For the uninitiated, Liv Kristine is a Norwegian singer who, as lead vocalist in Theatre of Tragedy and Leaves’ Eyes, helped to define the gothic heavy metal subgenre. She has also throughout her career contributed vocals to a number of other bands and released five solo albums plus numerous EPs. But what I’m reviewing here, friends, is a brand-new, lavish, digitally remastered re-release of her second album, Enter My Religion, which originally came out in 2006.
I’ve read reviews that place this album in the category of pop-rock, but I don’t agree. This is opulently produced rock with a gothic tinge, boasting a satisfyingly sumptuous mix, seductive hooks, exquisite arrangements and the silky-yet-powerful vocals that are Liv’s trademark. The only time Enter My Religion strays into the arena of pop, in my own humble opinion, is on the track You Take Me Higher, and even then the arrangement is far too unique to be dismissed as merely ‘pop’. Featuring an accordion in the mix, it has a quirky, characterful sound and an irresistibly catchy groove. I thought it was terrific.
Kicking off the album, however, is Over The Moon, which features a meaty riff and a beguiling chorus. From that moment on you know you’re in expert hands, with sonic delights awaiting you around every corner. Trapped In Your Labyrinth, for example, is gloriously atmospheric, with soaring strings, evocative sitar and a surging chorus. My personal highlight is the title track, which boasts a melody so warm it’s like a hug. It really is a stunner.
Also included in this collection is a moving cover of Bruce Springsteen’s Streets of Philadelphia. The Boss’s powerful lyrics coupled with Liv’s emotional delivery makes for a perfect match. The world seems to stop when that one comes on.
Enter My Religion is a beautiful album from start to finish, and listening to it reminds me why I’m such a hopelessly devoted Liv Kristine fanboy. Give it a spin and I daresay you’ll be one too.
If you’re lucky enough to bag yourself one of the limited edition CDs you’ll also get a second disc of demo versions. I treated myself to this and the limited white vinyl which comes with a 7” single featuring piano versions of Trapped In Your Labyrinth and Fake A Smile. What a lucky boy I am!
Enter My Religion is available now from https://livkristine.net/index.php/produkt/lp-enter-my-religion-gold/