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Edge Of Sanity

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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Edge Of Sanity Crimson album cover
4.27 | 530 ratings | 40 reviews | 47% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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Studio Album, released in 1996

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Crimson (40:00)

Total Time 40:00

Line-up / Musicians

- Dan Swanö / vocals, keyboards, rhythm, harmony & acoustic guitars
- Andreas Axelsson / guitar (right)
- Sami Nerberg / guitar (left)
- Anders Lindberg / bass
- Benny Larsson / drums

- Mikael Åkerfeldt / occasional vocals, additional lead guitar
- Anders Måreby / cello

Releases information

Artwork: Duncan Storr

CD Black Mark Production ‎- BMCD 68 (1996, Germany)

LP Black Mark Production ‎- BMLP 68 (1996, Germany)

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EDGE OF SANITY Crimson ratings distribution

(530 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(47%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(26%)
Good, but non-essential (14%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (6%)

EDGE OF SANITY Crimson reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by TheProgtologist
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars Edge of Sanity,hailing from Sweden,is one of the bands headed by musical genius Dan Swano.Crimson is a masterpiece,the whole album is one long song that clocks in at a hefty 40 minutes and never once shirks on quality.This album will weave it's spell on you from the beginning.It's wonderfully structured,telling the story of a dark,alien society and its struggles with an evil queen and morbid energies.It's full of riff after great riff and alternates between nice acoustic passages,very heavy,ominous ones and complex speed riffs combined with the subtle use of keyboards.Some of the sections repeat throughout the album,which gives recognizable motifs between the unique,singularly occurring passages,giving the whole album clarity and cohesion.Every part of this album is necessary and perfect,and every vocal line is delivered with the wonderful alternating growls and clean singing of Swano.The band plays perfectly,and Mikael Akerfeldt of Opeth fame makes a guest appearance,contributing some vocals and lead guitar. One of the best progressive death metal albums ever recorded,and a must have for progressive metal fans.I don't give albums 5 stars often,but to give this album any less would be a crime.5 stars.
Review by frenchie
5 stars An absolutely classic death metal record! Edge of Sanity, "Crimson" is a masterpiece of music and one of the best highlights of the whole melodic death metal scene in Sweden and the surrounding Scandinavian countries. "Crimson" is a 40 minute epic tune that is full off savage riffery, death grunt vocals and a mixture of different themes.

I am a diehard progger, yet even I find it difficult to listen to a song over 30 minutes long. Dream Theater's "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence", Fantomas "Delirium Cordia", Mike Oldfields "Tubular Bells" and Green Carnations "Light of Day, Day of Darkness" are all good examples of challenging 30+ minute epic prog tunes. They are good but difficult to dig into. "Crimson" however is one proggy adventure that I find easy to listen to over and over again and it wasn't really a struggle to take it all in. This epic project seems to be pretty much free of filler, boring passages and repetition. I am always excited by what I am hearing.

"Crimson" was written by Dan Swano in the bulk, and his bleak vocals and lyrics tell as epic a tale as the music on this album does. Our old prog metal friend, Mikael Akerfeldt appears on this album to provide some clean vocals, guitar and even a piano solo. At this time Dan Swano and Mikael Akerfeldt were used to working together as Dan Swano had produced Opeth's first two albums, "Orchid" and "Morningrise". If anyone has heard those album then they will recognise an similar production and atmosphere on "Crimson" to those albums.

"Crimson" is mostly built up of melodic death metal that seems to favour some quite bulky and chuggy riffs often propelled by blastbeating drums, though there is a good mixture between different tempo's to make sure this piece isn't too nausiating. There are occasionaly mythological and folksy influences in the lyrics and themes of this album. One of the best riffs on the album is the famous galloping medieval style riff that first comes in around a third of the way through the album.

This is a true epic and one i would gladly label prog metal. It kicks in straight away and keeps the listening hooked on through the whole thing. I highly recommend this to any Opeth and Katatonia fan on the site, as well as those fans of the scandinavian metal scene as this is one of the best albums to be produced from that side of europe.

Review by OpethGuitarist
4 stars I absolutely love this album, however, it really doesn't fit in a progressive music site. Is it progressive? To a degree yes. I'd say its more death metal, melodic metal, with progressive overtones and tendencies. Progressive is definitely not the first thing that comes to mind when you hear this, but there is some great music there.

I actually like this album than other albums I would rate 5 stars, however, given the context of the site, this is not essential for progressive music, more like essential for any fan of death metal.

The album is ambitious, highly entertaining, and very well done by Swano. As said, any fan of the Swedish metal scene should pick this up. It has some nice progressive concepts here and there, and its very interesting, however this is not a masterpiece necessary for all listeners of progressive music. It is a masterpiece in its own regards, and definitely Swano's greatest release.

