Any project featuring the seductive siren Liv Kristine should be exquisite. She is beyond doubt the finest vocalist to emerge from the ’90s Scandinavian Dark Metal scene, having first lent her efforts to Theatre of Tragedy, then joining up with the members of Atrocity to form Leaves’ Eyes.

Leaves’ Eyes latest release, Njord, finds Liv Kristine and co-vocalist/husband Alexander Krull exploring the typical Scandinavian themes such as Ragnarok (the Nordic end of the world tale), Njord (god of the seas) and Frøya (goddess of fertility/love). However they have added a pinch of Celtic influence for good measure on songs like “Irish Rain,” “Emerald Island” and their somewhat peculiar cover of the folk ballad “Scarborough Fair.”

My critique? The release suffers from what I might call the Sugarcubes Syndrome. Let’s face it; everyone just wanted Einar Örn to shut up long enough to hear Björk. Here, too, a mediocre male cookie monster eclipses an amazing female vocalist.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some incredible tunes here. It’s just that none of them are enhanced in any way by growling machismo. The music itself, while being well executed, is predictable and dry. I’ll likely hold out for Liv Kristine’s next solo album.

Grade: B-



Njord is currently available.