foto’s: Monica Duffels
Aan de vooravond van een aantal shows in China , doet Leaves’ Eyes de Baroeg aan in Rotterdam. Voorlopig de laatste Europese show van deze goedlopende tour samen met Atrocity en Acyl uit Frankrijk. Ook tourt de Nederlandse Sin7Sins mee.
Wegens interviews, is de entree wanneer Atrocity de avond opent. Toch zijn veel fans al vroeg aanwezig om een nieuw geluid te horen, namelijk Acyl. Deze Franse band brengt zeker een uniek geluid en het debuut is goed ontvangen. Reden genoeg om het eens een luisterbeurt te gunnen.
Atrocity viert zijn twintigjarig bestaan en de zaal wordt dan ook getrakteerd op een tijdreis. Wat voor degenen die deze Duitse metalband niet goed kennen, een mooie bloemlezing is. Voor de fans zitten er een aantal verrassingen tussen die de avond dynamisch maken.
Alexander Krull is het boegbeeld van Atrocity, maar daarnaast ook een bekende producer. Met zijn meterslange haar is hij een verschijning die men niet snel vergeet.
De naturelle performance maakt hem innemend en het zorgt ervoor dat de band sympathiek over komt, ondanks het smalle podium waarop weinig bewogen wordt. Afgezien van een loopje hier en daar, is het toch vooral wapperend haar wat de toon slaat.
‘Haunted By Demons’ wordt enthousiast ingeluid door Alexander met een knipoog naar het verleden: “In het begin twintig jaar geleden, stonden we hier samen met de Nederlandse band Sinister!” waarna zware riffs het stevige death metal nummer opzwepen.
Voeg daar bovenop de immense grunts van een torenhoge zanger, met een grote longinhoud. De hele set lijkt de frontman met gemak de nummers te vertolken al lachend en grappend met het publiek.
Drummer Joris Nijenhuis weet flink veel energie in zijn spel te steken, al is het soms wat schel qua geluid. Vooral wanneer het terug gaat naar de roots, imponeert de band in snelheid, en complexiteit.
De snelle solo’s van Thorsten Bauer zijn een technisch hoogstandje. Toch zijn de nummers lang niet altijd melodieus of voorspelbaar: vaak wisselen gitaarlijnen elkaar af met een zang die veel tempo veranderen heeft.
Atrocity maakt het zichzelf niet makkelijk, wat bewonderenswaardig is. De zaal is niet altijd even uitnodigend, maar wanneer de band het vraagt dan gaan de handen de lucht in. Met twee Nederlanders in de band is het bijna een thuiswedstrijd.
‘March Of The Undying’ begint meer symfonisch, waarna een snelle blast beat een omschakeling betekent met catchy gitaren. Het gaat zo mogelijk nog sneller op de In Flames favoriet ‘Blood Stained Prophecy.’
Dan komt Lotus van Sin7Sins op het podium voor een dansje. Een vermakelijke onderbreking. Waarna ‘Death By Metal’ het vrolijke Duitstalige repertoire achter zich laat, waarbij gitarist Sander van der Meer ook de grunts op zich neemt.
Voor de muzikanten is het een lange avond, want wanneer de lichten doven is het niet ten einde. Ze verschijnen daarna ook bij Leaves’ Eyes. Toch zijn beide bands zeer verschillend, niet alleen qua geluid maar ook in podium presentatie (en outfit).
Het nieuwe album ‘Symphonies Of The Nights’ is progressiever, bombastischer en laat een meer klassieke kant van zangeres Liv Kristine zien. Op het Metal Female Voices Fest is voor het eerst nieuw materiaal gespeeld, nog geen maand later speelt de band voor het eerst in China.
Het gaat ze duidelijk goed af, na bijna tien jaar is Leaves’ Eyes een gevestigde orde in de gothic metal wereld. Het is goed druk tijdens het concert, nummers als ‘My Destiny’ en ‘Take The Devil In Me’ worden dan ook luidkeels meegezongen. Toch lijkt er een steviger randje omheen te zitten, die het net even anders laat klinken.
Het is ronduit storend dat het gehele optreden de zang en gitaren erg zacht afgesteld staan en de drums veel te hard de rest overstemt. Joris Nijenhuis heeft in korte tijd de nummers ingestudeerd en hij is zeker vakkundig, maar het is na tien minuten wel vervelend om met moeite gitaren te ontdekken in de geluidsmix.
Dat heeft als gevolg dat tijdens het nieuwe nummer ‘Fading Earth’ de gitaarsolo van Thorsten Bauer erg vlak en zwak klinkt, terwijl het juist een zwaarder nummer is. Het is de charme van de Liv Kristine die de aandacht vast houdt, met de sympathieke manier waarop ze contact zoekt met het publiek.
‘Farewell Proud Men’ laat de viking, folk invloeden horen met de heldere, hoge uithalen van de zangeres Liv Kristine. Wanneer Sander van der Meer de solo inzet, is hij iets beter hoorbaar voor korte tijd weliswaar.
Het nieuwe album draait om een aantal historische heldinnen. Als geen ander weet Liv Kristine de teksten te vertolken met grote passie. Het is fascinerend haar zo te zien genieten, terwijl de omstandigheden in de Baroeg bij lange na niet ideaal zijn.
Het geluid is veel te hard, overstuurd en slecht uitgebalanceerd. Er is weinig licht en het podium is haast te klein voor deze band. Het is duidelijk na al die jaren dat deze band zulke zalen al lang ontgroeit is. Al is er veel interactie mogelijk met het publiek, wat spontane momenten oplevert.
Toch is het een mooie set, omdat veel nieuwe nummers live veel sterker staan. Neem de titletrack die groots opgezet wordt; een intro met doedelzak, stevige gitaarlijnen die een bombastische basis vormen. Kippenvel wanneer het volume aanzwelt met sterke uithalen van Liv Kristine, met een meer klassieke benadering.
Ook het krachtige duet met Alexander Krull op ‘Maid Of Lorraine’ heeft een andere stijl aangemeten, levendige dialogen zijn in groot contrast met de gierende gitaren, die technisch de lat hoog leggen.