4.5 rating here. A must have for anyone who likes the heavier side of music.

Review by el böthy
4 stars A small classic in Prog metal, but a big one in the Death metal genre, Edge of Sanity's Crimson is one 40 minutes long song which has just about everything a metal fan could ask for. hey, even Mickael Akerfeld is present! And to make this an extra special song, the whole piece stands tall and proud all the way threw, having few if any fillers. impressive Mr. Swano! Now, having said that, this might not be the masterpiece it's made out to be, as there aren't many moments that really stand out from the rest, the whole thing seems to be good all the time. but I tell you, I want some "Holy crap, this is freakin awesome" parts if you know what I'm saying. and they seem to lack a bit here. But still, the result is great, and I'm pretty sure many will not agree with me on this last observation of mine.

As I said before this is quite the classic in the Death metal department, first of all, ´cause Edge of Sanity, along with Opeth, must be the biggest, best and most successful Melodic Death metal band ever, and second ´cause Crimson is the absolute peak of Dan Swano´s career. well, at least with Edge of Sanity. It seems to me Swano wanted to really stand out from the rest of his pears, and man did he! It's not usual for metal to have a 40 minutes long song in their catalog; it is for prog, but not for metal. With that in mind there is also one thing you should know: although there is a progressive tendency threw out the record (for heavens sake, this is a 40 minutes long song, how is that not prog?) . I would say this is rather prog-related than actual Prog, for it is, mostly, a very long metal song. In fact I don't think there are any actual prog moments, any kind of riff, solo or variation that you can clearly point out and say, without a doubt, "This is prog right here!", what makes this prog is, ones again, the fact that it is so long, and the way it is presented to us, as riffs, passages, and vocal lines come and go, appear again, sometimes a bit modify, which by the way is brilliantly done, but more than that. there is no prog in here.

To summon things up, if you are into metal and don't mind long compositions, this is for you. If you like Opeth, listen to this, you will like it, no doubt about it. but if you are not really that much into metal but want to find some prog here. mmm, this might not be the place for you.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars "Crimson" is the 5th full-length studio album by Swedish death metal act Edge of Sanity. The album was released through Black Mark Production in April 1996. "Crimson" is quite a unique album (at least for it´s time) as it solely consists of one 40 minutes long sci-fi/fantasy themed track. It also marks a change in the band´s songwriting dynamics as "Crimson" is more or less lead vocalist Dan Swanö´s project. On all preceding releases songwriting credits were more evenly distributed, but "Crimson" was solely written by Swanö, who also performs rhythm guitars and harmony guitars, clean and acoustic guitars, and keyboards, in addition to growling- and clean vocals. The rest of the band also performs on the album, but everything sounds strictly orchestrated by Swanö. Mikael Åkerfeldt of Opeth performs session guitar leads and vocals (the occasional raw blackened vocals on the album).

Stylistically the music on the album concludes the transformation from an old school Swedish death metal act to a full blown progressive death metal act, that the band initiated on "Enigma" from "Unorthodox (1992)". "Crimson" is the peak of Edge of Sanity´s stylistic development and to my ears also the peak of their recording career. While the music on "Crimson" is still in some ways at it´s core old school Swedish death metal, it far transcends what is usual for the genre, by incorporating both progressive rock, goth rock, and black metal elements. A contemporary artist like Opeth is a valid reference although at this point Opeth were only in the early stages of their career, and not at all as prolific or as influential as they would later become. So when "Crimson" was released, it was quite a unique sounding release.

Edge of Sanity successfully combine the various stylistic elements and the listener is caried through the album´s many brutal, melancholic, epic, tranquil, and adventurous sections with a seamless ease. "Crimson" is a dynamic release and one moment you´ll be exposed to death metal brutality and growling vocals, or blackened coldness with raspy screaming vocals, and the next a mellow beautiful section with clean vocals. While there are many sections featured on the track, and the structure is relatively complex, it´s actually reasonably easy to follow, and many sections are repeated or tweaked a bit and occur again during the track, so there is a high recognisability factor throughout the composition. Structure wise I´m reminded of a progressive rock classic like "Thick as a Brick (1972)" by Jethro Tull, which also consists of one album long track, featuring reoccurring themes. Knowing Swanö´s appreciation for classic progressive rock, it wouldn´t be a surprise, if he took some inspiration from that particular release.

