Eight years after their formation, and with three albums in their discography, Leaves’ Eyes present us their fourth work, and the name of it “Meredead”. After a series of changes of members, they returned with the full line-up of Atrocity, with Liv Kristine Espenaes Krull and Alexander Krull on vocals, Thorsten Bauer on guitar and bass, Sander Van Der Meer also on guitar and Roland Navratil on drums.

So, in “Meredead”, Leaves’ Eyes follow their classic, successful recipe· influences from past eras blend in with modern gothic/symphonic metal. But in this record even more emphasis is put on traditional instruments. The beginning is made with the impressive “Spirits’ Masquerade”, where a slow, military-like drumming gives way to a female choir and a badpipes melody. “Kråkevisa” and “Étaín” give the same feeling. On one hand, the use of traditional scandinavian instruments, like nyckelharpa and uilleann pipes, and on the other, the wonderful voice of Liv Kristine, who sings in Old English and Norwegian, give you a sense of traveling back in time. “Velvet Heart” could easily be the single, as it sounds quite commercial, with good guitars and a catchy chorus, and “Sigrlinn” is, perhaps, the strongest track of the album, in which we can hear Alexander Krull’s singing. In “Meredead” we can also find a highly successful cover of “To France” of Mike Oldfield.

“Meredead” is a great symphonic folk metal album, and the use of the traditional instruments  can show how diverse this genre can be. From the first grand song to the last ballad, there are many elements that contribute positively. Nevertheless, compared to the previous album of the band, “Njord”, this one may need a few more hearings to assess it properly.

Leaves’ Eyes have kept their classic sound that made them famous, but managed to evolve it. The orchestral parts are impressive, and some guest vocalists were recruited, such as Carmen Elise Espenaes, Maite Itoiz, John Kelly and Anette Guldbrandsen. As far as the production and the interpretations are concerned, both are great.

In my opinion, we are dealing with perhaps the most powerful work of Leaves’ Eyes. Everything on this album blends seamlessly, so that the result can be the best. Fans of gothic, symphonic and power will be able to appreciate it, but fans of this genre will surely love it.

Track List Line Up
01.Spirits’ Masquerade
03.Velvet Heart
04.Kråkevisa (“Crow’s Ballad”, traditional)
05.To France (Mike Oldfield cover)
08.Mine Tåror er ei Grimme
09.Empty Horizon
10.Veritas (“Truth”)
11.Nystev (“New Stave”, traditional)
12.Tell-Tale Eyes
13.Sorhleod (bonus track; Old English for “Song Of Sorrow”)
Thorsten Bauer – Guitar
Liv Kristine Espenæs Krull – Vocals
Alexander Krull – Vocals, Keyboards, Programming
Roland Navratil – Drums
Sander van der Meer – Guitar