World history set to music, seasoned with legends, love and passion – no less could be said about the second Leaves' Eyes album Vinland Saga. Vocalist Liv Kristine and Co. (a.k.a Atrocity) embark on a mystic journey. Leif Erikson's legendary voyage to Greenland in 1000 A.D., which consequently ended in America according most historians, is depicted by Leaves' Eyes through atmospheric Metal, Rock and sensual ballads. It is a story marked by powerful riffs, melody and string arrangements, which represent a colorful bandwidth of musical styles, truly adequate to the very concept of the album itself and never concealing the Nordic origins of the singer. "I found my inspiration for many of the pieces in the Norwegian art and folk music, as well as in Celtic melodies," explains Liv Kristine. She knew from the very beginning that a special approach was needed for such an ambitious musical enterprise: "I absolutely wanted to work with actual classical instruments for Vinland Saga to do this great story justice."
Classic rock compositions ensnared in strings and kettledrums, loving flowing harmonies, and hammering metal arrangements, can all be found on Vinland Saga. In the midst of it all stands Liv Kristine with her unique vocals, made recognizable from her past work with Theatre of Tragedy, skillfully navigating through the story. The will to create something great in a musical sense does not take a back seat in the ubiquitous epic Vinland Saga. "In comparison to the debut Lovelorn (2004), the harmonies of the guitars, violins and chellos are notably more complex," explains Liv and adds that the recordings took approximately twice as much time to complete: "The mood of both albums is very comparable however. Vinland Saga is a further development of Lovelorn where both sides of the band's music were upgraded – the hard parts are now harder and the sentimental parts are more sentimental."
Thus one can expect to find such soft, folk-oriented pieces as the introductory title song, the wonderful "Mourning Tree" or "Leaves' Eyes" ("When one names a song after one's own band, it's logical that it should include all of the significant characteristics."), as well as wild Gothic Metal tracks like "Farwell Proud Men", "The Thorn", or "Solemn Sea", in which one can almost see the spray of seawater gushing out of the speakers. Vinland Saga tells of a crew member on Erikson's ship and his longing for the woman who awaits his return to Norway," explains the singer. "The medium between the two is the Tree of Life. It's a story of love but also of mysticism". For the song "Amhrán", belonging amongst the most intensive musical experiences of the album, the singer went as far as developing her very own language (in the good tradition of the Lord of the Rings trilogy). The result is a unique world of experience within which one can distinguish influences ranging from Kate Bush, past Clannad and even Atrocity, "yet still always sounding like Leaves' Eyes," as Liv stresses.
The passionate commitment with which she and husband Alexander Krull (Atrocity frontman and producer in his own Mastersound Studio) invested in driving the Vinland Saga concept forth cannot be overlooked. Taken prisoner by the atmosphere, one is led through an intriguing musical voyage of times long gone, encountering fascinating musicality and an exceptional story that to some extent draws parallel's from Liv Kristine's own life experiences. Ever since the birth of her son Leon, born only hours following the completion of the debut album, she has felt an even stronger bond with nature and her homeland Norway. "In Leon, I see both Alex's and myself," explains Liv Kristine, who seems to bloom both in her private role as a mother as well as the professional, musical one. "That is in equal parts fascinating and inspiring. On Vinland Saga, the Norwegian culture, nature, history and a love for my homeland play an important role. My homesickness has grown somewhat stronger in the last two years," explains the Norwegian, whose adaptability draws no comparison on the European rock scene, on as well as off stage. "During our fall and winter tour 2004 we received an unbelievable response from our audience. After that, we went straight into the studio, in order to capture this vibe. It was a very productive, very industrious time – at times Alex and I forgot that a private life binds us. But we were ‘brought back to earth' at the latest when driving home. We switched on the classical music station and allowed Leon to make us smile."
The Vinland Saga is not only legendary thanks to the Icelandic writer who recorded the story in the 12th century. Thanks to Leaves' Eyes it now has a secured spot in the heart of the music scene. History gone rock! Nature, romance, love, and lyrical poetry presented by one of the most beautiful voices on the European rock scene. Welcome to the dreamlike world of Leaves' Eyes!