The musicianship is as usual on a high level. While everything is certainly delivered with the needed skill and precision, there is a charming organic touch to the delivery, which works really well with the material. The instrumental part of the album is delivered with passion and conviction, but it´s the vocal part of the album, which takes the prize. Swanö´s growling vocals are distinct sounding and intelligible and his clean vocals are strong and pleasant (his harmony and choir vocals are also quality work). Åkerfeldt also deliveres a strong vocal performance, which help ensure variation in the vocal department.

"Crimson" is well produced, featuring a raw, organic, and detailed production, which suits the material perfectly. A more clean and clinical sounding production probably wouldn´t have suited the material as well. The album was recorded and mixed by Swanö at his own Unisound studio. Upon conclusion "Crimson" is a high quality release in every possible way. It features a well sounding production, strong musicianship, and adventurous songwriting, which was unique for the time, and a 5 star (100%) rating is fully deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

Review by b_olariu
4 stars Finally i had the chance to review this album. Dan Swano the master behind the music is an important musician in death metal field, the result is the first 3 albums of Edge of Sanity. From Crimson Swano incorporeted some prog elements, not many but quite enough to make this album not to be clasified as death metal enterly. The album is composed from only one track. Crimson is mostly built up of melodic death metal with catchy reffs and inteligent lyrics. The voice of Swano is better than on previous albums so the music, is mutch complex and and better played. We have a guest musician from Opeth (who were at the beggining of their stunning carere),Mikael Akerfeldt, who give a new dimension to Crimson's music. So the music from here is original, diverse and pleases many prog fans not only death metal fanatics. 4 stars for Crimson, recommended, one of the best albums of the '90's.
Review by The Pessimist
5 stars I will open with two very sweeping statement: first off, this is a masterpiece, and should be in anyone's books really. I mean, anyone who merges death metal and prog this perfectly deserves four star credit, and anyone who transforms that idea into a 40-minute prog metal tour de force deserves even more credit; secondly, this is in my top 10 albums ever created by anyone. In that list is Still Life by Opeth, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles and Pawn Hearts by Van Der Graaf Generator. With that, you kind of get the idea of how good this album is in my humble opinion.

As I mentioned above, this is untamed death metal augmented with many prog touches. Some of the most brutal moments in prog lie within this disk, so don't approach it thinking you are going to hear another Thick As A Brick, because that just ain't what this album is about. It's almost as if the same brainwave that hit Mike Oldfield and Ian Anderson some 20-odd years before hit Dan Swano in the same way. The point I am trying to get at is that this music is no clone. Expect complete originality. Some of the most beautiful melodies in prog metal also lie within, and most are delivered in a splendid manner in the form of clean vocals from both Dan Swano and guest appearance Mikael Akerfeldt. On top of the brutality, beautiful melody and originality, great guitarwork, riff usage and technicality are also embedded into the song. Yep, this is exciting stuff, and has almost everything a fan of this sort of music could ask for.

Now onto the actual music. I have no complaints whatsoever, so let's just get that out of the way. It's hard to describe this disk musically because there is nothing really specific to the style. We have more traditional elements in the mix, like classically influenced solos and some jazz influence in the quieter sections (those elements are actually evident in most progressive death metal, and they sound just as awesome on here) and the riffs bare a strong atonal value in some areas. The quieter parts are also not very few and far between, making it easier on the ears for that of those unfamiliar with death metal. One thing I must comment on is that most of the sections have a kind of finality to them, i.e. ending on a perfect cadence. This means that, like Green Carnation's "Light Of Day, Day Of Darkness", the songs could work on there own. However, they also work very well flowing into each other. It's a very hard trait to achieve, but Swano pulled it off. Excellently, as well.

The riffs are punchy, the vocals clear, the lyrics great and imaginative, the drumming just as metal drumming should be, the songwriting inventive all round yet down to earth at the same time, the solos otherworldy... I repeat again, everything on this album is perfect and I don't have a single complaint. If you are interested in progressive death metal and are looking for something a bit more pretntious and bombastic than Cynic and Pestilence, but more brutal and aggressive than Opeth and Estatic Fear, then this is definitely a must have for you. If you already own Still Life, Symbolic and Lateralus and want another masterpiece of progressive metal to your collection, then this is also a must have. 5 stars, easily.

Review by J-Man
5 stars My 100th review on ProgArchives!

Since I only reach the big 100 once, I wanted to make sure I reviewed a special album. I put a lot of thought as to what I would review right now, but I've decided on "Crimson" by Edge of Sanity. What better album to review than a classic 40-minute progressive death metal epic?

This was my introduction to this excellent Swedish band, and this is their Magnum Opus for sure. If someone new to the progressive metal genre were to ask me for three essential progressive death metal albums I would say "Still Life" by Opeth, "Symbolic" by Death, and "Crimson" by Edge of Sanity. Sure there are plenty of albums out there that are of equal quality to these three masterpieces, but those three define the genre.

