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Edge Of Sanity - Cryptic CD (album) cover


Edge Of Sanity

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Cryptic" is the 7th full-length studio album by Swedish death metal act Edge of Sanity. The album was released through Black Mark Production in November 1997. It´s Edge of Sanity´s second 1997 album release (the other being "Infernal", which was released in February 1997) and an attempt to salvage the band after Lead vocalist Dan Swanö jumped ship. He is replaced here by former Pan.Thy.Monium vocalist Robert Karlsson. The salvation attempt failed though, and "Cryptic" was the only Edge of Sanity album to feature this lineup. The band officially disbanded in 1999.

The songwriting credits on the band´s albums had over the years slowly increased in favour of Swanö, culminating in the solely Swanö penned "Crimson (1996)". "Infernal (1997)" saw the songwriting credits being more evenly distributed again, but it was also a very incoherrent release both when it came to the overall musical style and the quality of the material. "Cryptic" is a much more coherrent release as new band leader/guitarist Andreas Axelsson led the band in a more old school death metal direction again and away from the progressive rock/metal leanings of the last couple of releases.

The problem for this incarnation of Edge of Sanity is, that the adventurous songwriting ideas of Swanö are what always made Edge of Sanity stand out. Those ideas are what made them special and different from other contemporary Swedish death metal acts, and "Cryptic" is devoid of anything to set it apart on the scene. The material on the 8 track, 35:32 minutes long album is pretty standard quality Swedish death metal. The musicianship is solid enough, and the album is relatively well produced too, but it´s just nothing out of the ordinary.

When that is said I´m also being a bit harsh on "Cryptic", but that is a consequence of the high quality of the releases which preceded it, because viewed upon individually, it may be a pretty standard quality Swedish death metal release, but it´s also a pretty solid and definitely enjoyable album while it plays. It´s not like it´s completely devoid of memorable tracks or anything like that either (and it´s still the sound of Edge of Sanity) and tracks like "Hell Written" and "Demon I" are for example pretty great. The performances and the sound production are also strong and upon conclusion "Cryptic" is actually a relatively good quality release by Edge of Sanity and a 3 star (60%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

Report this review (#148414)
Posted Thursday, November 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
1 stars The previous album had shown a band on the verge of a split. Completely different ideas on where to take their music had created a very inconsistent album. Dan Swanö left and was replaced by new singer Robert Karlsson. Although mr. Karlsson has a remarkable throat, the absence of Dan Swanö is really felt in the unremarkable song writing, a standard death metal fare that had been around for at least 10 years.

A small exception can be made for Uncontrol Me, which has a decent brutal groove but rips of Sepultura. Everything else comes straight out of the book of melodic death metal. I'm no specialist in that area, but I think I've heard enough of it to say this album is substandard and won't even please fans of the style. Formulaic and uninspired, 1 star.

Report this review (#266074)
Posted Sunday, February 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
1 stars Edge of Sanity Without Dan Swanö?

Let me just say this from the start of my review - Dan Swanö is the heart and soul of Edge of Sanity. People might argue against that, but Cryptic proves that I'm right. This album is generic and uninspired death metal, and is a huge disappointment in the band's discography. Edge of Sanity's previous album, Infernal was an awkward and flawed release, but the album had many high quality moments thanks to Dan Swanö. With this album it's very obvious that Edge of Sanity is struggling without their frontman.

On Cryptic the compositions are noticeably weaker than on any other Edge of Sanity release, and that is the biggest problem here. Without Dan Swanö's songwriting, the band can only create rather uninspired music. On Infernal, many of the compositions without Dan's help were poor, but on this album all of them are severely lacking.

I don't consider these songs bad just because they're not prog. Unorthodox is pure death metal, but it's a really great album from the band. This album is just disastrous, and there's really no other way of putting it. When you compare this to masterpieces like Crimson, and great albums like Crimson II and Purgatory Afterglow, this is far below the quality of those albums.

The album is not a complete failure, though. Songs like "No Destiny" (my favorite from the album) and "Uncrontroll Me" are pretty good by death metal standards, though they are far below the usual standard from Edge of Sanity. Many of the songs aren't very memorable, and that's one of the biggest flaws from this album. When I finish listening to this album I can only recall 2 or 3 riffs, and that just shows how uninspired this album is.


Cryptic is a really disappointing effort from Edge of Sanity, and it isn't worth more than 1 star. The lack of memorable compositions really destroys this album, even though the musicianship is tight and the production is great. Even if you're interested in Edge of Sanity, there really is no reason to own this album. This holds no interest to fans of progressive metal, and this isn't even a quality death metal release. This is only for die-hard collectors.

Report this review (#268321)
Posted Thursday, February 25, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars In 1996, Swedish progressive death metal band Edge of Sanity released Crimson, a concept album consisting of only one forty-minute song. Crimson was an ambitious project, and later that year, EoS followed it up with Infernal, often considered a disappointment due to the internal struggle over the band's direction showing through into the music. Cryptic is the following album, and the only EoS album without Dan Swano. It's decent music and stylistically average melodic death metal/"melodeath," with most of the progressive elements absent. The band's sound has been un-complicated and sounds generic, each song speeding along at an unchanging pace, with a few exceptions. Hell Written is the only real prog song on here, switching from frantic metal to a softer, calmer part, like how Opeth writes (only not ten minutes long). The strangely upbeat riffs scattered throughout the album also stand out as different -- but other than these examples, there isn't much variation, and the band's innovative side is no longer present.

As mentioned earlier, Dan Swano does not contribute on this album. Instead, Karlsson takes over vocal duties. It's a slight improvement, but still mediocre. His vocals are little messy, as if he's slobbering while he growls, and he lets out the occasional "Yeah!" and "Let's go!" therefore succeeding in sounding somewhat stupid. Clean vocals are completely gone. On the contrary, Cryptic has some good riffs on it, and solos are common, but tend to get buried under the rest of the music instead of standing out in the forefront. The riffs suffer due to uninteresting songwriting, and the bass is audible but could be higher in the mix. Song structures are plainer and uninventive.

Cryptic may be nothing special, and overall sounds passable, but that's not to say it doesn't have its moments. Dead I Walk has an excellent opening riff, and Hell Written's brief soft section throws you in for a loop, but the song might have been more effective had it been placed later in the album, instead of as the first track. It could have broken up the monotony of the unchangingly paced, standard metal, and it sets a misleading example for something that does not exist on the rest of the album.

The album is a good length; much longer than its thirty-five minutes, and it would drag. Without Swano, it deviates from Edge of Sanity's already-established sound: the addition of progressive elements to death metal. Now the emphasis on progressive is gone, leaving only a decent melodeath album with a few untraditional aspects. Still, I'd recommend picking it up, but only after you've familiarized yourself with the band's other works.

Report this review (#1425633)
Posted Tuesday, June 9, 2015 | Review Permalink

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