De tweede helft van het concert verloopt beter, omdat het publiek de band echt omarmt heeft en Leaves’ Eyes met professionaliteit de spanning vast houdt en toewerkt naar een climax. ‘Hell To The Heavens’ is de krachtige afsluiter, tevens de nieuwe video. Met verve en energie neemt de band afscheid, een ding is duidelijk: dit album kan wel eens het beste zijn wat Leaves’ Eyes heeft gemaakt, moge dat uitbetalen in groter succes. Het is ze gegund na al die jaren kwaliteit waarborgen en standvastigheid.
text: Gerianne Meijer
photo’s: Alexander Krull & Stefan Heilemann
Liv Kristine Espenæs – Krull as the full name of the singer is, released her fourth solo album ‘Libertine‘ a month ago. It is an album with pop influences and also a return to the roots: an interesting combination. There is a Dutch review on Muzikantenweb for further details.
At that time she was touring in Europe with Leaves’ Eyes her main band. When she arrived home, in one day the email questions were answered. What follows is a short update with the charming Liv Kristine revealing more about her solo record.
Compared to your previous album ‘Skintight’ (Napalm Records 2010), ‘Libertine’ seems to contain more up-tempo rock songs. It seems difficult for you to shake off your ‘loud music’ roots. Do you find yourself always coming back to that style of music for a reason? Or did you just feel like creating some heavier songs?
Liv Kristine: ” To compare “Libertine” with my former releases, ‘Dues ex Machina’ (1998) was very atmospheric and reminding you a bit about Irish Enya, a real pop-album. ‘Enter My Religion’ (2006) was more guitar-based and earthly with many interesting exotic folk influences. ‘Skintight’ (2010) had some influence from Johnny Cash, which sometimes gives the listeners a warm and here-and-now campfire feeling experience.
‘Libertine’ (2012) is a back-to-the-roots album for me, containing the most emotional ballads I’ve ever composed, Some songs even have a dark, but sweet feeling to it. Through both the piano, the dark bass lines and heavy guitars, as you pointed out. I see every album becoming more and more individual, just like I am getting closer to myself in a way. I would say all of my albums are somehow indie, pop or rock.”
I know you have written a lot, if not all, lyrics yourself. How much did you participate in the writing of the music on ‘Libertine’?
Liv Krtine: “ I write all lyrics, for my solo project and Leaves’ Eyes. I just love poetry and linguistics! When composing for Leaves’ Eyes most ideas are recorded instrumentally by Alexander Krull (singer), Thorsten Bauer (guitarist) and Sander van der Meer (guitarist) at first. Then I start working on my vocal melodies and lyrics.
A solo album song-writing process mostly runs in the opposite direction: initially there’s a vocal melody or a single bass or piano line from which all songs start growing. I composed three songs, the rest was co-composed with J.B.van der Wal, under the production of Mastersound, Alexander Krull (husband, producer). The only exception is the Kate Bush cover, of course.”
The opening song on ‘Libertine’ titled ‘Interlude’ feels like a serenade. Was that song inspired by someone. What or who, is your main inspiration in general?
Liv Kristine: “Interlude is a very atmospheric opener and intro pece of music. It has a sweet sound to it. It is a love declaration written like a poem. Coming to influences, I am lucky to have parents who love music too, so I’ve always spent a lot of time listening and singing along to music.
I started to sing even before I could walk or talk, however, I never had any musical education and I never studied music (I studied linguistics, German, English and historic languages). It was my inner voice that told me that singing is a part of me, it just comes from the heart.
Actually, when I was little, I thought that every human being could sing! Well, I guess I’m lucky, having a kind of perfect hearing. Coming to influences I grew up with Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Edvard Grieg and Tschaikowsky. Also female singers like Enya, Madonna, Kate Bush, Abba, Tori Amos and Monserrat Caballe.
From the very beginning, I’ve followed my musical instinct: I wanted to combine a romantic, female, angelic voice with powerful and impressive music. Then suddenly, when I was eighteen years old, I found myself in the middle of writing music history with Theatre of Tragedy. My favorite album at the moment is “Ark” by Brendan Perry – absolutely amazing, can’t stop listening to it!”
Liv Kristine: “Most influence come from my homecountry, Norway. Then why Paris? I haven’t always liked Paris, as I also have experienced a few bad things there, however, we have slowly become friends now. I like the special feeling I often have when I visit Paris: the narrow streets, the little cafés serving the even smaller espresso, all the beautiful fountains, the Seine, and (as often happens in Paris)the rain!
One of my favorite cafés is in Paris, where I usually have a cup of tea and carrot cake when it’s raining outside. ‘Paris Paris’ was actually a demo song I prepared for Theatre of Tragedy, but it was never recorded. However, I re-wrote it for fun using the program Garage band. My co-musicians loved it and all the instruments were recorded new. It is definitely a very refreshing song.“
What draws you to other cultures?
Liv Kristine: ” It is rather the nature that draws me to other cultures and places. I am dreaming about going to Himalaya, doing a mountain tour by foot, meeting and getting to know the peoples and their history. I have to tell you I just love little villages surrounded by nature, which is also my main motives when I paint my pictures. There is something exciting, like a secret to every village, I think.”
Where did the idea of the Kate Bush cover come from? It is not an easy song to sing. Were you afraid of any criticism of Kate Bush fans or others?
Liv Kristine: ” So far the critics have been absolutely amazing! I am so touched. Kate Bush and Tori Amos are truly my greatest influences vocally. Since I never had any musical education I have found my own way to prepare my voice before a concert or recording session. In which I sing along to either of these wonderful voices.
It was my best friend, Katja, who had this idea that I should cover Kate. During one of our girls’ evenings (parties) I started singing from the top of my voice along to Kate, but the next day I was worried what the neighbors would say. Katjas neighbors did not complain. and my friend inspired me to record the track for ‘Libertine’. It was recorded in a one- take session.”
Your first solo album was released many years ago in 1998, but when did you first feel the urge to make a solo album?
Liv Kristine: “I’ve been singing for longer than I can remember. I think ‘Deus ex Machina’ came at the right point of time yes.”
Would you feel like you couldn’t express a part of yourself if you did not have your solo career?
Liv Kristine: ” I have to tell you that I feel truly privileged. First of all I am grateful to my fans and friends for giving me all this respect, love and good energy. Some of them following me since my ex-band Theatre of Tragedy came into existence about eighteen years ago. My fans have granted me this freedom I appreciate so much.
