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"Vinland Saga", Leaves' Eyes second full-length album, is a slight improvement from “Lovelorn”. However, not a lot has changed. They’re still the kings and the queen of symphonic gothic metal.
Vocals are definitely the album's highlight. Liv Kristine is my second favorite gothic metal vocalist (right after Tristania’s Vibeke Stene). Her voice is extremely peaceful and tranquil. This can sometimes create a powerful contrast in the heavier, faster tracks like "Farewell Proud Men". As for male growls, I don't mind them at all. Alexander Krull may not be my favorite growler, yet he adds a great touch to some of the songs ("Solemn Sea" for example")
Musically, this album is very varied. It gets as heavy as the intro music of "Farewell Proud Men" to the folky, serene "Mourning Tree". Some songs even contain Celtic instruments; like "Amhram" and "Leaves' Eyes".
Lyrically, the album talks about Norse and Viking history. All songs have great lyrics (the ones which are in English, at least). My favorite lyrics are the few English-spoken lines on the title track; "The new world they found they called Vinland; The Land of Wine"
The only thing that bothered me on this album is the slight overuse of ballads. There are 5 ballads in this album. In my opinion, that's a little too much. Some ballads are actually amazing; like "Vinland Saga" and "Ankomst". Yet some turned out to be sleepy, boring lullabies; like "Amhram" or "Leaves' Eyes".
As for highlights, they’re: "Vinland Saga", "Farewell Proud Men", "Elegy", "Solemn Sea", "Misseri", "Twilight Sun" and "Ankomst". The rest of the tracks aren't very great; I tend to skip some of them. My favorite track has to be the amazing title track. A very powerful song in which Liv's voice is at its best and the music is just mesmerizing.
So, all in all, “Vinland Saga” is a very good release. It’s less straight-forward than their previous or later release. So, I'd recommend purchasing "Lovelorn" and "Legend Land" before this. However, you have to buy this along the way. 9/10