Considering \”Morgana LeFay\” is the name of a sometimes-antagonistic sorceress in the Arthrurian legends, if you\’ve never heard of this Swedish band before (entirely possible – they\’ve flown pretty much under the radar of a lot of the metal community since their inception as Damage in 1989 despite a string of excellent albums throughout the 90\’s, and you might\’ve lost track of them during the controversy with Black Mark that led to them changing their moniker to simply Lefay for a while) you might expect to hear sword & sorcery Rhapsody-Of-Whatever power metal when you pop this disc in your CD player.
Well, ABERRATIONS OF THE MIND is indeed power metal, but far closer to the American style of heavy power metal with obvious additional influences of thrash, a hint of progressive here and there, and a fairly heavy injection of \’modern metal,\’ which doubtless will not sit well with some listeners who are expecting the band to sound like they did in the mid-90\’s. Prior album GRAND MATERIA had hints of those modern metal influences, but they are significantly more pronounced here. Depending on your taste, this could be considered either a relatively good (or at least \”acceptable\”) thing or a very bad thing.
Continuing a loose comparison to the prior album, it would seem Morgana LeFay like unified album themes, for much as GRAND MATERIA was a concept album, the songs of ABERRATIONS all revolve around a central theme of examining different states of the human mind, most of which seem to be related to one form of insanity or another. Pretty good stuff, lyric-wise.
The opening two cuts on the album, \”Delusions\” and \”Make A Wish,\” remind me of a mixture of early Machine Head and Nevermore\’s latest (godless) endeavors with start-stop riffs, lots of drum rolls, and discordant guitar fills. Pity the aforementioned drums sound a bit weak in the bass registers, but I can forgive that. However, I could really do without the excessive shouted vocals and growls in the first track. For some reason they just sound forced to me, like the band\’s trying a bit too hard to be \’tough.\’
The Nevermore comparison is strong on the latter track in which vocalist Charles Rytkönen\’s verse vocal patterns sound very Warrel Dane-ish. Rytkönen, however, is no clone of anybody, as he has a truly amazing voice equally capable of a wide range of superb melodic lines and aggressive snarl-screams that may conjure up occasional stylistic comparisons to the mighty Jon Oliva (Savatage, Jon Oliva\’s Pain, Doctor Butcher, and for your non-metalhead friends, \”the guy who plays piano for Trans-Siberian Orchestra\”).
The album gets better as the songs progress and the tempo begins to get a bit more varied. Slower, eerie-melody-laden personal favorite \”Depression\” sounds like it could be the bastard love child of Tad Morose and STREETS-era Savatage. \”Where I Rule\” is a driving, pure American-power-style rocker, and the chaotic, lurching thrashy monster \”Aberration Of Mind\” is a showcase for Charles\’ varied vocal styles. Almost every song features an immediately-singable / screamable melodic chorus, and though it\’s difficult to pick a favorite, I\’d have to give my choice to the non-digipack-version closer (and single) \”Over And Over Again.\”
It\’s a difficult album to rate because of prior art considerations. I like this album a good deal (except for the shouted vocals in the first track and some of the trading-vocalist verse sections in \”Caught In The Tread Wheel\”) but I like their older work a lot better. Recommended for heavy-power fans who don\’t mind a dose of modern metal in the mixture.
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