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Edge of Sanity - Spectral Sorrows CD (album) cover

SPECTRAL SORROWS

Edge of Sanity

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal


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3 stars Don't expect sweet mellow style of Opeth or the technical porwess of Cynic or Atheist. Expect lots of blood, lots... especially if you dislike brutal grunts and very, very loud music.

This what you'll listen in the third incarnation of Edge of Sanity. Brutal and gore, geysers of blood and mutilated corpses.

"Darkday", "Living Hell", "Jesus Cries", "Waiting to Die" and "Feedin' The Charlatan" (well, you know what to expect just by looking the song titles.) are straightforward insane Death metal songs: Lots of tremolo, powerful and repetitive druming and blood-curling grunts chanting lyrics of death, gore and deceased bodies. That doesn't mean that the songs are bad, there are actually good prog moments (especially in "Feedin' The Charlatan and Jesus Cries") fused in all the blood gushing cannibal that SPECTRAL SORROWS is. The problem lies if you can have the patience of listening all of the album.

In some songs like "Lost" or "Blood of my Enemies", lyrics are about Nordic Mythology, this doesn't make "Lost" a less brutal song but it's one of the more acceptable songs in the album.

"Blood of my Enemies" is where Swano and co. put on their Manowar cap and compose a worthy Hymn like song but nothing out of this world.

"A Serenade for the Dead" breaks completely the structure of the band, for it's a beatiful orchestrated song but nothing that it hasn't been done

I was surprised when I listened "Sacrificed". Me: Is this Edge of Sanity or Clan of Xymox? For those who don't know, Clan of Xymox is a darkwave or electrogoth band with rock touches. Swano's deep voice, the catchy riffs, the electronic drumming and prominent bass line got me hooked from the beginning even thoug the song is somewhat simple.

"The Masque", "Across the Fields of Forever" and "On the Other Side" are the highlights of the album: Lots of tempo changes, diverse drumming (sometimes) and good acoustic passages and piano passages.

It's a great Death Metal album but lacks the right type of punch to be a good prog album. Recommendable for fans of Bloodbath, Sceptic Flesh and near Brutal Death Metal Fans 3 stars.

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Send comments to RavenDarkmoon (BETA) | Report this review (#66550)
Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The third album from Edge of Sanity is a pretty mixed affair. There are great prog moments and lots of Death Metal Brutality. On top of that there are a cover of a classic Manowar tune: Blood of my Enemies that Swanö sings with his clean voice and a goth rock like song: Sacrificed which sound like Sisters of Mercy ( Swanö sings in Eldrich style)

So in that respect this is a very progressive album, as musical styles are mixed without thinking much about boundaries. I always liked this about Spectral Sorrows, but on the other hand it can be rather confusing as a listener to go from a full on Death Metal assault to classic Heavy Metal to Goth rock all done with Prog leanings.

To those who don´t know much about Death Metal Edge of Sanity plays the old Swedish variant, that is really brutal but still very melodic ( as oppossed to the newer Swedish Death Metal style which is more light and melodic. In this style the vocals are more screaming than growls). the pace is mostly kept mid-tempo to pretty fast ( Not grindcore or black metal fast).

All in all this is a good Death Metal album with some variation. Prog ? No not really. Only Hints.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#148263)
Posted Wednesday, October 31, 2007 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
2 stars Judged from a death metal point of view, Edge of Sanity's third is probably better then Unorthodox. I've never spent much time with it but given my grown enjoyment of Unorthodox, I gave it another round of spins in the car. Belgian traffic statistics noticed a steady growth of incidents!

This album is as fun as death metal gets. Fast riffing, constant tempo changes, brutally low bass and with Dan Swanö, this band has one of the best death metal throats ever. In fact, he has the doubtful honour of winning me over to death metal vocals. But that wasn't about to happen till a few albums later.

As with most metal albums I find it difficult to single out tracks. Everything follows the same template, so only the extent by which a certain riff appeals more to me then the next one, makes me appreciate one song a bit more or less then those around it. The only few exceptions would be Blood of My Ennemies, Sacrificed and Feeding the Charlatan. On the first, Swanö tries to recreate the Nordic spirit of Bathory with a forceful Viking chant. Unfortunately it's a rather weak track. On Sacrificed he pays tribute to the Sisters of Mercy. Not to say it's a Lucretia / Vision Thing rip off. He has the right voice for it but the song isn't convincing again. Feeding the Charlatan is an attempt at hardcore.

It's a fine album when it just sticks to death metal. The few experiments outside that comfort zone are few and unsatisfactory. It's good, but a definite style album for fans of the genre. 2.5 stars

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#264572)
Posted Saturday, February 06, 2010 | Review Permalink
J-Man
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars A Wonderful Death Metal Journey

The Spectral Sorrows is an interesting album, to say the very least. While Edge of Sanity's previous album, Unorthodox, was pretty standard death metal, The Spectral Sorrows is quick to change that. The band's third album is still (very) firmly rooted in the Swedish death metal scene, but you should expect to hear goth rock, progressive rock/metal, traditional heavy metal, and of course some brutal death metal packed inside of this very unique album.

As mentioned earlier, The Spectral Sorrows is hard to pin down as just one genre. This is a diverse album, and it will appeal to people with diverse tastes of music. If you're just looking for pure death metal, you will most likely be disappointed with this album. Of course, if you're okay with some variation this shouldn't be a problem at all! One of my biggest issues with many death metal releases is that the formula becomes tired and overused by the end of the album. That is not the case with this album. Whenever the standard death metal formula begins to get a little tiring, there is usually a song that will serve as a perfect breaking point between the death metal intensity.

The best songs on The Spectral Sorrows depends on what you are looking for. If you're looking for death metal, most of the album will surely impress you. You'll find some killer riffs on this album. If you're looking for proggy stuff, like Crimson, songs like Across The Fields of Forever, On The Other Side, and Lost should appeal to you, as well as the surprisingly beautiful A Serenade For The Dead. If you're in search of goth rock, Sacrificed and the Manowar cover, Blood of My Enemies should appeal to you. Clearly, The Spectral Sorrows will appeal to a wide variety of metalheads.

The musicians in Edge of Sanity are fantastic, despite all of their disagreements on later albums. Though Benny Larson's drumming, Andreas Axelsson's and Sami Nerberg's guitars are fantastic, Dan Swanö takes the cake. He is one of my musical idols, and I will always worship his godliness at the microphone, not to mention his superb songwriting.

The production is perfect for this kind of music. It's crushingly heavy, yet sophisticated enough to deliver a satisfying experience to any audiophile. Börje Forsberg and Edge of Sanity completely nailed the production on The Spectral Sorrows. Dan Swanö's brilliant mixing and engineering is worth noting as well.

Conclusion:

The Spectral Sorrows took a while for me to appreciate, but I've eventually grown to love it. I'm very glad that I dedicated a lot of time in an attempt to appreciate The Spectral Sorrows, because it is now one of my favorite Edge of Sanity albums. Of course, it doesn't rank up there with Crimson, Crimson II, or Purgatory Afterglow, but it is still an excellent 4 star album. Highly recommended to open minded death metal fans.

4 stars.

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Send comments to J-Man (BETA) | Report this review (#280270)
Posted Sunday, May 02, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Sothoth
COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
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.

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Send comments to Prog Sothoth (BETA) | Report this review (#819062)
Posted Wednesday, September 12, 2012 | Review Permalink

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