Leave's Eyes, Diabulus In Musica & Reign of Sirius @ Academy 3
So… This was fun. Leaves’ Eyes once again return to the UK shores and hit Manchester up for another awesome night of viking metal. With the release of King of Kings I was particularly looking forward to hearing what new songs were going to be integrated into the setlist. They were also nice enough to bring along Diabulus In Musica from Spain for their first ever UK run and Macclesfield rockers Reign of Sirius to open up proceedings. In all honesty this has to have been one of my most anticipated gigs this year, as I love the new Leaves’ Eyes album and I will always jump at the chance to see them live.
Reign of Sirius
The band opened their set and had this evil carnival feel to them. They had an interesting presence and the singer, Alex Blaikie was very much the showman. Seriously every second that he was on stage you really couldn't take your eyes off of him. Their songs were pretty damn entertaining. There were some pretty solid riffs and a really nice flow between songs. I have to say Reign of Sirius put on a pretty damn decent show and served as a great opener for what was to come in the evening. The only thing that I could say was really a problem with the set was that the guitars were slightly drowned out by the rest of the production but the keyboard was really nice and the overall tone of their set had an epic quality to it. The only other problem I had, well it’s more of a nitpick, was that the set had some pacing issues from time to time. The sound was a mixture of heavy riffed up tune to sweeping beautiful ballads and it suited my taste almost perfectly. If I ever got to see them again… I wouldn't complain.
Diabulus In Musica
I have to say I didn't know quite what to expect when I first heard that they were going to be supporting Leaves’ Eyes but I went in open minded and hoping for the best. You know what? I was pleasantly surprised by what I got. Diabulus in Musica put on one hell of a show with a big sound, great stage presence and dynamic and interesting songs. I have to say from the moment they hit the stage I was completely sold. Being a fan of this type of music I was happy to add their music to my widely expanding collection. Vocalist, Zuberoa Aznárez was absolutely on point with absolutely breathtaking vocals and Gorka Elso was so entertaining on keyboards, you could just feel the energy coming from the stage and the atmosphere that the crowd was giving was exhilarating. Once again the the guitar was slightly drowned out and that got a little annoying but by no means was it enough to ruin the set or anything, it was just something that got to me. Other than that the set was fantastic and very entertaining and I hope to see Diabulus In Musica in the UK again sooner rather than later.
This was simply incredible. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I genuinely do not believe that there is such a thing as a bad Leaves’ Eyes show. They just get better and better every single time I see them and this gig was no exception. Leaves’ Eyes are just one of these bands that pop every single time. Their setlists are fantastical and the stage presence is second to none. They just looked like they were having a blast on stage and as a result so did the crowd. This also felt like a more complete sounding band thanks to the amazing stage production and the just the intimacy of the venue itself. Everything just seemed to work. The new songs sounded great, it was clear that so much work had gone into each tune and every song got a massive reaction from the crowd. The new singles like Halvden The Black & The Waking Eye drew me and the rest of the crowd in, then mixed with the older tunes like Farewell Proud Man and Elegy, the whole affair truly had an epicness about it. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t any time for banter, Leaves’ Eyes usually make a point to have some fun on stage, I always like when band don’t treat themselves too seriously and when band just have their human moments on stage.
Everything just came together beautifully for them. The set was well performed and had plenty of the new material to establish it as the new direction that the band wanted. However, there were still plenty of old hits to make the nostalgic fan swoon with joy. As for me I was just happy with everything, the set, the crowd, the performance and the sheer energy of the night. Ending the night, Alexander Krull dressed in full Viking armour and swinging his sword around and no that isn't a euphemism. Once again adding to the big showmanship feel to the set.
I hope that I get to see Leaves’ Eyes in a bigger setting someday, just to hear them make full use of their colossal sound. As is though, I’m always happy to see them, even if it’s a 450 capacity venue. This was a great night and one I won’t forget any time soon.
Words: Mick Birchall