Through both Leaves’ Eyes and my solo project, I am able to live out my musical instinct. There has never been a day since I at the age of seven realized that I had been given a special musical gift genetically. Since my childhood there has never been a day at which I haven’t been creative in some or the other way. I just love singing, composing, writing, recording and most of all: playing gigs!“
What is it like to perform these songs live, since they must be really close to your heart?
Liv Kristine: ” Absolutely amazing! There was this moment during my concert in Nagold (Germany) December 2011, when I first presented the demo song ‘Libertine’ to my audience. I had also performed a handful of Theatre of Tragedy songs, because it was my wish. There and then I understood in which musical direction my up-coming album would be, more powerful, more back to the roots. Everybody was there, my closest friends and family, my fantastic fans from all over the world: Argentina, Belgium, Denmark, UK, Finland, Spain, Holland and all over Germany. I was so happy: this was a very special night for me, so special that I will do it again in December 22. this year!“
Liv Kristine: “I am getting closer and closer to myself, I feel that my artistic heart is happy, I am really having a good time although it is such hard work. I have so many ideas: I tell you I never get bored.”
Do you have a message for your Dutch fans?
Liv Kristine: “Thank you for being there for me all these years, with Theatre of Tragedy, Leaves’Eyes and my solo work. I hope you enjoy ‘Libertine’ as much as I did composing and recording it. I can’t wait to play it live for you! See you soon, I can’t wait to be back in beautiful, humble Holland – Love Liv.“
More information on: http://www.livkristine.de
Word of Thanks to: Liv Kristine, Napalm Records and Hardlife promotion.
tekst: Gerianne Meijer
Liv Kristine is in de metal wereld voornamelijk bekend als frontvrouw van Leaves’ Eyes, maar deze kundige zangeres heeft inmiddels wel bewezen in haar eentje sterk te staan. Deze maand komt ze met haar vierde solo album ‘Libertine’ en dat is de opvolger van ‘Skintight’ uit 2011.
Opener ‘Interlude’ komt over als een serenade. Met een zachte gitaar en bijpassende, herkenbare zang is dit een goed voorproefje voor de rest van het album. Het nummer bevat elementen die velen aan Theatre Of Tragedy doen denken, dus voor de donkere muziekliefhebber ook zeker een aanrader.
Opvolger ‘Solve Me’ is uptempo door de stevige drums. Het nummer luistert goed weg afgezien van het refrein, waarin Liv op sommige momenten zo laag zingt dat het ietwat onprettig klinkt. Het is wel een nummer wat de roots van deze Noors, Duitse zangeres laat zien.
Na deze twee nummers is duidelijk dat het album te verdelen valt in twee soorten nummers: de breekbare, emotionele ‘ballades’ en de meer uptempo rock nummers. Een goed voorbeeld van de eerste soort is ‘ Silence’. De zang is gevoelig, maar niet over de top. De piano ondersteunt de vocalen goed. De overgang naar een wat zwaarder stuk met gitaar is wat voorspelbaar, maar wel smaakvol gedaan.
Duidelijk is dat Liv Kristine inmiddels erg goed weet wat ze met haar stem kan en deze ook uitermate benut. Ze zingt over het algemeen ook iets lager dan velen gewend zijn van haar, waardoor haar stem iets prettiger in het gehoor ligt. ‘Paris, Paris’ is een uptempo nummer en de eerste single. Het nummer is niet een erg goed voorbeeld voor de rest van het album, maar valt juist erg op door de wat folky sfeer en het Frans taalgebruik.
De zangeres geeft een draai aan haar stem, waardoor het geheel Franser klinkt. Wat mij betreft niet het sterkste nummer. De titeltrack is een knaller, zowel live als op het album. De gitaar is stevig, de drums zijn donker en er is ruimte voor de zang zonder aan stevigheid te verliezen. Het nummer wordt zelfs gesierd met een gitaarsolo. Dit is rock met de nodige dosis energie.
Als afsluiter is er gekozen voor een cover: ‘The Man With The Child In His Eyes’ van Kate Bush. Persoonlijk hou ik niet zo van covers als afsluiter, omdat het afdoet aan de eigenheid van het album. De cover is kwalitatief goed, maar voegt niets nieuws toe. Voor de fans wel een leuk extraatje.
Al met al is ‘Libertine’ een fijn uitstapje van de deze zangeres. Vergeleken met het vorige album, is dit nieuwste wapenfeit wat steviger. Liv Kristine laat zien haar stem nog op andere manieren te kunnen gebruiken, dan alleen hoog en engelachtig. Niet alle nummers zijn even noemenswaardig, maar het geheel luistert goed weg. Uiteraard voor de fans een aanrader, en voor liefhebbers die een kwalitatief goed pop- en rock album, zonder al teveel poespas, waarderen. Met uiteraard de goede zang van Liv Kristine op die centraal staat en kwaliteit garandeert.
Vocalist Sandra Schleret from the gothic band Elis decided to leave and focus on her own musical career. Schleret appears on the second album ‘Catharis’ released in 2009 by Napalm Records.
The band from Lichtenstein toured with Leaves’ Eyes, Sirenia, Atrocity and Stream Of Passion in Europe together. A report of that package you can find here. Also she toured with Kotipelto and Chris Caffery in 2007.
Official statement by Sandra Schleret:
More than four years ago I joined Elis as their new singer. Our journey was very special to me, and I think that we found one another at a time when we really needed it the most. I gave my best to honor Sabine’s legacy and nevertheless stay true to myself and open a new chapter together with the band. I am sorry to say that we have reached a point where this chapter now comes to an end. We had an amazing and exciting time and the guys really touched my heart.
We made a great album in which I’ve put all of my heart and which means a lot to me. We sat together and talked long about everything, and we concluded that it is better to go seperate ways from now on. I simply feel the need to devote myself to my own music, my aims and tasks, and the guys can not accompany me on that way because they have their own aims, ideas and expectations. I am sure that it’s the right desicion, because it is very important to me to dedicate myself to everything I do with full heart and soul.
Now that I can not ensure this anymore I think it’s only fair to say it freely. Elis will always have my full support and my friendship will guide them on their way. The guys have found a great new singer and so I am leaving with a good feeling, though I am very sad about the end of our time together.
I dearly want to thank all the Elis fans, who gave me such a warm welcome! I hope we will see eachother again!
With all my best wishes, Sandra
text: Helena Torstensson
band: Leave’s Eyes
genre: symphonic – gothic metal
release: 22 April 2011
label: Napalm Records
Leaves’ Eyes is a German-Norwegian symphonic – gothic metal band formed in 2003 by vocalist Liv Kristine and the entire line-up of Atrocity, a German metal band around husband Alexander Krull (vocals, producer).
