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Electro-pop meets industrial metal/rock in The Human Paradox, the high-energy album from Season Of Ghosts – a new project fronted by singer Sophia Aslanidou. Sophia herself comes from an eclectic upbringing in various countries, and her debut album with Season Of Ghosts is equally eclectic. Yet her style remains consistent and undeniably gothic.

The album opens with a very brief instrumental soundscape, “Nothing Disappears Without A Trace”, which sets the stage for Season Of Ghosts haunting yet polished tone. The second track “Genesis – The Phoenix Syndrome” misled me with its overtly perky and melodramatic piano intro before exploding into a fast paced flurry of heavy metal guitar and percussion. It’s an interesting juxtaposition that occurs throughout the album. “Time Travellers” is a very synthesized dancey and upbeat track with rock guitar accompaniment. It‘s a little too predictable for my tastes, but I much prefer the track that follows it: “Dream Paralysis”. It’s much more textured, has a better build and flow and the subtle guitar parts are vaguely reminiscent of Iron Maiden’s synth guitar work on their Seventh Son album.

The title track itself is actually a ballad. It’s quite moody and I did enjoy it. The track showcases some of the better piano work on the album. I didn’t care for “[NE]_Mesis - The Kiss Of Justice”. Overly synthetic dance music just isn’t my thing, and it feels like filler on an album containing some otherwise decent songwriting. Sophia’s vocals are strong on it though. She has a much deeper voice than I expected she would, and I must admit that she’s quite a vocal talent. “Beautiful Eternal Things”, like a couple of the previous tracks starts out a little sappy, but redeems itself quickly once the heavy guitars kick in. The chorus is uplifting in a bittersweet kind of way. Highlights for the remainder of the album are “The Road To Acheron”, a pretty ballad, and “Quantum - Through The Looking Glass” which has elements of death metal (!) interspersed with Sophia’s gothic synth-pop sound.

Although this particular style of music isn’t normally what I listen to (and perhaps because of that), I was suitably impressed with Sophia Aslanidou’s songwriting and singing capabilities. I can picture this type of music appealing to fans of anime. Some of the compositional arrangements on this album show the potential for Miss Aslanidou to find work as a soundtrack composer as well as a pop artist.

I would recommend Season Of Ghosts’ album The Human Paradox to those with an interest in Gothic Synth Pop, Gothic Rock and even Electronica.

Richard Leggatt, HMS

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