Even for one of the pioneering gothic female metal vocalists, it’s not easy to stay relevant in a scene that’s bursting with an increasingly high calibre of bands in the same vein – even the ones that arguably wouldn’t exist without her former band, Theatre Of Tragedy.
There’s also an uncomfortable tendency for disharmony among fans when it comes to experimentation, as Nightwish and Within Temptation can probably attest. No such problems for Liv, however, as she unveils her fifth solo album Vervain, which stays true to her gothic roots while – thankfully – also bearing little resemblance to the disappointing latest effort from her day-job band, Leaves’ Eyes. Opening track My Wilderness is satisfyingly riff-heavy, while standout track Love Decay is a Type O-inspired vampiric duet, with Michelle Darkness’s clean baritone complementing Liv nicely. Stronghold Of Angels, a contender for ‘token ballad’, is elevated by the addition of the fantastic Doro Pesch. Liv’s vocals can be a little insipid at times, but in terms of songs, it’s a strong effort with a 90s gothic flavour that’s refreshing rather than dated.