Their debut ‘Lovelorn’ (2004) was the beginning of a very successful new career of Liv Kristine. Touring around the world with bands like Blind Guardian, Tarja Turunen and Kamelot.
With ‘ Njord‘ (2009) the success was brought to a higher level and also some line-up changed the sound of the band into a more bombastic and heavy way.
The first song of their fifth album “Spirits’ Masquerade” brings so much of everything, what leaves me overwhelmed, but I enjoy every minute of it! The song begins with good sounding drums together with what sounds like a choir, followed by an Irish sounding violin part. I guess that you might call the music so far an intro and after this the song really begins when guitars and beat picks up the pace and Liv Kristine starts to tell the story.
I enjoy the way she sings, a strong frontwoman and beautiful voice of Liv Kristine. When you are halfway through the song it changes completely: it kind of pause up, before you hear a slow and moving violin that soon is joined by Liv´s light voice, (this part reminds me of the soundtrack to the movie “Breaveheart”) then an impressive drum beat leads you back into the song.
“Kråkevisa” suprises me, because I had no expectation to find such a song on this album. This is a playful and charming song where you hear Liv Kristine sing in Norwegian about a crow. The rhythm and the way this song carries on remind me of old Scandinavian folk songs.
The first single from the album is a beautiful cover of Mike Oldfield´s “To France”. The version stays close to the original, without losing the own sound of Leaves’ Eyes. I really enjoy this version, because Liv Kristine´s vocals fit perfectly and I love hearing the added powerful and intense guitars of Thorsten Bauer and Sander van der Meer.
“Tell-Tale Eyes” is slow and moving duet where Live Kristine and John Kelly ‘s (Elfenthal) voices blend beautifully together. I really enjoy the strong lyrics in this song and it´s a pure pleasure to listen to the music in this brilliant song.
When you are not familiar with a band of this calibre it takes some time to get used to the sound, the songs overwhelmed me at first and it left me with almost too much impressions and feelings. After spending some time with this album the songs really grows on you and I enjoy the mix of songs on “Meredead”.
Liv Kristine – vocals
Thorsten Bauer – guitar, bass
Sander van der Meer – guitar
Alexander Krull – vocals
Roland Navratil – drums
The German gothic band Leaves’ Eyes released the new video ‘ To France’ taken from their new album ‘Meredead.’ Watch it on the Napalm Records Youtube page. The release of their fourth album is set for 22th April in Europe.
The video is directed by Patric Ullaeus (Revolver.se) and shows a more romantic side of the band. Journalist Robert Suss says about the new release: “Unmistakably different. With their fourth album, “Meredead”, the 4-nation formation unleashes a tidal wave that will leave the music world breathless. Whether a gentle ballad or an opulent opus, the tracks are direct and to the point. With the band’s strength and courage, as well as an unorthodox variety, Leaves’ Eyes has unequivocally reinvented itself.”
There are different limited editions available: Meredead with a mediabook CD incl. bonus track and bonus DVD ‘Live at The Metal Female Voices Festival 2010′, strictly Deluxe box set and regular jewel case. The box is limited to 1000 copies only and comes with a pendent of a celtic cross with band-branding. Pre-order it now on Napalm Records.
Liv Kristine explains more about the title of the album: “Meredead” could mean ‘dead by the sea’, ‘or the deadly sea’. Poetically, we could add some imagination and lyrical sound and say “Sea of Death”. Secondly, the word “Meredead” sums up some of the themes rooted in my lyrics on the album.
Now you may ask, why sing in Old-English? Since my Old-English studies I’ve taken great interest in both Old-English poetry and grammar. I just felt that this song required Old-English lyrics, and an Old-English “sound”, moreover, it needed this historical feel! Old-English or Anglo-Saxon is an early form of the English language that was spoken and written by Angeln, Sachsen and Jüten (Germanic tribes, called Anglo-Saxons) and their descendants in parts of what are now England and southeastern Scotland between at least the mid-5th century and the mid-12th century.
Although, for me, it meant digging my nose into my Old-English books for weeks (and buying even more at Amazon), I feel that it was really worth it, moreover, it made so much fun! For me, having Norwegian and Danish parents and grand-parents, it’s even more interesting that from the 9th century, Old-English experienced heavy influence from Old Norse, a member of the related North Germanic group of languages. I highly recommend having a look at the book “The Cambridge Old English Reader” by R. Marsden.”
On the 19th of April 2011 the brandnew May edition of Sonic Seducer magazine will be out including a very special musical highlight: The exclusive 5 track “Melusine” EP. The “Melusine” EP contains exclusive tracks and versions of songs which have not been released in this form previously. The smashing titletrack was recorded only for this EP and this edition of Sonic Seducer magazine! More info: LINK
LEAVES’ EYES will bring a limited amount of the magazine on tour. If you have no chance to buy it somewhere you can get the exclusive “Melusine” EP together with the magazine at the merchstand.
1. Melusine (Exclusive Non-Album-Song)
2. To France (Sonic Mix)
3. Tell-Tale Eyes (Alternate Version)
4. The Battle Of Maldon (Remastered Version)
5. Legend Land (Acoustic Version)
|29.04.2011||I||Bologna||Sottotetto Sound Club*|
|30.04.2011||I||Romagnano Sesia||Rock N Roll Arena*|
* plus MIDNATTSOL, ** plus MIDNATTSOL and SERENITY, *** plus SERENITY
Acoustic and Signing Session:
23.04. NL Nijmegen, Stae Off Art Metal Store (plus MIDNATTSOL Signing) at 11.00 till 13.00 hours. Also the new album will be available for a special price.
27.04. D Donzdorf, Nuclear Blast
on tour with TARJA TURUNEN
|14.05.2011||B||Bomal-sur-Ourthe||Durbuy Rock Festival*|
The German, Norwegian gothic metal band Leaves’ Eyes has revealed more details about their fourth album scheduled for 22 April 2011. With ‘Njord‘ (Napalm Records, 2009) the band presented their new line-up and different style elements. The artwork is made by Stefan Heilemann. At the moment producer Alexander Krull is working on the final mix at the Mastersound Studio in Germany.
