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Edge of Sanity - Crimson CD (album) cover

CRIMSON

Edge of Sanity

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.29 | 284 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bonnek
Special Collaborator
Prog Metal Team
5 stars 1996. The year that I finally gave in to death metal grunts. And this album was the cause of that deterioration of my moral grounds. For three good reasons: because Dan Swanö's grunts are very impressive, because they make sense and because this is such an amazing album.

I really love how this piece starts in the middle of things and also how it ends very abruptly, as if it is only a part of an even bigger composition. The music pulls you in right from the very first second, there's no long and slowly building intro as you might expect from a 40 minute piece. This is an action movie that starts in the middle of a car chase.

While all reviews share a deep affection for this piece I was quite surprised it isn't generally considered as prog. How can a continuous 40 minute composition of this scale not be prog? This is not a mere succession of riffs but a sequence of musical scenes and developing themes, reminding me slightly of VDGG's Plague of Lighthouse Keepers. Not only due to the dark atmosphere but also because of the scenic construction behind it. Swanö provides the correct dose of quiet sections to offset the heavy parts. It makes the music very digestible so it's no surprise it got me into extreme metal, it's a perfect starting point to get into the style.

Of course this is no symphonic prog, it's a mixed form with extreme metal, meaning there is a dominating emphasis on riffs and quiet-loud dynamics. There's less room for progressive development of the music but the entire piece sounds as if it was born from one single creative outburst. It flows very naturally and doesn't have one weaker moment.

Dan Swanö has composed and played most of this album all by himself, with only a little help from his bandmates. An interesting guest of honour is Mike Akerfeldt. He provides guitar and vocals, but not the main low dark grunt nor the clean vocals, even though the growls especially sound quite like him. He takes care of the black metal screams that pop up left and right. I think I can also single out some of his guitar contributions such as the harmonic leads around 11.30, it's something he was very fond of back then and it features heavily on Opeth's concurrent albums Orchid and Morningrise.

While the 5 stars are not as solid as those attributed to the Opeth masterpieces in this section, it comes pretty close. It's an album that shouldn't be overlooked by the legions of Opeth fans out there, excellent in quality and essential in the realm of progressive extremities.

Bonnek | 5/5 |

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