Though coronavirus has forced us indoors, music still flows. In the case of Canadian multi-instrumentalist Lindsay Schoolcraft, she chose to look back on her gothic metal past and reimagine it in an entirely new light. She has lent her talents to an astounding variety of bands, ranging from Cradle of Filth’s extreme metal to Mary and the Black Lamb’s alt-rock, as well as leading her own project. Last year she released her début solo album, Martyr, which received a Juno nomination in the category of Heavy/Hard Sound Album of the Year.
This year’s project, however, is a different entity. Lindsay has made no secret of her love of playing the electric harp, which she has combined with string arrangements for a completely different take on her discography. The result –Worlds Away. Here, she reunites with collaborator Rocky Gray (original drummer of Evanescence, who co-wrote Martyr). His subtle electronic beats add a cinematic tone, such as on “Stranger”, or thundering on album closer “Warn Me”. The lilting harp and strings, meanwhile, concoct a fantasy soundtrack atmosphere akin to Loreena McKennitt or Sarah Brightman. Each instrument vies for attention, creating various moods: “Where I Fall” is a strings-driven dark-pop ballad, whereas the harp-tinkling Masquerade indulges in musical theatre.
Most of the tracks draw from her previous works, but there are two unfamiliar faces. The title track opens the album with Lindsay’s breathy vocals accompanied by her harp. Her singing is a highlight of this record, especially when ascending into the upper echelons during stunning choruses such as on “Fading Star”. Many critics have compared her emotive voice to the likes of Sharon den Adel or Amy Lee. The other, “Dance on the Strings”, signifies the final completion of a song that had been sitting in her lyric book for over a decade. It deals with toxic manipulation, and the dark strings in the song feel analogous to the strings the narrator can see are controlling the victim.
This record may be worlds away from what you know of Lindsay Schoolcraft, but that works to its credit. The songs sound vibrant, and it is impressive that without listening to the original versions, one would never be able to tell these were re-workings. Worlds Away is simply beautiful and calming, and an excellent way to unwind in these challenging times, while appreciating the talent that has gone into it.
Lindsay Schoolcraft is from my hometown Oshawa, Ontario, Canada and released her Martyr album in 2019 which finished in my Top 10 of 2019.
Many who know me know that I love my hard rock music. In 2013 I found Symphonic metal as I love hearing the different string instruments mixed in with heavy rock. I love the sound of the violin and I have seen Ashley Macisaac and Lindsey Stirling in concert. I have always enjoyed listening to piano and an instrument that does not get enough credit – the harp. Lindsay has intermingled the harp within her music in the past and her new album is all about her and her harp. Combined with her beautiful voice and the graceful sound of this heavenly instrument, I found myself excited to get my hands on this new release. It may not fall in the genre of music I usually find myself playing at home or in my car, but it is nice to just unwind and listen to something relaxing and soothing.
I first heard Lindsay’s new material doing a Facebook live stream while playing some of these tracks in her home. Once I received my press copy of Lindsay Schoolcraft’s Worlds Away album, I found myself playing the release everyday.
The album starts off with the brand-new title track “Worlds Away”. Our Gothic queen sounds stunning on the opening song. Next up is possibly my favourite song of 2019. The original is so powerful, so how will Schoolcraft match that power of “Savior”? Well, even though this is a completely different version, all I can say is WOW! The arrangement of this rendition of “Savior” is epic. You may hear the 2 versions of this tune back to back on my radio show on CGCM Radio.
Track after track, Worlds Away is an elegant listen. I may have my beloved song “Savior”, but the whole album flows magnificently together making it hard to go over each number. Songs like “Stranger”, “Where I Fall”, “Dangerous Game” and “Warn Me”, which are also on the Martyr album, thrived on that release and is no different on the new renditions on Worlds Away.
The times I may want a break from the hard rock, Worlds Away will be my go-to album.
Shawn “Animalize” Irwin
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You can pre-order Worlds Away via Indiegogo on CD, vinyl or digitally: Harp Album
Join the mailing list to be notified when the album releases here: Official Site