Things move incredibly fast in the music world these days, fashions and attitudes change almost on a monthly basis but on the whole, the core values and building blocks of a sub genre in the world of Metal remain, almost, the same. The Symphonic Metal genre being a case in point (whether female fronted or not), after all, you can change bits here and there but if you have not got that symphonic element at the core, then the whole thing falls flat on its face
Selene are excellent in maintaining the tried and tested background strings and chorals but manage to approach things from a fresh and different angle, a case of bridging the gap between the old and the new. Shonagh Lyons, whilst more than capably delivering the soaring operatic flights of fancy, manages to combine much softer passages, laced with drama and feeling which draw you in as a listener. John Connor’s guitar and keyboard work, whilst providing the perfect partner for the female vocal sound, shows great variance and originality as it meanders through each track, creating a quite distinct and yet familiar vibe to the album as a whole
Breaking the album down, the perhaps obvious track to focus on is the epic, nine and a half minute long album closer ‘Piano Black’, not simply because of its running time but more because it is a prime example of what the band can offer, and indeed are capable of offering in the future. A wonderful, Gothic/Operatic opening segment moves into a galloping riff that provides a really strong backbone for the track to move and meander along a well structured yet fluid path, exquisite piano led passages, emotion stirring vocals that evoke visions of dreamy landscapes, it is certainly a track to be proud of. Other tracks impress as well mind, the highly melodic and catchy ‘Never Ending Silence’ (probably why the band chose it as a single release), the gloriously dark ‘Sweetest Dreams’ with its stripped down piano and vocal beginnings, which then builds slowly to a wonderful crescendo, to name but two.
There will, I am sure, be comparisons with other bands in the genre, which I won’t go into but from my experience of listening to this album, I see plenty in the bands locker to see them able to forge ahead with their own distinct style. Yes, I’m sure they would have loved to have thrown a lot more money at the production side of things, in places, the album is screaming out for a more over the top sound but let’s face it, in today’s climate, getting an album out to the masses full stop is quite an achievement.
All in all, a really excellent debut album from a band that have talent in abundance, if you are a fan of the Nightwish/Epica end of the genre then you will have no trouble at all getting into this album, definitely worth a listen.
Never Ending Silence
Shonagh Lyons – Vocals
John Connor – Guitar and Keyboards
Thomas Alford – Bass
Cameron Ashlund~Glass – Drums
‘The Forgotten’ sees its release on November 19th