Selene – The Ravages of TimeSelene are a relatively new symphonic metal band based in Belfast, Ireland. I’m not going to get on a high (or low) horse about the genre: if you like symphonic metal, you’ll read this review, and if you don’t you’ll scroll down and look for something nastier. It’s all good to me. Anyhow, Selene started off as a duo, featuring operatic tenor Shonagh Lyons and songwriter/multi-instrumentalist John Connor (not the leader of the Resistance from The Terminator). Despite only kicking around for four years, these two have managed to put out two EPs and now The Ravages of Time, their second full-length, recorded with a couple new bandmates. Busy symphonic metallers!

Opener “New Era” starts oddly, with one tap of the ride cymbal leading straight into a majestic orchestral intro before the song proper starts, a driving beat that sounds somewhat subdued behind Lyons’ classical singing. It’s not a bad song, but something isn’t right. This uncomfortable feeling continues with “The Great Heart,” another song that seems well-written but sounds off somehow. I knew what it was ten seconds into the first song, but a couple songs in I’m sure now: the production and mix are awful. More on that later, because if we can get past it there’s a number of good songs on here. Selene claim to be influenced by bands from Nightwish to Avantasia, and from Evanescence to Sonata Arctica. If only they were also influenced by those bands’ production values.

“Burning Bridges” is a duet with Maverick’s David Balfour, who quite honestly brings nothing to the mix. His voice neither matches nor contrasts Lyons’, instead providing us with an irritating juxtaposition that just doesn’t work. But while this duet fails and the sound of the album is a huge turnoff, there are a few songs that show excellent potential, such as the pensive “This Life,” with Lyons’ best vocal of the record, and album closer “The End of Time,” which is the token epic track of The Ravages of Time, running nearly eleven minutes. It’s well-arranged and at times even sounds good (although not often enough), with a three-minute orchestral intro, big guitars, and a lot of epic symphonic metal as we should expect. If Selene can connect all the dots they’ll have something good going.

Selene 2017

The biggest problem with The Ravages of Time is the production and mix. Simply put, the mix has fewer teeth than all the elderly ladies employed to chew apples down at the applesauce factory. Everything musically is just a wash beneath the way-too-loud and never-changing tenor of Lyons. Careful listening to each instrument is required to really get a feel for what’s going on, and it’s only then that one can tell there’s actually some decent talent and songwriting behind a mix that can only be described as boring. Drums sound boxy, bass is practically nonexistent, and the orchestral flairs are cheesy and awash in reverb. On top of that, Lyons’ vocals are also drenched in reverb, and although she’s got a pretty good tenor voice, there’s no deviation from this, which turns her into a one trick opera pony. Essentially, The Ravages of Time reeks of potential undone by amateur hour behind the mixing board.

If you can force yourself to see through the haze of the poor DIY production and focus on the songs and performances, there’s a lot of potential lurking under the water. Shonagh Lyons undoubtedly has a heckuva voice, but some variance in her delivery, some more emotion, and characterization, will go a long way for her. And John Connor has written some damn good songs here — it’s just hard to believe it when listening. If this album was produced by, say, Tero Kinnunen (Nightwish), it would be at least a full point higher. I’ll be keeping my eye out for Selene’s follow-up to The Ravages of Time, and hopefully, the songwriting and vocals continue to move forward, and the band relieves Connor of his production duties1 and spends some money on a pro.

Rating: 2.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Self-released
Websites: | |
Releases Worldwide: June 23rd, 2017

Show 1 footnote

  1. He can’t stop fighting those damn machines. – Steel Druhm
  • rumour

    The applesauce factory — GOLD.

    • This is awesome.

    • Monsterth Goatom

      I enjoyed of deep hourglass humour!

      • Drew Music

        Holy God, I just googled soap opera titles in order to gather ingredients for a pun stew, but I just can’t do that to y’all, the possibilities are endless. They’re mostly (and ridiculously ironically) existential in nature, but the list in itself is already only a few well-placed articles and conjunctions away from being a cohesive sentence.

        • Monsterth Goatom

          This site is Generally Hospitable.

          • Drew Music

            That’s better than all my child-like puns could ever be, I’m just a kid and I’m tired.

          • Eli Valcik

            I feel as if the name “Selene: The Ravages of Time” is a good(shitty) enough name for a soap opera without any puns. We don’t even have to try, they were stupid for us. Thank you Selene.

