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Edge of Sanity - Unorthodox CD (album) cover

UNORTHODOX

Edge of Sanity

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal


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UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is where Edge of Sanity´s Prog leanings started. Their previous album Nothing But Death Remains didn´t show any signs as to the direction the band would take on the following albums, but on Unorthodox the signs begin to show.

The style is still old school Swedish Death Metal and songs like Incipience to the Butchery and Beyond the Unknown shows this clearly. But quiter passages and keyboards have found their way into the Death Metal Mayhem on songs like the mini epic Enigma and the slow closer When All is Said. There is even a short cello piece in Enigma. Dan Swanö sings with his clean voice for the first time in Enigma too, and this song is without a doubt the albums highlight. But songs like In the Vains/Darker Than Black, Everlasting, Nocturnal and A Curfew for the Damned (Blind Belief) are also very powerful Death Metal tracks with the typical Swedish melodical approach.

This is a very strong Death Metal album and it could even have some slightly interessting moments for Prog Heads. Somewhere between 3 or 4 stars is logical, but since most of the songs don´t have much to do with Prog Archives I will give it 3.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#148145)
Posted Tuesday, October 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is one of the best ever Swedish death metal albums.

Although not a prog rock album, the album takes a lot of inspirations from the likes of Rush, King Crimson, Yes and Genesis. This in addition to the likes of Entombed, Dismember, Grave, Pestilence, Obituary and Death. The result is a surprisingly good marriage between, I almost said, heaven & hell. The seven minutes long Enigma clearly has a prog rock structure. It is an excellent song too where it flexes it's muscles between death metal and more melodic metal. The rest of the album is not that good. But this is a very good prog rock influenced death metal album. The tempo is more doom metal on the rest of the album and the death growls may put most people off. This album was a landmark when it was released and I was one of them who were won over. I still am, although both I and the band has developed our musical tastes. It is one of the best melodic death metal albums out there.

3 stars

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Send comments to toroddfuglesteg (BETA) | Report this review (#238851)
Posted Saturday, September 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
3 stars On their second album Edge of Sanity didn't want to be just another regular death metal band. Their Swedish variation on the American death metal brutality has more sense for melody and also integrates elements from other styles of music, such as gothic rock and neo-prog. It's not surprising that many acts who started in this style evolved into more prog/symphonic or gothic directions. Katatonia, Therion, Tiamat and of course Edge of Sanity themselves are good examples.

The opening track Enigma is the best, it integrates some violin and it adds some clean vocals to offset the brutal death throat of the band's mastermind Dan Swanö. It has more melodic leads then any American band would integrate. The floksy anthemic lead at minute 3 is a good example. But all death metal ingredients are in place as well: constant tempo changes, brutality, technical playing, intricate riffing,...

It's been ages since I last heard this album and was surprised to find myself liking it more then I remember. I must have really warmed up to extreme metal after years of exposure to Opeth and Enslaved. But except for Enigma and the brutal The Day of Maturity which features some surprising synth effects, it's difficult to distinguish the tracks from each other. Well it's still death metal right; the aim is a relentless attack that doesn't compromise itself to melodic indulgences. It's a trick that usually gets tedious after 30 minutes, but the consistent quality and focussed performance makes it work here.

This is a classic death metal album with ambition. It promises more then what it actually realises, but future albums would live up to it.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#264344)
Posted Friday, February 05, 2010 | Review Permalink
J-Man
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars A Classic Swedish Death Metal Album

Unorthodox is one of the most unique albums in Edge of Sanity's discography. Their debut album was pure Swedish death metal, and by The Spectral Sorrows the band was playing pure progressive death metal. Unorthodox is a perfect bridge between these two albums.

This album is much heavier and less melodic than their future albums, but more progressive and diverse than their debut. What you can expect here is a wide range of influences. While this is first and foremost a death metal album, you can hear various influences (most notably goth-rock, neo-prog, and even some classical music). While it is an enormous stretch to call this progressive death metal, this is a very eclectic and unusual death metal album. In 1992 it was rare for a death metal band to incorporate keyboards, clean singing, and mellow sections into their music like Edge of Sanity does on this album.

