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Leaves' Eyes - "Symphonies Of The Night" (CD)

Leaves' Eyes - "Symphonies Of The Night" CD cover image

"Symphonies Of The Night" track listing:

1. Hell to the Heavens
2. Fading Earth
3. Maid of Lorraine
4. Galswintha
5. Symphony of the Night
6. Saint Cecelia
7. Hymn to the Lone Sands
8. Angel and the Ghost
9. Éléonore de Provence
10. Nightshade
11. Ophelia

Reviewed by on December 12, 2013

"'Symphonies of the Night' is the exact power punch I clamored for on 'Meredead' and represents the band’s most lethal dose in its existence."

The last time I reviewed a Leaves’ Eyes release it was 2011’s “Meredead”. I distinctly remember stating that Liv Kristine’s “performance is beautiful, but too often comes across timid and ‘pretty,’ lacking the power and depth needed for this formula to work.” I am quite certain the band didn’t read this and take my advice, but as soon as “Symphonies of the Night” blasted forth with the opener “Hell to the Heavens,” the first reaction was: THERE IT IS! “Symphonies of the Night” is the exact “power punch” I clamored for on “Meredead” and represents the band’s most lethal dose in its existence.

A thorough read of the review for “Okkult” and you know how much adoration there is for trailblazing act Atrocity. I often wonder how I would feel about Leaves’ Eyes had it not consisted of essentially the same members. The big difference with “Symphonies of the Night” is the greater use of Liv’s larger than life husband Alexander Krull. If you were hoping that Leaves’ Eyes suddenly stumbled upon a new form of beauty/beast symphonic metal that is so vastly different than any other act that has come before, you would be best to skip this. It’s the same formula that you have heard before from the plethora of acts flooding the genre. The big difference is the quality of the band’s members which elevates the album. Though written by Kristine, the album draws great benefit from a resurgent Atrocity. The trademark Thorsten Bauer/Sander van der Meer “Okkult” grinder guitar riffs are all right there, in a similar and deadly fashion. It is uncanny how much Atrocity lies buried under Krull’s keyboard work.

“Hell to the Heavens” and “Maid of Lorraine” are among the album’s best, along with “Galswintha,” which picks up a bit of the Celtic atmosphere from “Meredead.” The second half is interrupted with a brief power outage in the operatic ballads of “Saint Cecelia” and “Nightshade.” It recovers well with builders “Eleonore De Provence,” “Ophelia” and “Angel and the Ghost.” Throughout it all, Kristine is more potent and operatic than the sweet fragility in “Meredead,” which is only enhanced by Krull’s perfect death growls (which oddly enough remains an acquired taste among some critics).

Conceptually, “Symphonies of Night” – like previous releases – touches on history, literature and fiction with the running theme of dominant women. Whether its Hecete (“Hell to the Heavens”) or Joan of Arc (“Joan of Arc”), Eleanor, queen consort of King Henry III (“Éléonore de Provence”) or the daughter of Visogoth king Athanagild (“Galswintha”) there is such a strong sense of learning with Leaves’ Eyes.

For fans who have followed Leaves’ Eyes from the onset, “Symphonies of the Night” will represent one of the strongest albums in the band’s growing catalog. The Atrocity driven underbelly is a huge plus and drives the power that was lacking on previous efforts. The biggest battle is convincing enough casual fans that “Symphonies of the Night” isn’t just another safe album distinguishable only via the phrase: “Nightwish with harsh vocals.” Don’t forget that Liv Kristine is one of the pioneers of the entire modern beauty/beast movement back in her days with Theatre of Tragedy.

Highs: The greater use of Atrocity elements: Krull and guitar sound.

Lows: Convincing fans this is different is an uphill battle.

Bottom line: Leaves' Eyes adds a stronger dose of Atrocity to produce the band's strongest effort to date.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 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)