Leaves’ Eyes formed in 2003 with singer Liv Kristine, formerly of Theatre of Tragedy, and the entirety of Atrocity, which was led by her husband, vocalist/keyboardist Alexander Krull. While both of the couple’s former bands borrowed from gothic and folk metal, Leaves’ Eyes leans on a more symphonic and folk metal sound. Since 2016, the group has been fronted by Elina Siirala, founder of the band Angel Nation. Vocally, the band uses what Kristine referred to as “beauty and the beast,” in which the female clean vocals are paired with the harsh male growls and grunts.
With their latest EP, Black Butterfly, the band’s second release with the new singer Siirala, the band’s folk metal side comes through, with three original songs, as well as a rendition of “Stille Nacht,” in line with the December release of the EP. It’s a fine piece for sure, coming nearly two years after their last studio work, Sign of the Dragonhead.
The title track has a fun, folksy intro, before Elina’s vocals saturate the verses. With a sweet title as “Black Butterfly,” it’s weird to hear the growls from Krull just before the chorus, but I’ve also yet to hear many bands master the aforementioned beauty and the beast technique quite like Leaves’ Eyes. “Serkland” is the heaviest track of the release, even through the more prominent folk music features, compared to the previous track.
“Night of the Raven” has an epic intro section, with a nice dual guitar lead to boot. It may be the most straightforward metal track of the three originals of this disc. Finally, the group’s version of “Stille Nacht” is a gorgeous one, with Elina’s vocals making for a captivating performance.
Though the departure of ex-singer Liv Kristine has raised controversy among the band and the fanbase, it is good to see that the music has not seemed to have suffered any. Black Butterfly is a great four-track offering, and will hopefully serve as a good stopgap to what will be the band’s next release, whatever form that may take.