International symphonic metal masters Leaves’ Eyes are set to return on January 12th, with their first album involving new lead vocalist Elina Siirala (of Angel Nation / EnkElination).
Understandably, the question on everyone’s lips is can they survive the departure of the enigmatic Liv Kristine?
Early signs suggest they can, as Sign of the Dragonhead is epic, powerful and plunges you straight into a world of Norse mythology. It’s also incredibly produced, clearly full of passion and listening to it is akin to watching a suspense-filled blockbuster.
So far, so good.
The album, as a whole, involves a good amount of captivating riffs, and there’s no denying the craftsmanship and sheer talent gleaming from Pete Streit’s fingers. The various choirs involved in the album also create a significant presence for themselves and set the atmosphere from the outset, complimenting the Siirala’s lead vocals exceptionally well.
A pick ‘n’ mix of medieval market tunes then do battle and are only broken up by slower, more vocally orientated numbers such as “Like a Mountain” and the downbeat and emotional “Fairer Than The Sun”.
Just as you’re starting to think ‘this is good, but I’ve had enough now’, the 8 minute grand finale starts to (very) slowly but surely build up and “Waves of Euphoria” smacks you round the back of the head, scolds you for considering turning it off and takes you on a journey through a mythological land full of marauding Vikings and overflowing tankards!
It’s a shame that this highpoint becomes apparent so late in the game, but overall the entirety of Sign of the Dragonhead is worthy of your time and confirms that the departure of Liv Kristine will not prove to be the end of Leaves’ Eyes! 7/10