Album Review: Leaves’ Eyes – Myths of Fate (AFM Records)

German symphonic metal stars, Leaves’ Eyes will release their new album Myths Of Fate on 22nd March via AFM Records.

Myths Of Fate comes four years after their previous album, The Last Viking, and is their 9th studio album overall. This one also marks a special anniversary with it being 20 years of existence as a band. An impressive feat, indeed, and an impressive turn around in quantity and quality of music. 9 albums including this one, and a personal favourite, Sign of the Dragonhead, 8 EPs including the most recent Black Butterfly and Fires in the North and a live album too. That’s a very impressive output, even more so when you look at the effort the band put in to creating a full universe around each album.

Myths of Fate, for example, comes with 5 music videos through Mastersound Entertainment. Filmed on impressive locations in Iceland, Germany and Poland, they bring the myths to the screen. Magic creatures, great battles and enchanting warrior queens come to life visually as well as sonically thanks to Leaves’ Eyes talent and dedication as storytellers and music perfectionists.

Categorised as symphonic metal, Leaves’ Eyes are nothing if not genre bending, famed for their combination of traditional metal music and instruments with folk, gothic and even classical music.  Vocalist Alexander Krull once again handles production for the band. The US soundtrack-multi-talent Jonah Weingarten contributes the impressive orchestral score that was created hand in hand with the metal arrangements. Lea-Sophie Fischer (Eluveitie) on the fiddle and Thomas Roth’s play of the medieval Nyckelharpa add even more depth and mysticism to Myths Of Fate.

Leaves’ Eyes is Elina Siirala and Alexander Krull on vocals, Micki Richter and Luc Gebhardt on guitars and Joris Nijenhuis on drums.

Leaves' Eyes Myths of Fate Band
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Myths of Fate comes with 11 new tracks and around 50 minutes of music to get lost in starting with Forged by Fire. It’s an opener that sets a scene and really lets you know who Leaves’ Eyes are, if you don’t already know.  They showcase all of their multi genre tricks here with huge orchestral sections, a rich tone and plenty of chunky riffing and drum blasts. Vocals bring the two tones, thanks to the two vocalists, so we get a nice operatic cleans blend with growls and barks from the other side. The tempo is quite middling but the tone is so rich and enveloping you quickly find comfort and feel fully sucked in atmospherically. Structurally, the song flows really nice and is clearly masterfully written but does lack something really memorable to catch you and fully bring me on board.

Weirdly, for my taste, as impressive from a skill perspective as the opening song is, I think it is my least favourite across the entirety of Myths of Fate. As the album progresses, the skill and musicianship stays up, but the level of memorability grows dramatically. Realm of Dark Waves has an awesome folk melody that carries you along and the flow of vocals really works for capturing my imagination. It has a strong chorus and loads of choir backing which sounds gorgeous. On top of that it has a nice chunky riff going in the verses and a stunning solo. Who Wants To Live Forever is not a cover of the awesome Queen song, but is still an awesome track.

The piano/keys melody in the intro is gorgeous and the vocals are beautiful, on the clean side, which is the predominant line. Again it brings a strong chorus but that constantly reappearing keys melody is the winner here. That and the mix of riffing, choirs and orchestra in the instrumental section which is also really cool. Hammer of the Gods sees the generally quite cleancut band get a little darker in the intro with a nice morose buildup before a crunch of metal instruments takes over. The growled vocals make a reappearance here after a couple tracks of cleans only to add more power and depth to the darkness. The music drops down into cleans for the verses with a nice mystical angle to the delivery.

The chorus is crunchy and heavy, led by growls and with impressive drum and bass foundations. The tempo never raises too much but it packs power and force, it’s a banger that also comes with another mighty guitar solo. In Eternity really taps into the overall atmosphere of Myths of Fate in a track that oozes class. Gentle verses with beautifully sung vocals hypnotise you before the chorus drops and brings the drums and guitars in for a bit more force. The chorus is so simple, mostly just “whoah, whoahs” but is magical to listen to and so singable.

