Liv Kristine Espenæs (born February 14, 1976), better known as Liv Kristine, is a Norwegian singer-songwriter who has performed and composed songs mostly for various subgenres of heavy metal music. She started her career in the music industry as a vocalist for the gothic metal band Theatre of Tragedy, and is the former lead vocalist for the symphonic metal band Leaves’ Eyes. Currently, she is a singer of German band Midnattsol alongside her younger sister, Carmen Elise Espenæs.
Liv Kristine was born in Stavanger, and joined the Norwegian gothic metal band Theatre of Tragedy in 1994 as a backup singer, but was soon sharing lead vocals duties with Raymond István Rohonyi. She was fired from Theatre of Tragedy in 2003, a fact she learned about through the band’s website. She had been living in Germany since 1996, and collaborating with the death metal band Atrocity, whose singer Alexander Krull she married on July 3, 2003. With the five musicians from Atrocity, she formed a new band, Leaves’ Eyes, in August 2003. She has also released five solo albums, the most recent of which was released in October 2014 through Napalm Records.
Kristine has a soprano vocal range.
In 2005, Liv Kristine was nominated for a Grammy award with Cradle of Filth for the song “Nymphetamine”.
In 2016, Liv joined Eluveitie as a session vocalist for a couple of their live shows.
On April 16, 2016, Leaves’ Eyes stated that Liv Kristine, who formed and had the idea of the band project, was no longer the singer of the band.
In December 2017, it was announced that Liv joined her sister Carmen’s band Midnattsol. She was originally announced to be a guest on their new album but after some discussions, the band picked her up as a permanent member.
Kristine helped to pioneer the beauty and the beast vocals approach, later used by many other successful bands such as Tristania, After Forever, Epica and Within Temptation in their beginnings. The term “beauty and the beast” refers to an aesthetic contrasting “angelic” female vocals with male growls or aggressive singing. Paradise Lost and The Gathering had already made use of this technique on some songs from their earlier albums but it was the Norwegian Theatre of Tragedy, Kristine’s former band, that first released an entire album devoted to this approach with their self-titled debut in 1995.
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