Leaves’ Eyes – Meredead (2011)

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After their over-produced previous release “Njord”, I was hopping to see the band bouncing back with a more natural and real sound. To my surprise, Leaves’ Eyes did exactly this with “Meredead”. In this album we are treated to 12 tracks of beautiful sounding music (and no over production) that will surely remind you of a ‘modernized’ version of “Vinland Saga” (my favorite album of the band).

Opening with the majestic “Spirit’s Masquerade”, the band will blow you away with lush choir arrangements and powerful guitars. Liv’s voice is as amazing as ever and in this song it’s very nicely surrounded by the choir and string instruments, this song alone made me forget about “Njord” instantly.  The chorus section of “Étaín” makes this song very enjoyable and a very typical Leaves’ Eyes styled song.

“Velvet Heart” as a more power-ballad kind of feeling to it, but the choir arrangements takes it to a completely different level. Going to the Folk-ier side of things we have “Kråkevisa” and “Nystev”, both having very natural sounding string elements and an overall strong composition. The only song that I feel a bit out of place even though it REALLY grows on you is their cover of “To France” by Mike Oldfield, especially the folksy feeling this song has to it.

The acoustic guitar and violin passages of “Meredead” make this song of the highlights of the release and it’s very nicely places in the middle of the release. The catchiness of “Sigrlinn” and melancholy “Empty Horizon” showcase how the band excels in creating a wide set of different sounding songs that will keep your attention and still sound very traditional of Leaves’ Eyes.

The album nicely closes with the Folk ballad “Tell-Tale Eyes”, and in this moment the wait for the band’s next exciting release starts. However, this album has high replay value and you will find yourself discovering new elements here and there every time you listen to it.

In general, we are greatly surprised that “Meredead” is this good. After the overly ambitious “Njord”, we expected something along those lines but we are gladly surprised they decided to keep things ‘simple’ and more natural sounding. If you are a fan of the band, you CAN’T MISS this release.

Band: Leaves’ Eyes Album: Meredead
Label:Napalm Records

Release: April 22nd, 2011 (Europe) and May 3rd, 2011 (North America)

Oficial Site myspace
Genre: Gothic Metal

Country: Germany

Rating: 90/100