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Edge Of Sanity

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4 stars The latest review of Edge of Sanity is a winner. Crimson II is more of a 44 minute Progressive Death Metal epic than it is a collection of songs. The album is broken into 44 tracks about one minute long. This makes navigation extremely hard for the listener, but as a whole single listen, there's nothing to complain about.

The keyboards are probably the strong point of the album. Swano does any excellent job doing all of the instruments, but particularly excels with keyboards. His synths are dark fitting the tonality of the album. The tones though dark still feature a variety of sounds that keep the listener interested.

The guitars are buttery thick, and exactly what you would respect from an Extreme Metal album. The melodies are extremely clear. More solos would fit nicely. The melodies are there, but there is a lack of virtuosity.

The drums are powerful and somewhat variant. The album does not contain the greatest drumming I have ever heard, but it fits the genre and does not bore the listener. The fills are there, the beats are pretty cool, but there is a lack of variation. Many of the beats that Swano does get somewhat repeatative.

The vocals are a mix of growls and clean singing. Dan Swano does both exceptionally well. the growls are not too deep, they are in a comfortable listening range that will not alienate users that are not prejudiced against growling no matter how unecessary they believe it is. The clean vocals definately shine when they get there chance. I would have liked more clean singing from Swano on the album, but this doesn't diminish the album's quality.

The bass is almost non-existant. Not many fans of this genre listen to it for the bass playing. A little bit more diversity in bass parts is definately something Swano should take into future consideration.

The production is really good. The guitar is crisp and clear with equal volume between heavy riffs and delicate melodies. The keyboards have imaginative dark sounds that fit the album perfectly. The drums are powerful, but somewhat typical for metal. The bass is almost non-existant but non-essential considering the genre.

The albums is definately five stars for a metal band, but this is a Progressive review for a Progressive community. A four seems like a just rating to me because of the albums good sense of musicality.

Report this review (#64434)
Posted Thursday, January 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is riff heaven.

In all my times of listening to heavy-as-**** music, there have been only two times where I really really opened my eyes and said, "Holy crap, that is a ****ing MONSTER riff!" Two times. 1) Iron Maiden's Powerslave album, and 2) This album. Not surprisingly, many riffs on this album seem pretty Maiden-ish at times, and with coupled with the 80s keyboards and synth, there's definitely that feeling. I'd go so far to see that this is essentially Rush meets Maiden meets death metal. And that is one damn good thing. About the riffs...these aren't crappy "Let's play loud and fast with a couple of brutal-sounding riffs that involve three notes and repeat" riffs. These are full, rich, well-developed riffs. Every riff sounds well crafted and designed and fits perfectly. You have to hear it to believe it.

The album is one 43 minute epic divided into 44 different parts on the latest re-issue (this site has an incorrect time listing, it is 43 minutes). I can't possibly talk about all 44 parts, although, I could if I had more time and less of a life as each and every part rocks. The intro is a short violin intro with the first screaming riff. From then on... it's as I said, riff heaven. There are occasional clean parts with clean guitars and vocals, all executed perfectly. Swano's voice is perfect for this kind of album, as the growls are very coarse and rough, yet generally not as vile as some other death metal vocals. Kinda like Akerfeldt. Speaking of which, there are parts which I could SWEAR it actually was Akerfeldt singing and not Swano...then I remind myself this is Crimson II not Crimson. His clean vocals are beautiful, and his voice is very rich and wonderful on the ears.

Swano is awesome. His vocals rock as I said, and he plays EVERY other instrument on this album. Talk about amazing. So about the job he does? As I said, riffs are perfect and well-created. The keyboards and synth are near perfect and complement the riffage and music and tone perfectly. The only possible flaw is the drumming that Swano does, which is very good, but a little simplistic at times and other times kinda uninspired.

Every part of this song rocks. I never get bored with the amazing riffage, awesome vocals, beautiful clean sections, delightful cheesy 80s vibe that somehow works. I can't hold it up to the same pedestal, however, that I do Lizard, Thick as a Brick, Fragile, The Perfect Element, Terria, all of those. It's not original or QUITE creative enough. It's just an amazingly awesome display of great songwriting and riffage. Much like PoS's Remedy Lane, I give this one a 4.4999999999. So close to a

Report this review (#64439)
Posted Thursday, January 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Another brilliant Swano production. Not as excellent as Crimson, but still superbly done. The thing I love most about Swano's work is the amount of work he puts into everything to insure that it sounds the way it was meant to sound. Probably one of the hardest working musicians you can find today.

