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A Family Affair: An Exclusive Interview With Alexander Krull Of ATROCITY And Liv Kristine Of LEAVES' EYES

By Wendy Jasper, Black Metal Aficionado
Tuesday, May 13, 2014 @ 4:11 PM

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Alexander Krull and Liv Kristine are busy. The power metal couple are the driving forces behind legendary death metallers ATROCITY and Nordic melodic metallers LEAVES' EYES. Both bands have been in the midst of a world tour, new album releases and preparing for the summer festival circuit. Success abounds for both acts as they play to full houses several nights a week in countries that most people only dream of visiting. Seeing both bands on the same night is a feast for the senses and runs the gamut of genres for any metal lover.

ATROCITY is comprised of Alexander Krull (Vocals), Thorsten Bauer (Guitar), Sander Van der Meer (Guitar), JB van der Wal (Bass), and Joris Nijenhuis (Drums).

LEAVES' EYES is comprised of Liv Kristine Espenæs Krull (lead vocals), Alexander Krull (keyboards, vocals), Thorsten Bauer (guitar), Sander van der Meer (guitar), and Joris Nijenhuis (Drums).

The release of ATROCITY’s newest creation, Okkult, has been much anticipated by fans worldwide and sports some of their most in depth, thoughtful music to date. LEAVES' EYES is supporting their latest opus, Symphonies Of The Night. A recent tour of the United States with MOONSPELL turned into an ATROCITY and LEAVES' EYES double feature in Canada, Europe, Russia and other countries worldwide.

Since their first appearance nearly thirty years ago, ATROCITY have become a staple on the death metal scene. Their first mainstream American hit for the band may be considered 1994’s BLUT, which played with the vampire theme before it was so popular. Even though the band’s record label had financial issues and the anticipated worldwide release would have to wait, the band still forged ahead and the album did reach cult status.

Fast forward through the 90’s and popular albums like Willenskraftand Werk 80, an album of 80’s pop and goth covers that outshined the original versions and proved that Alexander’s clean vocals were just as powerful as his death growl, and the band seemed to be going strong. They disappeared for a while in the early 2000’s, but then came back strong with 2004’s Atlantis, a concept album that featured Liv on many of the vocal arrangements. It was at that same time that ATROCITY began doing double duty as LEAVES' EYES to showcase Liv’s vocal talents after her departure from her previous band, THEATRE OF TRAGEDY.

“It has been like an explosion. People have been drawn to ATROCITY because of the various risks we take with the music and we have so many mixtures of sounds. It seems that we have our loyal fans and we are also meeting so many new people! We have had such great success at home in Germany but we are reaching people all over the world now! We have been so lucky to do what we love for so long,” Alexander said.

“This new CD, Okkult, also has the elements of a concept album and it offers the listener so many things,” he elaborated. “When you think of so many human emotions, and you delve into history and the mysteries of the world. There is such brutality in metal and we try to capture that with this music. It makes you think, the subject matter is supposed to entice you and make you question reality and every day life. Yes, it is for entertainment but it can also open your mind to what is around you.”

Featuring twelve devastating metal tunes like “Pandaemonium”, “Death By Metal” and “Satan’s Braut”, a song during which the band pulls two female audience members onto the stage to dance, the entire album is horrifically fascinating.

Opening minds and eyes to what Liv calls “beauty and the beast” is an accurate description of what happens when ATROCITY exits the stage and they return as LEAVES' EYES.

Liv burst onto the scene in 1993 with THEATRE OF TRAGEDY and she immediately became the undisputed queen of female fronted melodic doom metal. Her vocal style was the precursor to bands like NIGHTWISH, EPICA and the many others that followed. She has also been featured as a guest on other metal band’s albums as well as provided the female vocal for the Grammy nominated song “Nymphetamine” by CRADLE OF FILTH.

“I had this vision of an angelic, soprano voice moving over the thundering texture of metal. While THEATRE OF TRAGEDY ultimately didn’t work out, I can say that nothing happens in vain because I was able to form LEAVES' EYES with my husband and we put together this wonderful assembly of great sounds and players and we have been able to do five albums together,” Liv said. “There has been so much good energy with this band. We signed a deal with Napalm Records and did our first album in 2004 and we have continued to work together so well. I also became a mom and that brought a new peace and energy to me that sharpened my focus on what is important to me and my life and career.”

The award winning singer soon garnered worldwide attention and LEAVES' EYES went on to record Vinland Saga, Njord, Meredead and now, Symphonies Of The Night.

Symphonies Of The Night sums up everything I have been through in my career,” she said. “It is the most ambitious of our albums and each song tells a story. I can say that I am very comfortable with where I am in my career and with my voice and our musical creations.”

With powerful songs like “Hell To The Heavens”, “Fading Earth”, “Galswintha” and “Symphony Of The Night”, the CD is a masterpiece of symphonic metal. It showcases Liv and Alex to their fullest potential and the tight progressions of the band are estimable. The growing popularity of female fronted metal is something that Liv looks on with pride as she was one of the first of such a growing genre.

“It is a very good feeling because I remember back in the mid-90’s when so much of the music press said that women had no place in metal; that we had nothing to do with it or to offer it,” she laughed. “But then it blossomed and you started to see more women and then the press had “female vocalist” sections in their metal awards ceremonies and it proved that there is a place and that we have so much to offer. I was one of the first and I feel like an inventor of the genre and now I am in a very good place.”

While both bands have been out for several months, they are by no means done and will continue to tour through the summer. Then it will be time to look for new music and time in the studio for both bands. Until then, pick up your copies of each band’s new offerings and you can view their videos below.

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