Leaves’ Eyes - Njord

12 songs
55:59 minutes
***** **


Leaves’ Eyes don’t really need to be introduced in detail anymore, because the band around Liv Kristine and her husband Alexander Krull has been a reference in all things gothic and symphonic metal for quite some time now. Their new album Njord is the third longplayer of this band that has furthermore released already three EPs. The lyrics deal once again with Northern mythology, and the chosen musical path prevents to try something new.

The songwriting reminds clearly of their success EP Legend Land, with the exception that they hired this time an orchestra and a choir. And that’s exactly the strength of their new output. These additional musicians give the sound a sense of drama that makes for a musical ambience. Liv Kristine’s fantastic soprano voice fits perfectly this new orientation. I want to single out Ragnarok, The Holy Bond and Froya’s Theme which are among the strongest moments in the band history. But also the mid-tempo parts thoroughly convince, as on the opener and title track with its myriads of pace and mood changes. The clean and clear sung and performed My Destiny is a prime example of symphonic metal, where the occasional growls don’t disturb in the least. More folklore comes with the partly acoustic, medieval sounding Scarborough Fair. The fact that Liv Kristine is singing in different languages (English, Norwegian, French, Middle High German, Gaelic and Icelandic) proves that Leaves’ Eyes prepared perfectly for their album which treats the history of Northern Europe between the years 800 and 1200.

Unfortunately, only two thirds of the featured songs enchant. Some tracks feel a little uninspired and even boring. Take The Devil In Me nearly falls into German schlager music territory, and Morgenland as well as Through Our Veins lack the necessary punch.

I don’t doubt Leaves’ Eyes excellence, and their new album contains enough parts that are doubtlessly valuable. But it is a pity that they can’t keep up that high level throughout the album’s running time, which is why Njord get one point less than their preceding EP.

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