Leaves' Eyes
Sign of the Dragonhead


2.5
average

Review

by manosg STAFF
July 22nd, 2018 | 17 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Whose eyes now?

Replacing one of the most influential and iconic female voices in the history of metal is never an easy task. Add to that the fact that the band’s moniker is practically inspired by the said vocalist’s name, and the task instantly becomes daunting; or so it must have been for the remaining members of Leaves’ Eyes. Essentially the brainchild of ex-couple Liv (hence Leaves’ Eyes) Kristine (ex-Theatre of Tragedy) and Alexander Krull (Atrocity), the German-Norwegian outfit plays an entertaining brand of symphonic metal – Nightwishcore for some – which distinguishes itself by its strong Norse/Viking flavor. Besides differentiation, the Norse elements also provide an epic aspect which is much needed to a style of music that – to my mind at least – is easy to evoke horrible Eurovision memories.

So, did the firing of Liv Kristine have a detrimental effect on the quality of her ex band’s material? Well yes, even though it’s not the new vocalist’s fault, as the problem with Sign of the Dragonhead is twofold. On one hand, the songwriting is catchy albeit formulaic and on the other, everything on here sounds so overproduced, harmless and non-heavy that it subtracts much of the fun. Yes, the outcome is bombastic and sometimes energetic but it is also so compressed. In addition, the guitars are inoffensive and Alexander Krull’s harsh vocals are muddy and poor. For example, “Across the Sea” has a beautiful, uplifting folk melody which makes it one of the album’s highlights but Krull’s vocals bring the song down.

The new lead singer Elina Siirala, differs from Liv in that she opts for a more powerful approach but, unfortunately, her delivery is such that makes Leaves’ Eyes even more formulaic. Overall, her performance is good but there are times that her voice sounds forced such as on “Sign of the Dragonhead” which, instrumentally, is a nice opener but not a great way of introducing the new vocalist, not to mention the childish chorus.

One thing that Leaves’ Eyes seems to have nailed is the folk melodies. “Jomsborg”, “Volva” and “Riders on the Wind” are good examples of a successful fusion of folk and symphonic metal and eventually album highlights due to their folk melodies. However instead of building on those melodies, the band constantly dresses them up with simplistic riffs, abysmal male harsh vocals and Eurovision-style choruses.

At the end of the day, Sign of the Dragonhead is by no means an offensive listen or an awful LP but it’s too poppy and harmless for its own good. Was it Liv Kristine who saved these guys from absolute cheesiness? I am not sure, as her solo career is hit or miss as well and besides her last studio album Vervain, quite poppy too. Nevertheless, there is hope provided that Leaves’ Eyes decide to work on their strong points and elevate them instead of bringing them down.



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user ratings (13)
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2.5
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Njord

Comments:Add a Comment 
manosg
Staff Reviewer
July 22nd 2018


11273 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Started writing this one when the album came out and I'm sure you've all been waiting for it, so here it is.

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Voivod
Staff Reviewer
July 22nd 2018


7992 Comments


Good review, I will probably pass on this.

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hansoloshotfirst
July 22nd 2018


1078 Comments


surprised they still exist. good review though.

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
July 22nd 2018


14800 Comments


Sweet rev manosg

Elynna
July 22nd 2018


266 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

The new Midnattsol is even worse

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manosg
Staff Reviewer
July 22nd 2018


11273 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Cheers fellas, always appreciate the kind words.



"The new Midnattsol is even worse"



Only heard it once but I think I agree. At least this one has its moments.

Groundking
July 22nd 2018


776 Comments


I remember these getting massive hype when Vinland Saga came out and I was getting into the whole power/symphonic metal scene I never really got it. Doesn't look like I'm missing out on anything but is their earlier stuff worth revisiting or not?

manosg
Staff Reviewer
July 22nd 2018


11273 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Their earlier stuff is definitely better than this one, especially their first three albums. But I also have a soft spot for King Of Kings.

ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
July 22nd 2018


11559 Comments


Nice review man, glad someone did this one, haven't checked it yet though I was expecting something like this, still keen to give it a spin at some point though.

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manosg
Staff Reviewer
July 23rd 2018


11273 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Thanks Scuro. It's only worth a listen just to check the new vocalist.

Dewinged
July 23rd 2018


11319 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Ooooh yeah I remember we talked about this one manosg. I remember I checked it and didn't dig it much tbh. Glad you put the review out anyway! Thanks!



Edit: Love the summary ;)

Digging: Ancestors - Suspended in Reflections

manosg
Staff Reviewer
July 23rd 2018


11273 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Haha thanks Dewi! How can you even retain that band name without Liv Kristine? I guess these guys are not big fans of rebranding.

Dewinged
July 23rd 2018


11319 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah man, I mean, the name's cool and all but it wouldn't be a big loss if they'd change it lol

teamster
July 27th 2018


3179 Comments


Once she left it was over for me ...

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manosg
Staff Reviewer
July 28th 2018


11273 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yup that's understandable, Team. To be honest, I checked the album mostly out of curiosity.

deslad
August 14th 2018


621 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review manos. However, I do not quite agree with you in many points. Since I really like Nightwish, I rather enjoyed that album as well. The Eurovision elements are occasionally evident though...

manosg
Staff Reviewer
August 14th 2018


11273 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Cheers, des! Always nice to see someone actually enjoying this album



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