One thing I’m never keen on is comparing a band’s current singer to previous singers, but it’s something that a lot of music fans seem to be obsessed by, and with this being the first full Leaves Eyes album since the departure of long time singer Liv Kristine, then fans are bound to be keen to hear how Elina Siirala compares. It’s always difficult for a singer replacing someone who is a key part of the sound of a band – Nightwish had it when they replaced Tarja Turunen for example, as any new singer has to be able to do justice to the back catalogue as well as the new material. Fans who have seen Leaves Eyes play live with Elina on vocals will know she’s a great performer and is more than able to do justice to the old songs, but this is the first time for fans to hear an album of new material written with her voice in mind.
The first and most important thing to say is that this is still definitely a Leaves Eyes album – it’s got that distinctive sound that we’ve come to expect from the band, and vocally keeps the same style as before – no radical changes of direction here. What is clear though in my view is that Elina has a fantastic voice and I believe it’s slightly more versatile than Liv’s. There’s a bit more variety in the vocals on this album than in the past and I think Elina has a stronger clearer voice. Don’t get me wrong – I love Liv’s voice, but I think Elina has a voice that allows Leaves Eyes to sound re-energised.
The band have released a video for the title track – “Sign of the dragonhead” and have gone all out to make a video that does justice to the track. As well as the usual footage of the band playing we’ve got a viking village invasion, longships and a huge cast. Check it out here..
The band sound fantastic on the album, the use of traditional instruments adds some folk feel, but it’s the addition of an orchestra and choir in songs such as “”Waves of euphoria” that lifts it up from “Great” to “Epic”.
The attention to detail means that as well as the album sounding great, the packaging has been well done too – there’s a nice viking longship on the album cover and even the choice of font for the lyrics in the CD booklet has been carefully thought out to fit the theme of the album. One bit I’m hugely relieved by is that the band photo hasnt been butchered in photoshop as they always used to be. In the past the pictures of Liv were so manipulated they looked nothing like her – more like a caricature (a real shame as there was no need for it), so I’m glad they havent done that with Elina (or any of the other band members).
Both live and in the studio Leaves Eyes have been a band I’ve enjoyed for quite a few years, but in recent years I felt they were getting a little bit stale. The change of lineup while traumatic for the band, has given them a new lease of life in my view – they’re far more energetic on stage than they have been in the past, and this album is the one I’ve enjoyed most from them for quite some time. A great album that I think Leaves Eyes fans are going to enjoy.
1. Sign of the dragonhead
2. Across the sun
3. Like a mountain
6. Riders on the wind
7. Fairer than the sun
8. Shadows in the night
9. Rulers of wind and wave
10. Fires in the North
11. Waves of Euphoria