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For fans of epic, atmospheric Goth metal ‘Leaves E - 80%

krozza, October 6th, 2004

I was listening to commercial radio the other day (don’t ask why), when ‘Wuthering Heights’ was featured. It got me thinking – what ever became of that waif like figure with the impossibly high voice - Kate Bush? No doubt she’s long retired, disappeared into obscurity, comfortable with her lot and filthy rich to boot. Or, she has somehow reinvented herself as the front-lass of German Goth Metal act ‘Leaves Eyes’.

Of course, I’m being facetious here – ‘Leaves Eyes’ is the new band for Ex-Theatre of Tragedy vocalist Liv Kristine - but there is no doubting the uncanny resemblance of Liv’s vocal play to that of one Ms. K.Bush! (Aside from those often used high shrieks). And despite the quality of the musical accompaniment of her band, there is also no doubting the fact that Liv is very much the star of the ‘Leaves Eyes’ show.

To be honest I wasn’t expecting too much from this album – Sure, Liv was great with Theatre of Tragedy, yet musically they never made a massive impression on me. I preferred my gothic metal to be tinged with a little more edginess than they provided. I suspect Liv may have wanted this too. Fortunately, Liv didn’t have to search too far for a band that could meet her requirements – ‘Leaves Eyes’ is made up of the entire line up of German Metal act ‘Atrocity’, led by non other than Alexander Krull – Liv’s husband! Obviously, their collaboration together was always going to happen. The results are stunning (although their very awkward name is not!).

Lovelorn is a 10-track affair, separated into chapters that form some sort of mystical love story concept. For me, this fact is a little hit & miss, but as for the music there is much to admire. ‘Leaves Eyes’ are a pure romantic Goth metal act, with an extreme emphasis on providing huge layers of atmospheric melodies (with pop like sensibilities), sweet angelic passages (that recall the likes of Enya and Arcana) and a healthy dose of metallic guitar riffage for that darker edge I was alluding to earlier. The first two opening tracks (Norwegian Lovesong and Tale of a Sea Maid) on this are simply irresistible in their gothic grandeur and passionate melodic vocals. Liv’s main squeeze Alex, chimes in with some aggressive rasps here and there for some nice variation, but fortunately keeps his vocal presence to a minimum. After all, this is Liv’s show.

I like the production on ‘Lovelorn’ – Alex Krull knows which knobs to turn when looking to provide that heady combination of hard edge riffage with soulful melodic passages. True to form, he has kept Liv’s vocals high in the mix and along with the well placed keyboard elements; the combination works extremely well in emphasizing that layered effect that most of these tracks display so well.

As a set of songs, ‘Lovelorn’ is a varied album and each seems to provide for a different feel and mood, although the overwhelming emotion is of sadness and melancholy. I’m not sure that anything on the album matches the standard of the opening two tracks; suffice to say that the single ‘Into Your light’ works well in highlighting the essential musical aspects of this band. The accompanying video clip of the same song is also a welcomed addition to this album and gives the listener an added visual aspect of ‘Leaves Eyes’ – I’m sure most metal heads will want to ‘see more’ of Liv after viewing this clip. Nice legs. Nice work!

Overall, I am rather surprised at the quality of ‘Lovelorn’. It is certainly a much stronger affair than I first believed. The songs are well written and superbly executed – the vocal melodies of Liv being the absolute highlight. This one is a keeper folks - for fans of epic, atmospheric Goth metal ‘Leaves Eyes’ are well worth further investigation.