Leah – Of Earth & Angels
Reviewed by Sebastian Kluth
Leah is the name of a new symphonic metal band with charming new world and Celtic folk. I would describe its music as a mixture of female fronted metal bands such as contemporary Delain as well as old Elis, Evanescence, and Xandria, mixed with more eclectic world music acts such as Enya or Loreena McKennitt for example.
The beautiful and talented band leader, Leah McHenry, wrote the songs independently over two years prior to the album’s release. She performs ethereal vocals and also plays the keyboards and piano. Three young men support her on bass guitar, lead guitar, and drums.
The debut, Of Earth & Angels, takes the listener on a colorful and relaxed trip to a mysterious past filled with passionate love tales, mystical legends, and some spiritual passages. From slightly Oriental tunes like the opener “Prisoner” (which sounds like Edenbridge), joyous Celtic rock anthems like “Old World”, (which could appeal to fans of Gwyllion), and on to more symphonic ballads like “Ex Cathedra”, this album develops a very enchanting atmosphere.
Some listeners might argue that the record doesn’t really have an outstanding anthem, that the guitar work isn’t very dominant, and that this album is not hard enough to be called a metal release. While I perfectly understand these points of view, I must admit that I find almost all songs very catchy and enchanting, so that the record doesn’t need a true hit single in my opinion. The guitar work is as laid back as the rest, and gives the wonderful orchestrations and the angelic vocals enough space to unfold in a perfect way. Some songs, such as the touching ballad “Ocean”, sound better to me than anything Enya has written over the last ten years, and include beautiful guitar solos as well. You just need to give this album some time, and you will discover how detailed and passionate every single song is despite its appeasing spirit. This isn’t the kind of record you can simply listen to while you’re on the bus, during a dinner with your best friends, or in between a Nightwish and a Krypteria album while you chat on your computer. Of Earth & Angels deserves to be fully and profoundly discovered. It will open up to you and make you dream far away. In times of more and more dramatic and almost megalomaniac orchestrations and high-pitched divas in exchangeable female-fronted symphonic metal bands, Leah’s natural sound really stands out and represents a truly intriguing alternative in my ears. It’s by far the best female-fronted album I have heard in years. I invite you to give this release a fair chance.
4.5 // 5