Liv Kristine – Vervain
tekst: Frans Neelen
Does this charming lady really needs an introduction ? Not really I guess, but for the beginners here in a nutshell the story of Liv Kristine so far.
In the early nineties she became the singer of Theatre Of Tragedy, one of the founders of Gothic Female fronted Metal and a band who introduced the “Beauty and the Beast” vocal battles.
In the late nineties she developed her own solo career, composing more personal, poppy songs released under her own name. Together with husband Alexander Krull and the other band members Atrocity she is founder of the successful gothic band Leaves’ Eyes in 2003 after leaving Theatre of Tragedy.
“Vervain” or Verbena, is called “Tears of Isis” in ancient Egypt. It is a herb with purple or white flowers with delicate spikes and nearly scentless, also known as one of a vampire’s most well-known weakness. Also associated with “divine” which is in this case a good translation for the fifth album of Liv Kristine.
An album that is, without any doubt, her strongest and most energetic one. On her solo albums Liv Kristine normally shows her light, romantic side with poppy, catchy songs. Previous album “Libertine” (2012) already marks a more rock orientated direction.
“Vervain” presents itself as a dark and doom album with songs that reminds strongly of Theatre of Tragedy. Bass and drums are very heavy and low; giving the album a sinister, melancholic feeling.
Although this album marks a return to Liv Kristine’s roots it still is an album that reaches a wider audience. Gaining a lot of new fans and please the old ones as well. Liv’s beautiful voice and sympathetic personality stand guarantee for that.
Opener “My Wilderness” immediately is a bulls eye; doomy riffs and firm axe work contradict with her catchy and racy voice as many know in most Leaves’ Eyes songs, but above all it sounds fresh and energetic.
In “Creeper” and “Oblivious” those fine dark riffs by guitars and bass are standing out. When Liv’s angelic vocals sets in the timbre immediately changes: providing a contradiction between doom against sweet. One of the strongest impressions on this album.
With “Elucidation” also the more catchy (poppy) and electronic musical period from Theatre Of Tragedy is honored. It’s swings, it rock’s and has that particular dancing beat which was introduced on their debuut album.
On the fragile song “Lotus” Liv’s vocals are breath taking and make you melt like icicles on the roof. “Hunters” is driven by an energetic rock beat and Liv’s haunting vocals make it also a track worth mentioning.
Two vocal guestsappearances are made by Michelle Darkness (End of Green) in the new wave, gothic sounding “Love Decay” and “the female voice of metal rock” Doro Pesh makes her entrance on “Stronghold Of Angels”.
Michelle’s low – down from the cellar – voice makes “Love Decay” sound like a Sisters Of Mercy song and goes along fine with Liv’s clean voice. In the power ballad “Stronghold Of Angels” Doro’s rasping voice merges perfectly with Liv’s angelic one and both deliver a great job. Both duets are cleary something original and reflecting different vocal styles by Liv Kristine.
On this album Liv Kristine presents the best of herself. A mixture of her solo albums, Theatre Of Tragedy roots and Leaves’ Eyes elements cover the load on this excellent album with a variety in songs which share the same intriguing atmosphere of the early Gothic sound.
Doomy, heavy and sinister with enough space for enchanting vocals and fragile poetry. The vocal guest appearances are well chosen and contribute the versatility. Overall it sounds fresh and exciting. Boundaries between Liv Kristine solo and Leaves’ Eyes have faded, so its wise to abstract there are two top acts in the Gothic scene.
Last, but certainly not least, do not forget that Thorsten Bauer is besides Liv the main composer of the music as well as playing most of the instruments. Again Alexander Krull succeed as producer on “Vervain.”As well as co-composing songs. A splendid job by all three of them which results in album fit to conquer the world.
01. My Wilderness
02. Love Decay [featuring Michelle Darkness]
04. Stronghold Of Angels [featuring Doro Pesch]
08. Two And A Heart