Singer Liv Kristine comments: “As we began composing the first song ideas for our fourth full-length album, all of us were very eager to take another step in strengthening both the individual sound and concept of Leaves’ Eyes, like we have done album by album. Along with the song-writing process, I made up my mind about the songs’ themes, and drowned myself in different sources of literature. Some songs clearly needed lyrics rooted in northern history and culture, as well as having mystical themes.
Being an Old-English fan, I decided to write some of the lyrics in Old-English, which of course included further studies of grammatical and phonetic knowledge, which I really enjoyed doing. Next to modern English and Old-English, some songs are sung in traditional Norwegian, to keep their strong individuality and focus on certain themes from special genres in Norwegian traditional singing.
The album is given the title “Meredead“, as one of the songs on the album. It is my own word-creation (at least I haven’t found it in a dictionary yet), and it may mean both “dead by/in the sea”, or “the mortal or killing sea”.
In my lyrics you will find traditional themes from Viking literature and Norwegian song tradition, moreover, tales from the Irish isles, some from already existing sources, some made up myself. Sometimes you will hear about men going on adventures.
Some ending up drowing in the sea, their wives, evil witches, three-headed trolls, or spell-bound princesses, as well as marble halls and blood-thirsty creatures. I allowed myself more freedom for the concept of “Meredead“, telling a number of different stories, real, mystical or sometimes maybe even both.”
Leaves’ Eyes will perform on the Metal Female Voices Fest in Wieze, Belgium on 22 th October 2011. Together with Doro, Therion, Stream of Passion and many others.
photo: Moon In Virgo
Metal Female Voices Fest VIII
Saturday 23th October 2010
Arch Enemy, Revamp, Krypteria, Tristania, Dylath-Leen, Visions Of Atlantis, Skeptical Minds and more .
Over the years Metal Female Voices Fest (MFVF) is grown into a very professional and unique brand with a simple format. Every band with female vocals and a passion for metal can deserve a place on the line-up of the Belgium festival.
This year there is for the first time a ‘ MFVF Roadshow’, in combination with Dokkem’ Open Air. MFVF is such an important factor in keeping gothic metal alive. Unfortunately Dejafuse had to cancel their openings act on he Sunday, but with Ram-zet, Leaves’ Eyes and a special ‘ Phantom Agony’ show of Epica there is a lot to discover. What follows is a special festival report from the Saturday.
Skeptical Minds is one of the bands on the warm up tour and a familiar face on stage. With their new album ‘Skepticalized’ released on this festival day, three years of hard work has reached its goal. A mature album with many familiar songs, also with a surprising twist (cello’s are involved).
Unfortunately logistical problems are the cause of my arrival at the end of their set. Just in time to see the energy boost from vocalist Karolina Pacan. In December they return to Belgium with an own show. They have a special sound and potential, so it is worth to check that out!
The festival changed more and more into a multi-media project with video screens on the side of the stage, and the entourage is also bigger than before. For the first time the merchandise is moved to the back of the hall. Also on the left side there is a corner with tables and chairs to sit down for a while. Finally after years there is a chance to sit down, because it is a long day for sure.
Near the backstage area there is a corner for the autograph sessions, organized by Rock Tribune, and that is a pretty crowded place the whole day. It is a big success, especially because Doro Pesch came over to say hello to the fans.
MFVF is an international meeting point for metal fans all over the world, and it is an important element of the atmosphere that day. Everyone is excited and when the Austrian Visions Of Atlantis enters the stage, I have a nice reunion with friends over the border; from Belgium, France, Canada and Germany they are all gathered for this same event. That makes it also very special and hart warming to be here.
The line-up is drastically changed and new female vocalist Maxi Nil is a real talent. She has expressive Greek blood, and that makes her movements exotic. I have the feeling she has more potential to grow into a dynamic performance, but she needs some time to get moreexperience on that level.
Her voice is very clear and high, but also has a lot of power in the low layers, personally I like that combination a lot. It makes her different and it gives the crowd something more than soprano songs.
Also the duet with he male singer Mario Plank, is a trademark. The sound changed from power metal into a more symphonic sound, with heavy guitars and more drums. Like on ‘ Though My Eyes’ and ‘The Secret’ with melodic piano.
A very convincing show, that rises above my expectations. It is a real energy boost for a band that struggled for three years with line-up changes. The band made a strong entrance and won the crowd during the set. New album is in the making.
Then there is Dylath-Leen, also a band from the Roadshow concerts and I know they are capable to blow you away with their strong technical metal music. A refreshing sound with groovy guitars and a female grunter on stage.
Personally I like them more than the headliner of today, because they show a lot of energy and even the bands backstage are totally surprised by their sound. When even colleagues are curious, then there is not only potential to grow, but then there is a real talent awoken. On the new song ’ Forever Still’ Kathy Coupez shows a lot of power, suddenly she switches to a fragile clean voice and a well-deserved feedback from the crowd is the result of an intense show.
Norwegian band Tristania returns in a different shape in compare of 2006, with a new line-up and album. It is the last show from their Rubicon tour and a real highlight of the day. Not only because the members are very charming and kind, also the feedback from the crowd is really surprising and heart warming after all those years.
For the first time the whole venue is packed and excited. The setlist contains many new songs, with a glance role for Mariangela Demutras in duet with Kjetil Nordhus, the new male vocalist well known from Green Carnation.
Opener ’ Year Of The Rat’ is a catchy song and gets a good response from the audience, during the set the energy grows more and more. Also ‘Protection’ shows a strong convincing band, with participation from all the members.
People start to scream when ‘Tender Trip On Earth’ sets in and it feels like Tristania is back stronger, filled with passion like it always belonged this way. It is hard to describe how natural and mature the show is, and an important element is the natural charisma of Mariangela; a real eye-catcher and a singer with a wide spectrum of voice techniques.
On the older songs she shows her bombastic side, what perfectly fits to the original melodies. On the new songs she dares to be more powerful, like on the encore ‘Exile.’ She transforms it all in a very interesting adventure, and with very capable musicians on her side it is an adrenaline growing experience.
Kjetil Nordhus suffers from a flue, and his voice is softer to spare the energy till his glance role on ‘ Shadowman.’ With his calm, deep and very melodic voice he is an important element of Tristania and he grabs the attention well deserved.
Also the combination of his acoustic guitars together with grunter and guitarist Anders is a dynamic interaction. In the back, more hidden behind the drum kit, there is Tarald Junior exploding in energy; every song he is given two hundred percent and from the side of the stage it really awakes a dynamic vibe. The ensemble of voices from all the Norwegian members makes you shiver like on ‘Amnesia.’
