These amazing Northern Irish metallers continue their symphonic path to stardom with their delightful and elaborate debut full-length album.
Just like thousands of other fans of Symphonic Power Metal (and good music in general) from all over the world, I’m glad to see it didn’t take too long for Northern Irish metallers Selene to come back in action with the release of their first full-length album, entitled The Forgotten. It’s always a pleasure to witness the evolution and success of a hardworking band such as Selene, who translate all their passion for heavy music into ravishing tunes tailored for admirers of the combination of heartwarming female vocals and intricate riffs, accompanied by a unique symphonic aura in the background.
Formed in Northern Ireland in 2013, Selene released their debut EP named Among the Frozen in 2013, and more recently another EP entitled Paradise Over, in 2014, which I had the pleasure of reviewing as you can check by clicking HERE. By the way, on its first week of release, Paradise Over became the 3rd best selling metal release worldwide on BandCamp, and has since been featured heavily on a number of radio stations worldwide (including our friends from The Metal Moose Radio). However, it’s now with The Forgotten that these talented musicians are truly shaping up their style, adding layers of complexity and creativity to their already solid music for an even more consistent result.
The opening track, Dorian, is undoubtedly an excellent start to the album, showcasing all the skills of the musicians involved. The great performance by Shonagh Lyons in this song is enhanced by the atmosphere created by the rest of the band, with highlights to the powerful keyboards by guitarist/keyboardist John Connor. Paradise Over is the first of the three songs from their 2014 EP to feature on the album, being once again one of the best songs in my opinion, and the same words I used in the review to the EP are still valid. And Never-Ending Silence is a gentle and passionate heavy ballad where Shonagh takes the spotlight with her smooth vocals, never exaggerating on her tone or emotions while John provides his classic guitar lines full of feeling, not to mention the song’s beautiful chorus.
But that’s just the beginning of The Forgotten, as there’s still a lot more symphony and electricity to come as in the melodic Not Enough, another track from their 2014 EP where it’s impossible not to get touched by its warmness, followed by Fade Away, the last of the “old” EP songs and a potent chant for fans of Symphonic Metal with drummer Cameron Åhslund-Glass simply kicking some serious ass. Sweetest Dreams, a lovely ballad full of passion and melancholy, offers the listener beautiful piano passages, intense guitar lines and the always gentle vocals by the pretty Shonagh; while Blind presents a strong influence from bands such as Nightwish and Within Temptation, being considerably faster and more melodic than all previous tracks and flirting with modern Hard Rock with the addition of symphonic elements. It’s indeed very exciting from start to finish, yet again displaying a catchy chorus for all of us to sing along with the band.
In Our Story, a nimble and heavy intro expands into a blend of symphony and speed, with the duo John/Cameron doing a superb job with their riffs and beats in total sync. And the band’s characteristic keyboards and heavy riffs keep penetrating our souls in Blood, an amazing composition by John and his crew where not only its rhythm is exciting, but also its guitar solos and vocal lines help turn it into one of the best of all songs in the entire album (if not the best one). Then we have Memories, the most “medieval” tune in The Forgotten, sounding like a chant to be sung while prancing around the fire pit due to all the Celtic and Scandinavian elements added to the musicality, and finally Piano Black, their boldest composition to date with almost 10 minutes of pure Symphonic Metal, featuring all those classic background effects, a choir, heavy riffs and vigorous beats, until its last part fades away into melancholy. In addition, Shonagh’s performance is beyond pleasant in this epic tune, proving why she was chosen by John to be the voice of Selene.
To sum up, The Forgotten lives up to all the complexity and excitement found in traditional Symphonic Metal, and it will surely feature among the top metal albums on BandCamp and anywhere else where honest music is appreciated, just like what happened with Paradise Over. You can get more details about Selene at their Facebook page, listen to their music at their YouTube channel, and above all, purchase The Forgotten at their BandCamp page. And when you’re there, pay some good attention as there are a few different versions of the album available such as the awesome Special Edition Digipak, which comes along with a digital download code for 23 (twenty-three!) bonus tracks, including an instrumental version of the whole album, orchestral versions of 9 tracks and also 3 tracks re-recorded from their 2013 EP Among the Frozen. What else can you ask for, Mr. or Ms. Symphonic Metal?
Best moments of the album: Paradise Over, Never-Ending Silence and Blood.
Worst moments of the album: Our Story.
Released in 2015 Independent
1. Dorian 4:54
2. Paradise Over 3:31
3. Never-Ending Silence 3:50
4. Not Enough 5:03
5. Fade Away 5:04
6. Sweetest Dreams 3:56
7. Blind 4:21
8. Our Story 4:43
9. Blood 4:15
10. Memories 4:30
11. Piano Black 9:30
Shonagh Lyons – vocals
John Connor – guitar, keyboards
Thomas Alford – bass
Cameron Åhslund-Glass – drums