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Liv Kristine - 'Vervain' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/75/17/d0/Liv-Kristine-Vervain-80-1420835992.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     January 09, 2015    
 
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Fans of that deep Gothic sound so synonymous with Liv Kristine should adore this.

Since the Leaves' Eyes tour finished, Liv Kristine has been busy at the Mastersound Studio with regular cohort Thorsten Bauer (LE) writing and recording her fifth solo album 'Vervain' and it's certainly a release to be proud of. Despite having a couple of favourites, every track serves up something different and memorable with even the three bonus tracks bring something to the table. Depending on how I felt at the time, different tracks resonated better with me at different times. The first two tracks worth singling out, for the fact they are duets as much as for their musical deliciousness, includes one of my highlights.

The first, 'Love Decay', is a Gothic love song about vampires that sees Kristine in tandem with Michelle Darkness (End Of Green). They split the verses between them and then combine together in a catchy chorus with a chugging guitar foundation; the contrast of Kristine's sailing vocals and Darkness' deep tones is exceedingly effective.

My album favourite has to be the second of the duets, 'Stronghold Of Angels', where Kristine shares the vocal duties with the ever glorious Doro Pesch. It's a slow paced Metal beast with chiming guitar in a verse that builds to a deep churning riff in the chorus. They generally split the singing in the verses then, as before, sing as one in the choruses; Kristine's breathy notes wrap themselves around Doro's vocal roars and they become one. It's enough to sends shivers up the spine! Both duets feature as bonus tracks with Kristine solo. They are still fine tracks and enjoyable in their own right but the guests really do add that special ingredient.

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These aside there is still the grumbling riff, whining lead and memorable chorus of 'My Wilderness', the bouncing rhythms, sensual vocals and thunderous twin riffing of 'Hunters' (another favourite), the subterranean progressions, cool squealing solo and modern beats of 'Elucidation' and the dark Doomy progressions, light pinging piano and synth-like samples of 'Creeper'. The title-track is one of the higher-tempo tracks with a bounding beat and riff and soaring chorus vocals whereas 'Lotus' and 'Unbreakable' are both piano and strings ballads, the latter morphing into a power ballad.

I'm the first to admit that Kristine, and LE, were partly responsible for my Symphonic passion, so it should come as no surprise that I love this release. I consider it up there with the best of her previous work; there are plenty of influences from her earlier career mixed with plenty from more recent times. Fans of that deep Gothic sound so synonymous with Liv Kristine should adore this, with its different flavours and emotions I'd expect that to extend to most Symphonic enthusiasts.

Dave Scott

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