Leaves’ Eyes finish off their European tour with six welcome dates in the UK, including one in the south-west.
Promoting their new album, King of Kings, the Norwegian/German symphonic metal rockers bring their unique sound to Bristol, with two support acts also on the bill.
First up is Bristol’s own Control The Storm, ledÂ by singer Kate Norris. The band is made up of Rich ShillitoeÂ (guitar, vocals), Raedon Mac (keyboard, vocals), Becky Baldwin (bass, vocals), Patrick Sanders (guitar), and Marc Jackson (drums). The band have been together for five years, but this is their biggest show in Bristol to date.
Straight into their set, the rocking, hard-hitting tracks follow in quick succession. Kate is a great front-woman, looking and sounding the part. Her voice is getting stronger throughout, gaining strength through a poor sound-mix. Rapid-fire drums from Marc, who has jumped into the fray only days before, form the basis of some great songs. Coupled with excellent heavy bass work from Becky, the guitars gain a springboard to launch into superb riffs and solos, with Raedon adding keys and screaming vocals to great effect.
Their set includes “Believe,” “Stronger,” and “Hysteric Silence,” and title track of their first full-length album, Beast Inside. They save the best for last with “No Chance at All,” featuring great dual-vocals from Kate and Becky.
Diabulus in MusicaÂ are from Spain. They are on their first visit to the UK, supporting Leaves’ Eyes during theÂ tour. Normally a five-piece, tonight they consist ofÂ ZuberoaÂ AznÃ¡rezÂ (vocals), GorkaÂ ElsoÂ (keyboards, vocals), AlexeyÂ KolyginÂ (guitar), and David CarricaÂ (drums). A symphonic metal intro brings the band out, with GorkaÂ raising his fist as he reaches his keyboard. Zuberoa’sÂ vocals are amazing as she switches to an operatic style at time. She moves about the stage engaging the crowd throughout the venue. Zuberoa looks radiant and in command, showing no signs of fatigue even though she is expecting a baby in February.
“Eternal Breeze” is a beautiful song from their 2014 album, Argia, demonstrating lovely vocal work from Zuberoa. Next is the heavy rocker, “SceneriesÂ of Hope.” The crowd are clapping along, and Zuberoa gingerly banging her head.
The band is clearly enjoying their time on stage. CarricaÂ is playing some real machine-gun beats on the drums. KolyginÂ plays some great riffs, feet spread wide, head down, and rocking out in style. Elso adds some timely scream vocals in places, and the set flows well. Hopefully, this won’t be their last visit to the UK.
Headliners Leaves’ EyesÂ are next. This is who the fans in the packed venue have come to see. Liv Kristine (vocals), Alexander KrullÂ (vocals), Thorsten Bauer (guitars), Pete StreitÂ (guitars), and Joris Nijenhuis (drums).
The intro leads us into “Halvdan the Black,” closely followed by “Sacred Vow,” two tracks from the new album. Valhalla is definitely calling, the songs of Viking history allowing Liv to show her amazing voice to full effect. We then get to “Travel with the Vikings” in “Farewell Proud Men”.
“The Waking Eye” starts with Liv’s gentle vocals, before heavy guitar riffs take over, and the song builds. Hard hitting drums and great bass work make it a fantastic song, again broken by sublime vocals, with Alexander given chance to add too.
“Edge of Steel” sadly does not have guest vocals from Simone Simons of Epica, as on the album, but is still delivered well. The crowd are encouraged to join in with ‘Hey Heys’ and ‘WoahÂ woahs’, to which they willingly oblige.
They follow with “Into Your Light” from 2004, which pleases the audience. The crowd are told they WILL jump as Leave’s Eyes launch into “My Destiny.” and they do, before carrying on into another new track, “Swords in Stone”.
“Hell to the Heavens” gives Liv another chance to show off her operatic voice, matching well with Alexanders growling vocals, a combination which is repeated in the title track of new album “King of Kings”. The album is a nod to Norway’s first King, Harald Fairhair, with songs about his life and the battles he fought. This song could easily be part of a film soundtrack, creating a graphic picture of the man.
The band leave the stage to chants of “more” as the set ends. The crowd are given their wish as they come back on and play “Elegy” from 2005, which is greeted with loud applause. We are then left with the epic “Blazing Waters,” which brings out Alexander in Viking helmet and tabard, brandishing a sword, wielding it about the stage, swinging it with abandon.
A great end to a great night, with all three bands putting in stellar performances. A night any symphonic goth metal fan should have seen. Superb.
Photos by R-O-C-K Photography