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Edge of Sanity - Crimson II CD (album) cover

CRIMSON II

Edge of Sanity

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.65 | 103 ratings

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AndyJ
4 stars Edge Of Sanity's 'Crimson II' is the follow-up album to the 1996 prog-metal classic 'Crimson', and is a different take on the original 40-minute death metal epic. Released in 2003, the record was released under the banner of Edge Of Sanity, but in reality this is a Dan Swano solo album. Swano resurrected Edge Of Sanity for this album only, and then swiftly killed it off again, never to be seen again.

When reviewing 'Crimson II' you can't help but refer to the first album. There are a number of differences between the two 'Crimson' albums. In 'Crimson II' there is a much greater use of keyboard synths which tend to give the album a more upbeat feel to it. This is extenuated by the use of more melodic guitar riffs, making 'Crimson II' feel brighter and somehow happier or bouncier than the original. The drums are punchier, clearly having been triggered in the studio, which again makes the album sound brighter and detract from the atmosphere of the production. Musically 'Crimson II' is probably even more varied than the original. There are chunky death metal riffs, acoustic guitars, pianos, operatic clean vocals, guttural death metal screams.

Over the years I've often had the debate with a close friend of mine as to which is the better album, this one or the first one... It's often an interesting debate, even if we both know the outcome before we've started arguing! I've always come down on the side of the first album, where-as my friend has always sided with this one, and we both have our reasons. Don't get me wrong, 'Crimson II' is a worthy successor to the original classic and it is a very good album indeed, but in my opinion it just doesn't have the same muddy atmosphere as the first record - in some ways it comes across as a bit too polished and a bit too upbeat. When it comes to progressive death metal I like atmosphere - I'm not a big fan of highly polished triggered drums, for example.

But it isn't just the production standard, I also feel that 'Crimson II' is a little bit more disjointed than the original album. While 'Crimson II' is marketed as a single 43-minute song, the reality is that the music is segmented into 9 distinct sections which have less relation to each other. This is an album where it could be split up into its constituent sections easily enough. The only thing binding this album together is the concept and story, which is carried over from the first 'Crimson' album. Particularly interesting is to note is that none other than Clive Nolan is the author of the lyrics in this album. That's right, Clive Nolan of Arena and Pendragon fame wrote the lyrics to this album! This is something I only discovered as I was writing this review - all these years I always assumed Swano wrote the lyrics to this!...

...You learn something new every day!

Anyway, onto the rating. I'm torn between 3 and 4 stars with this. I do really love the work of Dan Swano, and this is a worthy successor to the original 'Crimson' album so I'm going to give this one 4-stars. Definitely recommended - you just might enjoy the first one more!

AndyJ | 4/5 |

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