As said before, the album contains enough awesome riffs to fill about 3 albums. It's a build upon the previous Crimson release, a real masterpiece, though perhaps lacking in enough "prog" elements for most to enjoy it.

If you are wanting heavy death metal with purpose and uniqueness other than "blood/guts/etc..." look no further than Crimson and Crimson II. Two remarkable and underappeciated albums.

Report this review (#84570)
Posted Saturday, July 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Crimson II" is the 8th full-length studio album by Swedish death metal act Edge of Sanity. The album was released through Black Mark Production in August 2003. It´s been 6 years since the release of the preceding album "Cryptic (1997)". An album which didn´t feature regular frontman Dan Swanö. A dispute over the future musical direction of the band made Swanö split and pursue other projects. Edge of Sanity disbanded in 1999, but Swanö revived the band name in 2003 for the release of "Crimson II". He is the sole member of the band here though and plays and sings everything on the album except for a few parts performed by session musicians like Mike Wead (Mercyful Fate, Hexenhaus, King Diamond, The Project Hate MCMXCIX) and Roger "Rogga" Johansson (Paganizer, The Grotesquery, Ribspreader...etc.).

As the title suggests "Crimson II" is the sequel to the band´s arguably most lauded album "Crimson" from 1996. A single track 40 minutes long sci-fi/fantasty concept album performed in a sophisticated and powerful progressive death metal style, that was something new and fresh at the time of release. Neither "Infernal (1997)" nor "Cryptic (1997)" managed to reach the same creative songwriting heights of "Crimson (1996)" and paired with the internal disputes over musical direction, that probably meant the end of the band. Swanö apparently felt the "Crimson (1996)" story wasn´t closed though and "Crimson II" therefore continues the story of the evil queen and the struggles of her people.

Like "Crimson (1996)", "Crimson II" is one 40 minutes long track (actually 43 minutes) divided into subtracks which seque into each other. There are several musical references and use of themes from "Crimson (1996)" featured on the album, which along with the concept story ensure conceptual continuity. The vocals vary from death metal growling, to black metal styled screams, to clean vocals. Overall the music is unmistakably the sound of Edge of Sanity. Swanö has chosen to add a lot of keyboards to the band´s sound though, which provides an even more progressive touch than what was heard on "Crimson (1996)". Unfortunately the songwriting is a bit lacking and the material is generally not that memorable, and I often find myself waiting for one of the themes from "Crimson (1996)" to appear, because at least those moments are catchy and memorable.

The whole thing simply seems a bit messy, and that´s everything from the tracklist flow, to lack of memorable hooks, to the sound production, which may be professional but still sounds a bit wrong. The musicianship is not surprising of high quality and it´s not like "Crimson II" is a terrible album, but when you make a sequel to an album like "Crimson (1996)", you better put out something of great quality, because a sequel will always be compared to the original, and in that regard "Crimson II" doesn´t stand a chance. "Crimson (1996)" is simply in a whole other league. Viewed upon as an individual release it´s not exactly Edge of Sanity´s finest hour either, but a 3 star (60%) rating is still warranted.

Report this review (#148415)
Posted Thursday, November 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars My first experience, and I like it!

Yeah! I like this album very much! The reason being: it has great energy (welcome to metal world, my friends!) and catchy melody. Historically, I do not like music that is recorded by a one man band but this one which mainly played by the band's mastermind Dan Swanö is different. It's probably he's quite genius that the listeners (including me) do not really care about how each instrument used in the album means to the listeners. It's because the composition is really solid and the music flows is quite natural and energetic. It starts with something symphonic using keyboard. But what follows later is truly a blast of heavy riff music with beautiful rhythm section, played in fast tempo. I do enjoy this opening track "The Forbidden Words" (1:39) which uses growling vocal but it's nice. It flows almost seamlessly to the next heavy riffs music "Incantation" (5:59). There are many style and tempo changes throughout the song and it makes the progressive feel prevalent.

