Leaves’ Eyes – Symphonies of the Night Review
Released in 2013, Leaves’ Eyes latest album Symphonies of the Night is exactly what you’d expect from the band. Produced by Alexander Krull, the music revolves around Liv Kristine’s soprano voice. And what a voice she has.
Musically, the band is tight and does what they’re supposed to do. Lacking guitar solos on most songs, the music focuses more on Liv Kristine. Alexander Krull provides backing growling, so you get the beauty and the beast routine. With Leaves’ Eyes, you cannot call it cliche as they’ve been doing it for more than a decade.
Hell to the Heavens, which is the opening track, is also their single. The album didn’t chart in the States, and they’re not as big as Nightwish, Epica, or Within Temptation. The band is good, don’t get us wrong. They just seem to fall short of the bigger, more mainstream Symphonic Metal bands when it comes to album sales.
We all prefer the album Njord to this one. It’s not a bad album. You could tell though that they went into a more pop direction with less of the Viking related themes and more groove than before. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just the direction they went. But musically, Njord is a better album.
But if you’re already a fan of the band, you should pick it up. If you go in knowing it’s not as good as Njord but it’s still a good album, you won’t be disappointed.
The highlights of the album are Liv Kristine’s voice. She’s always had an amazing voice and the band knows it, so they utilize it every chance they get. What does that mean? Exactly what it means. The band relies on Liv Kristine’s voice to sell records.
We’re hoping this one helps Leaves’ Eyes get a bigger audience. She really punches through the music with this one and stands out. There is no sign of meekness in Liv Kristine’s voice on this album. It is strong and powerful and is the highlight on this album.
Within Temptation Hydra Review
I finally got around to buying Hydra from Within Temptation a week ago. I’ve listened to it three times now, twice at work and one time while driving. I have several things to say.
First off, Sharon den Adel steals the show. Her voice is excellent. Her voice is perfect. It stands out, and is the main instrument in the album. There are guitar solos on every song, but they’re turned down and you don’t hear them that well. But you do hear Sharon den Adel very well. The album is mixed well, except I think the lead guitar should be turned up higher because it doesn’t really stand out. It’s just there, and it fits with the songs but doesn’t really add or subtract to the music.
Musically, they’re good. They write catchy songs. This album is slightly heavier than their last one. The best song is “Paradise (What About Us?)” which features both Sharon den Adel and Tarja Turunen as a guest vocalist. Tarja sounds excellent. Their voices blend well together. Sharon is softer and Tarja is more operatic, but both of them have strong, passionate voices. I think they should do more songs together in the future.
Some people may not like “And We Run” because it has rapping in it, but I thought it was OK and it fit, even though I personally don’t like Nu Metal. It was different enough from normal Nu Metal that it didn’t suck.
None of the songs were bad. It didn’t have any filler. Sharon den Adel and Robert Westerholt wrote most of the music and lyrics but not all of them.
All the songs are big and follow a Pop Metal formula. It looked to me that Within Temptation were really trying to get this album high in the Billboard charts. There were a lot of guest singers on this album too, which is something that they do a lot in Pop.
Overall, it’s a pretty good album but if you’re more a Metal purist, this may be too soft and too commercial for you. It doesn’t take any hard chances. It’s great for listening to while driving or working.
Photo credit – The album cover, which is copyrighted material, covered under Fair Use as this is a review of the album.
A review of Nightwish Once
If you haven’t heard this album yet, you need to. This was the last album by Nightwish featuring Tarja Turunen. And we all agree, this was Nightwish’s best effort. One of us hear says that this was the best album of the 2000s, hands down.
Released in 2004, this album changed everything. It made Symphonic Metal a force to be reckoned with. You had to take Symphonic Metal seriously now. It was on a higher level of music.
Opening up with “Dark Chest of Wonders” then going right into “Wish I had an Angel,” the album starts off heavy, which is a good thing. Tarja Turunen sounds better than ever. It sounds like this music was specifically made to showcase her vocal style.
Then it goes into their first single, “Nemo,” a slower but still heavy piece. “Planet Hell” is a heavier piece that comes next, then “Creek Mary’s Blood” with John Two Hawks contributing. It doesn’t sound cheesy at all. It fits. And it fits perfectly.
Next, Nightwish goes exotic with “The Siren.” Holy mermaids! Tarja can really sing! She does amazing things with her voice in “The Siren.” Well, she does amazing things all album long, but this one really stands out for exotic vocal technique.
Then comes two really heavy songs with “Dead Gardens” and “Romanticide.” Tuomas, who wrote most of the music, shows you how to write good Metal. “Ghost Love Score” follows those two heavy pieces and “Ghost Love Score” is the showcase song of the album. Clocking in over 10 minutes long, you still feel the song isn’t long enough. You long for more. It’s that good.
“Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan” comes next, a lighter and very beautiful piece in their native language. Since we’re all from the States, we have no idea what she’s singing, but we do know it’s beautiful and sad from the way she delivers it.
“Higher than Hope” finishes the regular album unless you got the special edition. It’s a pretty good moderately heavy piece.
We got the special edition so we got two bonus songs. “White Night Fantasy” comes next and it’s exactly that, a fantasy that sounds like it’s snowing. It’s so beautiful. Finishing up the special edition album is “Live to Tell the Tale,” a moderate Metal piece.
This album has no bad parts. None. No filler, nothing we cringe at. It’s perfect. We all agree it’s an amazing album and the blueprint for how a Symphonic Metal album should sound. Some of us straight up say it’s the best Symphonic Metal album ever recorded. Everything is perfect on it, from the vocals to the guitar and bass parts to the drumming to the keyboard playing to the orchestration, and to the other guest musicians.
Marco, the bass player, contributes male vocals on several of the songs and he sounds heavy. He has an excellent voice and it’s a good juxtaposition versus Tarja’s gorgeous female operatic vocals.
Emmpu is the guitarist. One criticism one of us has is we wish he played more solos on the album. He’s amazing. He’s awesome. He can shred. He can also wail. But he only solos on a few of the songs.
And of course Jukka sounds tight on the drums. He’s a standard Metal drummer, which is not an insult. He compliments the music perfectly.
Of course, you all know the rest. Tarja got fired after the tour and this led to Annette taking over, so of course we did a comparison of the two singers. We love them both as we’ve seen both of them live, but we all agree that Tarja fit the music better.
So if you don’t have this album already, buy it! It is a perfect example of why WE NEED MORE WOMEN IN METAL!!!
Photo credit – This is the Nightwish Once album cover, used under Fair Use. We are using it for an album review.