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Edge Of Sanity - Purgatory Afterglow CD (album) cover


Edge Of Sanity

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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4 stars This my second-favourite Edge of Sanity release, after the mighty 'Crimson.' However, I warn anyone looking for the more prog aspects that featured on 'Crimson', you may want to avoid this. While it does have its progressive moments, 'Purgatory Afterglow' is mostly a straightforward death metal album, and a bloody good one at that. Death metal is a genre that plays host to a lot of imitators and repetitive bands; Edge of Sanity were not one of them. This album features amazing musicianship, vocals, and just some bloody amazing death metal songs!

I don't really need to tell you more than that. If you're not a death metal fan then I'd avoid this. If you are, and you're tired of all those bands that sound exactly the same as each other, get this. You will not regret it.

Report this review (#68087)
Posted Thursday, February 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
Trickster F.
3 stars Although I do not understand why many Swanoheads consider this to be the best album by Edge Of Sanity, I have to admit this is a great experience. Compared to its successor, Crimson, released two years after, this is a weaker effort lyrically, technically and conceptually.

I really enjoy this album, but its progressiveness, honestly speaking, is rather questionable. Besides the synth in the first track, which, in my point of view, is the only progressive song here, the album is just a great melodic Death Metal record in the style of Dark Tranquility. The riffs and melodies are written incredibly well, the choruses are very catchy, and Dan's extreme vocals are much better than on any of the previous releases. I know this isn't an aspect to attract Progressive Rock fans towards this album, but they are quite possibly the greatest done in the genre. Dan also sings "cleanly" on three tracks - Twilight, Blood-Coloured and Black Tears. For the people unfamiliar with the Swedish mastermind: Dan Swano's clean singing sounds a lot like David Coverdale, who seems to be a common influence even among the manliest metal musicians of Sweden.

Joking aside, the tracks here vary from 'excellent' to 'average'. The highest point of the album is the very first track, Twlight, with its beautiful and hauntingly mysterious synth parts and clean vocals, amazing melodic riffs and the mighty chorus. Of Darksome Origin is a riff-based song, with a dark atmosphere and Black Metal vocals. Blood-Coloured is also an enjoyable little song, with dual vocal styles (both clean and extreme), great melodic riffs and a short, but a fabulous guitar solo. The other tracks here are solid and share a similar distinctive sound, which is highly enjoyable, but I need to speak about two more specific songs. One is Black Tears, a song that fans often beg for on Nightingale concerts, which sounds like something a group I used to listen to in my youth would have done. Seriously, as strange as it may sound, it seems that the musicians of the Finnish pseudo-goth metal band HIM heard this song and decided to make a whole career of writing similiar material. The lowest point of the album is the last song, which I always skip, as both the music and the vocals, done by another musician in the group rather than Swano, always make me cringe. It seems that whenever the musicians attempt something without the permission of Dan Swano or in his absence, they fail miserably.

In conclusion, this is a very good melodeath album, but not really an excellent addition to any prog music collection. Often categorised as Extreme Progressive Metal, Edge Of Sanity are more of a Progressive Death Metal group than anything, with emphasis on the death metal part. I suggest the average Progressive Metal fan to avoid this, but if you are a fan of Death Metal in general (let me remind you again that this is isn't a generic DM album), this should be the second EoS album you get. Not a Death Metal enthusiast? In that case, Crimson is the EoS album for you.

Report this review (#70184)
Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Purgatory Afterglow" is the 4th full-length studio album by Swedish death metal act Edge of Sanity. The album was released through Black Mark Productions in October 1994. Edge of Sanity were quite busy in the early part of their career and as if it wasn┤t enough that they had released one album per year from 1991-1994 (including this one), they also had time to record and release the "Until Eternity Ends" EP earlier in 1994. The material on "Purgatory Afterglow" was originally meant to have been released on two seperate EPs. One EP (titled "Purgatory") featuring the most death metal oriented material, and one EP (titled "Afterglow") featuring the more progressive/hard rock/metal oriented tracks. However the band and the label ultimately opted to release the material as a full-length studio album instead.

