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TRACK LIST: 1. A Night at Elseneur 0:51 2. Marcellus’s Ascertaining 0:12 3. The Spectre’s Confidence 5:22 4. The Oath on the Sword 0:31 5. Mantle of Madness 3:54 6. The Comedian's Parade 0:43 7. Theatre of the Dream 6:02 8. The Agony of a King 1:15 9. To Die, to Sleep... 1:02 10. Into the Black Chamber 6:01 11. The Death of Polonius 0:57 12. Shadows of Death 4:26 13. Poem for a Maid 1:02 14. The Conspiracy 5:42 15. Into the Cemetery 2:11 16. A Disguised Corpse 5:17 17. The Great Hall of the Castle 2:19 18. The Duellist 5:25 19. The Last March of a Prince 1:48 LINEUP: Christophe Billon-Laroute - bass Kevin Kazek - vocals Nicolas Pelissier - keyboards, guitars Thomas Das Neves - drums With: Audrey Adornato - vocals Matthieu Morand - guitars Joe Amore - vocals
Prolusion. French band SEYMINHOL have been in existence ever since 1992, and following a few initial EP releases they released their debut album back in 2002. Since then new albums have appeared at a slow but regular pace, totaling in at 4 albums at the time of writing and with a fifth one in the pipeline. "The Wayward Son" is their fourth studio production, and was released in the spring of 2015 through French label Brennus Music.
Analysis. While I guess Seyminhol is a band that can safely be described in a number of different manners, the one box that generally will be most interesting to readers of this website will be progressive metal. Seyminhol ticks of the right boxes for this to be a fitting moniker, in close competition with symphonic metal. Epic metal may also be used here I guess, and to some extent also power metal. Metal it is then, and in this case explored on a concept album where the aim is to retell the story about the famous Danish prince Hamlet. Hence an album with 19 songs, of which roughly half of them are interludes and shorter mood pieces. Those with a less than good experience with albums using such an array of in between song cuts can rest assured that in this case, they are more than mere filler material with spoken words. They are transitions, but well made in their own right, some of them among my favorite cuts of this CD as a matter of fact. Seyminhol's approach to progressive metal is one that incorporates a liberal amount of alterations and changes in both pace, moods and arrangements, primarily alternating between hard, dark and gnarly riff-driven passages, slower and epic, majestic sequences and gentler excursions. Just about always with a symphonic backdrop going on with varying degrees of intensity, from delicate wandering backdrops to majestic, dramatic creations with something of a Wagnerian scope to them. A tad synthetic sounding at times, as I rather guess they are keyboards produced, but effective nonetheless. The lead vocals also tend to have something of a dramatic flair to them. Kazek has what I'd describe as a classic metal vocal style - powerful, bombastic and with a noticeable and ongoing use of vibrato. He does have a softer side to his vocals as well, increasing the dynamic range of the vocals nicely when needed, which is explored nicely throughout. What is missing on this album however, at least in my opinion, are those small details that manage to elevate the material here from being well made examples of these styles of metal into becoming something a bit more compelling. Perhaps a bit too bombastic at times, perhaps a bit lacking in polish and elegance, and for my sake I suspect I'd liked to hear rhythms that were a bit more expressive as well. There's nothing to pinpoint exactly, but for me this one ended up as a pleasantly compelling experience rather than a smashing one.
Conclusion. Seyminhol's forth album "The Wayward Son" elegantly and effective maneuvers it's way around and combines details from genres such as symphonic metal, power metal and progressive metal to create a wholesome and perhaps a tad bombastic stew. A production that merits a check by those with a strong fascination for bands exploring their metal in this particular manner, and then especially if you also have a soft spot for concept albums.
Progmessor: January 28th, 2018
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