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EDGE OF SANITY

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal • Sweden


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Edge of Sanity picture
Edge of Sanity biography
Originally started as a fairly straightforward Swedish death metal band, Edge of Sanity's first few albums gained them a following in metal circles. They gradually began to encorporate progressive influences into their music, thanks primarily to frontman Dan Swano (a veteran of neo-proggers Unicorn, and eventual founder of the more straightforward prog-metal outfit Nightingale), hitting their peak with 1996's Crimson.

The epic concept album consisted of one 40 minute song, and is widely regarded as the band's greatest accomplishment. They started to fall apart shortly after though, with internal conflict arising over the band's new direction. Swano wanted to move further into prog while the other band members wanted a return to the group's death metal roots.

The album resulting from this conflict was Infernal, which consisted half of more melodic, proggy songs by Swano, and half of straightforward melodic death metal songs by the rest of the band. Swano left shortly after, and was replaced by Robert Karlsson for 1997's Cryptic. Shortly after, the band broke up.

In 2003, Swano revived the Edge of Sanity name for Crimson II, a solo album of his (featuring a handful of guests, including Clive Nolan).

See also:

- Another Life
- Dan Swäno
- Godsend
- Karaboudjan
- Nightingale
- Odyssey
- Pan.Thy.Monium
- Route Nine
- Unicorn



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The Spectral SorrowThe Spectral Sorrow
Caroline 2010
Audio CD$9.91
$9.09 (used)
Nothing But Death RemainsNothing But Death Remains
Caroline 2010
Audio CD$8.73
$15.99 (used)
Crimson IICrimson II
Caroline 2010
Audio CD$9.40
$11.99 (used)
CrimsonCrimson
Plastic Head Distribution 2015
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UnorthodoxUnorthodox
Import
Caroline 2010
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Purgatory AfterglowPurgatory Afterglow
Caroline 2010
Audio CD$7.97
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When All Is SaidWhen All Is Said
Import
Black Mark Germany 2008
Audio CD$74.99 (used)
EvolutionEvolution
Black Mark Germany 2003
Audio CD$14.97
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InfernalInfernal
Import
Black Mark Germany 2006
Audio CD$9.53
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Kur-Nu-Gi-AKur-Nu-Gi-A
Import
Black Mark Germany 2012
Audio CD$9.46
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EDGE OF SANITY discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

EDGE OF SANITY top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.06 | 28 ratings
Nothing But Death Remains
1991
3.56 | 38 ratings
Unorthodox
1992
3.54 | 37 ratings
Spectral Sorrows
1993
3.82 | 73 ratings
Purgatory Afterglow
1994
4.27 | 409 ratings
Crimson
1996
2.76 | 28 ratings
Infernal
1997
2.03 | 29 ratings
Cryptic
1997
3.66 | 92 ratings
Crimson II
2003

EDGE OF SANITY Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

EDGE OF SANITY Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

EDGE OF SANITY Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.17 | 5 ratings
Evolution
1999
4.13 | 5 ratings
When All is Said
2006
3.00 | 2 ratings
Kur-Nu-Gi-A
2012

EDGE OF SANITY Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Euthanasia
1989
0.00 | 0 ratings
Kur-Nu-Gi-A
1990
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Dead
1990
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Immortal Rehearsals
1990
0.00 | 0 ratings
Dead But Dreaming
1992
3.23 | 7 ratings
Until Eternity Ends
1994

EDGE OF SANITY Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Crimson by EDGE OF SANITY album cover Studio Album, 1996
4.27 | 409 ratings

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Crimson
Edge of Sanity Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Luqueasaur

5 stars STORY ABOUT WHY THIS ALBUM IS GREAT

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 background? Should listening be an active action? Should enjoying be conscious? How do I get immersed?

That's when CRIMSON came in. The music arrived with such passion, quality and timing I listened to the whole forty minutes completely immersed and pleased. It revived on me the amazing feeling that is to enjoy an album thoroughly, to feel delighted, to feel withdrawal and to hear the song's riffs in my mind when I wasn't listening to it, and most importantly, what makes an album truly be worth of five-stars. An album that is just beyond an enjoyment, or a feature of many great songs - an, above everything else, delightful experience.

Now, ending our anecdotal story, let's go to the review.

REVIEW

OPETH receives worldwide acclaim for their successful infusion of progressive elements in the extreme metal genre. Perhaps less known, however not in any way less skillful, stands aside the underrepresented (but luckily not underestimated) Nordic prog death princes of EDGE OF SANITY.

CRIMSON, their fifth record, is the moment the band reached their progressive epitome. Featuring a wide array of diverse and unconventional stylistic, structural and instrumental arrangements, EDGE brings a highly eclectic death metal record.

Featuring Mikael Akerfeldt - a proof the Swedish pioneers are quite friendly among themselves - on the vocals and lead guitar, surprisingly, the guttural singing is not as flawless as one would expect in, say, an OPETH album. It's not bad, not even close, it is merely raw. This doesn't mean anything as there are countless vocal techniques employed here, both clean and not. Mikael and Dan Swano (band frontman) ranges from prophetic corals to deadly groaning, which fits the song's atmosphere nicely. Speaking of which, it has nothing to do with a violent bloodbath linked to the image of typical death metal (although prog death seldom resembles their plebby, needlessly vicious counterpart). Instead, the atmosphere is melodic, aggressive, vivid and rather epic.

