Album Review: LEAVES' EYES Sign Of The Dragonhead
It's been a minute since we've heard from Leaves' Eyes, the viking obsessed German symphonic metal band has been through a lot in the the three years since King Of Kings was released. They changed vocalists, embraced new tours, and generally grew to new heights – but it has certainly not been easy. This is a huge part of what makes it so refreshing to get to finally hear Sign Of The Dragonhead and realize that despite everything that may have happened these guys are still the same awesome band who blew so many of us away. They don't need Liv Kristine to succeed, because, not only does her replacement, the incredibly talented Elina Siirala more than fill her shoes, but the quality of the songwriting is so damn high that it would be remiss to look at Leaves' Eyes as 'just another symphonic metal band' and instead appreciate that they are visionaries, who pushed well past the initial promise of Nightwish and other bands from the first generation of symphonic metal.
Sign Of The Dragonhead, hits all of the standard Leaves' Eyes tropes, but pushes beyond a lot of the previous limitations of the band. It feels like this release uses some more growls than previous ones, but also does it in a way that is significantly more tasteful. That being said, Alexander Krull's gruff gutturals still feel like they don't really fit. Otherwise the arrangements seem richer than ever and at times a bit over the top – almost touching on sounds reminiscent of folks like Twilight Force. Still obsessed with Nordic mythology deeper tracks like 'Fairer Than The Sun' decisively prove that Leaves' Eyes are still able to touch on deeper subjects despite their more fantastical predilections. As narmy as some of the lyrics might be, it certainly feels like the band are fairly self aware of how silly the music can be and actually move away from the drunken singalong parts that have come to define a lot of the folkier bands in the genre.
Taking this musical journey with Leaves' Eyes is a delight, despite the corniness and despite that fact that they are still adapting to the power of Siirala's voice. Sign Of The Dragonhead is a huge step forward for a band who could have been just as successful with musical stagnation, but it doesn't forget the bands roots. It's easy to find tracks here that you love and there's more than enough for power and viking metal fans to pump their fists too. Toss in a few moshworthy rockers like 'Shadows In The Night' and it becomes clear that this band is only going to keep growing, conquering more fans and imaginations until the whole world kneels before them. Sign Of The Dragonhead is a thrilling listen and one that you're going to find consistently leaving you with a huge smile on your face. Dig in and fall in love – this might not be standard Metal Injection fare but it's the kind of thing that is a blast to listen to time and time again.