The transition to next track "Passage Of Time" (5:27) is so seamless and it happens to other tracks as well. So, overall the music sounds like one epic with approx 40 minutes duration in 9 parts. What I do not understand is why the album is divided into 44 sections. But it does not matter to me. What matters most to me is that the album has a solid energy and dynamics throughout the song. The intertwining roles of guitar, keyboard and drums throughout the passages of the music are really great so that the album produces excellent harmony. The growling vocal sometimes sounds like Opeth. The music sometimes delivers breaks with catchy melody of guitar work or keyboard. Even though all songs sound alike but when I listen to the album in its entirety I don't experience getting bored with the riffs or the melody. All of the passages move so nice. Overall, this is an excellent progressive metal album with great music dynamics and many tempo changes performed mostly in fast speed. This is metal, my friends!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW (i-Rock! Music Community)

Report this review (#180403)
Posted Wednesday, August 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Fully deserving of the title Crimson Part II!

When people talk about "sequel" albums, they don't usually talk about them in a nice way. Too often the band has just run out of ideas, and tries to relive the success of an earlier album of theirs by making a continuation of it. Queensr˙che's Operation: Mindcrime II was a perfect example of this. They followed up their most successful album, so that suckers like me would buy it. Needless to say, I wasn't very impressed.

Edge of Sanity followed up their most successful album, Crimson, with this album. Crimson is in my top 10 albums of all time, it is regarded as THE Swedish death metal album, and is a highlight of the progressive metal and death metal genres. How can you possibly follow up such an album? Well, Dan Swanö proved it possible with Crimson II!

At this point, Edge of Sanity was no longer a band, but more so a Dan Swanö solo project. He essentially does everything on this album, with little help from other musicians. To be honest, I much prefer this album to the other Edge of Sanity albums (except for Crimson) because it shows Dan's full capabilities. There were so many times on many EoS albums where it's clear the other band mates were holding him back. Not that I have anything against them- they're all great musicians- but this shows that Swanö was what made the band great. The fact that one man can write such incredible music, is advanced on all of these instruments, and is an excellent vocalist just blows me away.

The music played on this album is much different from anything Edge of Sanity has produced in the past. Their style was Swedish melodic death metal with many progressive overtones in the past. This album drops most of the death metal influence, and is pretty much pure progressive metal. In addition to being epic in length (similar to the first Crimson album), this features much more keyboards than any previous Edge of Sanity albums. This is filled with excellent synth playing especially, and it shows how talented Swanö is on the keyboards. This is also exceptionally melodic for one of Swanö's more extreme projects. If you've heard his Moontower album, this is in a similar vein. Melodic progressive metal with heavy use of keyboards and death metal vocals. This is heavier than Moontower, as it contains some crushing riffs, but for the most part those 2 albums go hand in hand. I should mention that this album is much better, though.

Being that this album only contains one song, I will not do my usual track-by-track review. This album has also been released with different track listings. One version has 9 tracks, one version has 44, and you can find versions online with one continuous 43-minute track. For that reason, I will not explain every track like I usually do. Just think of this album as one track, because essentially that's how it's meant to be listened to.


Crimson II is a superb album by one of my favorite musicians. Dan Swanö really pulled off a great album here, and it is one of my favorites in his massive discography. If you're interested in heavy prog metal, this is absolutely essential. I was in consideration of giving this a 5 star rating, but since I gave Crimson a 5, and this is a bit more flawed, I'm going to go with a 4. Still, this is an essential prog-metal album. If you already have Crimson, this should be your next venture into Edge of Sanity, as well as Purgatory Afterglow and The Spectral Sorrows. HIGHLY recommended!

4 stars.

Report this review (#259336)
Posted Monday, January 4, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars I've always been rather disappointed with this Crimson sequel. It's a good but unnecessary album that rarely stirred my interest. I've become a bit milder towards it over the years but I still have a hard time ignoring the terrible production to be able to enjoy any of it.

