Sjak : After the in 2012 released debut album ‘Of Earth And Angel’ and ‘Kings & Queens’, which was brought to market in 2015, this ‘The Quest’ is the meanwhile third full-length studio album of the Canadian female singer Leah McHenry. The progression that was already visible on ‘Kings Of Queens’ has only continued on this third album, which clearly makes ‘The Quest’ the best Leah-record so far. Style-wise she’s still producing symphonic/gothic metal with lots of room for Celtic and folk influences. That makes the song material very varied and at times quite complex and as a result of that you’ll need quite some listens before the true beauty of the material will start to surface. Luckily also on this record she has surrounded herself with a number of world-class musicians, who perform this material in a very convincing way. Well, if you have people like Timo Somers (Delain), Barend Courbois (Blind Guardian), Sander Zoer (ex-Delain), Chen Balbum (Orphaned Land) and Troy Donockley (Nightwish) as your partners in crime, you can’t really complain being the female singer on duty. Now it has to be said that also Leah is delivering a very positive contribution to the whole and that makes this ‘The Quest’ a very enjoyable album.
Opener and title track ‘The Quest’ is a more than ten minutes long piece of work, in which all the strong assets of Leah clearly shine though. The song is despite of its length very entertaining and is effortlessly able to grab and hold your attention from start to finish, the musicianship is outstanding and Leah clearly shows that she’s a great singer. I’m very aware of the fact that this kind of music won’t be suited for everybody, but all of you who can appreciate fantasy rock/metal with great vocals will definitely like ‘The Quest’. The ten tunes that are offered on this record are all of a high quality level, although personally I have a weak spot for the already mentioned title track, ‘Edge Of Your Sword’, ‘Heir’ and ‘Labyrinth’. The music isn’t very heavy, although Timo Somers at times comes up with a solid riff and the necessary impressive guitar solos, but still ‘The Quest’ knows to captivate you from start to finish. Die-hard metal freak shouldn’t try this, but if you’re into high quality folk metal, this third Leah album will certainly meet your expectation.