Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *
Some genres, some bands, just suit the epic perfectly. Place the right set of songs into the setting that befits them and stories can appear in the listener’s minds without even realising it. The grandeur, the history of the piece discussed, the musical offering becomes a blockbuster which goes beyond the heroic and becomes a symphony to the exploits of humanity, the adventures, the sagas.
Norse Mythology is an undervalued literature reference, too consumed in European terms perhaps by the romantic tales that have persisted and shaped the centuries in the Greek marathons and the Roman Gods; yet the stories that the Norse mythology hold are just as intriguing, more than inspiring and in many respects hold more fear, for their accounts is a driving force behind the Viking rampages in Europe and especially in Britain.
It is to Symphonic Metal giants Leaves’ Eyes that the Norse is again celebrated and hailed loudly from across the North Sea, a first warning sign with bright sails and encouraging cries of a battle joined, the axe and the fearless voice that installs the locals to watch in awe, this is the sign of the Dragonhead and it is one that is as every bit as dynamic as the band’s previous album but one that carries a different figure in terms of the music’s direction.
With Finnish vocalist Elina Siirala firmly encompassed in the band after Liv Kristine left the helm, Leaves’ Eyes take the group on the next stage of the journey, and with Alexander Krull still providing the deep resonance to the sound, Thorsten Bauer, Pete Streit and Joris Nijenhuis keeping the guard well in place, Sign of the Dragonhead has managed to retain the larger-than-life studio presence without too much bloodshed.
The tales of Vikings can bring a rush of excitement to the listener’s ears, the sagas of the seas thrilling and in Across The Sea, Like A Mountain, Shadows In The Night and Waves of Euphoria, Leaves’ Eyes have plundered the fan’s hearts again and unlike the Viking creed of whom they speak, they instead bring the prize to these shores and it was worthy of the sagas themselves.
Leaves’ Eyes Sign of the Dragonhead is released on January 12th.
Ian D. Hall