It seems spring means “frock-metal” releases, and this year is no exception. It's all quite satisfying and there is something for everyone.
Leave's Eyes: Meredead
The prettier and female side of Viking metal has unleashed yet another slab of folk symphonic metal. They continue on their merry way, sounding as much like Blackmore's Night as they do of Within Temptation depending on the track. Their formula has not changed. It is merely evolving with each release. While this album might not have one song that jumps out at you like the awesome "Elegy", patience is rewarded with a rich collection of songs that suck you in and lead you to places cold and windy. Or "To France" in that song's case, although according to the lyrics you never get there.
Liv Kristine has clearly surpassed anything she has done with Theater of Tragedy. Her vocal trade-offs with her husband/guitarist Alex Krull are excellent as usual, their voices mix well. The title track has a great intro of choral singing before continuing on its merry way. The track that follows is quite fun as well, with Krull trading vocals with his wife to maximum affect. This is a sold release of female led symphonic metal with a touch of folk. While not everyone enjoys this genre as much as I do, it would be hard to convince anyone this is a bad example of the genre.
As you might have gathered the name of the band means Midnight Sun in Norwegian. What you might not know is in fact the lead singer of this band, Carmen Elise Espenæs is in fact the sister of Liv Kristine of Theater of Tragedy and Leave's Eyes fame. In fact Liv's husband, the awesome named Krull produced this band's first record, which was nice of him. To have one daughter in the family that can sing as well as Liv is impressive, to have two in the family is amazing. The two ladies have distinctive singing styles for sure, Carmen's being a bit more gothy and spoken word than her sister. This band prefer to refer to their music as melodic folk metal, but to most ears it will sound similar to Leave's Eyes. Now that is not a bad thing at all and there is enough of a difference to make it interesting.
You could call this more epic in scope with its soaring melodies. New guitarist Alex Kautz has brought a new sense of vigor to the band. Songs have that sense of urgency that so often pervades Scandinavian metal. Overall, this album is probably less accessible and needs more time to truly sink in. Like a fine wine it needs a bit of time to breath before being truly appreciated. This is a worthy addition to the melodic symphonic folk metal genre. If you have never heard of this lot, be sure to check them out.