Leah isn’t a new name in melodic metal; her genre is “Celtic fantasy metal,” and her albums could easily serve as the soundtracks for shows like Game of Thrones or Vikings. Her first four albums, Of Earth and Angels (2012), Otherworld (2013), Kings & Queens (2015), and The Quest (2018) are a rapturous blend of a symphonic metal style carefully spiced with Celtic, folk, and fantasy. Her emotive vocals are often compared to Loreena McKennitt, Tori Amos, Sarah McLachlan, and Enya.
Ancient Winter, a crowdfunding success
Leah financed Ancient Winter herself, hosting the fundraising campaign on her own website. Her marketing expertise coupled with her thorough knowledge of her fanbase gave her the confidence to do what others wouldn’t in order to establish her musical presence worldwide. And this also led her to secure the help of such artists as Oliver Philipps (Everon, Phantasma) for production, arrangements, orchestration, guitar and male vocals on “Puer Natus”, Anna Murphy (Cellar Darling, ex-Eluveitie), Hurdy Gurdy, Shir-Ran Yinon (Eluveitie) contributing fiddle/violin/viola, Troy Donockley (Nightwish) on Uilleann pipes, low and high whistles, and Rupert Gillett preforming cello and salaw.
Tracks on this album are: “The Whole World Summons”, “Light of the World”, “Upon Your Destiny”, “Redemption”, “The Messenger”, “Gaudete”, “Puer Natus”, and “Noel Nouvelet”. They range in musical sounds from hauntingly lyrical to Middle Eastern. Soaring French, to traditional Yule carol, this is a fantastic example of a true “Winter” album. It doesn’t draw from any single tradition, but rather travels all over Europe to cull influences into the melodies.
I’ve been listening to this album for a good ten days now, and each time I hear it, I fall more in love with it. I can’t help but move and dance to the music, it’s that captivating. The lyrics are catchy, and singing along with Leah is easy, even with her lofty vocals. This is honestly my new go-to winter album. I’ve played it for a number of friends who all have differing musical tastes, and all of them have enjoyed it. There’s a little something for everyone. Well, to be honest, a lot of things for everyone. Give in a listen, or two, or twenty. You won’t be disappointed in this choice of album. And while you’re at it, pick up the rest of her albums. All of them are gorgeous in their own rights. And while you’re browsing the music, grab a set of her candles before they sell out. She chose the scents herself, to add another depth to the experience of the album and to winter herself.
Here’s the stream of her album from her YouTube channel. Just stream it in the background until the physical copy of the album arrives in your hands. Or the digital copy finishes downloading for you.
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Robin is a semi-coherent, almost sentient being. She has some strange ideas, and some even stranger friends. Disabled, queer, agnostic, accident-prone & other adjectives.
She loves music, and talks about new releases from bands frequently. She also enjoys going to shows to recap them, and listening to albums by bands that "mainstream" music isn't interested in, because they're often the best music out there.
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