Album Review: “Sign Of The Dragonhead” by Leaves’ Eyes

23131766_10156007791623901_1988138923982422649_nYou guys know how much I love symphonic metal music, right? Leaves’ Eyes is one of the numerous bands cranking out amazing music to its fans! The five piece band consists of Joris Njenhuis on drums, Pete Streit plays guitar while Thorstein Bauer does bass and to round it out the band has two vocalists: Alexander Krull and the newest member Elina Sirala. “Sign Of The Dragonhead” is Elina’s first record with the band. The album was released on January 12th, and as you can see from the artwork on the side that it involves the Vikings and their mythology!

We start the album with the title track, and I will say I hadn’t heard of Elina’s voice before I decided to review the album, so everything is completely new to me. I actually like her voice, it’s deep and not overwhelming as some singers I’ve heard in the past. It has a soft and sweet undertone to it, which works out great with Alexander’s harsh vocals. As far as the song as a whole, I’m not really a fan of it. I feel like it was rushed, however I did like the introduction. It gave you the scene that you were about to be transported out of there. I also liked the pipes as well. It added a nice gentle Celtic tone to it. Second is “Across The Sea” and you instantly hear this playful sound, that always reminds me of voyagers on a boat, the heavy guitars give you that other added element to it, but it’s all good and keeps the listener upbeat to hear the story.

Next we have “Like A Mountain” and I really liked the soft beginning, just hearing only a piano with Elina’s voice was beautiful, but of course we can’t stay in that direction. It doesn’t change into a jam-packed harsh song. It actually stays pretty neutral in sound, so it has a good melody to follow, and shows the beauty in Elina’s voice too! Leaves’ Eyes has had a history of using all kinds of languages in their lyrics: English, Irish and of course a form of the Viking language too! So the song “Jomsborg” is no surprise to me. I looked up the title to see what kind of information it could give me and according to Google, it was a legendary Viking stronghold on the coast of the Baltic sea. You have the same vibe that you get while listening to the second track, but I always find it cooler to see bands be inspired by real things, if it’s people or structures, it doesn’t matter. I love it!

And then we continue with the same inspiration, with the song “Völva” that tells you about a pagan Norse shaman. She would be considered a seer or prophet to the Vikings and their religion. If you want a better description: think of Gambit from the Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit books and films! I think it has a very playful sound, but it also has an exotic vibe going on too! It’s a very pretty song! This next one though, as soon as I heard it, I didn’t know what to exactly think of it. I mean, it’s not bad, kind of unique because it sounds like a jam session happened and they recorded it as it was. The song is called “Rides Of The Wind” and I do like the addition of the choir during the choruses but this one has me all confused! No wonder people who don’t normally listen to symphonic metal have a huge opinion or chip on their shoulders about the changes of their beloved genre, this is a weird one,

We’re heading to the end, the last five tracks of the standard edition. We have “Fairer Than The Sun” and after the previous one, my expectation was a little low because I was surprised once, it could certainly happen again! I’m happy to say that it definitely a little quieter compared to the others. I’d consider it a ballad in a way because it has a dreamy quality to it. Nice change! The eigth song is “Shadows Of The Night” and we’re out of our dreams now, back to the nightmares! I think the song is good, but I feel like there’s nothing giving it a special element to it, which sucks because it sounded like it had potential. And now have “Rulers Of The Wind And Waves” and you definitely get the true sailing viking tone in this song. I’m also happy to say that it’s an instrumental! There’s really nothing that makes me happy more than that honestly! It’s also a nice break too.

Now we have the last two songs, starting with “Fires In The North” and it has a bit of the vibe of the track before it. I like it. The more I listened to it, the more I started to really pay attention to the lyrics. That’s one thing that is difficult to do in this genre, because of the fact that there’s many elements, between Elina’s operatic vocals and Alexander’s darker growls along with the sound of the song together can be choatic at times! Lastly, there’s “Waves Of Euphoria” and it was nice to hear a true epic symphonic metal at the ending of the album. You recognize the horn in the beginning, keeping with the viking mythology there and after the long intro, the guitars come alive and it’s actually really good. It sounds like a normal Leaves’ Eyes.

The real question is whether or not I liked the album as a whole? Honestly, I don’t think any of their newer material will be able to top Symphonies Of The Night that was released in 2013. I did like it though, it just wasn’t at that level as this album.

