|Genre(s)||Symphonic metal, gothic metal|
|Associated Acts||Theatre of Tragedy, Midnattsol, Atrocity, Cradle of Filth|
Leaves' Eyes is a German-Norwegian symphonic metal band from Stavanger, Norway and Ludwigsburg, Germany. They were formed in 2003 by Liv Kristine, the former lead singer of Theatre of Tragedy and the entire line-up of Atrocity. To date, the band has released five studio albums, a single, six EPs, one live album and a DVD.
Most of Leaves' Eyes lyrics, written by Liv Kristine, concern Norse mythology and the Viking Age. The melodic singing vocals of Liv Kristine are occasionally backed up by death growled vocals from Krull, identified under the vocal style Kristine refers to as "beauty and the beast".
Leaves' Eyes have often featured naturalistic themes in their music since the release of their 2004 debut album, Lovelorn. Many of the lyrics to this album were inspired not only by nature, but also by sagas and legends drawn from Norse mythology. The band was received well at Wave Gotik Treffen 2004, the band’s stage premiere.
Every band member had previous professional experience in other musical endeavors for years before joining Leaves’ Eyes, thus essentially making it a supergroup. Frontwoman Liv Kristine sang in the band Theatre of Tragedy in the mid 1990s. This Norwegian band was one of the first to feature a female voice in the metal scene, and their club hit Tanz der Schatten became synonymous with the direction and expression of a whole musical genre. In addition, Liv Kristine was present in the pop music scene and sang the songs to TV hits such as Tatort and Schimanski. The supporting members of the band hail from the death metal band Atrocity.
One year after Lovelorn, Leaves’ Eyes released the follow-up album Vinland Saga in 2005, inspired by Viking Leif Eriksson. The album's first single, Elegy, charted in Germany for four consecutive weeks. Television station ProSieben used Elegy as the official song for the TV series NUMB3RS.
In addition to their studio endeavors, Leaves’ Eyes also tours extensively. In the course of four years, the band traveled through four continents and 34 countries and played 222 concerts. The Live DVD We Came with the Northern Winds - En Saga I Belgia entered the German DVD charts at number 11 in 2009. This exclusive package documented the history of the band and features the concert at the Metal Female Voices Festival in 2007. This headline show was performed with complex props, including a Viking longship on stage.
Njord was released in 2009, continuing the band's success in the charts. The album’s first single My Destiny soon became the successor to the anthem Elegy. Njord critically acclaimed  as "an epic masterpiece". The album was done in a much more modern style than those previous, and featured symphonic metal tracks of increasing complexity with the help of the Lingua Mortis Orchestra directed by Victor Smolski. Many of the lyrics were inspired by the English traditional "Scarborough Fair". The band’s live performances were as equally successful throughout Europe and North America as their studio work. For the Special Fan Edition of Njord, Leaves' Eyes recorded the At Heaven's End EP in 2010.
One year later, Leaves’ Eyes released their fourth studio album, Meredead. Produced by Alexander Krull, the artists combined folk elements from previous albums to inspire the mood of Meredead. The opening track, "Spirits’ Masquerade", uses folk instrumentation to refine the album’s varied sound. The tracks Étaín and Sigrlinn lyrically recount the mysticism of past cultures and are supported by uileann pipes. The album also features more traditional-sounding songs, such as Nystev and Kråkevisa. The latter makes use of the Scandinavian nyckelharpa, or keyed fiddle. Also present on the album is a cover of To France, an interpretation of the tragedy and emotion of Mike Oldfield’s classic track. Maite Itoiz and John Kelly (Elfenthal), Carmen Elise Espenæs (Midnattsol), the Norwegian Anette Guldbrandsen, and Victor Smolski’s Lingua Mortis Orchestra once again provide supporting vocals and instrumentation.
The EP Melusine in 2011 was a special release in co-operation with German Sonic Seducer Magazine.
Symphonies of the Night
It was recently announced through an interview with Valkryian Music, that Leaves Eyes had began writing new material for their fifth studio album which they hoped to release spring 2013. On January 7, 2013 the band announced on their official facebook page that the title of their fifth studio album will be Symphonies of the Night.