Of course, you noticed that this album is in my top three progressive death metal albums EVER released. That is quite the accomplishment, and shows how great this album really is!

So what is the music like?

Well, it is pretty heavy. Dan Swanö growls most of the time, it has the occasional blast-beat drumming, but also has some beautiful passages with Dan's unique singing voice. Mikael Akerfeldt of Opeth fame is also present on this album, and you can easily identify his growl over Dan Swanö's. The is also filled with instrumental sections, all of which flow very well. The production of this album is very good, and is one of the better productions of the 90's.

As with most 40-minute songs, there is a set of repeating themes, and they are all used perfectly. Most of the musical themes are very dark and heavy, though there are some more mellow and emotional ones as well. Most of this album is dark musically, but it is very dark lyrically as well. It tells a science fiction story of when human civilization is no longer able to reproduce, and is coming to an end. I won't get into to much detail, just because when you experience the story for the first time it is incredible! It is a very deep story that is easily in my top 10 stories ever told in music. Read the lyrics, and you will know what I mean.

Is it prog?

Of course! Symphonic prog fans might actually like this album if they can get past the growled vocals. It contains a great variety of moods, and never does it disappoint. It takes a few listens to take all 40 minutes in, and understand them, but once you do, you'll realize how great this album is.

Few bands can pull of a 40 minute song. Most bands don't even bother trying! Even the bands that do try rarely succeed, and Edge of Sanity is a band that pulls it off with ease. This is a masterpiece that is essential in any prog metal collection! If you're just into Yes, Genesis, ELP, and King Crimson you might also be in for a pleasant surprise with this masterpiece.

5 stars.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars 1996. The year that I finally gave in to death metal grunts. And this album was the cause of that deterioration of my moral grounds. For three good reasons: because Dan Swanö's grunts are very impressive, because they make sense and because this is such an amazing album.

I really love how this piece starts in the middle of things and also how it ends very abruptly, as if it is only a part of an even bigger composition. The music pulls you in right from the very first second, there's no long and slowly building intro as you might expect from a 40 minute piece. This is an action movie that starts in the middle of a car chase.

While all reviews share a deep affection for this piece I was quite surprised it isn't generally considered as prog. How can a continuous 40 minute composition of this scale not be prog? This is not a mere succession of riffs but a sequence of musical scenes and developing themes, reminding me slightly of VDGG's Plague of Lighthouse Keepers. Not only due to the dark atmosphere but also because of the scenic construction behind it. Swanö provides the correct dose of quiet sections to offset the heavy parts. It makes the music very digestible so it's no surprise it got me into extreme metal, it's a perfect starting point to get into the style.

Of course this is no symphonic prog, it's a mixed form with extreme metal, meaning there is a dominating emphasis on riffs and quiet-loud dynamics. There's less room for progressive development of the music but the entire piece sounds as if it was born from one single creative outburst. It flows very naturally and doesn't have one weaker moment.

Dan Swanö has composed and played most of this album all by himself, with only a little help from his bandmates. An interesting guest of honour is Mike Akerfeldt. He provides guitar and vocals, but not the main low dark grunt nor the clean vocals, even though the growls especially sound quite like him. He takes care of the black metal screams that pop up left and right. I think I can also single out some of his guitar contributions such as the harmonic leads around 11.30, it's something he was very fond of back then and it features heavily on Opeth's concurrent albums Orchid and Morningrise.

While the 5 stars are not as solid as those attributed to the Opeth masterpieces in this section, it comes pretty close. It's an album that shouldn't be overlooked by the legions of Opeth fans out there, excellent in quality and essential in the realm of progressive extremities.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars I have to first of all thank Bonnek for this one. Whenever I hear that there are growly vocals on an album I usually proceed with caution although I must admit OPETH is one of those few bands where I can not only tolerate them but appreciate them, especially in contrast to the atmospheric sections with clean vocals. And really that's what this album is all about. The contrast of styles, between beauty and raw aggression. I shouldn't have been surprised I guess to see that Mikael Akerfeldt guests on this record.

This is one long 40 minute piece that changes and evolves and where themes are repeated. And that's the aspect of this recording that really impresses me. Much like GREEN CARNATION's "Light Of Day, Day Of Darkness" the story is told without breaks, it just flows. And like with most OPETH albums I love when the intensity dies down and the atmosphere sets in with those clean vocals.

I never thought i'd hear another band do something like in the style of "Still Life" or "Blackwater Park" that would be just as impressive until now. Should have known that if it did happen they'd come from Sweden. 4.5 stars.

