"Meredead" it turns out is Old English for "Sea-Dead" , the restless spirits of those drowned at sea. From the opener "Spirits' Masquerade"its clear the album's theme is at least as "Goth" as any of their previous albums (there might well be a "concept album"in there somewhere, but given the 12 tracks split near equally between English, Norwegian and Old English ,only the lucky few fluent in all three will ever know for sure!)
Musically the album has evolved a fair way since their third album "Njord". Call it "Celtic Folk Metal " for short. Elfenthal and others guest to add an "early music" element to many tracks. With Liv's lyrics and vocals as epic as ever, it all adds up a consistently great album .Alex Krull's (Mastersound) production is as inspired as ever throughout. It should certainly delight most Leaves Eyes fans, though maybe a few will find the album a little too "folky ", with not quite enough "metal" in the mix.
Vocally too there's been a big change - the "extreme vocals" from Alex in the "Beauty and the Beast" duets with Liv are near all gone , only featuring on one track this time(and that in Norwegian, which somewhat softens the effect). He also adds vocals to one further track, but in a very different "straight" delivery , much more akin to his Atrocity persona . John Kelly (Elfenthal) adds more folk-style male vocals elsewhere.
I bought the "Basic" edition, so was a bit miffed to then learn from another review there is also a special edition with a bonus live concert DVD out there. Go for that version every time,if you can still get it(I struck lucky when MIdnattssol did exactly the same with their own new album last month, so I really should have been on the look out for the same choicehere !)