LEAH: The Glory and the Fallen

Leah VI

Leah (McHenry) is a solo artist/vocalist (Canada) – in the vein of Loreena Mckennitt/Enya meets symphonic rock/metal – with international multi-instrumentalist collaborations and five previous releases – Of Earth & Angels (2012), Otherworld (2013) and Kings & Queens (2015) and The Quest (2018). She also released the EP Ancient Winter (folk/Celtic carols/hymns) in 2019, which is the last time we’ve heard from her and her friends. (The latter two releases have previously been reviewed on these pages with links provided above.)

For those familiar with Leah’s music, The Glory and the Fallen is no less captivating than its predecessors. For those who have not heard any of her works consider this album the perfect place to discover a new friend. The stunning instrumentations, swirling compositions and beautiful, uplifting and mesmerizing melodies are carefully constructed and perfectly mixed. Add to this Leah’s ethereal voice and cinematic symphonic rock, with world/Celtic/folk infused into its DNA, doesn’t get any better.

The Players

Furthermore, the hallmark of a great musician is that they continue to expand and improve their song writing, dynamics and diversity with each release. And this may just be the best mixed/best sounding we’ve yet to hear from Leah and her compositional partner Oliver Philipps who is credited with vocal arrangements/orchestrations/production.

In addition to Philipps, two long-time friends have once again teamed up with Leah, both musicians with her since 2015’s epic Kings & Queens. Timo Somers handles all the guitars and bass on the songs and Sander Zoer the drums. Timo also guest vocals on “Victory”

Other contributors: Pipes and flutes by David Celibeerian, guest harsh vocals by Mark Jansen (Epica) on “Unshakable” and “Sleeping Giant,” and Leah’s 3 daughters provide vocals on “Unshakable.”


The Glory and the Fallen has been released in several different formats: CD jewel case/16-page booklet (featuring the main release), 3 CD Deluxe Digipak/16-page booklet (Main Release, Instrumentals, Ambient Release), digital downloads of the previous and then the 2LP gatefold vinyl in either black or crimson. The artwork (Giannis Nakos) on all the physical media is stunning, with the vinyl gatefold showcasing it the best. [This review will be of the 3 CD digipak and the 3 LP vinyl sets.]

Available HERE

The Glory and the Fallen

The lead-off “Archangel” is simultaneously a fantastic representation of everything at which Leah excels and a superb depiction of spiritual warfare/battle in the heavenly realms. Where’s the video? Seriously, this balanced track has heavy guitar crunch, double bass drum yet tons of melody, dynamics and majestic, cinematic appeal.

I’ve probably listened to this album nearly 20 times in the past month at different times of day and in different moods. I find this helpful in better dissecting out the true quality of the music from the “ear candy” initial appeal when we listen to something “new” by one of our favorite (or any, for that matter) artists.

Consequently, “No More Fear” is a song I just keep coming back to over and over again – its smooth flow and catchy melodies combine perfectly with the confident lyrical outpouring of strength, commitment and faith to living a life in ultimate freedom. Heartfelt and timeless. And Zoer’s syncopated drum rhythm pushes the song a notch to the progressive side.

“We will build houses/We will build kingdoms/Where the wine overflows for eternity/We will tend our gardens/We will raise our children/Where the laughter betrays every tyranny.

Impressively, right on the heels of that gem is “Unshakable,” yet another song of strength of character and faith. Musically this song features what sounds like dulcimer, Celtic pipes, strong guitar leads, and some nifty double bass drum rhythms – a union of the old and new worlds both instrumentally and conceptually. Leah’s 3 daughters contribute vocally which makes this track magical and personal.

“There is no light you can take/Our faith is unshakable/There is a fight you can’t win/Our fate is unbreakable/A brighter future awaits us.”

Equally impressive, “Speak to Me” is another song with a Celtic/folk lilt, this one more balladic, with a humble, simple plea for intervention and direction. Leah is gifted in writing a song which deeply moves the soul, but which simultaneously represents a simple truth – or in this case a plea. Credit Oliver Philipps with collaboration, the instrumentation is sublime here.

Transitioning to fantasy taletelling … “Dream Voyage” would make Nightwish proud. Cinematic. Symphonic. Heavy. Melodic. Wow, this song has it all.

Monumentally impactful, “Revive” is an epic song for our times, for sure. I don’t know which male vocalist accompanies Leah on this track (my guess would be Philipps), but the synergy is infectiously palpable. Somers gets some shred time during the guitar solo, as does his compatriot (Delian) on drums.

