Monday, September 07, 2009

Real Time Review: Njord

I'm going to interrupt my boring drivel from previous posts and make an attempt at a album review. I guess I'll do it track by track as I listen to it.

1. " Njord" This song begins with drums reminicent of Viking drums from long boats. Liv starts singing and she's got a lovely voice as usual. All hell breaks loose with Alexanders roar and Liv's operatic voice then the tempo goes back to slow tempo. The song is is much like previous albums with symphonic backgrounds and alot of double bass. Well rounded song thus far. About 3 minutes in Alexander starts vocalizing. And it's horrible. He sounds like the Tasmanian devil. Shut it dude you're distracting from the feel of the song. I give the song a 7 out of 10 because of this.

2. " My Destiny" the first single release from this album. This will be my first real listen to it. Atmospheric background with Liv's vocals primarily and some piano in the back. Then it kicks into overdrive. Pretty rockin track. A bit of a departure for them as they going for the straight metal. Godammit Alexander now you sound like that Ferro douche in Lacuna Coil. Ok if you keep your vocals (lower register)like that it's not to bad. But the shouting repeat of "My Destiny!" has got to go. So far I'm loving these songs except for him. 6 out of 10 because Alex screwed that song up more then the first.

3. "Emerald Island" Seeing a pattern here. Again Liv starts singing slow and then build up to ass kicking in the background. This song reminds me of some old Nightwish and a bit of Epica. Tasmanian Devil in the background again. Yeah this song is alot like Epica moreso then Nightwish. Near the end Alex is doing a baritone speaking thing and it's cool then starts howling like a werewolf. SHUT the fuck up Alex.7 out of 10 due to less originality. Still a decent song.

4. "Take the Devil in Me" Catchy intro with mid temp drums and strings. Liv starts singing. Again nice song. Waiting for Alex to start in with his bullshit because we're on the chorus. Wow, awesome chorus. This is shaping up to be my favorite so far. No Alex, catchy song. 9 out of 10. Not too original but a very good song nonetheless.

5. "Scarborough Fair" This will be interesting to see how they tackle this cover. I've heard the original from Simon and Garfunkel, Loreena Mckennitt, and Blackmore's Night. This is pretty heavy. Hard for me to decide if it works with the heavy guitars, bass and double bass drumming in the back. Alex isn't barking in the back, that's good.Slows down near the end and is more traditional then picks back up again. Yeah it's a cool spin on it. 7 of 10. I've heard better but it's cool.

6. "Through our Veins" Heavy start to this song.The rythmn guitar player is pretty kick ass I must say.Slow down with Liv's vocals. She's singing in a more normal octave here. No Alex but the song is not really standing out.Musically it's good but somethings missing. 6 out of 10.

7. "Irish Rain" What's with the Celtic stuff on this album? No one is Irish. Oh well continuing on. Cool acoustic intro. I guess this is the "ballad" on the album. It's a pretty tune so far. Music interlude with Celt pipes, bongos,acoustic guitars and drums. Nice ambient song. 8 out of 10.

8. "Northbound" Kick ass intro. This band loves to grab you in with that then slow it down highlighting Liv's vocals then the chorus goes all out again. This song in it's softer passages reminds me of the Corrs if the Corrs actually kicked ass.Uh oh epic bridge.Strings, synth, and the sounds like a army marching. This song has more of a pop feel then previous stuff. Intermixed in with epic stuff. It shouldn't be interesting but it is. 8 of 10.

9. "Ragnarok" Ah here we go. Viking metal Leaves Eyes way. I'm expecting Alex to fuck this up I mean finally reemerge. Choral intro leading to something forboding. Band kicks in too. I'm getting tense and scared. And then slows way the hell down with piano and Liv. Dammit. Stop doing that shit. There's Alex, shouting in the softer areas. Ok choir and Liv and Taz (Yes I'm going to start calling him Taz). Very uneven song. 6 out of 10.

10. "Morgenland" Very soft intro including Liv's vocals.I'm tense waiting for the explosion of ROCK! Still very slow 2 minutes in and its a 2:45 long track. Wow. Ummm I don't know what to give this. 7 out of 10?

11. "The Holy Bond" Wierd guitar intro. Mid tempo pop metal. It's not bad. No Taz yet. Choir kicking in and I don't know why because it's back to the regular passages again. It's catchy and interesting in a odd way. 7 out of 10.

12. "Froyas Theme" Slow intro again.Some wierd instrumentation in the background. Can't tell what it is. It's cool though. Slow build up with Liv hitting high registers.I guess this is a nod to some opera. It's supposed to be over 8 minutes long.Mid tempo passage and having a epic feel. Song kicks ass so far, uh oh....guitar break. Waiting for Taz to fuck this up. There he is. Ok not too bad. For once his part is fitting in place much like previous albums. Slow down again about halfway through. Liv speaking now. This song is bad ass. Keeps you on your toes.Taz speaking. In German it seems. A minute to go. Come on don't end it with Taz. Go out with a bang. I guess the bang is how high Liv can go with vocal scales. 8out of 10 because I think the song was about a minute too long. Had me till the end.

13. "Landscape of the Dead" Bonus track time.Liv's doing a sing song intro. This is what a song from her early Theatre of Tragedy days would sound like if it was upbeat.Kind of cool. 7 out of 10.

14. "Les Champs de Levande" Last song. Whew...this takes some work. Liv singing softly in French. Makes sense based on the song title. Now she's singing in English. Short song. This is more interesting then Morgenland. 8 out of 10.

Ok. Overall I liked it. It's not one of my favorites mainly because Taz's vocals were mixed in better on previous releases and hid the flaws of his vocals. In fact most of his parts were unnecessary. There are parts of this album that fall into the trap of the band founder feeling it necessary to include his evil voice where it doesn't belong.Like a reminder that this is his band.Musically very good and Liv really showcases her voice with Leaves Eyes more then she ever did with ToT. I'd recommend this to fans of their previous works and fans of other gothic female fronted bands. I'll close out with video of "My Destiny". It's cheesy but fun and violent.

U.S. release date is September 22nd.

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