Have you heard “Sign Of The Dragonhead” yet? Do you have a favorite on it yet? Let me know!

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Song Review: “Halvdan The Black” by Leaves’ Eyes

I’ve been pretty excited about new music from Leaves’ Eyes. It still puzzles me that it’s been two years since “Symphonies Of The Night” came out! That’s freaking insane!

When it comes to finding great music, you’re always looking for that next best thing! That lingering question emerges, will it be better or worse than the album before? I’ve had a difficult getting into bands that use story concepts for their albums. It’s very interesting to see an actual story take place within an album, but knowing that every single song is part of the same outline as the one before it, you feel like there’s no room for other topics. Some bands like Leaves’ Eyes don’t necessarily use true feelings, sometimes they write about Vikings folklore and things of that nature. It’s cool on how Liv and Alexander write their songs that way, because also being in a type of band that makes symphonic metal (meaning using both classical and heavy metal elements together, such as choirs, orchestra, and three guitars) it helps make the song pop! It gives it life in a way.

When I first heard this song I had just heard an EP from another symphonic metal band but that wasn’t as dramatic sounding as this did. The sirens and chanting at the beginning give it that dark feeling and it’s honestly a great way to start off and then a choir and guitars start up and that adds another layer of greatness! Usually I love Liv’s light vocals on these types of songs but since it gave me such a dark, black feeling during the introduction I think Alexander’s part is the brilliant thing to have in this song. Unfortunately I hate the guitar solo like always! I think they could have exchanged that with something to make it better, but other than that it’s an amazing song! I just hope the album’s just as good or even better! I’ve been let down three times in the past few months, I’d like to love at least one symphonic heavy metal album this year!

What do you love/hate about Leaves’ Eyes new single? What do you think their new album will sound like? 

Tune Tuesday | Norway

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This year I wanted to add Norway to my list and so I did!

Several months ago, I heard about how all of the radio stations in Norway were going off. Apparently everybody over there thinks that since we use the Internet to find music that playing music on the radio is too outdated. I think I would be heartbroken if our radio stations went off here in the states! I understand to take a few shows off the air, but what are you to listen to in the car if you don’t have a connector for your phone or iPod? Unless you still burn music onto blank CDs a lot of people are going to be going long family trips without anything to listen to. That would be the worst thing ever! I need music on those kinds of trips honestly, keeps my sanity!

Besides all this happening there, I have found quite a bit of music from there. Two bands that I found on Spotify, haven’t been listening to them very long actually, but they have a lot of music out! The first is Leaves’ Eyes and they are going to be releasing a new album soon that I am very excited about!! I can’t believe it’s been two years since they released “Symphony Of The Night” I mean, that’s just crazy! Another band in the same genre: gothic/symphonic metal Sirenia is a band that just released their newest album back in May! Unfortunately I have yet to listen to it all the way through, but I will one of these days! Both bands have almost the same sounds, stories in their albums, but both female vocalists are so different in range! I think Liv Kristine (Leaves’ Eyes) is better than Ailyn (Sirenia) because she sounds more powerful in her voice whenever she sings the more slower tempo songs. Ailyn is very dramatic, so they each have their differences and it’s good that this separates the two bands.

The last one hasn’t really made it onto my favorites list yet, but when I found out he was from here I knew I had to include him in this post. Kygo is an EDM artist. I’ve only heard of a couple of his songs and I’m just now starting to like his song with Conrad Sewell called “Firestone” but the other one called “Stole The Show” with Parson James still needs time. Sadly, that’s all I’ve been able to find from Norway until next year! Do you listen to any Norwegian band/artists that I need to hear? Send them to me!

Hell To The Heavens – Leaves’ Eyes

Seven Widows Weep – Sirenia

Firestone – Kygo ft. Conrad Sewell

DIY: Ophelia Pumpkin

Well, I’m back with another DIY project.

So it’s finally time to talk about our first pumpkin project. I know I’ve basically told you everything about the rubber band pumpkin in the post about Sunday, but in case that post was just a little too confusing, I’ve decided redo it. So forgive me if you’ve read that post. I have never heard of using rubber bands on a pumpkin seriously, but if you know me well if I know certain things are in good places, I might actually try it out.

