CD, Vinyl and Digital album
Svart Records have released the new posthumous solo album by Aleah Liane Stanbridge, singer of the Swedish/Finnish band Trees of Eternity. Aleah sadly passed away in 2016 and her life partner and Swallow The Sun/Trees of Eternity guitarist, Juha Raivio, has lovingly brought to fruition this beautiful album of her music.
The double album brings together acoustic based songs and tracks with expanded instrumentation and musical settings, including musically expanded versions of some of the acoustic songs. This reviewers introduction to Aleah’s unique and graceful voice, were her vocals on the Swallow The Sun song, Lights on the Lake (Horror, Pt.III), from their New Moon album. Her voice was utterly captivating and fitted effortlessly within the bands edgy mix of doom/death metal and prog.
This quite wonderful solo album, provides the perfect setting for Aleah’s musical gifts and vision, and is an intensely moving experience to listen too.
Vapour, the opening acoustic track, envelopes Aleah’s voice in a gentle and elegiac acoustic guitar backing. Aleah’s voice has a shimmering, soaring quality, that communicates yearning and what it feels like to fall completely in love, with an emotional power and impact that is irresistible. Embodied in some of the evocative words in the chorus:
“In the Fire of Your Eyes, Shining Vapour I Become, Hold me closer as I Rise, We Dissolve into One”.
The later extended version of the song sympathetically weaves strings and ambient electronics, into the songs musical landscape, creating a striking new story telling feel and rhythm, where Aleah’s voice leads us into a form of musical novella. Playing the two versions back to back, is the most incredible of musical experiences.
My Will, in its acoustic form, has an almost medieval resonance, where the words seem to be exhaled and float poetically out of the speakers. Aleah’s voice is wonderfully expressive and weaves around the acoustic guitar and cello, sometimes close and sometimes movingly reaching away. The full band version takes the song in a new exciting jazz influenced direction, with a lovely piano melody, and Aleah’s voice echoing the exquisite phrasing of Billie Holiday.
You can hear the acoustic version of My Will here, accompanied by an atmospheric video:
Water and Wine, is a delicate and elegant song, with bewitching harmony vocals, and lyrics that seem to speak to the nature of faith, and the challenges in sustaining faith in adversity. As one line pleadingly asks:
“Show me Your Sign, Water and Wine, I need You to be More than a Voice in me, Show me Your Face, Or at least some Proof of Your Grace”
In writing this review, it is hard to find the words, that might be sufficient to convey the musical breadth and excellence of this album. The Tower near the end of the song sequence says it all. With its contrasting pop/soul timbre, lush orchestration, and swing, it completely sweeps the listener into the arms of a great piece of songwriting and arrangement, that shows another intriguing side to Aleah’s music. The song sums up the creative ambition and achievement that runs throughout this stunning album.
Aleah is an artist of real stature and impact, and is sorely missed by the metal world. This album is a great testament to her music.
You can find out more about the music of Aleah and Trees of Eternity here:
All words by Gareth Allen, you can find Gareth’s author profile here.