Leaves’ Eyes – The last Viking
Label: AFM Records Playing Time: 64 Min Release: 23rd October 2020
The Leaves’ Eyes 2015 album „King of Kings“ is the highlight in terms of commercial success and in my opinion also in terms of quality. It was also the last album with the legendary vocalist Liv Kristine. Since 2016 it is up to the Finnish vocalist Elina Siirala to contrast the dark growls of Alex Krull with her high and clear vocals. The follow up album “Sign of the Dragonhead” 2018 could not meet my expectations. One reason was the performance of Elina Siirala, which is technically perfect yet no match for the giant footprints of her predecessor.
Only two years later, band leader Alex Krull and his sidekicks release the final album of the Viking saga. Although they do a lot of experiments with alternative song structures, pace changes and untypical instruments (e.g. Celtic horns, fiddle and nyckelharpa), “The Last Viking” does not reach “King of Kings”. The most important reason is the songwriting. Most songs are too simple, too poppy but also not catchy enough. Of course, there are a couple of well-done songs, e.g. ‘Chain of the Golden Horn’, ‘Dark Love Empress’ and the final ‘The Last Viking’. But to say it clearly: Although those are the best songs on this album, they do not reach the hits of “King of Kings”. In addition, there are the same amount of superfluous songs (‘Serpents and Dragons’, ‘Night of the Ravens’ and ‘Break into the Sky of Aeon’). All in all, the result is not satisfying for a band like Leaves’ Eyes.
A final word to the (quite new) vocalist Elina Siirala: On “The Last Viking”, she does step a bit out of the shadow of Liv Kristine and creates her own musical identity. But she can still not quite reach the level of charisma of her predecessor.