LEAVES' EYES
"Legend Land"

(Napalm)

01. Legend Land
02. Skraelings
03. Viking's Word
04. The Crossing
05. Lyset
06. Legend Land (Extended Version)

RATING: 8/10

Though I'm not always in the mood for the typical goth/ethereal/classically-influenced Napalm band, almost every time I get around to reviewing a release, I find it a breath of fresh air and a quality product. The trend continues with the "Legend Land" MCD, the follow-up to LEAVES' EYES' critically acclaimed "Vinland Saga". The disc contains six new tracks, one of which is an extended version of the title track. Rather than coming off as some kind of b-side collection or thrown-together effort intended solely to capitalize on the success of its predecessor, "Legend Land" is yet another top-notch release filled with Liv Kristine's incredibly soothing, operatic vocals, beautiful folk-infused melodies, and lush instrumentation, all of which are anchored by driving rock/metal riffs and rhythms.

Some may debate the album's true highlight with arguments over whether it is the title track or "Skraelings" a good bet to occur most often. The band's mastery of musical flow, as well as the superb mix of rhythmic power and elegant orchestration characterizes both tunes. Kristine's vocals are of course flawless and husband Alexander Krull's growls are perfectly placed for maximum effect. Yet others, myself included, will prefer "Viking's Word" for its tough riffing and muscularity, here again wonderfully juxtaposed against the operatic and the ethereal. Similar contrasting elements work splendidly on "The Crossing", the metallic guitar line (complete with pinch harmonic) is firm, but never overstated. Without belaboring the point, let's just say that "Legend Land" feels right. It is definitive LEAVES' EYES.

Beyond the wonderful songwriting, the beauty of "Legend Land", at least for those that may not be genre acolytes, is that at six songs, it is easy to absorb and fully enjoy in one sitting. I found myself starting the disc over again without hesitation. As for the diehard LEAVES' EYES' fans among you, "Legend Land" will give you no reason to jump ship.

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