Even the cynical gothic fans have to admit is a beautiful composition, representing everything what makes this band so unique. The classical roots, bombastic voices and very catchy melodies it is all there and the crowd loves it.
On every level Tristania proves today that they are back and still have a lot of fans appreciating what they do. A new audience had the chance to get enchanted by the beautiful harmony of voices, and with old and news songs the band is back on top level of this scene. That is a more than convincing outcome of this tour.
Krypteria is a rising star, and frankly I never understood the special element besides the bombastic performance. This time no wedding dress or rosebuds, but a natural performance from the front lady Ji-In Cho. Their rock songs are very catchy like ’ Shoot Me’ and you hardly can call it metal, besides the wall of guitars.
The bass sound is very loud; now and then you can’t hear the clean high parts. A fragile side of Cho on ‘ The Promise’ where she demands a lot from herself. For the real fans an interesting set with many new songs. It is better to hear them on a club tour when they have more time to warm up.
ReVamp is the first headliner of the evening and for 75 minutes a lot of power is blowing away the audience, a diva is showing her strength again.
Last year she announced her comeback and today Floor Jansen is back where she belongs: on top of the gothic metal scene.
Step by step the formation around her is growing and the tour with Epica is a step stone for further success. ‘Kill Me With Silence’ is a perfect mixture between Eastern elements, catchy guitars and the recognizable strong voice of the longest lady in the room.
The roots from After Forever aren’t forgotten and for some fans is it a disappointment that Floor didn’t choose to discover new roads, because she is capable of doing everything she wants. On the other hand the real metal fans can be very satisfied, every song is filled with power and technical challenges created by Floor Jansen.
The debut album ‘Revamp’ is well produced, but on stage the diva adds an extra element to enchant you. Again the sound is too loud, what makes the guitars and bass a bit raw and too much all the time.It disturbs the perfect performance from Floor and honestly, she is the real eye-catcher of the show.
Simone Simons makes her entrance on ‘Sweet Curse‘ and in combination with Floor, it brings the show to a grand experience. And it continues on the piano version of ‘ I Lost Myself ’ a peaceful moment after the powerful vibe, with a respectful silence from the audience. It reached a beautiful peak during the aria from
Puccini‘O Mio Babbino Caro’ dedicated to the Italian fans in the crowd. This is Floor in her best environment and it doesn’t reach the level of Maria Callas, but she is close in her interpretation.
She immediately switches to a powerful song with heavy grunts and uprising guitars, the contrast is strong but brings back the energy. ‘ Energize Me’ is an other surprise and it after that everyone knows who the real headliner of today will be.
Arch Enemy makes a heavy entrée as always, after a long changeover and break for the audience. It is a real puzzle why Angela Gossow takes her time, but that is probably a part of the schedule. Maybe it is because many fans are tired of this long day. When the intro sets in, the energy is back and people start to scream: they are ready for the heaviest show of today.
‘My Immortal’ and ‘ Taking Back My Soul’ are filled with Swedish metal, catchy and dark at the same time. If you like it or not, Arch Enemy knows how to present their format of rising grunts and uptempo guitars.
It is a real new approach of female metal, the melody is more complex and not always easy to follow. For the real fans in the front it is a show with many highlights. The hit ‘Dead Eyes See No Future’ are a nice wink to the black stripes under Angela’s eyes.
She looks fragile with her blond hair, but she screams her longs out. A little break for her during the excellent guitar solo from Michael Amott. He is a bit distant on stage, but totally focussed on the good timing and finger fast parts. ‘ We Will Rise’ and ‘ Fields Of Desolation’ are creating a dynamical second half of the set, then it is finally over.
Metal Female Voices 2010 is again a day with many highlights, new discovered bands and a social happening in the front and the back of the stage. The social aspect is as important as the excellent performances today. Nice memories are formed and already new bands are announced for the new edition, write it down on your calendar because you can’t miss this spectacle!
There is special discount if you order your 2011-ticket in December: http://www.metalfemalevoicesfest.be/
copyright text: Silviapd
copyright photo’s: Monica Duffels
The last day begins with a promising sunshine. It seems that everyone wants to show all their energy for the last time, and there is an unforgettable feedback on every band this day. When for the last time the bags are counted, a double feeling occurs: it was a long week without my favourite habit (a long shower), so I am longing for home. But Dinkelsbuhl became a new home too. Where bands are easily amenable, fans are always optimistic, and the German politeness is heart warming. Driving around the church, down the hill, passing green fields to the highway (where we totally give full power in our yellow bird) the complete happiness is there. Summerbreeze makes the summer complete and I am very thankful it exits, this little escape from reality.
It is a fact that a ray of sunlight make people happy and with a golden waze, the gods are with us today. There is no green grass left, because the whole field is packed. A dynamic crowd welcomes Van Canto and stays enthusiastic till the end. The band has an easy start, because they are so unbelievable popular. I saw them once, but this time the power is unprecedented. They introduce themselves as ‘We sing some metal songs for you A capella.’ It is erudite and very talented how this formation manages to create such a natural sound, not indistinguishable from the original.
Opener ‘Lost Forever’ (own composition) immediately grabs the attention, front woman Inga Scharf has a high pure voice, a perfect contrast with the heavy men parts producing the sounds of guitars, rhythm section and accompanied by Bastian Emig on drums. The high and poppy voice from Dennis Schunke is a real eye-catcher and also he is a natural front man with a lot of charisma. Touring in Europe with Blind Guardian at the moment, no wonder they cover ‘Bards Song ’ with strong melodies, two high voices and five vocalists, the drummer also participates.
The crowd gets crazy on ‘Master Of Puppets’ and it is in my eyes even better than the original with compliments to their energy and intensity. It is not only their talented voices, but also the natural charisma and the pleasure they reflect on the crowd and so easily to like. It gives you pimples to see all those hands in the air. ‘Fear Of The Dark’ is last song of a much too short set, and the big climax. They give the audience so much energy, good music and a big smile on their faces. Vielen Dank Vocanto!