It's surprising really. Dan Swanö played this album almost entirely by himself and he produced it as well. I liked his production work on the early Opeth and some Katatonia albums, but for some inexplicable reason he has completely butchered his own album to death. Everything is overstressed, all dynamics are blurred in the overstated thickness of the sound: the guitars are far too upfront in the mix, everything is drowned in reverb and why would anyone want drums to sound so synthetic in 2003? Beats me. Imagine this album had Martin Lopez on the drums and had sounded more organic, more natural. Now, that could have been a blast. I'm also not too big on the twittering keyboards but I guess they won't hurt fans of the instrument.

There are plenty of good grooves, it flows fluently for its entire 40 minutes and there's head-banging drama aplenty. It's a shame really, 4 star potential, produced into a mess. 2.5 stars

Report this review (#266073)
Posted Sunday, February 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars I have to agree with everyone else that "Crimson II" pales somewhat when compared to "Crimson I". This is still an excellent album but for me there is too much emphasis on the growls and aggressive guitars and less on the atmosphere and clean vocals which hurts this quite a bit in my opinion. It's the contrasts that really make "Crimson I" a keeper. I also agree with Bonnek's assessment of the production. It's not that great. At times the growls are almost lost in the sound so it's also lacking in that area as well when compared to the original "Crimson". The other thing is that "Crimson I" is one long piece that flows for 40 minutes while this one is broken down into 9 songs.

Anyway as I mentioned earlier this is still a good album and it certainly "rocks out" heavily at times.

Report this review (#276734)
Posted Wednesday, April 7, 2010 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Crimson II' - Edge Of Sanity (8/10)

Anyone who has heard the original 'Crimson' will hopefully have had a similar experience to the one I had. Although I was already a fan of death metal, Edge Of Sanity's defining opus astounded me beyond virtually anything else I had heard in the style. A while after 'Crimson' came out, Edge Of Sanity disbanded, and the musicians proceeded to go their own ways. However, frontman and Edge of Sanity mastermind Dan Swano decided to revive the band's name with one final output. Although something more of a solo album by any standard, Dan Swano would bring in some guest musicians for his prospective sequel of his magnum opus. 'Crimson II'- like many sequels- can be the target of some controversy, as the result of following up such a successful concept work. Although I would tend to agree with the consensus that the sequel no where near reaches the same majesty as the original, 'Crimson II' is an excellent album with some fantastic moments of its own, and can stand alone as a strong work of progressive death metal.

Unlike the first- which thrusts right into the fray of heaviness- 'Crimson II' begins more conventionally as an epic; beginning with a symphonic introduction which is reprised later in the album. Before long though, the listener is hit with some rapid riffs and technicality which seeks to outdo anything heard on the first 'Crimson'. Although the opening riff and many that follow here are more complex in nature than much of the material on the first, they do not enjoy the same powerful, epic feel to them. That being said, 'Crimson II' is much more about the riffs and individual sections than Edge Of Sanity made the first out to be, which tended to have a greater overall cohesion. Of course, albums are best judged based on their own merits, but Dan Swano obviously intended this album to be matched up against the sequel.

A large development here is the greater presence of keyboards in the mix. Although the composition is still driven by the heavy guitar work, the keyboards add a new dimension to the sound, that at times is slightly overblown but does tend to give the sound a greater depth and melodic feel than before. The performance of the instruments here is also on par, and at times even better than on the original 'Crimson'; quite ironic considering that this is essentially a Dan Swano solo project being compared against a full band effort. Stranger still is the fact that the production here seems quite weaker than before, despite- and possibly in relation to- the addition of new sounds. 'Crimson' the first had an organic feel to it, but 'Crimson II' feels a little too doused in reverb, giving it a muddy feel that takes away from what is otherwise a great record.

'Crimson II' offers some incredible moments of its own, and expertly throws in some ideas from the original to give a sense of continuity. It does feel as if the 'Crimson' series has taken a bit of a dip with this one; after all, how could the original ever be topped? But make no mistake; 'Crimson II' is an excellent work of its own, and would probably receive many more accolades from listeners, were it not always held in comparison with what I consider to be a near-perfect album.

Report this review (#439593)
Posted Wednesday, April 27, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Edge of Sanity's post-Crimson albums made in the absence of Dan Swano are, with some justification, seen as being a blemish on the band's otherwise impressive record. It's only fair, then, that Dan Swano had a chance to do the reverse and make an Edge of Sanity album without Edge of Sanity, relying on guest musicians and his own capabilities as a multi- instrumentalist to pull it off. And what better way to rub it in than to craft a sequel to the classic Crimson?

