Seyminhol in a french prog melodic metal band that has been active since 1994.
In february 2018 they released their fifth album, entitled Ophelian fields.
It’s their second record inspired by Shakespeare’s Hamlet, after the Wayward Son, released in 2015. They previously released Northern Recital in 2002, Septentrion’s Walk in 2005 and “Ov Asylum” 2009.
Now, don’t let the mention of Shakespeare scare you. You will have a more in-depth understanding of the lyrical content if you’re familiar with the play, but you don’t need to read it in order to enjoy the music.
The 10 tracks of this concept album are pretty well balanced.
- Intro : Appetite
We begin the journey with a beautiful and haunting acoustic guitar melody, reminding me of medieval lute. Intertwined vocals are soon replaced by spoken words, setting the mood for the whole album.
- Act II, scene 2: My Soul’s Idol
So, this is a prog metal album and this track is a good representation of what the band has to offer. The vocalist is versatile and the song structure is complex. Yet the melodies are not forgotten, both on guitars and keyboards. Choirs make a remarkable but brief appearance on the last third on the song, which then closes on a melancholic note.
- Interlude : Nymph
I was a bit taken aback by the choirs as this interlude starts, as the mixing sounds quite different here. But then an acoustic guitar introduced quiet spoken words, and drums kick in and choirs come back. Some violin and guitar later, this interlude is quite typical of prog metal, unexpected and technical.
- Act III, scene 1 : Hidden Desire
Starting on a mesmerizing rythm, this song benefits for powerful choirs and nice guitar solis.
- Act III, scene 2 : Behind the Mask
The video for this track was shot in the ruins of a medieval castle in the east of France. It begins with vocals on acoustic guitar, then switches to full prog metal, with a catchy chorus.
- Act IV, scene V : Her Majesty of Flowers
The piano intro is beautiful. Drums and guitar soon set a more aggressive mood. Epic sounds intertwine with female vocals and guitar solis. The ending is also pleasantly surprising.
- Part 1 : The Devil takes thy Soul
Another beautiful piano intro makes way to the choirs. As the song progresses, the mood gets darker and darker. It’s not an easy task to transpose the meaning of a play through music, but Seyminhol managed it brilliantly.
- Part 2 : Crown of Thorns
This song has a surprising jazzy and cabaret twist to it, with a lot of work on the bass line. A beautiful vocal line by a soprano singer brings even more drama to this track.
- Part 3 : After
This starts as quiet ballad on acoustic guitar, switching back to prog metal quickly.
- Outro : The River Lamentations
To finish this journey, the beautiful acoustic guitar melody of the intro introduces this quiet ballad, which is a nice closure for this concept album.
This concept album is full of good surprises : the french band delivers a solid prog album, from acoustic guitars to metal, from whispers to powerful choruses, it’s incredibly dense.
They display great technical abilities and writing skills, and a good balance between the drama and the melodies.
I really enjoyed the work on the acoustic melodies, both on piano and guitars, as it brings some light to a rather dark atmosphere.
KAZEK Kevin : Vocals
PELISSIER Nicolas : Guitars and Keys
DAS NEVES Thomas : Drums
HABERT Vianney : Bass