It is not very often that an album release comes around that has so much depth and such a deep back story that it takes a while to gather our your thoughts on it. That has just happened with the release of Aleah Starbridge‘s solo album, ‘Aleah’. Out July 1st through Svart Records.
For those who are not familiar with her work, Aleah was a singer and songwriter who’s work touched the death, doom, rock and metal genres. You can find her work in the music of the bands Trees of Eternity as well as collaborations with Finnish bands Swallow The Sun and Amorphis. Not only a loved musician, she was also the cherished life partner to Juha Raivio from Swallow The Sun.
‘Aleah’ is an album that is a celebration of Aleah’s life work that had to reach the ears of music fans around the world. At only 39 years of age, Aleah tragically lost her battle with cancer in 2016. This posthumous solo album is being released thanks to Juha Raivio who set himself on a mission to fulfill a departing promise to make sure her music would be heard. Raivio worked with fellow Swallow The Sun band-mate and producer, Jaani Peuhu to make sure her raw works were ready to be thrust upon a world that needs her music.
To me this album release has profound timing, like the universe guided this to a time when people would need it the most. We are in a time that desperately needs to feel something deep and reflective. This album is exactly that. It’s hollowing and places the listener into a space that they can just be, feel, let go, and connect with something that’s hard to describe with words, but is emotionally captivating.
At a shallow glance of the album, casual listeners will think of her music as the perfect works for period piece films and television shows. For me, I immediately thought this album could easily be part of the soundtrack to Vikings or other heavy dramas. It has that spiritual, haunting feel that viewers are exposed to through many episodes of these types of shows and films.
When going on a deeper level of listening, just sitting and doing nothing but focusing on the music, you will gain the full experience of her work. I had picked this up and gave it a spin on a day that I wasn’t ready to experience what this wanted to deliver to me. So I sat it aside for a few days and came back to it when I felt the shift in the world around me.
In my second listening through the album, I got more than I expected. Her haunting, airy vocals enveloped my every sense to the point that I had goosebumps on my skin and I felt the chills race through me. I knew then that this album had much more depth than I had expected, so I sat still with my mind at rest and just let the album lead the way.
There are so many elements that flow through each track and the facets that will leave listeners feeling sad, torn, enlightened and at peace. This work is clearly a genuine look into her soul and is a rare piece that listeners are not graced with very often. The world truly lost a rare human with Aleah’s passing, but now listeners can hold onto an additional piece of her music to always remind them of how special she was and to guide and connect them to music that is larger than this small planet we live on. This album transcends the boundaries and limits of just our existence.
My final thoughts to this listening experience is this; while not hard or heavy, this album is heavy on a completely different level. It’s a heavy emotional experience that will resonate with music lovers. This is not meant to fulfill music listeners expectations, this is a true work of art by an artist who allowed herself to be as open and raw as possible in her writing. So take it for a spin, more than once. Allow yourself the opportunity to just sit with it and without distractions then let it do to you what it did to me. You will feel what I am saying if you just let the music guide you.
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