Fear the Serpent brings more quality with a nice track that is of course wonderfully sung, has a nice flow to the versus and a strong chorus with really prominent orchestral elements. The big choir backing in the chorus adds a lot to the track and the instrumental section showcases the drums nicely before we get a nice aggressive growled vocal section with some blasting beats that leads into a decent solo. Goddess of the Night starts with a gorgeous violin solo – I love the violin. It turns into a nice, acoustic song with folk melodies popping up to work with the acoustic guitar melody. That violin keeps coming back too for the choruses, so that is a huge win for me.

Sons of Triglav brings the power vibe with horns in the intro, then gang vocal growled chants as we head into a Viking Metal sounding track. The drums are great, the riffs are strong, the vocals lead us through the verses staying in the heavier style and there are some really neat lead guitar screams and squeals. Cleans come in as we head into chorus territory and it’s a really catchy chorus with a nice trade off between the two vocal styles. Yet another banger here and by far the strongest harsh vocal powerful performance so far on Myths of Fate and, you guessed it, Leaves’ Eyes deliver another wicked solo too.

Elder Spirit is an interesting track, it has a strong intro but then, for the verse, drops to a very surprising melody that sounds quite unfamiliar but really cool. It changes into quite a standard song after that though. Good, but standard, for these guys. Nice vocals, mid tempo drumming, a great solo and a decent chorus. I imagine a lot of bands would love that to be their standard, but for Leaves’ Eyes, and on this album, there are songs that stand out a lot more in my opinion. We move on and hit the final part of the album starting with penultimate track, Einherjar.

Einherjar really ramps the quality back up in a big song that throws everything the band have at it. Violins lead sections, we get both vocal styles trading off in the verses before all joining together for a big chorus. There is a really nice rhythm and pace to this one with wicked tapping drums in the verses and thick bass and guitar riffs. It also comes with possibly my favourite instrumental section that starts with wicked drums and a nice tapping lead guitar melody, a bit of female backing then transforms into a harsh and heavy section, then, as the pace starts to increase, it drops into an absolute monster of a solo. This is a great song.

So Myths of Fate comes to it’s end with Sail With The Dead. You could be forgiven if you worry for this one, such is the epic power of the previous track, but Leaves’ Eyes know what they are doing so deliver another strong song. The bassy intro with chanting adds a nice touch of darkness alongside the big orchestral backing. Well sung verses are led by the cleans but with the growled vocals popping up as the song grows. The chorus is decent and with so many instruments going off in the background, it feels quite intimidating. The reappearing bassy chanting section adds to that intimidation level in a song that cloeses the album out nicely enough. I still feel like Einherjar was the more epic closer though.

Myths of Fate is another top quality album from a band that have more than their fair share of skill and quality. Leaves’ Eyes come with a wealth of experience and ability and that shines through across the whole of this album. No matter what you think of them, or the style, you can’t help but be impressed by their musicianship, song writing and ability to create atmosphere and feeling. I am a fan, though do admit that occasionally they get too clean, for too many songs, on some records for my taste. Here, the balance is perfect with gorgeous clean and powerful songs but plenty that bring fire and might too.

There is a lot to love and admire here and though I still feel like they started slowly with Forged by Fore, everything else for me stands out in some way as being pure quality and being memorable with Einherjar being my personal favourite.

Leaves’ Eyes have delivered an album of immeasurable power, beauty and imagination in Myths of Fate.

You can preorder Myths of Fate by Leaves’ Eyes now, from AFM Records, here.

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Author

  • Brendan Fisher

    Owner/Editor/Writer/YouTuber - Heavy Metal and reading, two things I have always loved so they are the two areas you will find most of my reviews. Post apocalyptic is my jam and I always have a book on the go and have for decades now. From a metal perspective, age has softened my inadequacies and I now operate with an open mind, loving many bands from many sub genres but having a particular admiration for the UK underground scene. In my other time, when not focused on Dad duties and work, I try to support the craft beer movement by drinking as much of it as I can and you will also find me out on the streets, walking. I love walking, I love exploring new places and snapping nature photos as I go.

Leaves' Eyes - Myths of Fate (AFM Records)

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