Great material diversity worked pretty well for Edge of Sanity on "The Spectral Sorrows (1993)", and "Purgatory Afterglow" continues that trend. At this point most listeners understood that you needed an open mind to fully appreciate Edge of Sanity┤s releases, so it probably didn┤t come as much of a surprise to anyone that "Purgatory Afterglow" features both progressive rock, goth rock, and industrial rock/metal traits in addition to the band┤s trademark melodic yet still relatively brutal take on death metal. If you came looking for a standard old school Swedish death metal release, you came to the wrong place.

The material on the 10 track, 45:11 minutes long album is well written and memorable. Epic and progressive oriented death metal tracks like "Twilight" and "Velvet Dreams" sit along more brutal death metal tracks like "Of Darksome Origin" and "Silent". The clean sung vers/growling chorus track "Blood-Colored", the goth rock/metal track "Black Tears", and the industrial tinged closing track "Song of Sirens", are some of the tracks which ensure great variation on the album. The tracks often feature melodic guitar harmonies and leads (occasionally also keyboards), and while I wouldn┤t as such label Edge of Sanity a melodic death metal band (at least not a melodeath styled one), there is generally a strong emphasis on melody in their music, which makes it quite catchy and memorable.

No matter what musical style they play on the album, Edge of Sanity deliver the material with great skill, conviction, and passion. Dan Swan÷┤s growling vocals are intelligible and commanding and his clean vocals (which there are more of on this album than on any of the predecessors) are also performed with great skill. Swan÷ has a strong and distinct sounding voice and he sounds less restrained and more confident delivering his clean vocals than on the previous releases. Swan÷ was no stranger to clean vocals though as he already at this point had the Unicorn and the Nightingale projects, which both solely feature clean vocals (although the latter didn┤t have an album out before 1995).

"Purgatory Afterglow" features a well sounding heavy production, where the Edge of Sanity trademark of two very different sounding distorted guitar tones is more clearly heard than on any other release by the band. The sound production is vastly different to the production featured on "The Spectral Sorrows (1993)" (much darker and not as clear sounding), which helps make "Purgatory Afterglow" stand out in the band┤s discography.

Upon conclusion "Purgatory Afterglow" is another high quality death metal release by Edge of Sanity. It shows a band that are still in the process of refining and developing their sound, but who continue to deliver quality releases in the process. I┤d call both "The Spectral Sorrows (1993)" and "Purgatory Afterglow" "transition" releases between the early predominantly old school Swedish death metal oriented albums ("Nothing but Death Remains (1991)" and "Unorthodox (1992)") and the full on progressive death metal featured on "Crimson (1996)", but what great and unique sounding transition albums they are. A 4.5 star (90%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

Report this review (#148268)
Posted Wednesday, October 31, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars A Strange and oddly intrepid bird.

Before releasing their veritable Death metal Thick as a Brick in 1996's Crimson, Swano's Edge of Sanity had most of the genres experimentation down with a juggernaut of solid, yet increasingly intriguing albums. This would mark their fourth release, and it strikes with due aplomb.

The opener Twilight is as a razing fist cutting from the heated jowls of hell, with the flashing guitars running a blazing gauntlet. The death growling is of high quality, and the lyrics, especially for a death metal band, are top notch. Riff-fests are interspersed with atmospheric reveries and soft accents. Risk taking is a part of Edge of Sanity's foray from the opening gate.

This album is a surprising one, in its overt creativity and eclecticism. I almost see these guys influencing death metal contemporaries from Green Carnation, Maudlin of the Well, and prog metal heavyweight Opeth. Of Darksome Origin has an almost black metal blast with tripping trot riffs countering the chaos. The guitar sections are tight and coercing, leading your ears into the dithered cacophony. Those hateful deathly wails make me feel such trapped and ashen emotions. Not tied together in any overall theme, the members test their ground and mettle to set a fiery album of starkly original cuts.

Blood-Colored has that sterling beauty of cleanness vividly juxtaposed with a ferocious daring metal. The vocals are confident and decipherable. The main melody to this song plants goosebumps on my skin. The band shows how well it works together, and death metal nev er sounded so proper, so thoughtfully writ, and so convincing. Not afraid to delve into predominately non-metal territory marks an early and inspired visionary exhibition.

