Leaves’ Eyes + Diabulus In Musica + EnkeliNation
@ Islington Academy
10th November 2015
Review by Jacob Ovington
Photography by Graham Hilling
With their portrayal of Norse myths and legends through the medium of symphonic metal, Leaves’ Eyes have become legends in their own right. With the barrier of the north sea, the UK has taken longer for them to conquer than mainland Europe, but as Liv proclaimed, they finally have, as their fanbase on these shores seems to have exploded. Tonight they returned to the capital of our kingdom, playing the Islington Academy to tell the story of the king of kings, Harald Fairhair, the first king of Norway. Joining them were London’s EnkeliNation, Spain’s Diabulus in Musica and a horde of vikings probably larger than was wise for a stage of that size.
The night was opened by London-based melodic metal band, EnkeliNation who take their name from the Finnish word for angel.
The strong point of their music was certainly the melodies which were powerful and captivating. The lead vocalist had a strong voice, as well as stage presence.
The band successfully got the crowd going and warmed up making a great start to a great evening.
Spanish symphonic metallers Diabulus In Musica were up next as the second support act of the night. They take their name from the latin term for “the devil in music.”
The band’s strong chemistry came across immediately in their presence, and before long their sound too. On stage, the rich orchestrations of symphonic metal can be lost all too easily, resulting in a plastic-like hollow sound, but this wasn’t something that this band seemed to suffer from. The full range and depth of their music came across very well.
Being visibly pregnant wasn’t a setback for the band’s lead singer, whose voice carried pitch perfectly over the music. Neither did it keep her standing still, she was very energetic in her presence and didn’t hold anything back.
Overall they gave everything that’s expected of a symphonic metal band with a powerful, emotional and melodic performance.
After two great support acts it was finally time for the night’s headliner, Leaves’ Eyes. Beforehand I had the chance for an impromptu with the band’s frontwoman and metal legend, Liv Kristine which was helped by her easygoing personality which is as warm in person as it is on stage.
She’s one of those people who is just completely down to earth, on the same level and appreciative of her fans which is an all too rare quality in many performers.
Before Leaves’ Eyes took to the stage, first came the vikings who didn’t leave a lot of room for the band but they just about managed it somehow.
They came complete with weaponry which took a bit of negotiation to be allowed in the venue!
The band’s main man, Alexander Krull, also took a sword in his hand, swinging it as if in battle and coming just a little bit close to some of the audience’s heads. It made for an epic and atmospheric stage performance that was fitting with the bombastic music and its themes.
The duo’s contrasting high and growled voices were both on top form, adding to the music’s dramatic atmosphere. Leaves’ eyes are a band whose music has so many layers, there’s just so much to listen to and so many elements to take in all at once. Unlike many other bands that put an emphasis on the symphonic side of things, the effort is not lacking elsewhere.
Their music has that harsher side compared to other music in the genre, and this is certainly helped by Alexander’s vocals and it’s certainly very fitting with the bloodier side of the Norse tales that they’re inspired by. The band’s gothic metal influences also seem to come through quite a lot in the music, giving things a darker, more atmospherically melancholic feel at times.
What they’re good at is bringing all of these contrasts together, making them work together to convey the stories they’re trying to tell.
Most of the material performed was from the latest album “King of Kings”, which makes sense as it’s an epic saga being told. They also managed to fit in a few other favourites to diversify things a bit.
The whole way through it was clear that the entire audience was completely enthralled in the show, with an enthusiasm that I’ve rarely seen recently.
Leaves’ Eyes have got a great thing going with their whole theme and the music that goes with it.
When put on a live stage it makes for a really epic show, and one of the best I’ve been to in a while.