It’s soon to be winter, the nights are long and cold – it’s the time of year when darker music takes over from the light and breezy festival anthems.
Leaves’ Eyes are one of the best and brightest bands that Germany (with the notable addition of a Norwegian vocalist) has to offer. Symphonies Of The Night marks their fifth full length since their inception a decade ago.
It’s only been two short years since their last full length, but in this industry, to sit back and see time fly is detrimental to your health as a band; this album comes just as I was starting to want something new from them. Opener Hell To The Heavens is a mission statement for this album, it completely encapsulates this release. This time around we’re given more of the dual-singing approach than before, with synth maestro Alexander Krull stepping up and laying down some seriously lacerating vocals. Coming through to Galswintha, the album builds into a multi-dimensional monster, and the folk-influenced addition of a flute comes forward to add to the soaring mix.
Saint Cecilia takes on the form of a huge, moving and cinematic soundscape with all emphasis on the vocals. Driven upwards by chanting and synth lines, this track climbs higher and higher, and the folk influences return again for Hymn To The Lone Sands – a track that starts off as a delicate ballad before crumbling into a wall of noise. When that kicks in, it unfortunately loses something that had some serious magic to begin with. But judged by its heaviness alone, it’s a devastating track showcasing the duo’s vocals in a brilliant way.
Nightshade should have finished up this release. With its balanced melodies, it makes for a perfect close to this chapter, which is something that for me Ophelia doesn’t do well at all. I don’t doubt it’s place in the album, it’s a beautiful metal track, but seems somewhat out of place at the close of the release.
I believe this is one of the strongest releases Leaves’ Eyes have ever put out.
Whilst it suffers from a pacing issue or two, it also contains some marvelously written and delivered songs, with the vocals being the strongest component of the release.