Silent is a stab of heat and cold. Short and sweet, with raucous guitars rattling heartily onward, shaking hands with the terse acoustic arrangements. This music just doesn't ever become boring to me. The start-stop blast slapping is a favorite musical technique of mine. Again, some of the melodies are drawn out fully and wondrous. Black Tears is another short, sharp shock. Blistering drums with that grit and zealous appeal of a hungry group of artists out for conquest. While not a complete and utter masterpiece, it still delivers the savory disparate styling of calm and hate.

I also see how, especially considering where the band hails from, this could be quite influential on the Melodic Death Metal movement in the mid-90's. Elegy swaggers in, betraying the melodically black metal introduction with a crunching riff, descending in rotting splendor. These songs all can be very menacing. Velvet Dreams features a similar jutting guitar stab affixed to an almost riff style vocal delivery.

If anything, the band knows how to do what they to superbly. They tend to re-use the heavy plod a bit too much, but the album isn't too long, so this can't become nerve grating. Enter Chaos opens the flood embracing the last stretch, a rampant throttle ride to the last second. Song of Sirens ends with a stunning ear catching grunt. This is one of the most sincere tracks, with the brooding anger seething from its core.

Why You Should Listen To This - It has many grand ideas. There are also brief flashes of beauty within the chaos. There is a great juxtaposition of themes present. The band plays very well, and the guitars are knotty and thick. Swano can sing well both ways, and you can actually understand what he is saying at all times. The music is mostly complex, without too many simple motifs.

Why You Shouldn't - They do repeat a few certain themes too many times, and the guitar parts could be a little juicier. There is a distinct lack of "wow" moments.

Best Song - Twilight Worst Song - Velvet Dreams

With This album, their future visions are set into course.

**** Weak Stars

Report this review (#254047)
Posted Thursday, December 3, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Death metal that grooves, that holds back and bursts out, death metal that is both melodic and brutal. In 1994 this was still exceptional in a genre that lived by play-fast, grunt & die young standards. This 4th album from EOS offers quite a lot of surprises: advanced song writing, melody, instrumentation, a very powerful production, some singing and evidently lots of juicy low-register growls.

The opening minute must have shocked death fans out of their wits. Unless they would have liked Marillion of course, as the opening minute sounds like some goof at the record store put Marillion's Misplaced Childhood in the tray instead of Edge of Sanity. The next minute must have been a relief. How brutal and heavy this sounds! The track has some sort of chorus, melodic leads and a wonderfully throbbing bass. This is a track that could certainly be tasted by neo-prog fans that can handle death grunts.

Most of the tracks don't stray too far from melodic death metal, but the clean vocals have become more prominent and the quality has highly improved since the previous album. The songwriting is more catchy, the playing is tighter and the production is amazing. It even has prominent bass guitar! Now, I'm not a big death metal fan though and usually get kind of weary of the relentless brutal attack on my friendly mindset! This album is an exception, it's of consistent quality, has a lot of variation and with Song of Sirens it does a successful homage to my favourite death metal band Entombed.

On the whole, this is a great step up. But the prog ambitions wouldn't really come to flourish until the next album where Dan Swan÷ took full control of the proceedings. Purgatory Afterglow is a logical choice if you would want to check out another album after their obvious masterpiece Crimson. Too good for 3, I'll grant it 4 light stars, of course considering the tech/extreme prog sub that it resides in.

Report this review (#264899)
Posted Monday, February 8, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Velvet Dreams

The fourth album from Edge of Sanity, called Purgatory Afterglow is really superb, and is a favorite of mine in their discography. This album shows the band redefining their sound, and going for a more melodic and progressive style. While they still kept their firm death metal sound, this shows a more progressive side of the band that would soon be fully unleashed on the following album, Crimson.

Purgatory Afterglow is a step forward from Edge of Sanity's previous three albums for various reasons. First of all, this album is much more consistent and memorable. Almost every song on this album is filled with memorable melodies and riffs, which is rare for most death metal albums. This album also features more complex and intelligent arrangements and compositions. The variation between the tracks really makes for a great album. In this album you can hear many death metal influences (obviously), as well as goth-rock (on songs like "Blood-Colored" and "Black Tears"), and even neo-progressive rock (most notably on "Twilight"). The eclecticism on this album is really admirable.