          • Drew Music

            I just want to know how intentional the similarities are, if at all. Did they think they were being funny or deep?

  • Mauro Bossetti

    Not to be too picky, but tenors are men. Perhaps you meant contralto?

    • GardensTale

      I knew there was a reason I kept thinking he was referring to a guy when writing this.

    • 5 demerits for House Huck.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Demerit points? What’s this Steely D, are you going soft? He should get 10 lashes!

        • I’m not driving all the way to Canada to administer punishment. This album did that for me.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            And lashing may no longer be legal in Canada, I guess.

          • Only in downtown Montreal.

          • [not a Dr]

            Getting politely frowned upon with extreme prejudice is the worst we can get.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            And by extreme prejudice you mean mild prejudice, right?

          • [not a Dr]

            I don’t know, the prejudice may be mild compared to frowns you’d get in other countries.

          • Drew Music

            Couldn’t he just speak your trve name in front of a mirror three times and save you the hassle and expense of worldly travel?

        • Huck N’ Roll

          Don’t worry, I’ve been punished by having a Japanese hardcore album foisted upon me.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            Those lashes don’t sound so bad after all, do they?

          • Huck N’ Roll

            They are like Heaven on my Arms. ;)

          • Tofu muncher

            I’m in love with lovebites right now…

    • therealtidus

      I’m thinking it should be Operatic Soprano instead

      • Mauro Bossetti

        I will be honest. I knew I could fuck it up when I suggested contralto but, truth is, I was able to stand such music for 10 seconds tops. I heard a medium/low range and tone and I thought she was a contralto.

        Still, based on those 10 seconds (and fuck me if I’m going back to such music), I would really be surprised if she is a soprano. Heck, for that matter I am pretty sure there is no soprano in metal: they have too problems with “med to low” notes and there is no need of notes like F and G in Metal. Let’s leave them to Eric Adams in the 80s (who reached an F in “Hatred” and “Blood of the kings”) and to Daniel Heiman (who reached a fucking inhuman A in “Highlander”, something I am not even sure was not done with some post processing).

        Now, if the English system wouldn’t have fucked up the notes among other things, we would be talking about DO-RE-MI and it would even better. Ah ah.

        • therealtidus

          I understand why, but yeah soprano. It would be a lot nicer if the music fit the voice (or maybe the opposite)

        • Aguy

          Therion’s Lori Lewis is a soprano, if the internet isn’t lying to me – listen to the Live Gothic versions of Schwarzalbenheim and Son of the Staves of Time to hear her sing in that range (although I guess you could argue those songs aren’t especially “metal”, especially the latter).

          • [not a Dr]

            I don’t understand what wouldn’t be metal about Son of the Staves of Time…
            It wouldn’t have been out of place on an Iron Maiden album.

    • Huck N’ Roll

      I just go with what the promo sheet tells me. :) Apparently their PR thinks she’s a tenor.

    • herrschobel

      I would say it’s bollocks … high range bollocks tough

  • Eldritch Elitist

    This reminds me of a far less successful version of Heliosaga’s “Towers in the Distance”, a little known self-released symphonic / power metal album from a few years back. Good production, great songs. They need more love.

  • Aguy

    She sounds a lot like Tarja.

    I agree with the review: the production is shit and the band needs some work, but this is a turd that could be polished. Maybe we’ll even start getting some real Nightwish albums again – dare I daydream?

  • This review is spot on. There is so much more potential here than there is actual execution. Her voice doesn’t do it for me, though. At least in the track available on this page. The song and her vocal performance seem to have no sense of urgency, no emotion, which is a shame because when done right this style of metal is very enjoyable (although not my go-to genre).

    • TheRedQueen

      I agree. For a genre that relies so much on vocal capabilities, she sounds emotionless and bored.

  • Thatguy

    I’m at work and can’t listen, but I don’t need to. The Band Photometer says that since they look so embarrassed/defensive, even the band doesn’t think much of this.

    • [not a Dr]

      Irish-sober is easily confused with embarrassed/defensive.

  • Mark McKeown

    Total nitpick here but Belfast is Northern Ireland. There is a difference.

  • Patrick W. Dunne

    Oh awesome, a symphonic metal album with sweet art!

    *scrolls down to bottom to check score*