Njord (Napalm Records)

There’s something faintly ridiculous about the world of symphonic metal – all those songs about Viking-filled longboats, long-haired musicians growling oh so seriously about Norse gods and such. But there is no denying either the craftsmanship or the sincerity of Leaves’ Eyes, a German/Norwegian sextet fronted by soprano Liv Kristine, ex of Theatre of Tragedy. Their third album, Njord, is filled with epic tales of undying love (‘My Destiny’, ‘The Holy Bond’) and, um, Norse gods and such (‘Frøya’s Theme’, about the Norse goddess of love; the title refers to her father, the Norse god of the sea). Kristine, best known perhaps for singing on Cradle of Filth’s ‘Nymphetamine’ and appearing in the video, has an angelic voice, which is often contrasted against the guttural bellows of her husband Alexander Krull (ex of Atrocity). Big guitars, choirs and orchestras provide musical back-up. If you appreciate the “beauty and the beast” vocal approach of Evanescence, Within Temptation and Lacuna Coil, you’ll recognize Leaves’ Eyes style, by the gods.

Terrifying tracks: ‘Take The Spirit In Me’, ‘Scarborough Fair’, ‘My Destiny’

Rating: 7/10


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