an edge. “Dark Love Empress” opens with charming piano notes, then comes the charge of guitars and symphonic elements. It features mostly clean vocals, in a bit of a seductive love tale.

“Two Kings One Realm” is a short song, with ambient moments and clean male vocals. The female vocals provide another element of beauty to this charming track. “For Victory” opens with a call and answer type style in the vocals, then the Folky instruments come through. The harsh vocals really give this song some power and might. “Varangians” opens with charming vocals and a recorder. The melody is echoed in the riff that follows, led by deep and dark harsh vocals. This song also features some positive notes and hopeful feelings. “Serkland” opens with strings that soon lead to a guitar charge. Harmonized clean vocals are stripped away by harsh vocals. This seems to be a theme on the album. It builds to a nice crescendo.

“Night of the Ravens” opens with some heavy and aggressive guitars, tempered with the pretty clean female vocals. The little bells in the chorus bring another lovely element to the table. Another key change comes at a lead guitar break. Then, it settles a bit, and gathers steam for a commanding ending. “Flames in the Sky” is a war anthem. You see the flames, and onward your army marches, with haste. The riff is dirty and crunchy, holding back at first, then roaring forward in the chorus. Harsh vocals take over, giving the song its due.

“Break into the Sky of Aeon” is a slower, more emotional song, with equal parts of clean and harsh vocals. It’s charged with peaks of emotion. “The Last Viking” ends the tale; a ten-minute closing opus. Horns announce the coming of something big. A heavy and dark riff ensues. The harsh vocals leave no doubts that this is a strong and epic tale. The Vikings were a very proud, strong, and tight knit community. To witness the fall of their civilization is what this song exudes. It picks up towards the end, leaving no stone un-turned, with a powerful and commanding closing sound.

Overall, whether or not you are familiar with LEAVE’s EYES music, this is a tale for the ages, from a seasoned group of Metal musicians that knows how to create layers in the music, interwoven with symphonic elements, with peaks of high emotion along the way. Though not easily digested from just one listen, give it a few listens and it will spark your imagination, and sweep you through time to their world of the last battle of the Viking King Harald III (the hard ruler), as he lays dying on the Battle near Stamford Bridge. This is an epic tale of all epic tales.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Death of a King
2. Chain of the Golden Horn
3. War of Kings
4. Black Butterfly
5. Serpents and Dragons
6. Dark Love Empress
7. Two Kings One Realm
8. For Victory
9. Varangians
10. Serkland
11. Night of the Ravens
12. Flames in the Sky
13. Break into the Sky of Aeon
14. The Last Viking
Lineup:
Elina Siirala – Vocals
Alexander Krull – Vocals
Thorsten Bauer – Guitars
Micki Richter – Guitars
Joris Nijenhuis – Drums
Record Label: AFM Records
     


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