Selene hails from the land of my ancestors, Northern Ireland, which is surprising to me. On June 23rd 2017 Selene will release their 2nd full-length album. With many lesser known Symphonic Metal bands throughout the world, it is not easy to achieve the worldwide status of bands like Nightwish, Epica, Within Temptation, Delain, Xandria, Leaves’ Eyes and Sirenia. I was asked to write about Selene‘s up coming independent release, The Ravages Of Time. Even though I have been known as Decibel Geek‘s review writer for this style of music, I was somewhat hesitant to take this one. Without ever hearing of Selene, I thought I would press play on my computer once I got my copy and see what they are about.
First let me tell you about Selene. Formed in 2013, they released 2 EPs and did a handful of shows including Ireland’s biggest metal festival The Siege Of Limerick. With their name getting known in the metal scene throughout Ireland they went back to the studio for the release The Forgotten in November 2015.
The band consist of original vocalist Shonagh Lyons and main songwriter and founding member John Connor (guitar, keys and percussion arrangements). After these EP releases, Thomas Alford joined on bass.
The album has 11 tracks, beginning with “New Era“. It did not take me long to get hooked, and I have listened to this album several times since I first heard it. “New Era” has all the elements the symphonic metal sound with uplifting riffs, an orchestral feel and the beautiful operatic vocals of Lyons. Hard hitting, with a melodic feel makes this track a great opener.
On to the first single “Ashes“. Slowing things down a bit this single still has some heavy riffs and pounding drums giving it a great texture. Lyons‘ vocals reminds me so much of Dianne Van Giersbergen of Xandria, who I rank high in the symphonic metal scene. Lyons makes it happen.
For me, it is hit after hit on this album. “Calm Before The Flame” is a beautiful song with the musical composing of Connor showing how much talent this band has.
The second single “Burning Bridges” showcases Lyons teaming up with David Balfour from Maverick on vocals. Having a heavier feel and the clean vocals of Balfour makes this a great combination of vocal talent. As I have never heard of Maverick either, it is time to check out another band! But back to Selene…
Five tracks in and one thing is missing that is in most symphonic metal bands. The harsh, growling vocals. I don’t mind the growls in small doses but it appears to be missing from this album, which is good to me.
“If Tomorrow Never Came” has some heavier aspects throughout the track and a great melodic guitar solo. Lyons, what can I say, amazing!
Changing the sound up on the next track is “Our Regrets“. This has Lyons changing her vocals with what sounds like a voice modifier. A vast change, but this works well, giving the album a different sound.
“Kingdom” starts off with lots of keyboarding, but full of symphonic greatness throughout. The guitar and drum work are incredible but like most symphonic music, it is full of musical texture and composition.
“Wonderland” a little lighter and has a more melodic classic rock feel, while leading up to the beautiful ballad, “This Life“. Starting out with keys and strings, Lyons voice is absolutely stunning in the mix. With the faint orchestral sound in the background, this track really highlights how capable Lyons is to take on the world.
As we come to the end of the album, we have a suitably titled last track, “The End Of Time“. Although it is almost 11 minutes long it could be difficult to keep the listener interested, however with many musical layers throughout the song, it takes you on a musical journey. An enjoyable listen and a great closure to The Ravages Of Time.
Overall, this is a superb album that should give symphonic metal fans one of the best albums of the year for this genre. It is going to be hard to get out there in the world as an independent label, but I would be shocked if Selene doesn’t hit the global market with their new album. Get ready. I am sure the labels will be calling once they all hear this release. Here in a Canada the top symphonic band may play in front of 1000 people. In Europe it’s 10’s of 1000’s of fans love this style of music and pack arenas or outdoor festivals. Throughout the world fans will pack their clubs to see symphonic metal and one day they can expect Selene to follow suit.
Shawn “Animalize” Irwin