For many years vocalist Liv Kristine is the figurehead of female singers in the metal. She invented the gothic metal, and with Leaves’ Eyes she developed a whole new style. With their recent album ‘Njord’ the success is taking a big step forward. Tortured by the sun, but with all the energy they got presenting an excellent setlist, the best I have seen of them. ‘Emerald Island’ is a personal favourite and it starts to bubble inside me. With bombastic arrangements, groovy guitars and the powerful voice of Liv Kristine the adrenaline is soon on the surface.
It is also very special to see them perform for their own crowd, with many fans and a very, very excited clapping crowd! Dutch team JB from Aborted (bass) and Sander van der Meer (guitarist) has a more heavy sound and together with the new drummer Roland Navratil (ex-Sirenia) the set is very uptempo and powerful.
It is like Liv Kristine says: ‘Good that you face the heat’ and that the sign for the security to move the fire hose and that makes the crowed even more excited. On ‘Farewell Proud Men’ Liv Kristine shows what a good front woman she is, moving her dress, arms and easily produce such a high clear tone. Fascinated, and a real eye-catcher! Also grunter Alex Krull knows how to create a good atmosphere. Like on the latest hit ‘ Take The Devil In Me.’ Everyone is waving their hands, singing along and clapping on the rhythm.
The arc of energy is reaching his highest point on ‘Elegy’ the most famous hit. A moment of rest to calm down your heart beat. Once again Liv Kristine ravishes you with her dreamy, fragile voice and sweet smile. The high guitar sound from Thorsten Bauer fit very well into the Viking story and the atmosphere grows on ‘Froyas Theme’ where the same elements are bound in the most compact, convincing song I ever heard of them. It is this combination of song what reflects to rise of Leaves’ Eyes through the years the best. There is a lot of interaction on stage and the audience grabs their breath. After so many times they surprise me on unexpected moments, that is their strength. Always demanding the best of themselves, with hard work and lots of energy and that simply reflects on the listener. Impressive!
Every band is totally different, and it is that diversity what creates the best festival day of the whole Summer Breeze edition 2010. Its a strong advice for the upcoming editions. Eisbrecher is an Industial rockband, a genre very vivid in Germany and it is no surprise that front man lives near the festival ground, one hour distant. There is one word for this show: smooth. Every element is well prepared like performance, sound, entourage.
The bold Singer Alex Wesselky has a deep low voice, although his German is not easy to follow sometimes. Dressed up in a black suit, and hand gloves he looks very catchy and when the clouds cover the sunbeams I bet he is happy to stay sweat-less and shiny. The songs have a lot of references with ice, war and nationalism. Like opener ‘Eiszeit’ or ‘Leider.’ Halway the set someone brings him a new hat, and the big oil tons appears on stage. He starts the intro with a flute and the show element is strongly build up. Sometimes the songs have a poppy beat, even a easy listening part then it is perfectly mixed with metal elements and even cyber gothic. For everyone there is something recognizable and that explains also why the crowd carries them on their hands.
An unprepared moment when guitarist Noel Pix has a bleeding finger ands needs a minute. The tie goes of, hat is trown away and the power continues on ‘Heilig’ and reached the peak on ‘Amok.’ A very convincing and well prepared show of high quality: an excellent first impression.
Finnish band Poisonblack is back with a new album ‘Of Rust And Bones’ after their success with ‘Rush.’ Singer Ville Laihiala, became famous with Sentenced and decided to give this band his full attention. A good choice, because Poisonblack has not only a very poetic name, but also has many freedom to switch easily from doom metal into a more catchy sound.
It is still a big secret why Finnish bands are talented in creating a catchy emotional sound, and it is confirmed again today. The whole setlist is filled with great melodies, beautiful dark vocals, fast guitar solos and even soft piano parts. I haven’t heard them in ages, but I immediately recognize ‘Nothing Else Remains’ when I hear the first tones. It stays in your head and that is the strenght of Poisonblack. Of course there is Ville with his hypnosis, deep and unique voice. Over the years he has a raw edge, but it fits very well (or was it the lack of sleep and too much alcohol). Shame that his long hair covers his eyes all the time, somehow there is less interaction with the crowd. And there are many fans, even with banners and tears.
No idea where all those girls came from, but they are popular without any doubt. Like Ville says: ‘Not much talking, greets from Finland’ because the set is short, too short. A critic is that they perform very static, also guitarist Janne Markus and hardly to see in the back the other members. ‘Rush’ is played halfway the set, closed by ‘Bear The Cros.’ I expect a bit more action on stage, and the sound quality was not so good. I think they deserve a higher position on the bill next time. They are very unique, even for a Scandinavian band.
The yellow bird decided to leave a bit earlier, due to expected traffic problems at the end of the day and eight hours in a car is a long way to go. Thank word to the excellent organisation and hopefully till next year!
photo’s: Monica Duffels
The German gothmetal band Leaves’ Eyessurprised the whole music-scene with their latest album ‘Njord’ (Napalm Records 2009). For the second time, Leaves’Eyes is touring in Europe as supportact from Kamelot. Liv Kristine Espenæs Krull has some time left after their concert in Paradiso, Amsterdam.
In December 2009 the band did an own headliner tour in Europe, at that time vocalist Liv Kristine lost her voice and decided to continue the tour. During those shows she showed how strong she really was: standing there, fighting against her illness and still finding the motivation to perform night after night. The fans were supportive and such a strength for her.
Liv Kristine: ” I am fine, it took me four weeks to get the voice back. After eight weeks it was completely there. I was wondering in the middle of everything if I was able to sing ‘Elegy’ again. It went alright, but I’ll never take a vaccination before I go on tour.”
You still had a great time on ‘ The Beauty And The Beast ’ tour? I can imagine it is hard when you are worried about your voice.
Liv Kristine: ” I am so thankful to the press, the audience and my friends. Nobody said anything harmful about my show. Everybody was so supporting and helpful.
The critics have been great, although for me it was a hard time. The easiest thing was to cancel the shows, but I am a human being and we can get sick sometimes. The best way is to be honest about it, saying ‘I am not doing fine today but I do my best.’ I think you get rewarded by that. I felt a lot of love coming back.”
For the second time you are touring with Kamelot in many packed venues, and sold-out gigs, all over Europe. Tonight is the third gig in a row, how is it going so far?
Liv Kristine: ” It is nice to tour again with them, because we know them for a couple of years and there is a good friendship on tour. It is good to be back! It is goo to see that, even in the music business, you have strong friendships. I think we make a very good team, and it is a good combination on stage. Both bands are dynamic and bombastic. “
It will be a busy summer, looking forward to it?