On March 23, 2013 Leaves' Eyes announced on their official facebook page that vocal recording had begun, with the statement:
At the moment Liv Kristine is tracking vocals for the up-coming Leaves' Eyes album: "The recording sessions at Mastersound studios are so much fun, as well as being highly intense. Today I recorded an amazing and classically influenced new song. We are all very excited about the songs for the new album."
On May 9, 2013 the band announced that the vocal recordings were finished and that Alexander Krull had begun the mix of the album:
Good news from Mastersound Studio: The vocal recordings for all songs of our up-coming release "Symphonies of the Night" have just been completed. Moreover, Alex is already busy with the mix of the album. We have taken a great inspirational step since the production of "Meredead", both sound-wise and vocal-wise. It has been such a pleasure evolving in my singing techniques and knowledge and I thank my band members for "giving me an inspirational kick" when I needed to gain momentum behind the microphone. "Symphonies of the Night" is hauntingly dream-like and heavy to the core!
The band premiered the first new song off of the album, titled "Hell to the Heavens", at Summer Breeze Festival.
Artwork for the new album was released on August 26, 2013. A few days later the band released a video saying that they would be performing in Metal Female Voices Fest 2013. A teaser of the studio version of Hell to the Heavens was also in the video.
King of Kings
Leaves' Eyes stated that in 2015, they will release a new album, entitled King of Kings, and it will feature the London Voices choir and guest vocals by Simone Simons of Epica. It is their first release on AFM Records, after parting ways with their long-time label, Napalm Records. King of Kings is a concept album that centers around the sagas of Norway's first king, Harald Fairhair (Harald Hårfagre). In an interview with Sonic Cathedral webzine, Liv Kristine discussed her inspiration for the album:
The nicest thing for me is that it is said in the sagas that Harald became the first king of Norway, after he won a battle that took place in one of the Norwegian fjords called Hafrsfjord. You know, that is a very important place -- not only for the history of Norway -- but also for me, because I was born there. So, this album is a concept album, but it's also a very PERSONAL album.
The first official video off King of Kings is for the track, "The Waking Eye", which was filmed in Norway (for the background scenes) and in Germany (for the action scenes). The Viking reenactment group, Værjaborg, supplied 40-plus members for the battle and action sequences. Leaves' Eyes considers "The Waking Eye" to be their most ambitious video to date.
Liv Kristine's Departure, New Singer
On April 15, 2016, the band announced they had parted ways with lead-vocalist and co-founder Liv Kristine. They also revealed that she would be replaced by the Finnish singer Elina Siirala of EnkElination. Since then both parties have given different accounts about how the split happened with the band stating a decision on Kristine's departure was taken in January. While it was stated this had been a mutual decision, Kristine disputed this and indicated she was dismissed. Legal proceedings have started. On the 18 April, Siirala made her debut with the band at the Hammersonic festival in Jakarta. It was also announced that a tour edition of the album King of Kings is set to appear in June.
