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Among the Frozen
Released: 2013, Self Released
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Selene are a new symphonic metal project from Northern Ireland's John Connor. John's other project, Gate XIII was reviewed in Metal-Rules previously. Selene is a two party project, John teaming up once again with Shonagh Lyons.
The EP gets off to a promising start with 'Peace of Mind'. A classic yet complex and gentle symphonic metal affair, which is not let down by the vocals as is a risk when working within the genre. However what does let it down a little is the percussion, which is too tinny. The song would benefit from the input of a real drummer.
''Til the Shadows' sounds familiar, because it was previously released under John's other project Gate XIII on the mysteriously retracted 'Upon a Time EP' where Shonagh was guest vocalist on the song. To my ear it sounds like the song has been lifted directly from the Gate XIII release, so at least it hasn't gone to waste.
As with the aforementioned EP John provides vocals on the third song 'End of It All'. Duetting with Shonagh the dual vocals are tighter than duetts on Gate XIII releases, but I still feel that John is holding back a little and comes across a tad nervous. This could be intentional and my perception from being used to more aggressive male vocal styles in symphonic metal.
'Ghost' is a brief, simple piano piece, which is an opportunity to appreciate Shonagh's impressive vocal abilities. She sings with clear diction and never pushes her voice beyond its natural range.
'The Codex' is John's opportunity to show off his talents via an instrumental guitar wibble-fest. 'The Codex' would be more enjoyable with the addition of lyrics or even a few strings, to prevent it becoming boring after a while; after-all that is what symphonic metal is about.
It sounds like a demo which has been slipped out in error. Closing track 'Rain' also seems a little unfinished and could do with better production. It's a shame because it is a well constructed song.
As I said before with John's other project Gate XIII, he really needs to get a full band around him, especially drums. It is interesting to hear how John's projects develop but I do feel he is releasing material before it is really ready. Patience in releasing new work, combined with working as part of a larger band of musicians could result in Northern Island spawning a symphonic metal act able to stands up against contemporaries in Europe.
Still one to keep an eye on and I would be interested to see perform live.
Review by Victoria Fenbane
1. Peace of Mind
2. 'Til the Shadows
3. End of It All
5. The Codex
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