Leah - Kings & Queens review
|Album:||Kings & Queens|
|Release date:||January 2015|
02. Save The World
03. Angel Fell
04. Enter The Highlands
05. In The Palm Of Your Hands
06. Alpha Et Omega
07. Heart Of Poison
09. Palace Of Dreams
10. This Present Darkness
11. The Crown
13. There Is No Farewell
14. Siúil A Rún [acoustic version]
15. Siúil A Rún [rock version] [bonus]
Symphonic metal artisan Leah's 2012 debut Of Earth & Angles was an addictive and very cohesive collection of songs (not to mention a nominee for Symphonic Metal Album Of The Year in 2012's Metal Storm Awards). It was easy to sing along with the metal-infused rock and each track had a unique personality. Now we are treated to her sophomore album, Kings & Queens, which takes a different, far more mature approach, and is a singular wave of beautiful metal music.
This album reminds me of the ocean, vast and gorgeous. Each wave is unique in size and form, and each wave washes over you in a different way. However, these swells and crests are not as important as the whole, the sometimes smooth, sometimes stormy, eternal being that is the ocean.
This is a grand symphonic opus that manages to be very heavy-hitting throughout and even very power metal at times (for example, the wondrous "Enter The Highlands"). Leah enjoys a broad spectrum of world music and while known for her Celtic and new-age influence, here she incorporates middle-eastern elements more than ever in a very Cirque du Soleil-like melting pot of brilliance. Featuring Blind Guardian's live bassist Barend Courbois, and Timo Somers and Sander Zoer of Delain, the performances are of course top-notch to carry out this blooming soundscape.
My only complaint is in the mix. Instruments are beautifully balanced but Leah's sumptuous vocals are treated as if they're another of these instruments. In the past, Leah introduced us to a strong, luxurious, and versatile voice. She brought each song to life with her magic. If you're familiar with her previous work, Kings & Queens may sound as if that voice is buried in the mix (hopefully new listeners will not find this an issue). It may be an aesthetic choice that does in fact yield a beautiful finished product but I can't help but wonder how much more vital these songs could have been if her opulent voice had been more prominent.
It is what it is, however, and it is still a jewel of an album. Bold colors and lovely melodies stream through tracks such as "Palace Of Dreams," "Alpha And Omega," and many others. Whether you loved Leah's previous music or are new to her work, your ears will dance to the fantasia laid out before us. The album is out January 30th in Europe and February 3rd in North America and worldwide via Inner Wound Recordings. Hear the track "Enter The Highlands" and pre-order at her Bandcamp.
Written on 13.01.2015 by
Susan appreciates quality metal regardless of sub-genre. Metal Storm Staff since 2006.
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