Epic symphonic power metal is one of those genres where all the bands can sometimes run together. After a while they all sound the same but every now and then a band stands out from the pack for me and captures my attention. The first time I saw Leave’s Eyes was on their last North American tour with Sabaton. I was totally impressed and captivated by the commanding presence on stage and the dynamics between vocalists Alexander Krull and Elina Siirala.
After the show I went home to check them out but all I could find was material recorded with former vocalist Liv Kristine. I found myself not really liking this stuff so I hoped that a future album with Siirala would maybe offer up something I could connect with. Here’s the deal with these kinds of bands. I have found that the older I get, the less I find myself actually liking or enjoying this kind of music. When I first heard this kind of stuff, it was so different and exciting to me so of course I dove right into it.
For a while, I felt that Epica reigned supreme doing this kind of music but even then, after a while, they got to be too bombastic, too fast, and too intense for me to really enjoy. With the release of Sign of the Dragonhead, Leave’s Eyes has taken this genre of music that I find to be overplayed and sometimes heartless and made it completely enjoyable. Their vocalists are absolutely outstanding. The dynamics between Krull and Siirala are so enjoyable to hear and, in my opinion, they seem to take something that Epica once did really well only to have perfected it and made it better.
Musically, Sign of the Dragonhead is a dynamic and truly fun listening experience. With the epic power metal opener of “Sign of the Dragonhead”, the marching epic “Across the Sea”, and the absolutely gorgeously dark and haunting Nordic instrumental “Rulers of Wind and Waves”, Leave’s Eyes showcase their ability to not only cover lots of different ground musically and to touch on many different elements of their influences ranging from classic Nordic music to the power metal that they do so well.
The magic of Sign of the Dragonhead is all in the sequencing which allowed Leave’s Eyes to create a truly great listening experience. Leave’s Eyes is definitely a band that rekindled my love and appreciation for this kind of music. Even after going back and listening to some of the other bands of the genre, as of right now I have to say that with Sign of the Dragonhead, Leave’s Eyes is doing it better than anyone out there and I can only hope that with Siirala, Leave’s Eyes will continue to thrive, grow, and release music that is every bit as captivating as this album.