Thursday, June 30, 2011

Leaves' Eyes - Meredead (2011)

Get ready for another mystical adventure as the symphonic Leaves' Eyes have done it again. The German-Norwegian gothic metal group have released their fourth full length studio album, entitled "Meredead." Full of unique sound and beautifully crafted structure, the album puts together magnificent epic tones for all to enjoy.

Subtle "marching band" like snares start at the beginning of the first track, entitled "Spirits' Masquerade," which is followed by a chanting choir and smooth orchestrated strings. A short melodic burst of bag
pipes jumps in and out in between the chanting. The lead singer, Liv Kristine, lays her angelic vocals softly over the melody as the verse kicks in. Bass and snares are constant, giving you no time to rest
along with high cymbals that glide over the rest of the instruments, setting up a gorgeous image of bright sounds. There is a ravishing flute that later enters the song with hypnotizing notes which pull you
deeper. Kristine layers her voice on top of the flute flowing perfectly up and down the scale. You can barely tell that it is her voice as it is used more as an instrument at the time.

Another beautiful waterfall of strings fade in on track two, “Etain.” The album gets a little heavier in this one as the guitar levels are cranked up with high distortion giving the song a full sound. The chorus is layered with multiple vocals singing marvelous lyrics with great harmonization. Incredible instrumentation thoughout. There is also an interesting use of the xylophone in the beginning of “Velvet Heart,” combined with first pumping drum fills, dark piano, and a remarkable violin. The unique mix of instruments are truly fascinating. An electrifying guitar solo comes in following the bridge, making this song an epic masterpiece.

“To France” opens with calm acoustic riffs immediately grabbing your attention. Its got a likeable melody to the verse and the refrain is full of catchy riffs and lyrics. Don’t be surprised when you start singing along after only a listen or two. Another great guitar solo enters towards the end, really pushing the song over the top. Running for only 4 and a half minutes, it is definitely going to leave you wanting more so make sure you get this track set to “repeat.”

To change things up a little bit, you will come across a mixture of clean vocals and ominous growling in “Sigrlinn.” This sets up the beauty and the beast feel perfectly, as you will even hear the two vocals singing on top of each other at certain parts of the song. Instrument wise, the double bass pedaling is outstanding, mixing
multiple patterns of heavy blast beats while monstrous guitar riffs come crashing down over the verses. More gorgeous violins follow through the middle of the song which lead right into the bone shattering guitar solo. You will also notice heavy amounts of orchestrated strings surrounding the solo providing a full background of energy.

A machine gun of guitars shoot off in the beginning of “Nystev.” The song quickly quiets down as string slowly fade in accompanied by Kristine. The verses are absolutely beautiful and are sung with such passion. As the song builds up, the mood becomes more upbeat and jolly almost making you want to dance. A fast violin jumps in after the lyrics giving strong positive tones to the song. The structure is insane as it keeps going from fast to slow teasing you with heavy riffs but the relaxing you with soothing verses. The track is a real rush overall and keeps your ears locked in from start to finish.

From mellow acoustics to deafening distortion, “Meredead” provides different sounds from all angles and reaches out to all kinds of genres. Leaves’ Eyes has grown and improved so much throughout each
album. Clearly, after hearing this record a couple of times, they have developed their own sound and really set themselves apart from a lot of the other symphonic goth metal bands that are in the metal world. Definitely pick this album up as soon as possible!


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