Liv Kristine: We have a lot of festivals, the only period when we have no shows is during the soccer world championship in South-Arfrica. We all have planned to watch the championship. Hopefully Germany is doing well, but I expect it will be better than Norway.
Over the years band members come and go, but Leaves’Eyes had a lot of changes the last couple of years. Finally it seemed to be calm after the release of ‘Njord’ but it was only for a short term. On the first day of the tour a new guitarist and drummer were welcomed to the crowd.
Liv Kristine: When Matze (former guitarist) parted ways with us and drummer Seven too, that was something not foreseeable. We couldn’t see it coming, and it was something that happened very fast. It were just personal reasons and it had nothing to deal with the ‘The Beauty And The Beast Tour.’ I know Matze since I moved to Germany, and even before that, so that is 15 years ago.
He’s been Alexander Krull (vocalist, producer Atrocity and Leaves’Eyes – SD) best friend for many years. Now he is out of the band, it seems like he is disappearing. It is like an empty space.
“Then Sander van der Meer (Cypher) came along and he is doing more than great! Actually I thought Sander played the bass. After the last show from ‘The Beauty And The Beast’ tour I asked Alex Krull; we have to think who can we ask now? One week later on the phone I discovered that he played guitar. Sander came in the band all of a sudden and it is perfect missing-link in the band. “
How did you found a new drummer so fast?
Liv Kristine: “With Seven (ex-drummer) it was clear after a couple of conversations with me, Thorsten Bauer (guitarist Leaves’Eyes and Atrocity) and Alexander Krull, it was clear that we had to go our own ways because of different interests. Roland Navratil (ex-Sirenia drummer) had in mind to play with Sirenia, but now he ends up with us. When he came over he had already practised some songs. It was pure luck. “
It is not only the work; it is also about the friendship. With Sander van der Meer & Roland Navratil there is a growing friendship and teamwork. In general, there is no use pulling a big chariot of a band, if one or two persons aren’t helping, just standing there and watching you. You have to be a strong team, do it together. Both are very flexible, and professional.
Suddenly Roland Navratil enters the dressing room for a shower, smiling when he heard the last words of Liv Kristine. He is modest, making jokes and it for sure helps a lot that they toured together on the ‘Beauty And The Beast Tour.’ A very successful tourpackage for not only Leaves’Eyes, but also for Sirenia and the other bands on the tour: Atrocity, Stream Of Passion and Elis.
Special fan edition
There is a special fan edition released from Njord, with new songs. Are you currently working on new Leaves’Eyes material?
Liv Kristine: There are two brand new songs on the fan edition: ‘ Angus And The Swan’ and ‘ At Heaven’s End.’ There is a special version from ‘ Irish Rain’ with my sister Carmen Elise Espenaes (vocalist Midnattsol). She is fine, right now she stays in my house in Germany. Not much news, we practised two days with both new band members before we went on this tour.
Then Roland Navratil explains more about the preparations for this tour: I practised a lot at home, it won’t work another way, right? It has to be like that when you tour a lot.
Liv Kristine: He was well prepared when he came to the studio, we are not used to that (smiles).
Dutch gothic metal band Stream Of Passion has a special question:
” Is there a chance to have an other Beauty And The Beast tour with all the bands?”
Alex Krull (vocalist): The promoters want to bring the ‘ Beauty and the Beast’ also to some countries outside of Europe, too. In North and South America they asked already for playing a festival tour like this. It would be a very cool idea!
After that the bands has to pack their equipment, and leaves Paradiso for a long journey to Engeland together with Kamelot. Many festivals are planned for them this summer, so check http://www.leaveseyes.de/ for more tourdates!
tekst: Gerianne Meijer
foto’s: Monica Duffels – meer op: www.mooninvirgo.nl
Als opener Adagio begint is nog lang niet iedereen binnen. Duidelijk is wel dat als iemand eenmaal binnen is, de concertganger een muur van progressieve metal staat te wachten. De nieuwe zanger Mats Léven staat zelfverzekerd op het podium. Zijn zang staat als een huis en applaus stijgt op bij zijn uithalen.
Na een half uur moeten zij het veld ruimen voor populairdere band Leave’s Eyes . Inmiddels is Paradiso tot aan de nok toe gevuld. Bij opkomst stijgt aardig wat gegil op, een duidelijk teken er veel fans aanwezig zijn. De ontwapenende zangeres Liv Kristine ziet er prachtig uit en weet meteen te boeien. Af en toe klinkt ze echter wat iel, vooral bij het nummer ‘Elegy’. Zanger Alexander Krull is zichtbaar blij om in een uitverkocht Paradiso te staan.
Zeer enthousiast rent en headbangt hij over het podium, soms wat in de microfoon schreeuwend. Het laatste album ‘Njord’ wordt zeker goed ontvangen. Als zij het nummer ‘My Destiny’ aankondigt leeft het publiek op.
Dan is het wachten op Kamelot. Als de lichten dimmen komt enorm veel rook over het podium en komen de muzikanten onder luid gejuich op. Als zanger Roy Khan’s krachtige verschijning zich vertoont is meteen duidelijk dat dit wederom een gave show gaat worden. Opener ‘Ghost Opera’ knalt er dan ook uit. Daarna volgt ‘Eden Echo’.
Bij ‘The Pendulous Fall’ en ‘When the Lights are Down’ wordt flink meegezongen en zijn overal handen in de lucht. Daarna worden de spotlights op de vingervlugge Oliver Palotai gericht voor een prachtige keyboardsolo.
Daarna volgt het nieuwe nummer ‘Hunters Season’, dat opgedragen is aan de vorig jaar overleden moeder van gitarist Youngblood. Door het harde geluid is niet heel goed te ontdekken hoe dit nummer in elkaar steekt, wat jammer is. Daarna volgt het harde ‘Rule the World’ en een spectaculaire drumsolo van Casey Grillo.
Dat het publiek als was in de handen van de band is, wordt vooral duidelijk tijdens ‘Forever’. Er wordt uit volle borst meegezongen en geklapt. Bij het begin van dit nummer verschijnt gitarist Thomas Youngblood zowaar op het balkon! Daarna volgen toegiften ‘Memento Mori’ en het prachtige ‘Season’s End’. Met het stampende ‘March of Mephisto’ komt al vuurspuwend dan helaas een einde aan een spectaculaire avond!