"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Leaves' Eyes - "Meredead" (CD)

Leaves' Eyes - "Meredead" CD cover image

"Meredead" track listing:

1. Spirits' Masquerade (6:29)
2. Étaín (3:58)
3. Velvet Heart (3:42)
4. Kråkevisa (4:34)
5. To France (Mike Oldfield Cover) (4:37)
6. Meredead (5:19)
7. Sigrlinn (8:49)
8. Mine Tåror er ei Grimme (2:54)
9. Empty Horizon (4:56)
10. Veritas (0:50)
11. Nystev (4:40)
12. Tell-Tale Eyes (3:55)
13. Sorhleod (Bonus Track) (5:04)

Limited Edition Media Edition Contains Bonus Live DVD (Live From the Female Metal Voices Festival 2010)

1. Njord (Live) (6:40)
2. My Destiny (Live) (4:01)
3. Ragnarok (Live) (5:12)
4. Elegy (Live) (05:20)
5. Froya's Theme (8:16)

Reviewed by on August 25, 2011

"As intricate and diverse as the band’s music has become, vocalist Liv Kristine has always been a better fit for the gothic style of Theatre of Tragedy than that of a symphonic metal band."

"Meredead" represents Leaves’ Eyes strongest material to date. It has nearly all the elements to propel this band to another level. However, as intricate and diverse as the band’s music has become, vocalist Liv Kristine has always been a better fit for the gothic style of Theatre of Tragedy than that of a symphonic metal band. Her performance is beautiful, but too often comes across timid and “pretty,” lacking the power and depth needed for this formula to work. It's almost as if the band adapts the music to fit Kristine's style rather than the opposite.

The first track "Spirits' Masquerade” has a multi-layered choir and mesmerizing bagpipe playing that grasps the attention of the listener. The track builds to a point and charges forth at full gallop, showing the potential of this incredibly talented band. "Étaín" adds to that same theme, weaving in more beautiful Irish folk.

Title track “Meredead” is a symphonic journey, a mix of subtle heaviness with acoustic interludes. Here, Kristine finally gets help with guest vocalist Anette Guldbrandsen (Mandylion), who provides that much needed extra depth and fullness. On the folksy traditional Norwegian songs "Kråkevisa" and "Nystev," Kristine’s timid quiet style fits perfectly.

As the opening orchestration arrangements of the eight minute opus “Sigerlinn” melt into much anticipated heaviness, the band’s second vocal weakness is unveiled: Alex Krull. As talented as Krull is as a writer and musician, his grunted vocals leave much to be desired. Fortunately, it is kept to a minimum on this release.

Although "Meredead" is on the right track, the band still lacks that full frontal power punch. It still has all the elements you expect from a Leaves' Eyes album, but it leaves me longing for more excitement. It’s a small step forward for a band that can be so much greater.

Highs: Soaring choruses with beautiful Irish style folk.

Lows: Liv lacks the power to bring Leaves' Eyes to another level.

Bottom line: Leaves' Eyes is one power punch short of greatness.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)