Review by Conor Fynes
5 stars 'Crimson' - Edge Of Sanity (10/10)

This band and album came to my attention through my once-fervent appreciation of the fellow Swedish progressive death metal group Opeth. Although my love of Opeth has since dwindled a fair bit, I am left now with the music of Edge Of Sanity, led by none other than Dan Swano, who seems to have taught Opeth frontman quite a bit when it comes to metal. With the prospect of a forty minute epic riding my expectations high, I was nearly expecting to be let down, but quite clearly; that was not the case. Rivaled by only a handful of other albums in death metal, 'Crimson' is a powerfully crafted opus that takes beauty and heaviness in equal measure and combines them in a narrative style to create what is one of the best put-together concept albums I have ever had the pleasure of listening to.

Telling a fairly dark story that blends elements of science-fiction and the supernatural, 'Crimson' revolves around a dismal vision of the future in which mankind can breed no longer, and depends on a mythic princess to lead them to salvation. Unfortunately, she makes a deal with an 'unholy entity' of sorts to save her people, and from there on, things start to fall apart. Even as a story of its own, 'Crimson' is a convincing piece of fantasy fiction, and while some parts of the plot are left a bit obscure, it feels like a perfect milieu for the music to score. Although some listeners may find it difficult to follow the story on first listen due to the rather garbled nature of death metal growls (of which there are plenty here), the music gets the intended feeling and imagery across just right. 'Crimson' also makes use of some incredibly memorable leitmotifs that also seem to coincide with recurring narrative elements, such as death. Speaking musically, Edge Of Sanity is very clever in the way they re-use ideas from earlier in the forty minute epic; things never feel too familiar, and there is always a tinge of development to make the ideas feel even more dramatic than earlier on.

For death metal, the guitar work here is surprisingly melodic and often alternates between heavier and darker moments, much in the same way Opeth would. There are also some guest appearances from Mikael Akerfeldt of Opeth, doing a vocal section and some guitar soloing. What might come as a surprise to some that find themselves particularly endeared to the band is that Akerfeldt's performance here pales in comparison to Dan Swano. Especially in Swano's emotive growling, there is always great power involved, and the lyrics are much more coherent than some other vocalists in death metal. Swano's clean approach isn't quite as sharp as his growling, but his deep tenor holds a nice resonance, particularly in a part later on where he harmonizes with himself beautifully.

The lead guitar licks are always top notch and melodic; never particularly technical, but always powerful. The rhythm guitar is not quite as organic, instead sometimes feeling like it is simply there to get the heaviness and chords across without putting its own mark of feeling into the music. That being said, there is little to distract from the enjoyment of this work. Although the word 'epic' is unfortunately tossed around far too often when describing music, Edge Of Sanity's 'Crimson' writes the book on it. One of the most powerful albums out there in the world of metal, progressive or otherwise.

Review by Negoba
5 stars Yes It's That Good

I know very little Edge of Sanity or Dan Swano beyond this album. The snippets I've heard are good but nothing really transcendent. But on CRIMSON, something special happened. It must have been one of those synchronous moments, perhaps a bit of (dark) magic. Maybe some unseen spirit was directing the writing and recording. Whatever the cause, the result was phenomenal. This album combines Fields of the Nephilim / Sisters of Mercy goth rock with As I Lay Dying sludge / goth metal with a distinct style of melodic death and even some black elements. Despite harsh vocals, grinding riffs, and a slightly lo-fi production, the album is so musical. Integral to the album is the appearance of Mikael Akerfeldt, and one can't help but think that this album deeply affected what was to become the Opeth sound. I can hear sections reminiscent of Still Life, yet this album came first. Though the album certainly sounds its age in terms of guitar tone and production, the vision is something clearly ahead of its time.

If anything, CRIMSON is even more eclectic than Opeth. The vocals are extremely varied, from a low goth voice to various growls to Mikael's soaring clean tone. Each timbre plays a specific role, and each fits perfectally in its place. The lead guitars occasionally solo but most of the time they serve as melodic elements, tying the massive 40 minute piece together. Sections recur and themes mingle in and out, but the structure never uses a traditional verse or chorus. Rather, we have scenes in the dark fantasy story, which I actually don't pay that much attention to. The tempo is all over the place, but it works. The drums are never flashy, always contributing to the song.

While the sounds are more typical death metal, the ethic is more black. The album is atmospheric, employs simpler production, some tremolo sections, and less technical emphasis. This is progressive in terms of arrangement, composition, and overall vision. This is nothing like Dream Theater. Instead, it is the closest thing to an extreme metal Wall or Mindcrime you're going to find.

