In Memory Of Aleah Stanbridge

1976 – 2016

Aleah Stanbridge, vocalist for Trees of Eternity, and guest vocalist for bands like Swallow The Sun and Amorphis, passed away on April 18th from cancer. Though she was not a full-time member of Swallow The Sun, Aleah’s presence was certainly felt in a lot of their work. She provided vocals on three of their albums and appeared in their video for Cathedral Walls as well as providing the photography for their album Songs From The North.

The news was initially reported on Draconian‘s Facebook page, and a few small metal websites reprinted the post. It was my hope that maybe something was lost in translation or it was some sort of inside joke. To my knowledge, Aleah has never sang for Draconian. The lack of further news gave me a slight sense of hope that the post was a misunderstanding. A silly joke that I didn’t get or a mistaken identity. I had not heard that she was even sick.


Unfortunately, my hopes were dashed when Juha Raivio, Swallow The Sun/Trees Of Eternity guitarist, and Aleah’s partner posted this on the Trees of Eternity Facebook page:


To echo Juha’s heartfelt post, my heart is broken as well. I discovered Trees Of Eternity about a year ago via recommended videos in Youtube. I can’t remember what I was listening to around the time, but the recommendation kept appearing in the sidebar. The thumbnail photo of Juha and Aleah stared at me from my computer screen, as if they were eagerly waiting for my response, waiting for me to join their world.

When I finally decided to give Trees Of Eternity a listen, I was transported to a sea of emotions. The music of their 2013 Black Ocean demo was an accurate representation of tumultuous feelings. Aleah’s voice enveloped both my mind and my heart like a gentle embrace. It simultaneously fills my heart with both joy and sorrow. Her soft words make me want to burst into uncontrollable tears while smiling for getting to experience something so real and true. Even her solo material was deep and meaningful.

Sadly, it is now too late for me to express my feelings directly to Aleah. The Trees Of Eternity page did not have a lot of activity over the past months nor did her personal or photography page. I probably could have tried to look harder or just sent a message in hopes of response, but it is a moot point now. I deeply regret not letting her know just how much her words, her voice, and her music has meant to me. Someone’s art moved me in a way that very little else has done in a long time. I frequently envy many of you who can listen to so many bands and derive large amounts of pleasure on a seemingly daily basis. Trees Of Eternity is one of the few bands to break through to me, putting thoughts and emotions into a beautiful form of art. Now, I can never let Aleah know and that makes her death sting even more.

I never quite understood how people became so emotional when a celebrity died. The deluge of tributes and praise for mega stars who passed always felt slightly hollow, partially due to the nature of social media and the 24-hour news cycle. Now, I have a better grasp of how those people feel. Though I never met Aleah Stanbridge, I genuinely grieve for her death and for Juha’s loss. As someone who lost a very close loved one to cancer at a young age, this news has hit me harder than I expected.

The news that the Trees Of Eternity album is being released is very positive. Though it is on Youtube in its entirety, along with a promotional music video, their demo was never officially released. The album will serve as a testament to Aleah’s life and will hopefully reach others the way it has reached me.

As I sit here in a darkened room with tears welling in my eyes and a tightness in my chest, I am so very grateful to have discovered Aleah Stanbridge’s music. Her soft voice serves as a loving embrace, protecting us from the crushing weight of the surrounding world. The coldness of life dissolves with her tender words like a sweet Spring breeze. Though I cannot hold her hand and personally thank her, I hope my words reach both Juha and her fans, letting them know that there are others that have been profoundly affected by her. She will always bring a unique happiness to my heart and soul, and for that, I am thankful that Aleah Stanbridge came into my life.

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Published on: April 27, 2016

Filled Under: Opinion

Views: 8351

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  • this is very sad, and the metal community will suffer for this loss

  • Eliza

    There is a special kind of horrible feeling I go through when I find out about the existence of a great person only once with their death. This article shows that you definitely have a deep emotional connection with Aleah Stanbridge’s music, without being over melodramatic about it. Amazing job and R.I.P.

  • I gather she passed at a young age as well. That’s maybe the saddest part of it all. Listening to her stuff now, beautiful voice.

  • This is a very touching and wonderful manifest, 365. Salutes to you with this sincere and thoughtful writing.

    Aleah’s work with Amorphis in the song “White Night” is excellent, and, like I told you, I was more than eager to check out her project with Trees of Eternity but I haven’t had the chance with this connection restrictions.

    Thanks for sharing this piece, zombie.

    • On the Trees of Eternity side:

      The lineup is amazing:

      Juha Raivio (Guitars) (Swallow the Sun).
      Kai Hahto (Drums) (Wintersun, Nightwish -live-, ex-Rotten Sound).
      Fredrik Norrman (Guitars) (October Tide).
      Mattias Norrman (Bass) (October Tide).
      Aleah Stanbridge (Vocals).

  • Dubs

    Thanks for this thoughtful tribute.

  • Elegant Gazing Globe

    40 is the new dead

    • Why did you think this comment was appropriate

    • Janitor Jim Duggan

      That’s savage

    • Lisa Ling: Devourer Of Souls

      Wrong place, wrong time, man.

  • Janitor Jim Duggan


  • Salmon of Knowledge

    I heard her in a few songs but never knew the face behind the voice.
    It feels bad only recognizing people for the first time post mortem.

    As I was about seven or eight, I discovered Nirvana and didn´t knew that the singer died long ago because no one told me and we had no internet.
    That is pretty odd, but maybe just a side effect of fame based mostly on the art and not the person behind it.

  • tertius_decimus

    When in 2008 Esbjörn Svensson passed away, I’ve felt another shades of his music and started to look at his art from another standpoint. Guess, this loss may lead to re-evaluating what you preach on so many levels that it’s hard to say where to start.

    Personally, I’ve never heard her voice before, since I’ve stopped listening Swallow The Sun after Ghosts Of Loss (their best album IMO), but with Dark Sanctuary’s L’Etre Las – L’Envers Du Miroir playing in background while reading this post, full of heavy-heartedness, I do feel for everyone for whom her art spoke and touched those thin soul strings. May she rest in peace.

  • CT-12

    R.I.P. Don’t wanna go too off subject here, but it broke my heart when I heard that Tera Wray (Wayne Static’s wife) committed suicide earlier this year after the death of her husband last year. I wish Mr. Juha all the strength in the world, and hope he knows there is still more life to live – that he needs to live, for him and for her. Even though he ain’t reading this, hope he gets some sort of mental treatment if he starts feeling hopeless or suicidal. Best wishes to everyone, my condolences go out to her fans, friends, and family’s loss.

  • Lisa Ling: Devourer Of Souls

    RIP, and all my best thoughts, heart and wishes to her friends and family. I remember her stuff with Trees Of Eternity and Swallow The Sun, and she was a magnificent vocalist.

    PS, fuck you, cancer!

  • Thanks, 365 Days of Horror, for this great tribute to a fallen sister. She will forever rest in peace.