Though an impressive technical accomplishment as far as one-man bands in metal go, I think Crimson II is a pleasant listen which doesn't quite manage to provide a really satisfying sequel to the original. Truth be told, the story here isn't exactly as compelling as the original, and musically speaking there's few surprises to be had. Still, even if Edge of Sanity didn't end on a high, at least it didn't end on a low of the magnitude of the miserable Cryptic.

Report this review (#660590)
Posted Friday, March 16, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars I am left haunted by "Crimson ii". The album is heavy as hell, yet it still remains very ominous and atmospheric. The musicianship of Dan Swano is excellent and his production is superb, bringing out all the album's underlying flavours. The texture of this album is incredibly thick; the massive guitar sound, aggressive growls, pounding drums and the dark synths create a wash of sound that is actually rather hypnotic. As dark as this album is, there is a comforting edge to it's sound and it is quite accessible for those who can stomach something as heavy as this.

I personally prefer "Crimson ii" to "Crimson i", because I feel that "Crimson i" tries a little too hard to be brooding and atmospheric. This album is incredibly heavy, but is naturally ominous it's nature. The atmosphere is subtle, which is what makes this album so masterful. Another credit to this album is the album art. I can't think of any album art that better suits the content of the album. The warm colours and shadowy atmosphere beautifully spell out all the feelings that are portrayed musically in this release.

This album is a definite must have for any fan of melodic death metal, or any progressive metal fan looking for a dark listening experience. 4 stars.

Report this review (#914524)
Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars I was greatly surprised to read that Clive Nolan of neo-prog band Arena (and other projects) wrote the lyrics. I have no independent confirmation of this, but the lyrics actually have rhythm and rhyme, in as far, of course, as a song about a demon queen from the future goes.

Anyway, the 40-minute single track Crimson II is a sequel to the first 40-minute Crimson single track, which was influential in metal circles by alternating death metal and variously styled clean breaks. Its good that Dan Swano didn't choose to simply repeat himself. The second Crimson is a richer composition, fully integrating sounds of synths. In fact it often sounds less like death metal and more bombastic power prog metal, only faster, more aggressive and sung in death growls. Because of that dichotomy I am not sure which demographic it aims for, since purists of both genres will likely scoff at this odd combination. I guess that's why Crimson 2 is less beloved by fans, although I think both records are of equal quality.

Report this review (#1290625)
Posted Monday, October 13, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars Edge Of Sanity's 'Crimson II' is the follow-up album to the 1996 prog-metal classic 'Crimson', and is a different take on the original 40-minute death metal epic. Released in 2003, the record was released under the banner of Edge Of Sanity, but in reality this is a Dan Swano solo album. Swano resurrected Edge Of Sanity for this album only, and then swiftly killed it off again, never to be seen again.

When reviewing 'Crimson II' you can't help but refer to the first album. There are a number of differences between the two 'Crimson' albums. In 'Crimson II' there is a much greater use of keyboard synths which tend to give the album a more upbeat feel to it. This is extenuated by the use of more melodic guitar riffs, making 'Crimson II' feel brighter and somehow happier or bouncier than the original. The drums are punchier, clearly having been triggered in the studio, which again makes the album sound brighter and detract from the atmosphere of the production. Musically 'Crimson II' is probably even more varied than the original. There are chunky death metal riffs, acoustic guitars, pianos, operatic clean vocals, guttural death metal screams.

Over the years I've often had the debate with a close friend of mine as to which is the better album, this one or the first one... It's often an interesting debate, even if we both know the outcome before we've started arguing! I've always come down on the side of the first album, where-as my friend has always sided with this one, and we both have our reasons. Don't get me wrong, 'Crimson II' is a worthy successor to the original classic and it is a very good album indeed, but in my opinion it just doesn't have the same muddy atmosphere as the first record - in some ways it comes across as a bit too polished and a bit too upbeat. When it comes to progressive death metal I like atmosphere - I'm not a big fan of highly polished triggered drums, for example.