Ambitious, singular, musical, masterpiece.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Crimson's 'Edge of Sanity' is being hailed as a metal masterpiece by listeners and rightly so as it boasts one single 40 minute track that features innovative non stop brutal metal. Many times clean vocals interject Opeth style as on 'Still Life', in fact Akerfeldt features on the album. Overall it is a blistering attack on the senses with distortion up to the roof and gravelly caustic death metal vocals. There is a conceptual story involving the shadow of death going about its gruelling business. I have not been into the darker metal music since I gave it away in the early 90s, preferring metal without the growls, however the music here is astounding and structurally the epic is without fault. There is a lot of inventive touches such as at 33 minutes when the chants are almost Gregorian, but then brutal death vocals blacken the atmospheres. There are fast drumming sections and breakneck riffing. Many riffs are featured and perhaps enough for ten songs at least. Similar to Opeth the dark and light sections are evident. Not a fan of death metal, I was still impressed by the sheer innovation and there are some striking elements, and clean vocal sections were incredible. This one comes recommended to the faithful death metal fans, and those who simply want to check out the technical side of extreme metal. The track finishes so abruptly it is rather a shock, but at 40 minutes I am aware that many listeners will play this over and over. Definitely worth a listen, though I wished it was not concentric around the relentless growls and screeches.
Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
2 stars You can't be serious! Is this a joke? This album is rated by PA reviewers/raters # 30--ahead of ALL Gentle Giant albums, "Relayer"! ALL Magma albums, "Aqualung"! ALL Frank Zappa albums, "The Lamb"! ALL maudlin of the Well albums, "A Trick of the Tail"! ALL Tangerine Dream albums, "The Yes Album"! ALL Mahavishnu Orchestra, Caravan and Area albums! People! Can't you see it: The emperor isn't wearing any clothes! The only thing remotely progressive about this album is the fairly creative way in which it strings together no less than 48 familiar themes of metal/heavy metal music together into one 40-minute long medley! (Averaging about 45 seconds per theme.)

All of the music is very familiar--that's because it's all stolen! The bands these guys are imitating include (sort of in order): Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Blue Oyster Cult, Def Leppard, Cheap Trick, Led Zeppelin, Dick Dale, Queensryche, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Peter Murphy, Nine Inch Nails, Metallica, Steppenwolf, Scorpions, Megadeth, The Sweet, Van Halen, Pat Benetar, Poison, Slayer, Mötley Crüe, Whitesnake, Prince, Anthrax, and even Cream, to name but a few--most of which are fairly simple two- or three-chord rock progressions in what seem to be very straightforward time signatures. And then, 90% of the singing is done by a screaming guy with a terrible case of laryngitis.

It's like listening to the Led Zeppelin "tribute band," Dread Zeppelin! I can't help but wonder if I'm supposed to take this music seriously (and cringe and try to restrain my vomit) or smile and laugh!

"Essential"? -- No way!

"A masterpiece"? -- Quite the opposite!

"Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection"? -- Only if you're into tribute bands!

"Good, but non-essential"? -- Not even close!

In my opinion, this one should be reserved for collectors/fans only--though, in truth, I think it would be better suited as A Growled Revue of The History of Heavy Metal Music performed in an off-Broadway music hall.

Review by Warthur
5 stars Edge of Sanity's masterpiece took a while to grow on me, but what at first sounded like a fairly typical death metal album which happened to consist of a single long track soon turned out to be a much more intriguing proposition, with diverse changes in mood and style to convey the album's narrative. Dan Swanö delivers his most varied and diverse vocals to date whilst the band provide both the musical backdrop and the special effects for the science fantasy story. At one point in the album the lead guitars manage to achieve a perfect imitation of a warning siren - which sounds cheesy on paper, but in this context it really works. As far as melodic death metal goes, this is a high water mark indeed.
Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Edge Of Sanity are one of the many bands to come out of the Scandinavian metal scene. Dan Swano is the leader here but would leave after this album. I'm more familiar with his work in his other projects rather than in Edge Of Sanity. Crimson was one of those albums I had heard about and wanted to hear. This is currently out-of-print AFAIK and if you cannot find it you will not be missing a masterpiece of prog. You will find a very good death metal album though. The proggiest aspects of this album are the fact that it is a 40 minute song and it reprises earlier sections. It does not flow like an epic but rather sounds like 8 or 10 different metal songs all cut up and edited out of sync. Mr. Opeth, Mikael Akerfeldt guests here on guitar and vocals. There is some growling on the album but thankfully it's not the only kind of singing.

