Leaves’ Eyes – “Fires In The North”

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Leaves’ Eyes – “Fires In The North” EP (AFM Records)

Battle Helm Rating

Obviously the big news here is the change in vocalist following the departure of Liv Kristine, who besides being married to keyboardist co vocalist Alexander Krull, had been a lynch pin of the band for 13 years. While Kristine’s departure remains somewhat controversial involving litigation, Leaves’ Eyes have continued with Finnish soprano singer and vocal coach Elina Siirala. Showcasing her now in this EP on a brand new title track, which is also presented in an acoustic version, there are also 3 numbers from their last release “King Of Kings” which she sings on. While being also a soprano like Kristine, Siirala’s style is a lot harder with more emphasis on the operatic, and it really shows on the Viking metal of ‘Edge Of Steel’ and ‘Sacred Vow’ where she really adds to the epic nature of the material. Interestingly, these new versions also see the band themselves adopt a harder more punchier approach which previously featured the more ethereal graces of Kristine. It was only on ‘Swords In Rock’ with its dancing folk melody that the contrast seemed minimal, which if anything showed Siirala capable of adopting a mellower tone if needed. Either way, Leaves’ Eyes now have a Valkyrie in their midst……

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