ALBUM REVIEW: Leaves’ Eyes – The Last Viking

It’s a monumental battle and an infused Viking tale that is historically told epically through fourteen chapters of adrenaline pumping battle anthems. It also contains brilliantly atmospheric and powerful orchestral arrangements. The German-Scandinavian quintet fronted by the duo of Elina Siirala and Alexander Krull delivers fantastically on one of the band’s best albums to date.

Right from the opening instrumental track on the album, Death Of A King, there is an extremely atmospheric sound that is fantastically created. It transports us back in time to an historic battle. This atmosphere is aided and accompanied by a grandeur scaled orchestra, which this band does extremely well throughout this album with entwining their Viking Symphonic Metal sound with an accompanying orchestra.

This then leads straight into the bombast Chain Of The Golden Horn. This is also the first track on the album that we get to hear Elina’s fantastic vocals and Alexander’s gutturals which is very Nordic sounding, and Viking in nature. Both of which go so well on the overall feel of the barrage that is the opening song.

The next track, Dark Love Empress, sets a terrific atmosphere that includes Gothic elements. In a way, the orchestra is brilliantly used to capture a similar feel to WITHIN TEMPTATION’s Jillian (I’d Give My Heart)Elina’s vocals really shines on this song, which is also accompanied by an soaring guitar solo.

The Nordic vibes continues furiously well throughout the next track, Serpents And Dragons, as it contains some of the best guttural vocals on the album. It is very reminiscent of the song Sign Of The Dragonhead from their previous album.

VISIONS OF ATLANTIS fans are in for a treat on Black Butterfly. Clémentine Delauney beautifully joins forces with Elina and Alexander on vocals fantastically well to deliver on a really great song to ultimately be a delight for fans of both bands.

The catchy Norse battlefield feel continues through the guitar laden War Of Kings and For Victory with its adrenaline pumping call to arms feel.

We get treated to the intricately grandeur folk-esque Two Kings One Realm. The album delves then with a primal charge into more Nordic infused orchestral battles throughout songs Flames In The Sky, Serkland, the folk and Celtic driven Veranigans and the atmospherically eerie symphonies created on Night Of The Ravens.  This acts and creates a feel of being a midway point of a grand battle.

Right before the closing track on the album, there’s the ten minute epic the title track. It is epic with its opening salvo of Nordic horn blasts as if to signal a final battle of an endless war. This track combines the elements that we’ve heard so far so well from guitar and bass riffs aplenty, brutal blasting on the drums, the fantastic vocals and Viking-esque gutturals. This is alongside the extremely well orchestrated and symphonically charged atmosphere created to bring this final battle to an end.

The album closure, Break Into The Sky Of Aeon, closes the album perfectly with it’s atmospheric feeling of a Viking’s spirit or soul accent into Valhalla itself.

If you are a fan of bands such as EPICA, AMON AMARTH, KAMELOT, ELUVEITIE and VISIONS OF ATLANTIS then I would definitely recommend this album.

Rating: 9/10

Words: Stefan Chilvers

The Last Viking is out now.

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