Starting out with growling and heavy riffs it quickly calms down before staying in a death metal style for awhile. Eventually some modified 'normal' singing and clean guitars for awhile. Some piano as well. I like this section. Then some Spanish style acoustic guitar. A part that reminds me of Pantera before before some fast speed metal/death metal stuff. A repeated guitar figure with some vocals that remind me of Type O Negative. What sounds like violin around 8 minutes. Another clean guitar/non-growled vocal part. Sounds like some keyboards before it goes into Tool like drumming. A short spoken word section with great guitar playing. More fast sh*t and growling. After 13 minutes great bass with those Tool style drums again with some good mini-soloing from guitar. More fast sh*t and screaming.

Nice thrash groove around 15 minutes. Really love the drumming before just before 23 minutes. Type O Negative style vocals come back. The riff starting before 25 minutes sounds like a Type O riff. More fast sh*t. More clean guitar stuff with some very alterna-rock type vocals (think Creed). A decent guitar solo at one point. I like the echoed/delayed/chorused/whatever guitar parts although you only briefly hear them once in awhile. More fast sh*t. The music stops after 32 minutes or so and then you hear a great a cappella part with studio altered vocals. This album needed more unpredictable parts like that. You know what follows that part? More fast sh*t. The Type O riff from earlier starts to get played slower and slower. This leads to the conclusion of the piece which features some good symphonic keyboards. A little more spoken word. Ends with the growling and heavy riffs of the beginning.

I don't really care for the beginning and ending of the album; starts and ends too abrupt for my tastes. I like the album cover although I'm not exactly sure what it is. There is nothing here that wasn't already being done by at least 1992. Nothing very original but a consistent metal album from the 1990s. Of interest to prog fans but nothing essential. Not as great as I originally expected but after several listens I certainly enjoyed it more than the first listen. My final verdict will be 3 stars.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
5 stars I am one of those who didn't really like this upon first listen. I had the hardest time without some kind of intro build up to something grander. This simply starts out as simple death metal and THEN takes you on a journey once you've had a little time to get into the groove of the whole thing. Damn. I hate being manipulated but EDGE OF SANITY managed to do it with this release. Despite not loving this upon first spin, I was drawn back. Driven to get this MF it finally happened one night. I got it. And once I did, OMG! OK. I get it now. I succumb to the insidious charm that this album has. Now I love it and recognize it for its beauty. It's weird how certain vocalists even within the growly death metal arena just don't do it for ya. Well Dan Swan' has been one of those vocalists for me, so it took more than the recommended time for to adjust to his. But after I did..... pure magic. Now I can say I love this album and recognize it for the masterpiece it truly is.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Crimson is quite ambitious, a 40-minute epic that tells an apocalyptic story in which humanity can no longer reproduce, when i heard it for the first time, i was amazed and heard more times, honestly? this is still one of the best death metal projects ever released, everything here is ex ... (read more)

Report this review (#2965062) | Posted by theaqua | Saturday, October 28, 2023 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Review #111! 'Crimson' is a great prog metal epic/album full of heavy guitar riffs and the occasional groovy, spacey interlude. Musically, this album is close to, if not perfect, but the vocals not so much. I am used to the tones of metal singers like Ozzy Osbourne, but I always took de ... (read more)

Report this review (#2928869) | Posted by Boi_da_boi_124 | Sunday, May 28, 2023 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Maybe the most ambitious death-metal album at least in concept, it also features cohesive songwriting, a number of styles ranging from mellow acoustic a la Opeth towards the sinister death metal. Akerfeldt's growling is another winning argument, his vocals are already at this point better than ... (read more)

Report this review (#2895784) | Posted by sgtpepper | Thursday, March 2, 2023 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I'm quite happy to see this album in here, considering how important it is to the progressive death metal movement. It's also quite understandable to see this is the only popular Edge Of Sanity album in here, because in my opinion it's their only good one. Edge Of Sanity started as your typical d ... (read more)

Report this review (#2673986) | Posted by Nhelv | Wednesday, January 19, 2022 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Edge Of Sanity - Crimson Widely touted as a masterpiece, Crimson is Edge Of Sanity's cornerstone in their discography. It is also one of the most influential metal records of all time. It consists of one single forty minute track, divided across eight movements. This album can definitely be inacc ... (read more)

Report this review (#2596282) | Posted by Maw The Void | Thursday, September 23, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Don't like this band, but this is one of the most influential records of its genre. It was one of the first to blend death metal with progressive rock, and manage melodic death metal. The most noticeable fact is that the entire album is just the title track. This forty minute track goes from raw dea ... (read more)

Report this review (#2592033) | Posted by Ian McGregor | Friday, September 3, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This record is objectively five stars, it's an essential record for death metal and it completely changed the way people looked at death metal. A new ocean of possibilities opened for metal, the capability of merging the crushing riffs and brutal growls of death metal with the soft vocals and acoust ... (read more)

