Directly from Northern Ireland, we might be witnessing the future face of Symphonic Power Metal.
Are 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.
Not 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
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
Shonagh Lyons – vocals
John Connor – guitar, keyboard
Thomas Alford – bass
Cameron Ashlund-Glass – drums