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Edge of Sanity - Nothing But Death Remains CD (album) cover

NOTHING BUT DEATH REMAINS

Edge of Sanity

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.05 | 22 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

J-Man
Prog Reviewer
3 stars You Can't Live Forever!! But Can You Be Dead Forever??

When it comes to early Swedish death metal from the nineties, Edge of Sanity are the unchallenged pioneers. Creating progressive death metal masterpieces like Crimson and Purgatory Afterglow, few bands could compete with their stellar musicianship and compositional strength back then. Even now, not too many albums can even compare to Edge of Sanity's immortalized classics. So where did Dan Swanö's masterful creation begin? Well, they started out like so many bands did back then. They released a handful of demos, and after a few years of pleasing dedicated tape-traders, they released a full-length debut album. Nothing But Death Remains is Edge of Sanity's entrance into the LP world, and in comparison to other death metal debuts from this era, this is clearly among the better releases.

The sound on this album is unmistakably Edge of Sanity, but in a much more primitive, unpolished form. Don't expect the squeaky-clean production or progressive song structures that would be found on their later releases. This is Swedish death metal in its purest form, only interrupted by a few brief synthesizer passages. There are absolutely no clean vocals here, let alone acoustic sections or surprisingly beautiful riffs found on their following albums. This is a pretty brutal album, especially for a usually melodic death metal band. If you like Swedish death metal (as I do), you should enjoy this album even though it's not as melodic or progressive as their future releases.

Nothing But Death Remains is an exceptionally short album, even for an early death metal release. This is an 8-track, 31:35 album. I would've liked another 10-15 minutes, but for music this brutal and unvaried, a long album can sometimes create problems. All of the songs here are pretty short except for the mini-epic opening track, Tales. This is my favorite song here by far, and it almost ranks up with other Edge of Sanity mini-epics like Enigma or Twilight. All of the other songs are under 4 ½ minutes, so don't expect too many epic songs here. Although there are plenty of easily-recallable riffs, most of the songs don't distinguish themselves from each other enough. There simply isn't quite enough variation to make all of the songs enjoyable and memorable. Fortunately, the short playing time doesn't let this problem get out of control.

Edge of Sanity are some of the best musicians in the death metal scene, and it shows on Nothing But Death Remains. Even though the musicians aren't quite as tight as they would soon become, they are still a solid-playing unit at this early stage of development. The highlight here is Dan Swanö's superb growled vocals. That man simply has the growl that all death metal vocalists should envy. Benny Larsson's drumming is great as well, if a bit sloppy at times.

The production is definitely the weakest link here. This is a muddy, lo-fi mix that most people will definitely be turned off by. I'm sure this album would have been much better if it didn't sound of demo-quality.

Conclusion:

Nothing But Death Remains is a good, if slightly underdeveloped album by Edge of Sanity. This doesn't even come close to its following albums, but as it stands this is a good early Swedish death metal album. I wouldn't recommend starting with this album, but it is worth purchasing for Edge of Sanity fans at some point. A 2.5-3 star rating is deserved here.

J-Man | 3/5 |

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