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Classic Review: Morgana Lefay - Symphony of the Damned
Morgana Lefay
Symphony of the Damned

Label: Independent
Year released: 1990
Duration: 47:15
Tracks: 9
Genre: Power/Thrash

Rating: 4.4/5

Review online: October 17, 2004
Reviewed by: 4th Horseman
Readers Rating
Symphony of the Damned

Rated 4.5/5 (90%) (6 Votes)

"Symphony Of The Damned" was the debut album for one of metal's most underrated and talented bands. Morgana Lefay are really a power metal band. But they play a more aggressive type of power metal with crushing mid-tempo riffing and very prominent drumming sound always knocking your head in the background. Furthermore, the lyrics are also slightly different from the rest of the bands of the genre as they deal mostly with apocalyptic themes, war, execution and terror. Very dark stuff on here.

The vocals of Charles Rytkönen truly are marvelous and this is where the power metal part comes in. This guy sounds quite a bit like Savatage's Jon Oliva, particularly his evil laugh or when trying to sound really twisted and menacing in a high and soaring voice. Other times, when hitting the low notes, his voice gets very gritty and almost like a growl. This is powerful music! Intensity and heaviness of the guitars is definitely a high priority for the band and the guitar is always a rhythmic instrument here. The vocals are where the melody comes from.

This is not a perfect album however. Definitely some filler on here, but when the bands strikes, it strikes hard…and kills! For example, the title track; one that is very representative of the type of sound Morgana Lefay would later adopt, starting out acoustic and slowly building up with roaring guitars, slow but crushing drums and eerie vocals; almost doomy at times. "Last Rites" is another gem – This is text book definition of what a metal ballad needs to be; high on emotion, but never compensating the menacing guitar and pounding drum presence; topped off with killer vocal melodies.

This might not be the most influential album out there…let's face it, dark or aggressive power metal never really did take off; at least not until now. But listening to this thing, I see where a lot of the heavier power metal bands get their stuff from. Particularly one of my favourites like Angel Dust, although Morgana Lefay do not use keyboards and do not place as much emphasis on catchy melodies as Angel Dust do. But this type of overall aggressive feel and atmosphere in power metal definitely originated right here.

NOTE: This album was reissued in 1999 through Noise Records under the band name Lefay. The reissue also featured 4 bonus cover tracks.

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