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Leah - 'Kings & Queens' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/22/0a/f9/Leah-Kings-and-Queens-44-1429726508.jpeg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     April 22, 2015    
 
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Has every chance of not only being in my 2015 Top 5 but possibly even topping it... simply stunning!

Leah (McHenry) is a vocalist from Vancouver, Canada, who I first came across back in 2013 through a mutual Female-Fronted enthusiast. Her style could be described a Symphonic Metal but there is often Celtic and World Music influences that has prompted some to refer to her as "The Metal Enya". I reviewed Leah's debut 'Of Earth And Angels' back in 2013 and it was a big hit with me. She followed that up with an EP entitled 'Otherworld' and now returns with her second full album 'Kings & Queens'.

Like several artists of late, this is another album that was funded via the pledge (Indiegogo) route. For the purposes of reference and transparency, its worth me mentioning that based on me already being a big fan, along with my expectation of the album's potential, I actually contributed to the campaign. Having now listened to it, I can say honestly not only was that potential realised... it was knocked out of the park.

Something that really raised my enthusiasm and seriously increased my interest was the special guests enlisted to help. The bass and drums/percussion were handled by Barend Courbois (Blind Guardian) and Sander Zoer (ex-Delain) respectively but there was another name that really excited me. The guitars, arrangements and production were handled by Timo Somers, who also happens to be the axe-man in my personal favourites Delain. So... a favourite singer combined with two members of Delain... you bet I was eager and with good cause!

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With their help, Leah has created a Symphonic album of colossal proportions that is every bit as good as anything from any of the big names you care to mention. 'Kings...' is made up of fifteen tracks that last an impressive seventy-eight minutes. There isn't a bad track on the album and even now after several plays it is tough for me to pick out any favourites or decide which ones to highlight; they are all fantastic. It is certainly her heaviest album yet but it still retains the Celtic and varied influences (Middle Eastern for example) that has differenciated Leah from others of her ilk. In terms of sound, imagine a Delain and Nightwish hybrid with a little Leaves Eyes and Serenity mixed in all topped off by Enya or maybe even Moya Brennan (Clannad) handling vocals.

With that comparison, it will comes as no surprise to anyone that I think this album is absolutely magnificent. It's rich, beautiful, powerful, bombastic and majestic in equal measure and establishes Leah as a true force in the Symphonic world. 'Kings & Queens' has every chance of not only being in my 2015 Top 5 but possibly even topping it... simply stunning!

Dave Scott

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