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Selene | ‘The Ravages of Time’


Symphonic Metal never really took off in Ireland.

Big Dublin attendances for acts in the genre are more often down to the migrant European fanbase.

That native lack of enthusiasm for the format hasn’t stopped Selene from releasing plenty of music online for fans everywhere to eat up over the years.

‘The Ravages of Time’ is the band’s latest effort: so break out your most average wine and sit down for what will surely be a an epic 53 minutes.

Roaring Trumpets

When ‘The Ravages of Time’ first kicks in, it feels huge and heavy, with trumpets roaring on top of blasting kick drums. It gets off to a good start, though those constant kicks don’t leave much room for groove.

The first four songs on ‘The Ravages of Time’ have some cool moments – decent riffs, surprisingly dark turns, and bring down the dynamics to let the vocals work their magic on the songs.

Now. The vocals will always be the most stand out feature in the operatic metal style Selene is creating.

Not only must they have the gentleness and accuracy of operatic training, they must also have the power to rise over the wall of sound the band is producing.

Stained Class

Shonagh Lyon’s voice feels like the painted glass you’ll see in a cathedral. It is delicate, beautifully done, and is not easily made; but it is also fragile and not able to withstand large amounts of pressure.

Which, unhelpfully, is what the music here provides.

When the band is going full blast with double kicks and guitar riffs, her voice becomes buried in the music or doesn’t stand out well. Like a bird in a hurricane, she’s out of her depth at times.

Solo Trouble

The best music is completely immersive. It sucks you in, makes you forget you are listening to music, but rather a part of the band’s world.

But one single feature kills that immersion. The guitar solos.

While the rhythm playing on this album isn’t super tight, it gets the job done. The guitar solos though are another story. They feature a lot, but they never work.

They have the consistency of custard – definitely not solid, and not fluid either, but just a sludgy mess. The opening solo in ‘Burning Bridges’ seems to land on the wrong note on every bar and is easily the worst part of this album, leaving you begging for the song to be done.

Soothing

‘Ravages…’ saving grace is its final two songs, ‘This Life’ and ‘The End of Time’.

‘This Life’ strips everything back to just a vocalist, piano, and some keyboards. The song is well crafted, and the vocals are heartfelt, and feel soothing.

The music is quite good and isn’t too busy, doing just enough to provide a strong base for the vocals.

Behind the big, bombastic metal band are some talented songwriters. Its closure is a bit dull and would’ve sounded brilliant with a climatic ending, but the vocals on this track are just gorgeous and do make up for it.

‘The End of Time’ is the album’s stand out track – not only in it’s length (Lasting over 10 minutes, while most tracks land around 4 minutes each), but in its much greater quality over the rest.

The synth tracks all play so well against each other and the rest of the band. The first movement builds credibly and the vocals carry this track with stunning falsetto.

The second movement has some real groove behind it, laying a good base for the synth to bring some interesting melodies. Shonagh’s voice here has the soothing, weaving quality in the high notes that Simone Simons channels like a master in Epica.

If every song on this album was given the same treatment as this, it’d be a top pick of an album.

Overall – if you stick to songs like ‘Ashes’, ‘Calm Before the Flame’, ‘This Life’, and the epic ‘The End of Time’ you’ll be left fairly content for your fix of operatic metal.

There are moments of fine songwriting on this album which feel truly heartfelt, but the rest of it feels like glued together filler at best, and at worst, aural torture on moments like the opening solo of ‘Burning Bridges’.

I can’t recommend it as a whole, but the last two songs are a pleasant surprise, and may yet find a home on the playlist of any symphonic metal fan.

2 / 5 – Cormac Jordan ::: 22/07/17


6 Comments
  1. ‘Wans’…

    Does this site want to be taken seriously at all?

  2. Ah get over yourself

  3. frostmire Says:

    Still can’t think of anything to say other than gush over the singer, sigh.

  4. Gush over the singer? Pretty sure he seemed to be equally critical as he was complimentary.

    I’m pretty sure claiming the guitar solos are absolutely terrible is having “something to say” and that’s only one of the many points he makes.

    This comment section needs removed it’s embarrassing to read even with it being anonymous.

  5. straight from the horses arse Says:

    awful eurovision music. “nul points”

  6. A remastered version has since been released of this album and while the production is slightly less dreadful (it’s still awful), it makes it marginally better. The guitar solos are some of the worst I’ve ever heard. Don’t think a metronome was used or any real thought given to them, they are absolutely disastrous. Some incredibly sloppy and out of control playing, hitting off key notes out of time and aural torture sums them up pretty well.
    There are some great metal producers in Ireland that could do something good with this. The money spent producing CDs etc would be better spent on an engineer who knows what they’re doing to get a good sounding production, and someone who will provide feedback to get a better performance.

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