But it isn't just the production standard, I also feel that 'Crimson II' is a little bit more disjointed than the original album. While 'Crimson II' is marketed as a single 43-minute song, the reality is that the music is segmented into 9 distinct sections which have less relation to each other. This is an album where it could be split up into its constituent sections easily enough. The only thing binding this album together is the concept and story, which is carried over from the first 'Crimson' album. Particularly interesting is to note is that none other than Clive Nolan is the author of the lyrics in this album. That's right, Clive Nolan of Arena and Pendragon fame wrote the lyrics to this album! This is something I only discovered as I was writing this review - all these years I always assumed Swano wrote the lyrics to this!...

...You learn something new every day!

Anyway, onto the rating. I'm torn between 3 and 4 stars with this. I do really love the work of Dan Swano, and this is a worthy successor to the original 'Crimson' album so I'm going to give this one 4-stars. Definitely recommended - you just might enjoy the first one more!

Report this review (#1434878)
Posted Saturday, July 4, 2015 | Review Permalink
3 stars As people run out of original ideas in our current day and age, a sequel is frequently a gimmick for money or attention. The most obvious examples that come to mind exist in the cinematic world, but music contains some as well, such as Queensr˙che's Operation Mindcrime II, or Metallica's three Unforgivens. Fortunately, Edge of Sanity's followup to their esteemed 1996 album Crimson (which I have already reviewed and given an 80%) is a sequel that upholds the legacy of its predecessor. I shall break this down into two sections, one that addresses the sound and the songwriting, and then, of course one that addresses this song as one flowing composition. Naturally, this review will be rife with comparison to the original Crimson.

The songwriting, since Edge of Sanity's last forty-minute adventure, has become less blunt, straightforward, and assaulting, and is now perhaps more, dare I say it, commercial. It's not a huge difference, but it's one worth mentioning. I don't recall keyboards being so integral to the Edge of Sanity sound, and while I am in fact a sucker for keyboards, these don't do very much for me. Swano's clean singing sounds fantastic. Though his growls have also improved they sound disconnected from the rest of the music, which can perhaps be attributed to production. As usual, although it's a concept album, the lyrics are hard to understand both due to the vocal style and their actual phrasing. The riffs, however, are the real point of decline here. While the original Crimson had magnificent riffs of all types abound, this is quite disappointing, chock full of standard melodeath fare, and a few breakdowns. Crimson II lacks the power and memorable riffing of the original, but in other areas, it redeems itself to a degree.

There is still not enough variety to sustain Crimson II as a singular track. Yes, there are soft parts here and there, but mostly Crimson II trudges along at the same speed, volume, and level of heaviness for lengthy periods of time, static. The transitions are often abrupt, but Swano seems to have learned the art of the dramatic ending. The last 45 seconds of the album are quality; if only they went on for longer. A song of length ought to have some payoff or go somewhere, and it's still not quite enough, beginning only sometime during the sequence of Aftermaths, but it is a definite improvement.

Crimson II upholds the legacy of the original; in some places better, in some worse. The sound has declined ? while the original Crimson could have been a classic melodeath album even if it had not been a singular song, the followup is fairly unmemorable when split into parts. As one long song, the second Crimson is better, though the improvements are basic and marginal. I can't really recommend this given it comes out as about average in both sections of the review, though I still liked it and I'm glad Edge of Sanity didn't have to end their career on a sour note.

3.5 stars/75%

Report this review (#1733645)
Posted Wednesday, June 14, 2017 | Review Permalink
4 stars Crimson II is a great follow up to a great album. Unlike most sequel albums, this one is executed well and sounds good along with the original album. Crimson II was the final album ever released by EDGE OF SANITY and it is a great way for the band to say farewell. Dan Swano played most of the instruments on the album and did most of the vocals as well with some guests added in for freshness and color. The album also has parts from the first Crimson album so it really sounds like the two albums are supposed to go together, and they fit together very well. I suggest that you start with Crimson first and then listen to this record if you want to get into the great material EDGE OF SANITY has to offer. If you like Crimson, try listening to that and Crimson II front to back together, then you will have a great, long progressive and death metal epic.
Report this review (#2444955)
Posted Saturday, September 5, 2020 | Review Permalink

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