Report this review (#2582046) | Posted by Isaac Peretz | Thursday, July 29, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album is basically Opeth's dad. It features the main acoustic and soft sections combined with the heavy death metal all around the album. The title track and single song is split into eight movements, telling the story of a dying society where people can't have children anymore. This is the ... (read more)

Report this review (#2581934) | Posted by King Brimstone | Wednesday, July 28, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars "Woah that song is forty minutes long!" the album. That was what I always thought about this album until I listened it. Edge Of Sanity is a pretty obscure band, and I wouldn't really say that their discography is as strong as the one from other Tech Metal acts like Opeth or Death, but this al ... (read more)

Report this review (#2580948) | Posted by Gorgut Muncher | Friday, July 23, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars As a lover of both prog metal and Swedish metal, I really enjoyed this album. I approached this album with a prog metal mindset rather than a death metal mindset, and what I got in terms of progressive was very impressive. The album is just one long 40 minute song that is a treat to listen to. It ha ... (read more)

Report this review (#2431561) | Posted by progtime1234567 | Thursday, July 23, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Crimson is considered Edge of Sanity's crowning achievement, masterpiece, finest work, etc. And even if you don't think that it's amazing, you have to admit that it's an ambitious move: one forty-minute conceptual song, with a push towards a more progressive style. While it's a good song and it' ... (read more)

Report this review (#1733644) | Posted by Insin | Wednesday, June 14, 2017 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The Technical Death Lusíadas: 10/10 I had to do a seven-hours-trip, and to pass time, what better than listen to a bunch of brand new songs? However, as I did so, I kept asking to myself... am I enjoying this? Why am I listening to this song? Why don't I skip? Should I just leave it on the ba ... (read more)

Report this review (#1690182) | Posted by Luqueasaur | Wednesday, February 8, 2017 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Edge Of Sanity's 'Crimson' is an album which gets a lot of love from the metal community, and I'm pleased to see it gets plenty of love on prog archives as well! Well, this review isn't going to change that in the slightest. I still remember the day I first heard 'Crimson', I was totally blown ... (read more)

Report this review (#1434749) | Posted by AndyJ | Saturday, July 4, 2015 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Crimson - a single 40-minute song - is acclaimed as the proggiest that death metal goes, certainly by the time it was released in 1996. It sounds surprisingly coherent, but I like to think of it not as a composition - there is little of advanced compositional technique to speak of - but rather a ... (read more)

Report this review (#1289550) | Posted by Progrussia | Thursday, October 9, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is an album (or song) that from the very second you press play, you never want to press the stop button. With Dan Swanö's thunderous opening line of "Another sky is young", you are immediately gripped and transported to another world (which happens to be on the brink of destruction as you witne ... (read more)

Report this review (#1065871) | Posted by Codera the Great | Thursday, October 24, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I am not a fan of death metal vocals, having listened to the sequel of this masterpiece I realised how light going this actually is in comparison. I actually could understand the lyrics, which helped no end. I've run this about 50 times through the player and I still listen to it the whole way ... (read more)

Report this review (#539896) | Posted by Renkls | Sunday, October 2, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars For the king had shown them it could be done when his woman gave birth to the sacred one. Hail the King of death metal, Dan Swanö. I've waited a long time to review this album, since it was so complex, with its neat structures, changes in genre, and overall greatness. Crimson is one of, if not ... (read more)

Report this review (#403469) | Posted by The Block | Saturday, February 19, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Fantastic album!One of my favorite albums.Extreme prog metal at its best!This album contains only one song(40 minutes).The members are:Dan Swano:Guitars,keyboards,clean and death metal vocals,Andreas Axelsson:Guitar,Sami Nerberg:Guitar,Anders Lindberg:Bass guitar,Benny Larsson:Drums and Inspirati ... (read more)

Report this review (#387475) | Posted by Prog Geo | Thursday, January 27, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is a very good album. It is perhaps the most adventurous and experimental death metal record I have listened to. One of my favorite parts of the album is the story. The story, about a dying Earth and it's last inhabitants and a queen hellbent on domination and destruction, is very well writte ... (read more)

Report this review (#217650) | Posted by spookytooth | Saturday, May 23, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars She was born to rule these desert lands... One of the best death metal albums I have ever heard, hands down. This epic release by Edge of Sanity is simply astounding. So much interesting, diverse, and unique material within this 40 minute opus, I could barely believe it on my first listen. (or ... (read more)

Report this review (#212012) | Posted by Alitare | Tuesday, April 21, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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