LIV KRISTINE, she of the many bands/projects/faces returns with her sixth solo effort, River Of Diamonds. While yours truly had never really “gotten” LEAVES’ EYES, preferring her work with THEATRE OF TRAGEDY and MIDNATTSOL, the issue was never her vocals, more the musical style. This will be my first foray into LIV KRISTINE, the solo artist. And, as I’m not expecting Velvet Darkness They Fear, I feel I’ll be able to approach the album objectively.

‘Our Immortal Day’ begins, awash in keys, a throbbing bassline and the tandem vocal delivery (shared here by Osten Bergoy of LONG NIGHT and TRISTANIA) clearly attempting to lend a self-described “SISTERS OF MERCY feeling”. Something just feels flat, though, rote when it should be robust, passable when it should be passionate. After ‘No Makeup’, the dancefloor groove of ‘Maligna’ seems to speak to female empowerment, “Fuck him, he’s using you” coming across as tossed-in for shock value, until the tables turn in the second verse, turning what could’ve been a throwaway track into a tune about rising above your circumstances, gender be damned…or “fucked”, as it were.

‘In Your Blue Eyes’ is gothic rock, emphasis on the “rock”, but Kristine’s impeccable vocal with and desire to remain true to herself and vision positively burst from the music, despite the chosen genre, and that’s admirable in any endeavor, artistic or otherwise. A simply breathtaking cover of Jon Lord’s ‘Pictured Within’, here joined by Michael Espenaes, arrives at the perfect moment of River Of Diamonds, showing the importance of knowing where a song “belongs” on an album.

‘Love Me High’, featuring Liv’s sister, Carmen Elise Espenaes continues in the gothic rock vein, which is where I’m going to file the majority of this release; comfortable in its skin and not attempting to pander, or be something it isn’t. There’s another cover, and a guest that’d surprise most, as it did me, but you can search that out for yourself. Or better yet, give River Of Diamonds a spin without preconceptions of the past. I’m left with the feeling, after first listen, that this is a record about looking forward, anyway.
Review By: Lord Randall

River Of Diamonds