These variations keep this album from tiring like many death metal albums. Rather than being a never-ending assault on your ears, this album has interesting experimentations that keep the album worth listening to. While this album is very heavy, and not recommended for the faint of heart, its experimentations keep it from becoming boring like many albums in the genre. Songs like the epic "Enigma", the beautiful "When All Is Said", and the experimental "After Afterlife" keep this album varied and full of surprises. That's not to say that none of the songs are too predictable and formulaic, though. Songs like "Incipience to the Butchery" and "Everlasting" are rather formulaic and predictable, but even these songs have memorable riffs and solos.

One of the things that makes this album stand out in Edge of Sanity's discography is the charisma shown between the band members. After this album it showed that Dan Swanö was doing things that the rest of the band didn't approve of, and the tension became obvious between the band members. I'll quote a few things said by Dan Swanö about Unorthodox in an interview.

" Unorthodox is great. The best album we ever did. Kind of perfect in its own way. The rest of the albums sound really weird but they all have great moments musically."

"I am pretty sure that the 5 original members will never be on stage together again ever. Not at least for a full performance. There really wasn't that much of a chemistry left after Unorthodox and it didn't get better with age."

I can completely understand both comments from Dan, though Unorthodox is certainly not my favorite Edge of Sanity album. There's a certain chemistry present on this album that wasn't present on any of their future albums. However, I believe the future albums still manage to be better in the songwriting department.

Conclusion:

Unorthodox is a great album from Edge of Sanity, even though it's far from my favorite album released by the band. If you're looking for the band at their best, I would recommend going to the Crimson albums and Purgatory Afterglow before this album, especially if you're a progressive metal fan. Unorthodox is still an essential album if you're interested in death metal, and a 3.5 star rating is deserved. Don't go into this album expecting prog, though. There are only a few hints of prog in this album.

3 stars.

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Send comments to J-Man (BETA) | Report this review (#268058)
Posted Wednesday, February 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 'Unorthodox' - Edge of Sanity (7/10)

One of the greatest Swedish metal outfits of all time, Edge of Sanity is a legendary band with some legendary albums to boot. Although most may know them best from their forty minute epic 'Crimson' and their more progressive work, Edge of Sanity was also instrumental in bringing that heavier edge of melodic death metal. Frontman and band mastermind Dan Swano has called their second album 'Unorthodox' his favourite album by the band, even going as far as to call it 'perfect'. While I would be much more moderate in my pleasant feelings towards this album, it is quite a great album, especially for its time. In the period where death metal was finally getting on its own two feet as an artistic form, 'Unorthodox' was a great omen for even more ambitious things to come in the future.

1992 was a year where bands like Death and Athiest were making excellent albums, but across the Atlantic ocean in Scandinavia, the metal scene knew this area mostly for their contributions to black metal. Edge Of Sanity was a great band to take the sound of extreme metal towards the heavier, downtuned death metal sound in Sweden, and even from this second album, it is clear that Edge of sanity were pursuing some surprisingly progressive trends in their music. 'Enigma' opens with an eerie violin lick, before going into volcanic death metal that is full of blastbeats and melodic, yet heavy and dark guitar parts. Dan Swano's growls are also very powerful here, and while not being everyone's taste, his delivery is very good for death metal, and its noticeably easier to make out what he's actually saying than the average growler.

Furthering the progressive trend on this album are unconventional song structures, and even an acoustic interlude towards the end of the album. All the same, 'Unorthodox' is a death metal album before anything else, and while it lacks the precision or polish that alot of modern death metal has, its bite shouldn't be underestimated. 'Unorthodox' is a great album from a great band, and while my enjoyment of the album and its at-times rough edge keeps me from calling it a masterpiece of the genre, it is a classic, for what it is.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#505911)
Posted Friday, August 19, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Edge of Sanity's second album saw them taking precisely the opposite to trajectory to fellow Swedish death metallers Entombed - whilst Entombed were gradually moving away from a complex blend of genres to a more purely death metal sound, Edge of Sanity were beginning their work of fusing progressive rock and death metal. An ambitious plan? Maybe, but regardless of whether they fully succeed this time Unorthodox is one of the most terrifying and aggressive Swedish death metal albums from the era, with brief respites of prog-inspired tranquility slipped in here and there to soften the listener up for the next assault.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#606400)
Posted Monday, January 09, 2012 | Review Permalink

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