LIV KRISTINE – The View Through The Skylight

By Carl Begai

On April 15th, 2016, fans of Leaves’ Eyes were shocked to learn the band had parted ways with vocalist and namesake Liv Kristine Espenæs. In the same breath, the band announced that Finnish singer Elina Siirala of the band EnkElination would take Liv’s place. Given that Leaves’ Eyes had centered around Liv Kristine and her husband / Atrocity frontman Alexander Krull since the band’s inception in 2003 – in the wake of Liv being fired from Theater of Tragedy – it was clear the issues leading to the split were personal as well as professional. It would take some time for the dust to settle, as both sides shared different accounts of what led to the split, but Leaves’ Eyes forged onward with Siirala up front and a significant wave of fan discontent on their tails. For her part, Liv gradually went quiet, making guest appearances on Cradle Of Filth’s “Vengeful Spirit”, Orden Ogan’s “Come With Me To The Other Side” in 2017, and Midnattsol’s album The Aftermath in 2018, but otherwise stayed away from putting out new music. In December 2019, however, she released a new solo single, “Skylight”, which was reminiscent of her Vervain solo record from 2014 and Theatre of Tragedy’s classic third album, Aegis.

“After a few ups and down – a few roller-coaster rides to put it mildly, since I moved to Germany 20 years ago – I decided to start all anew,” Liv says of her comeback. “I practically left everything, cleared all relationships, situations, or ended them. In 2019, I felt the spirit again to continue working on my own music. It was Tommy Olsson (guitarist / ex-Theatre of Tragedy) who reached out in 2016 with a handful of songs that really blew me away. He’s been very patient and supportive throughout my journey, and I have the best composer by my side. I just want to do the music which I love, which I am fully in alignment with. My upcoming solo album is a collaboration with Tommy. It’s in the veins of Vervain, but not at all like it. It is inspired by Tommy’s masterpiece, Aegis.” 

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THEATRE OF TRAGEDY – Exclusive Aegis Re-Issue Liner Notes Preview Available

By Carl Begai

It was announced back in February 2012 that Norway’s Theatre Of Tragedy, who spawned the career of Leaves’ Eyes vocalist Liv Kristine and officially called it quits in October 2010, were working on remastered re-issues of their first three albums: the self-titled debut, Velvet Darkness They Fear, and Aegis. Initially meant to be released in late 2012, Massacre Records have confirmed July 5th as the official release date for all three albums in digipack CD and double vinyl LP formats.

The re-releases will feature rare bonus material, and will also include a band interview conducted by me split into three parts, one for each album. It was an honour to be asked by the Theatre Of Tragedy family to contribute to the re-issues, and I consider it to be a personal career highlight.

Following is an brief excerpt from the interview conducted for Aegis, which will appear in full in the re-issue liner notes. Call it an attempt to help promote the releases coupled with my pride getting away from me just this once.




Theatre of Tragedy’s third album, Aegis, scared the hell out of their diehard fans. The band continued to evolve as they had between their self-titled debut and second record Velvet Darkness They Fear, but in a direction nobody had expected. The songs were geared in a goth metal direction, with the trademark doom aspect of the band’s sound reduced to a nuance. This was particularly apparent in the absence of vocalist Raymond I. Rohonyi’s growls, long considered to be just as important to Theatre of Tragedy’s sound as Liv Kristine’s soprano vocals. Raymond’s clean singing/spoken word delivery on Aegis – which would become a staple on future albums – had a direct influence on the atmosphere of the songs, which left some fans disappointed. Years later, however, Aegis is widely regarded as one of Theatre of Tragedy’s strongest records even by the (former) naysayers.

“Many people were screaming ‘They’re going goth mainstream!’ and pulling their hair out,” Liv remembers, “but it was nothing like that. It was just another influence coming into the band, which was guitarist Tommy Olsson. He’s a huge Sisters of Mercy fan, and he brought in this way of playing guitar. Ray realized that he had to develop in some way concerning his vocals to match his sound.”

“This was a natural progress for Raymond and the band,” drummer Hein Frode Hansen explains. “We changed both our guitar players and that obviously brought new influences to the band. The goth rock and elements of traditional songwriting became more relevant, and we wanted to make the perfect goth record for both metal and goth fans. It was probably more goth with a metal sound than the other way around (laughs). It was an homage and a wink to the elders Fields Of The Nephilim, Sisters Of Mercy, The Cure, The Cult and The Mission, and we started experimenting more with programming and samples. The feedback was very diverse, but most people came to enjoy it. As one fan said, ‘It is the perfect album to make love to!’” Continue reading THEATRE OF TRAGEDY – Exclusive Aegis Re-Issue Liner Notes Preview Available