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Edge of Sanity - Spectral Sorrows CD (album) cover

SPECTRAL SORROWS

Edge of Sanity

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.28 | 23 ratings

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Prog Sothoth
4 stars Dan Seagrave is like Roger Dean's twisted psychotic cousin. The album cover here is another one of those landscape situations where if you somehow wake up to find yourself within this illustration, the first thing to cross your mind would be "Where the hell am I?" followed by "I'm in deep trouble". Gloomy, vicious and crazed heaviness combine with some experimentation to make this one of the more enjoyable death metal albums of the early 90s.

Boasting that monstrous buzzsaw Swedish death metal sound of the era (think early Entombed and Dismember), when the intro stuff segues into the thrashy death metal rhythms, it's a real treat thanks to a powerful production on all instruments...except for the snare drum, which has this garage band timbre for some reason. The riffs are strong and rush towards the listener from many angles, not fixating on the open low string like other bands of this ilk often do, but utilizing the fretboard quite well to keep things interesting. The faster tempos tend to hover in the fast thrash (think Slayer) zone as opposed to blastbeats, which pop up only a couple of times. Such is sort of the norm for the old-school Swedish style, and blastbeats really aren't missed here regardless. Guitar melodies combine with dark and cruel riffage to create this monstrous tapestry, yet guitar solos are a rarity, popping up moreso to add atmosphere than 'showiness'. Dan Swano's vocals are rough and monstrous, even better than the band's previous offering, adding muscle to the already punishing music.

Granted, some of the more straightforward death metal tunes have adventurous or flat-out mellow moments that gives the band a bit of identity, but one of the major interests concerning this album are the full fledged deviations from the basic signature sound. There's a Manowar cover with Dan singing like a crazed Robert E. Howard creation, and a tune called "Sacrificed" that you could play to your local goth girl and instantly win her friendship, at least until you start pushing Yes on her. "Feedin' the Charlatan" has Dan shouting in a more hardcore punk fashion over the heavy riffs giving the song an effective 'crossover' sound. There's also your ambient keyboard epilogue number, but that's not straying too far from the norm.

Years and years later, this release remains to my ears as one of the better Swedish death metal offerings thanks not just to the experimentations, but to the high quality of the more raging tracks. Personally, although I admire and respect what the band did in Crimson, it doesn't get a whole lot of spins since I need to be in the right frame of mind with 40 minutes of straight free time, and that doesn't happen too often these days for me. Albums like this one and their more straightforward prior release, Unorthodox, get most of my attention, with this album winning out as my personal favorite Edge Of Sanity release.

Prog Sothoth | 4/5 |

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