Unsigned / Self-released
Words: Craig Hartranft
After several EPs and singles, Northern Ireland's Selene drops their first full-length album, The Forgotten, which includes a few songs from an earlier work. In a capsule, what you have with this recording is the band's melodic symphonic metal, just a lot more of it.
Now that may sound dismissive, but it's not intended to be. There's not much to elaborate upon here. Selene, with a female vocalist, plays garden variety melodic symphonic heavy metal. Delain. Nightwish. Name your band. The vocals are operatic, classically so. The arrangements are large and lush from riffage and synths. Those keyboards, of course, provide the symphonic context and, honestly, most times, you can tell from their sound that the orchestration is fake. I'm not saying every symphonic metal band needs to hire a full-blown orchestra, but the synth symphony sure sounds cheap. But with the synths combined with guitar riffage, you eventually don't notice it. Other times their addition can sound contrived, even corny, as at the one minute mark of Not Enough, where some loud rhythm is dropped in. The only exception to this, to these ears, was the closing piece Piano Black. I'm not sure what the difference is, but the symphonic sound sounds true, even epic, in this song.
One thing that improves a rather generic listening experience is Shonagh Lyons' vocal performance. She brings a strength and vocal enthusiasm to most every song that propels them along. Another rather enjoyable element, even impressive, is John Conner's guitar work. He can rip off some sweet guitar solos, soaring and uplifting, notable in Dorian, Our Story, or Blind. In the end, you have to give Selene credit ambition and energy. While hardly novel by any means, the aforementioned Piano Black, in it's epic bombastic character, a little power metal thrown in to boot, rises to the same quality as their leading peers. Fundamentally, then, if you like this stuff, female-fronted operatic symphonic metal, you will like Selene's The Forgotten. For me, it's all beginning to run together, downstream to the same ocean, where it all becomes watered down and diminished.
Fundamentally, while hardly novel or different from their peers, if you like female-fronted operatic symphonic metal, you will like Selene's The Forgotten.
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