Northern Irish alternative ensemble Selene have accomplished much in their two years of activity. Initially established by vocalist Shonagh Lyons and guitarist John Connor, they released their debut EP, Among the Frozen, in July 2013. After it was met with a warm reception, the duo drafted bassist Thomas Alford and drummer Cameron Ahslund-Glass to join them.
With their line-up complete, they went to work on their sophomore outing, Paradise Over, which has already met with an unprecedented amount of success. Having made its mark in the top ten of Bandcamp’s Symphonic/Power/Gothic Metal charts, it’s also found favour with media outlets such as WeLoveMetal and UberRock. Once you’ve heard it for yourself, it’s really not at all difficult to understand the reason why it’s incurred such passionate praise.
The six track undertaking drifts in upon pleasant piano keys that have an urgent undertone as “Facing the Mirror” builds into an thrilling onslaught of hard-hitting guitars and drums. There’s a terrific theatrical trait to the whole thing as it approaches an exciting operatic harmony. The instrumentation stomps along determinedly, while the vocals stun through their dazzling delivery. It all results in an indescribably engrossing opening number.
“Not Enough” charges into a delightfully dramatic display of instrumentation that’s stirring before the vocals steal the spotlight. The wide range they exhibit is incredibly haunting, needing to be heard to be fully appreciated. Everything about this amazing anthem is inexplicably impressive. It’s another truly chilling piece of work.
“Still Dreaming” begins with lighter but no less pressing piano keys, which are moving ahead of explosive riffs and an eloquently executed melody. It quickly develops a riveting rhythm as it bursts into a biting chorus that has a powerful impact. Remaining fast and forceful throughout, it makes for a mesmerising listen.
The epic introduction of “Paradise Over” invigorates as it immediately takes hold of the senses. It doesn’t loosen its grasp as it races relentlessly across a mighty melody and ecstatic instrumentation. The outcome is a quick and captivating composition that’s absolutely electrifying. There’s something quite celestial underscoring the otherwise bracing beginning of “Fade Away” afterwards. The lively musical motifs trot tirelessly through a resonant refrain which is irresistibly arresting.
“Hourglass Fading” goes in a more mellow direction that’s actually rather refreshing. Poignant piano keys and stirring strings perfectly complement the gorgeous vocals, forging a profoundly affecting ambience. A raw and reserved riff cuts deep later on, then tones back, allowing a solemn serenade to guide things to an enthralling end.
Selene genuinely do deserve every ounce of acclaim that has been bestowed upon them. Paradise Over is an astoundingly artistic undertaking that is utterly gripping from start to finish. The extremely accomplished instrumentation is consistently awesome, while the beautiful vocal work is positively inspiring. It’s a remarkable record that everyone should experience.