Album Review – Selene / The Forgotten (2015)

These amazing Northern Irish metallers continue their symphonic path to stardom with their delightful and elaborate debut full-length album.

Rating4

Selene - The ForgottenJust 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.

Selene_1In 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

Track listing
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

Band members
Shonagh Lyons – vocals
John Connor – guitar, keyboards
Thomas Alford – bass
Cameron Åhslund-Glass – drums

Album Review – Selene / Paradise Over EP (2014)

Directly from Northern Ireland, we might be witnessing the future face of Symphonic Power Metal.

Rating5

CoverAre you a fan of symphonic heavy music full of operatic vocals, Power Metal elements and a dense Gothic atmosphere the likes of Nightwish, Sonata Arctica and Avantasia? If this is your type of “party”, you should take a listen at Paradise Over, the new EP by Symphonic Power Metal band Selene. Selene was founded in 2013 by guitarist/keyboardist John Connor (sorry, not the one from the Terminator franchise) and singer Shonagh Lyons, with the band name being inspired by Sonata Arctica’s “My Selene”, one of John Connor’s all-time favourite songs, becoming his personal tribute to his Finnish Power Metal heroes.

This new band from Northern Ireland released their first EP called Among the Frozen in 2013, which already received a lot of positive feedback from heavy music fans and reviewers all over the world. However, now with the addition of Cameron Ashlund-Glass (Darkest Era) on drums and Thomas Alford (Sandstone) on bass, their music became a lot more consistent and organic, strengthening the final result in Paradise Over.

From the very first minute of the opening track Facing the Mirror, with its smooth piano intro and guitar riffs the likes of Nightwish, the whole band and the overall production of the EP sound very solid and professional, inviting the listener to keep relishing every track in Paradise Over. In addition, the song is augmented by its emotional lyrics (“If I can’t love my-self, /how can I need some-one else?”), tailored for fans of the genre, and a beautiful performance by singer Shonagh Lyons.

band promoNot Enough starts with a vibrant intro and offers us a very symphonic and dense atmosphere throughout its entirety, making me wonder how interesting it would be if it was used as part of the soundtrack for any epic or fantasy movie such as The Hobbit, followed by the even more symphonic Still Dreaming, which could easily be played in any radio station in the world due to its pleasant instrumental and melancholic lyrics (“The darkness growing deep within my mind / Feels so real to me but I’m still dreaming”).

Then come the awesome title-track, Paradise Over, with drummer Cameron Ashlund-Glass dictating the rhythm and its strong keyboards and vocals reminding me of some Symphonic Metal classics by Nightwish, Epica and other female-fronted bands; and the very epic and powerful tune Fade Away, where drums and keyboards are in total synergy, together with another great performance by the gorgeous Shonagh. Lastly, the band brings forth the sorrowful ballad Hourglass Fading, which will please the hearts of all music lovers, closing the EP in a very beautiful way.

What does the future hold for Selene? Well, give them just a few more years and I bet their music will sound so much more powerful they might even become the face of Symphonic Power Metal, because if they were capable of producing such enthralling music independently we can have a very good idea of what they could do with proper support. So go to the band’s official BandCamp page to purchase their new EP Paradise Over, visit the official Selene Web Store for some other cool stuff such as their previous EP Among the Frozen and other bundles (which include keyrings and necklaces), and appreciate the music by this promising band from the “The 6 Counties”.

Best moments of the album: Not Enough and Paradise Over.

Worst moments of the album: Let’s wait for a full-length album to choose some bad moments (if there are any, of course).

Released in 2014 Independent

Track listing
1. Facing the Mirror 5:08
2. Not Enough 5:03
3. Still Dreaming 4:34
4. Paradise Over 3:29
5. Fade Away 5:03
6. Hourglass Fading 3:16

Band members
Shonagh Lyons – vocals
John Connor – guitar, keyboard
Thomas Alford – bass
Cameron Ashlund-Glass – drums