- Current members
- Alexander Krull – keyboards, vocals (2003–present)
- Thorsten Bauer – guitar, bass (2003–present)
- Joris Nijenhuis – drums (2013–present)
- Pete Streit – guitar (2015–present)
- Elina Siirala – lead vocals (2016–present)
- Live members
- Oliver Holzwarth – bass guitar (2009)
- Niels Löffler – bass guitar (2011–present)
- Gijs Coolen - bass guitar (2015–present)
- Ferry Duijsens - bass guitar (2016–present)
- Past members
- Martin Schmidt – drums (2003–2004)
- Chris Lukhaup – bass (2003–2007)
- Mathias Röderer – guitar (2003–2010)
- Liv Kristine Espenæs Krull – lead vocals (2003–2016)
- Nicholas Barker – drums (2004–2008)
- Moritz Neuner – drums (2005–2007)
- Alla Fedynitch – bass (2007–2010)
- Seven Antonopoulos – drums (2008–2010)
- Roland Navratil – drums (2010-2012)
- J.B. van der Wal – bass (2010–2013)
- Sander van der Meer – guitar (2010–2015)
- Felix Born – drums (2012–2013)
- Guest musicians
- Lingua Mortis Orchestra, Minsk/Belarus on Njord, Meredead, My Destiny, At Heaven's End, and Melusine
- Carmen Elise Espenæs - Backing vocals on Into Your Light & vocals on Sigrlinn
- al dente choir on Njord, Meredead, My Destiny, At Heaven's End, and Melusine
- Anette Guldbrandsen - backing vocals on Meredead and Melusine
- Maite Itoiz - backing vocals, Baroque Guitar on Meredead and Melusine
- John Kelly - backing vocals on Meredead
- Janna Kirchhof - Fiddle & Nyckelharpa on Meredead and Melusine
- Christian Roch - Uileann Pipes & Irish Whistles on Njord, Meredead and Melusine
- Timon Birkhofer - Piano & Cello on Vinland Saga, Lovelorn, and Legend Land
- Sarah Nuchel - Violine on Legend Land and Vinland Saga
- Jana Kallenberg - Violine on Legend Land and Vinland Saga
- Liesbeth Dulcimer - Hammered dulcimer on Symphonies of the Night
- Viking choir (Robert & Johannes Sus, Norman Sickinger, Christof Kutzers, Anders Oddsberg, Steven Willems, Simone Sacco, Gunnar Sauermann, Sascha Henneberger, Markus Bruder, Jochen Steinsdorfer, Ralf Oechsle) on Vinland Saga
- Simone Simons (Epica) - Backing vocals on Edges of Steel
- Lindy-Fay Hella (Wardruna) - Backing vocals on Blazing Waters
- Oliver Palotai (Kamelot) - Piano on The Waking Eye
- Best DVD "En Saga I Belgia" Metal Female Voices Festival 2009 
- Lovelorn (2004)
- Vinland Saga (2005)
- Njord (2009)
- Meredead (2011)
- Symphonies of the Night (2013)
- King of Kings (2015)
- We Came with the Northern Winds - En Saga I Belgia (CD/DVD, 2009)
- Singles & EPs
- Into Your Light (2004)
- Elegy (2005)
- Legend Land (2006)
- My Destiny (2009)
- At Heaven's End (2010)
- Melusine (2011)
- "Into Your Light" (2004)
- "Elegy" (2005)
- "Legend Land" (2006)
- "New Found Land" (2007)
- "My Destiny" (2009)
- "Take the Devil in Me" (2010)
- "To France (Mike Oldfield cover)" (2011)
- "Melusine" (2013)
- "Hell to the Heavens" (2013)
- "Symphony of the Night (feat. Maite Itoiz - Spanish Version)" (2015)
- "Halvdan The Black" (2015)
- "The Waking Eye" (2015)
- "Edge of Steel" (2016)
- Napalm Records website
- God Jul & Happy New Year!. leaveseyes.de (2014-12-24). Retrieved on 2015-01-15.
- March 19, 2015, Leaves' Eyes Signs With AFM Records. Retrieved on 2015-08-14.
- August 12, 2015, Leaves' Eyes interview with Sonic Cathedral webzine. Retrieved on 2015-08-14.
- July 7, 2015, Leaves' Eyes Films 'The Waking Eye' Video. Retrieved on 2015-08-14.
- Siegener Zeitung :: KULTUR :: Leaves' Eyes drehte in Krombach. Retrieved on 2015-08-14.
- Leaves' Eyes split with founder Liv Kristine (en-GB) (2016-04-18).
- Leaves' Eyes announce new singer.
- LEAVES' EYES Parts Ways With Singer LIV KRISTINE, Announces Replacement (en-US) (2016-04-16).
- Singer LIV KRISTINE on Being Replaced in LEAVES' EYES: 'I Can't Believe This Process Happened Behind My Back' (en-US) (2016-04-18).
- Leaves' Eyes Performs With New Singer For First Time (en-US) (2016-04-18).