“Will we revive a paradise/Bring back death to life/Revive a paradise, oh.”

Fans of Sharon den Adel and Within Temptation will totally embrace the ethereal “Little Stars.” This less complex, more stripped-down rock ballad is once again demonstrating Leah’s penchant for simple melody matched with dream-like vocals.

Subsequently, “Wings of Time” is a ballad as well, more of a power ballad as it ebbs and flows in intensity and pulse throughout, and Somers’ guitar solo helps as well to cement the “power” into the ballad. Love the ominous effects in the outro.

In contrast, fans of symphonic power metal will rejoice with “Sleeping Giant,” which is the heaviest metal track on the album. Some of the heaviness is clearly infused by Mark Jansen’s (Epica) harsh vocals – the “beauty and the beast” effect ala Nightwish in full force here.

“Break free/Find/Your lost peace of mind/When life fades to grey/Let the music ring/Don’t dismay/Hear the angels sing/Today.”

The frenetic drumming juxtaposed with Celtic pluckings is nothing short of spectacular as the message of freedom is driven home.

“Freedom comes when you learn to let go/A leap of faith transcends all you are know/Believing will reveal the state of your soul/A sleeping giant awakens.”

However, despite this “leap of faith” there is more … “Before This War is Over.” One of the more straight-up rocker tunes here, this one exhorts us to stand united. Once again the song shifts seamlessly from a more commercial beat/vibe to heavy aggression. Lyrically, the song points out a truth our country (along with many other nations) is fast neglecting with grave consequences for those who desire freedom…

“Some wounds, time won’t heal/And now it’s time to fight once more/They said, “never again”/All lies (And don’t forget it)/They’ll slay forever/Don’t reward a crime (Don’t take the bribe).”

Truth spoken. Never should we just “give up” and forsake our world to lawlessness and chaos.

Ah, but there is “Victory” … yet another powerful and inspiring song (can you sense a theme here?). There are a few vocal effects on this one to change things up, but the overwhelming cry and plea on this record is summed up here.

“Rise up!/And take the victory for yourself/Angels guide you/Allies gather against the gates of Hell/All of heaven fights with you/All of heaven fights with you…”

Now that’s metal!!

Delightfully, the main release closes out with yet another more commercial track, “Glow,” a call to embrace your destiny – the afterglow of an amazing album!

Ambient Leah

Eight of the main release songs have been reworked as “ambient” mixes and released on the deluxe CD/download/LP versions. Basically, the electric guitars and drums have been removed from the mix with dependence on the orchestrations/keys/programming … and of course the voices. While song structures don’t diverge from the main release versions, there are some variations with shorter duration of some of the ambient tracks.

Essentially, these versions showcase the vocals and the melodies – every one of these songs memorable in that regard. Where “Unshakable” and “Little Stars” are more balladic in original form these ambient versions feel less distinct, but on some of the heavier tracks like “Wings of Time,” “Revive” and especially “Sleeping Giant” (sans harsh vocals) the ambient versions contrast quite a bit offering nice alternative versions.

Vinyl Glory

The gatefold and 2 LPs manifest a beautiful set and perfectly complement the graceful, yet powerful nature of the music. My copies are flawless. The lower master volume is much appreciated, and the dynamic range is noticeable. These discs sound great at low and high volume with little to no listener fatigue. Also noteworthy is that the bass doesn’t overpower as can be the case with some of the more contemporary vinyl renderings I’ve experienced where there is too much bass dominating the audio field.

Yes, the ambient tracks made the cut. Half of Side C and all of Side D feature the “mellower” interpretation/manifestation of these songs.

When the Curtain Falls

The Glory and the Fallen is nothing short of spectacular, every bit as good as anything we’ve heard from Nightwish (a close comparison), or Within Temptation (early career). Leah has clearly improved as a songwriter and singer. She has put herself in the company of fellow musicians who not only share her passion for her art but also stand at the top of their game. I have no doubt this album will be in my top 3 releases this year.

Track Listing (main release):

1. Archangel (4:11)

2. No More Fear (5:11)

3. Unshakable (5:06)

4. Speak to Me (4:43)

5. Dream Voyage (3:50)

6. Revive (5:05)

7. Little Stars (3:57)

8. Wings of Time (4:52)

9. Sleeping Giant (5:18)

10. Before this War is Over (5:44)

11. Victory (4:42)

12. Glow (3:59)


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