Leaves’ Eyes – Njord (2009) – Review

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Irish Rain from the Norwegian/German band Leaves’ Eyes 2009 3rd full studio album Njord actually sounds pretty good. But only just – and it is a folk song to boot. A few pipes, a little foggy, fairy voice chirping along about the rain in Ireland. And bang, you got yerself a song. This actually fits well with the overall structure of the album, but more to that later.

Njord is – by the way –  the ancient god of seafarers. But also the terror of all seamen who face the ocean at their peril each day. At least, that was the case back in the time of the Vikings, when they were striking terror into Europe’s heart.

So, here I sit. I got myself this stellar equipment to listen to the music best I can. But nada. The record is flat like sparkling water left too long out in the open. And the record is a friggin’ wall of sound for the length of the record. In other words, their tune just won’t shine.

And you cannot say it is bad either because it isn’t. The whole friggin’ record is just … boring. What a pity! And what I really don’t get is that a large portion of reviewers gave this here record good ratings. Oh, and by the way, one of the reasons why Njord should be stellar was because a bunch of good and serious musicians created it. Well, I do hope they are! Knowing your way around your instruments and music, in general, is the main requirement to get onto this ‘zine.

You see, I listened to SAVN some time back. The new upcoming venue, lauded as THE promising band of new wonders. And I just could not get warm with them. Leaves’ Eyes sport the very same flat style, by the way. Liv Kristine Espenaes Krull1) is the sister of SAVNs vocalist and they often help themselves out in their mutual productions. So, why am I not surprised?

But the real eery thing about this is that SAVN’s debut album got released in 2014, so back to the future, because – folks – this album here sounds strangely similar.

And then there are the growls, the terrible growls. Fail. Beauty and the Beast with a broken growler! He sounds like a throat ache on life support – sorry, folks. If you want to do that, know how! If not, better leave it to the Death and Black Metal folks.

Also, the tracks kind of flow into each other. And sadly nothing stands out, no friggin’ riff to get my attention, no solo to speak of. Just same, same, but similar all along for the length of the album. Sometimes this sounds like a screwed-up version of a Xandria record. Yet again, a lot of the production reminds me of Evanescence, but Njord boasts nowhere near the quality of Amy Lee’s outfit.

As said above, the overall “package” you get from Leaves’ Eyes is kind of below par. But there are a few tracks in there that are more remarkable than others. Njord, the lead song starts off pretty good, followed by My Destiny.

Together with Ragnarok, those three are all the subdued rockiness that you get. As I said above, Irish Rain is quite good, but the rest … you be the judge. It is by the way remarkable how they murdered our good old folk ballad Scarborough Fair. Holy Folksy Cow!

Njord is simply a series of songs, sounding like river water gurgling slowly along on a foggy day. Interspersed with a few gusts of wind getting into the trees and bushes from time to time. Nice background music, interesting for a while, not badly executed – but will not hold your attention for too long.

I am missing the oomph, emotion, and power – the surprising elements – that one would expect (and crave), even if folksy seems to be one of the themes. But this is no excuse to stop working on the sound some more and render it interesting.

So, all elements to future greatness would be there. But Leaves’ Eyes have to haul them out into the open out and breathe life into them, by Njord. And as long as they do not do that, the quality and positioning will remain where it is.


Record Rating: 5/10 | Label: Napalm Records | Web: Official Site
Release date: 26 August 2009

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