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Review

Aleah – Aleah Review

Artist: Aleah
Album: Aleah
Label: Svart Records
Genre: Dark Folk, Acoustic
Country: Sweden
Release Date: July 1st, 2020
For Fans Of: Trees of Eternity, Swallow the Sun

It already has been over four years since the utterly tragic loss of Aleah Starbridge, the vocalist for Trees of Eternity and collaborator for several other projects, including Amorphis and Swallow the Sun just to name a few. Aleah lost her brave battle with cancer on the 18th of April, 2016 but she lives on through bandmate and partner, Juha Raivio, through her family/friends/fans, and ultimately through her music. The debut record of Trees of Eternity, Hours of the Nightingale, was released several months after Aleah’s passing to properly commemorate her.  Four years later, we are receiving a truly special collection of songs prepared by Juha of Trees of Eternity/Swallow the Sun/Hallatar as another powerful and beyond emotional remembrance of Aleah Starbridge and her immortal legacy.

Aleah was known for her self-titled work, her time in That Which Remains, and mainly for her work in Trees of Eternity. She also collaborated with Amorphis by providing guest vocals throughout the record, Under the Red Cloud, as well as collaborating with the band Swallow the Sun. Aleah provided vocals and helped design the artwork for Songs from the North I, II & III. Her musical and other artistic contributions always have been highly regarded and still are to this very day. From what I can tell, she was a truly unique and special person and everything she has touched bloomed into something otherwordly.

Aleah’ is a post-humous release that is prepared by none other, her partner in life, Juha Raivio. Listening through this collection of tracks is incredibly heartbreaking but it is also beyond beautiful. This record is truly a labor of love, put together very carefully as a homage to her artistic talent, vision, and passion for music. This solo record includes acoustic and reworked versions of previously released tracks and unreleased demos, to my knowledge. Just listening through you can hear the love, passion, and the sorrow oozing out of these tracks.  There are little details like the neighing of horses in the opening of the track, Sacrifice. I later found out that that horse is one of Aleah’s own horses, Phoenix. Another interesting tidbit about this track is that Juha plays a handcrafted lyre on this track, with the strings/bow made from the mane of Phoenix and of another horse of Aleah’s, named Arion. It is little heartfelt details like this, hidden in the behind the scenes of the music, that truly make this solo release that much more impactful. Every single track was masterfully crafted and refined in order to create the most emotionally charged and loving representation of Aleah’s music and soul.

All these tracks have such luscious soundscapes that are incredibly entrancing as it is, but Aleah’s vocals take it even further with her haunting yet mesmerizing recordings that never fail to send chills down my spine. The acoustic renditions show another side to the already blissful sound found throughout the entirety of this record. This record is undeniably bittersweet, as you feel incredibly mournful and sorrowful, yet this serene musical performance is so magical that it just soothes all that pain and suffering; it assures you that everything is going to be okay. It is a very comforting collection of songs that assures you that her legacy lives on. Aleah’s long awaited solo release is a powerful and rightful display of her and Juha’s musical vision. Rest in power Aleah.

Track list:

  1. Vapour (Acoustic Version)
  2. Sacrifice (Acoustic Version)
  3. Open Sky (Acoustic Version)
  4. My Will (Acoustic Version)
  5. Breathe (Acoustic Version)
  6. Closing Under Pressure (Acoustic Version)
  7. Water and Wine (Acoustic Version)
  8. Terrestrial Torrents (Acoustic Version)
  9. Touch My Face (Acoustic Version)
  10. My Will
  11. Sacrifice (ft. Anilah)
  12. Inverted Enlightenment
  13. Vapour
  14. The Tower
  15. Breathe

Total Playing Time: 1:25:56

Click here to visit Aleah’s Bandcamp

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