It’s very rare I find an album that takes me away to a far-off land and one that literally stops me in my tracks. Most recently, I have found that within LEAH’s upcoming album Ancient Winter. Her fans have described here as Metal ENYA and having listened to this album, it’s easy to see how she achieved this title. Ancient Winter takes a step away from her usual Symphonic Metal and gives us a more earthy, atmospheric sound.
Like her previous records, she financed this record herself through a fundraising campaign on her website. It features impeccable talent from some familiar names. These include Troy Donockley (NIGHTWISH), Anna Murphy (CELLAR DARLING), Shir-Ran Yion (ELUVEITIE), Oliver Phillips (EVERON, PHANTASMA) and renowned string instrumentalist Rupert Gillet.
For those who have been reading my reviews for a long time, you will know I tend to pick out a few stand out tracks and talk about those in details. In this case, it is difficult to pick out highlights as they all have a different story to tell. Here is a break down of each track.
The Whole World Summons has a gentle approach, Dark Crystal: Age Of Resistance comes to mind when I listen to this. For those who haven’t watched the series, there is a character called Deet. She is a gentle soul that gets called to go and stop an evil spreading throughout her land. The mystical sounds of the songs match her tender soul.
Light Of The World is mysterious and bold, these are two words you wouldn’t expect in one sentence but this captures this impeccably. This song is beautiful and uplifting, particularly during the chorus.
Upon Your Destiny takes a more sombre tone than its predecessor. It gradually becomes more uplifting within its tone, it has a phoenix rising from the ashes effect. This track is a perfect one to reflect on things, especially when things haven’t been going to plan of late. The song contains uplifting lyrics such as “I will never leave you or forsake in the darkness, I will shine a light upon your destiny”. The song also contains beautiful musicianship; particularly in the string section and the pipes.
One word to describe Redemption; hypnotic. This one is one of my personal favourites on the album. In this one, I admire the wide usage of musicianship on this track. It contains Leah’s stunning vocals, Troy’s fantastical pipes, Anna’s excellence on the hurdy gurdy and the beautiful string work from Shir-Ran and Rupert. This song captivates you.
The Messenger is very ENYA-esque, particularly with vocal work and atmospheric sounds. It’s a track that you can easily relax to and forget about your troubles for a couple of moments.
Gaudete is one of personal favourite songs and seeing that it was on the album, I was interested to hear her cover. It is beautiful rendition of a classic. A great cover sounds like the artist’s own creation and LEAH executed this beautifully.
Puer Natus is another personal favourite of mine on the album. The melody is stunning and memorable, one that swims around your head for ages days after listening to the song. I also love the use Oliver Phillip’s vocals in the chorus of this track fusing together with Leah’s.
The album ends with Noel Nouvelet. Like the previous tracks on the album, it contains a stunning melody. It also showcases the talent from each of the musicians on the album for one last time before a triumphant ending.
Ancient Winter is a magical masterpiece, in a world of uncertainty and doubt we need to escape once in a while. If this sounds like something you need to do, give this album a whirl and enter the world of Ancient Winter.
Words: Lotty Whittingham
Ancient Winter will be released this Friday via Ex Cathedra Records.