I got the idea from this little magazine called Country Living, I’m actually thinking about having my mom get the next edition for November. I’m already seeing my nana’s future layout of her kitchen table for Thanksgiving! Anyway, getting a little ahead of myself. On page 62, was this cute little idea you can do to a pumpkin and I thought it was so different and cute that I knew I had to do it. The only thing you need that was the same as the directions in the magazine was the rubber bands.They used the tan bands as they are much larger than the smaller pink ones, with those you can really stretch out and basically use the entire pumpkin as your canvas. My grandparents only had the pink rubber bands, so I had to make do and I was perfectly fine with that. They worked just as good as the others, but getting them to stretch out as far as the tan/white ones was not an option for me, because I was too afraid that they were going to bounce back at me and hurt my toes. I wrapped one end of the band around the stem of the pumpkin and stretched it out to the bottom and hoped it stay there. In all, I got six or seven bands on it and once I got one on I’d turn it around and do the other side. That seemed to be a good idea too!

After the last one, I tried to see if I can add one more onto it, but neither side would let me. I thought it was adorable and so did my nana! I felt so proud of myself too, because that was the one craft project where I’ve actually been able to do all by myself. To make things even better! My mom got us a packet of different colored Sharpies and I decided that I could color in some of the holes around the sides of the pumpkin. I only did four sides of it. I used the colors, blue (which you couldn’t see), purple, red, and green. In a way, it was like the changing of colors in autumn, except I’ve never seen a blue or purple leaf before! This DIY project was probably one of the easiest things I’ve ever done! When I went home that night after completing it, I was trying to figure out a name for it. I knew I wanted a girl name, so I first thought of “Ruby” but it honestly didn’t fit. So while I was home, I was sitting on my bed, listening to music like always. Well, I was listening to the band Leaves’ Eyes and they have two songs from their new album, Symphonies Of The Night. One is called Cecelia and the other is Ophelia. I love Ophelia more and when I went to take it home yesterday afternoon. I told both my mom and nana about the name, I didn’t explain the reason to my mom though, but she said that it sounded like a name I’d choose. I don’t know what she meant by that either.

red and blue, the lighting in that house made it looked like it was a dark purple but it wasn't.
red and blue, the lighting in that house made it looked like it was a dark purple but it wasn’t.
You can see the rubber bands very well in this picture.
You can see the rubber bands very well in this picture.
Finished project. :)
Finished project. 🙂

My Masquerade Of Beautifully Mastered Music

I’ve always been the person, that I liked what the person’s face and body, but I even liked their music. That’s what I went through with pop music and sometimes rap too. Now that I’ve been into both dance and metal music throughout the last few years, I’ve realized that its better to listen to everything with your eyes, than paying more attention on the look of the person. I’m always been about wanting a person to look at myself than just a person in a wheelchair, I should treat musicians the same way. That’s why I’ve been against backstage passes and stuff. I don’t want to make myself just another sob story to them. I’m a strong person. Yes, I’ve obviously got some physical problems, but there’s more to me than just that. Everytime my mom jokes with me about going backstage or sneaking backstage, it literally makes my stomach cringe. She recently brought it up because my sister wants to see her idol Demi Lovato. Honestly, for her I would throw away my pride and do it for her, just so she could meet her. I would be happy solely for her. Back to the main subject, I’ve been pride of never been stuck on one genre of music. I’m literally everywhere.

I’ve talked about my music preferences before and the reason why I do, is because I try to highlight a part of me that has changed me in some way. Recently I’ve been listening to Leaves’ Eyes and they are a symphonic metal band from Norway. Liv Kristine has actually made it on my “Influences” list. I love her operatic voice and it’s soft too. I’ve recently listened to some of their songs and they have this celtic vibe, like “Spirit’s Masquerade” and I just love that! It makes the song just bright and fun, but it also makes it so mellow too. I have blogged about my love for the ladies of Celtic Woman. Well, ever since I’ve been listening to Leaves’ Eyes, I’ve missed their music. So tonight I’m listening and watching live clips of their songs. I love “Awakening,” “Nocturne,” and “Black Is The Colour” and I just think they sound so beautiful. I’m not necessarily paying attention to their voices, more focused on the sounds throughout the songs. That’s what truly makes them beautiful.