Review by Zach Brehany
I want you, dear reader, to sit back and relax. Imagine you are transported into a new world, one of lush, green fields. There is an ocean on the coast and you see a gorgeous woman standing on the edge, looking out into the sky as her red hair flies in the wind. You can tell that there is something deep within this woman’s eyes and when you see her face, what a face. There is a childlike innocence to per presence yet her eyes tell of tales of wars, princes, her being a princess joining on long adventures where she turns into a warrior, defending her land. She looks at you, smiles, and then sets on. Wherever next, who knows? But one thing is for sure: her name is Leah.
I found Leah about a year or so ago. One of my online friends who happens to have similar interests as me told me about her. Using my Amazon Prime account, I found her first two albums and EP. I played them as i continued on with my day and before the day was over, I already ordered all her CDs and pre-ordered her vinyls. Such a feat has never been accomplished before.
Leah is a more unique performer in the vastly growing world of symphonic metal. For the most part, the basic formula for this genre is taking the elements of power metal, grand operatic styles of symphonic orchestras, and having an opera based (or heavily influenced) lead singer who creates a calm, soothing presence when on stage. Knowing this formula, what we have is someone taking traditional celtic music and making the hard rock/ heavy metal formula I mentioned bend for her. Got to give her props on her style.
The more I looked into this lovely nightingale, the more I found myself respecting and appreciating how she is handling her fame and platform. On YouTube, she has this basic masterclass over how to promote her music, how to write it, etc. this is amazing and masterful to use her knowledge to build up and help other struggling musicians. It is something i respect because it shows her true love, passion, and respect for this art form and willing to share with us her secrets and tips to making music work.
Now, to talk about the albums. This will be a bit fun because her music is. This is fun, inspiring music that you are never able to really dig deep into in terms of other groups. As i listen to ‘Of Earth and Angels” She sounds confident. She sounds like she knows what she is going. While a few songs towards the end do lose their magic for me (favorite track towards the end was ‘Mainland’), the over all experience is what makes this a frequent visitor to my turntable. She has talent, and she knows she does, and this was a solid debut album over all.
Now into “Otherworld”. It’s a nice treat between both ‘Of Earth and Angels’ and ‘Kings and Queens’ to show us that she is nowhere near done yet. On this EP, we see a bit more emotion in her, we see more of who she really is as a person. Listening, i found this EP asking more important questions than most music could. This EP makes me think about how the world could be, it brings to mind hope that we are all striving for, and above all else, even our own mortality. This is a complicated and more serious tone to the previous album. Short, sweet, gives us more dimensions to her and her way of being.
Finally with ‘Kings and Queens’. I read some reviews of this album after listening to it. Originally, I felt it was over long, kind of pretentious, and i felt a bit of a let down. But i listened to it on and off until the album clicks. I don’t know why it never had before, but I was starting to fall into a realm where I was able to see the true beautiness and wonder of the world. With having more of a control over her influences, she is more mature in her writing, found wonderful collaborators that are able to enhance her style, and what we are left with feels like a fitting end to the story she has been telling sense Prisoner off of “Of Earth and Angels”.
Thankfully, this isn’t the end.
At the time of writing this, she has announced the release of ‘The Quest’ coming out in October of 2018. After what we have gotten so far, one can only imagine what she has in store. Looking at the list of people who worked on this album, this one needs to be on digital, cd, and vinyl soon. I have high hopes for her and raise my beer stein to her growing legacy as a warrior princess of symphonic metal.
Author’s note: At some point in the future, I will be doing a song by song breakdown of her first three releases. Should be written and finished in two weeks after this has been written (as of 09/07/18).