In terms of progressiveness, I have no hesitation in calling this album progressive death metal. I don't think it's as "progressive" as bands like Opeth, but I think the overall eclecticism and progressive rock influences in the music make for a rather progressive album. Don't go into this album expecting progressive metal like Dream Theater or Pain of Salvation, though. This album is different, and is very firmly rooted in the Swedish death metal scene.

My favorite song on the album is surely the epic opener, "Twilight". The generous use of synths, the surprisingly beautiful melodies, and the crushing metal riffs makes an excellent song. "Velvet Dreams" is another favorite of mine; that riff is just killer! The goth rock-tinged "Black Tears" is highly enjoyable as well, and I really enjoy the heavy death metal tune "Of Darksome Origin" as well. Every song is great and interesting in its own way, though.


Purgatory Afterglow is an excellent album from Edge of Sanity, and is one of my favorites in their discography. If you're at all interested in progressive death metal, this is an essential release, and worthy of a big 4 star rating. Keep in mind, you've got to have a background in death metal to enjoy this album, though. If you're not interested in heavy music, this probably isn't for you. However, if you're interested in Edge of Sanity, this should be one of the first purchases you make after their masterpiece, Crimson. Highly Recommended!

4 stars.

Report this review (#268335)
Posted Thursday, February 25, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Edge of Sanity's Purgatory Afterglow shows that by this point in their career the band had become masters of balancing entrancing melodic passages with outbursts of unrestrained death metal brutality. This juxtaposition of melodic prog with crunching heaviness shows a high level of versatility on the part of every performer involved, right down to Dan Swano's singing style, whichs range from the most gutteral of death grunts to fairly capable clean vocals. Although the subsequent Crimson shows a significantly greater level of ambition on the part of the band, it was Purgatory Afterglow which proved they had the chops to put that ambition into effect.
Report this review (#618427)
Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars I used to like Swedish death metal of the early 90's but still prefered American or even British (Carcass) metal brutality. And then Edge Of Sanity released this album. They did it when I wasn't into such music anymore or should I say I was more into classical metal and prog rock. This is a bit of surprise as it starts like some kind of AOR stuff with clean vocals and keyboards in the background. After that intro Twilight turns into typical death metal tune but the most important thing is, it's still melodic death metal. That pattern with clean and growling vocals is also used in Blood-Colored as it's heavy metal + death metal song. Black Tears is sung with clean vocals in its entirety however it's very short tune. Velvet Dreams is my fav on the album, it's melodic death metal with great guitar harmonies. To sum it up, Purgatory Afterglow is a major step toward more sophisticated metal than the one band presented before. It's still brutal but at some points it turns into another direction, more classical metal filled with passion and nostalgia. Unleashed or Dismember didn't want to explore these territories leaving them to Edge Of Sanity. And they absolutely made it.
Report this review (#1110127)
Posted Wednesday, January 8, 2014 | Review Permalink
3 stars I like all Edge of Sanity albums starting from their second one until Crimson. I appreciate that despite progressive and multi-genre explorations, they didn't forget about their death metal roots and improved them vocally and instrumentally. More and more you can feel the spirit of Nightingale but still with mainly harsh vocals. It's less progressive than even first Opeth albums and also probably less instrumentally proficient nevertheless melodic. I must admit that I like their black metal trips "Of darksome origin" and ironically named "Silence" due to the dark brutality but also certain rhythmical and melodic complexity. Clean vocals are not bad and Swano has an identifiable voice, more than when he growls. The alternative metal/rock attempts like "Black tears" or nu-metal "Song of sirens" will leave band camps divided while "Velvet dreams" will sound a bit like the pre-Opeth guitar tandem 90's playing - a great dark song. There is also a short straightforward death-metal song such as "Enter chaos". It is a four-star death metal album but a 3-star for the progressive-oriented audience.
Report this review (#2895783)
Posted Thursday, March 2, 2023 | Review Permalink

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