Instrumental wise, one would praise the powerful guitar and its constant changes and variety of riffs and bridges and solos. There are acoustic parts, ecstatic thrashy pieces and crushing/melodic riffs. I mean it when I say there are A LOT of riffs, some of which are played a couple of times but the vast being one-timers. In fact, the album is constantly changing - but always keeping in its core a moderate death metal tonality.

There's a reason why the song is so varied, though. It is due to the story being told. The lyrics speak an epic story about a post-apocalyptic world where humans have lost the capability of breeding, yet miraculously the emperor's wife gave birth a girl, who is the chosen one - assuming humans can't breed, she HAS to be a godsend. The frail hopes of humanity's perpetuation, always on check, supposes it has own. But the question brought is... is she daughter of which god, the good or evil one? Will she bring humanity life or end its fragile existence?

Surprisingly, the plot and narrative are extremely accomplished and captivating. I would've never expected such a poetic, beautiful tale written by a death metal band, that would stereotypically focus on all that is brutal and coarse. It's absolutely spectacular how delicately crafted each verse is, with both internal and external rhymes that smoothly intersects different bars. Think of rap's lyrics king' creations and apply a deadly metallic sonority to understand CRIMSON's accomplishment. I am NOT a lyrics person, but I can't not attest that reading the lyrics while listening to the song enhances the experience infinitely.

In the end, CRIMSON is the type of album which you would have to listen several times to asborb each beautiful lyrical or instrumental detail, each nuance and peculiarity, each odd time signature and each uncommon structural feature. And most importantly, it's the type of album you would listen again and again, forever and ever, always wondering when will you find such a superb album again.

... and also what the hell did the last line infer. I mean, seriously...

10/10

 Spectral Sorrows by EDGE OF SANITY album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.54 | 37 ratings

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Spectral Sorrows
Edge of Sanity Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars "The Spectral Sorrows" could have been subtitled "We Weren't Kidding With The Last Album's Title", because if the previous release from Edge of Sanity was Unorthodox, this album well and truly embodies that idea. Though it continues the band's development of their own style of technically-inclined melodic death metal, it also includes a number of songs where the band members indulge their appreciation of other musical styles. Andreas Axelsson gets to take lead vocals on the thrashy Feedin' the Charlatan, for instance, whilst Dan Swanö indulges his taste for gothic rock (which would see further flowering on his Nightingale side project) on Sacrificed, which may be the best Sisters of Mercy pastiche out there.

The poster boy for the band's willingness to defy metal orthodoxy, however, has to be their decision to cover Manowar's Blood of My Enemies. At a time when the consensus among extreme metal fans was that Manowar were a total embarrassment and the living exemplars of everything cheesy about more traditional metal styles, Edge of Sanity manage to turn out a version of the song which adeptly twists it so that it fits their death metal aesthetic.

Well-produced, diverse, and with the band making a virtue of their divergent musical and artistic ideas rather than allowing those to be a bone of contention, this might be the best Edge of Sanity album aside from Crimson.

 Crimson II by EDGE OF SANITY album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.66 | 92 ratings

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Crimson II
Edge of Sanity Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by AndyJ

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!

 Crimson by EDGE OF SANITY album cover Studio Album, 1996
4.27 | 409 ratings

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Crimson
Edge of Sanity Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by AndyJ

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 away by what I heard. At the time I had just discovered Opeth and their album 'Morningrise', and I can remember searching for other bands with a similar style to that record. It was by chance I came across this album and this band. A death metal record with a single 40-minute song just seemed to good to be true!

But let me tell you something - this album deserves all of the hype it receives. Before I talk in detail about the music I feel its important to put this album into its chronological context. This was released in 1996 - there were very few experimental death metal bands around in the mid-90's, and certainly none with the audacity to write a single 40-minute extreme metal opera! If 'Crimson' were released today it would go down as a good, but not a particularly inspired album. But twenty years ago this was utterly ground-breaking - and its all down to one man, probably the most underrated and unappreciated musician in heavy metal, Mr Dan Swano.

So what makes 'Crimson' so good? I think there are four ingredients which combine to make this a classic record;

The riffs - there is no getting away from it, there are some brilliant metal riffs on this album - they are crunchy, at times melodic and most importantly varied.

The structure - this single 40-minute song is very progressive, there are lots of dynamic breaks, varied sections, soft and heavy parts and it feels unified and consistent throughout.

The story - this is a concept album, and a fun one at that! I'll leave you to read the lyrics, but when Dan Swano opens up the start of the album with the guttural shouting "Another sky is young... Another frozen future has passed" you get excited at the prospect of the rest of the music to come!

The atmosphere - this is one of those albums where I love the production and the slight muddiness of the recording; it feels dirty and full of grime, and in that way it fits the story wonderfully!

Something which might interest readers who aren't familiar with Edge Of Sanity is the contribution a certain Mikael Akerfeldt had on this album, who plays guitar solos and adds some of the clean vocals found in this record. In many ways Opeth's 'Morningrise' and Edge Of Sanity's 'Crimson' are peas in a pod. Both released in 1996. Both Swedish origin. And most obviously both lead musicians in each band were friends with each other. There are a lot of similarities between 'Crimson' and 'Morningrise', but I would say that 'Crimson' is harder-edged and a bit more savage than 'Morningrise'.

Before I give this album a rating I just want to mention Dan Swano again. I've always felt that this guy doesn't get the half the respect or appreciation he should be due. He has contributed so much to the progressive metal scene, and not just as a musician or composer, but also as a producer. The poor guy still works in his brothers record store. Okay, he probably likes working in his brothers record store, but so few people in the "metal community" have heard of Swano. I've always considered it somewhat of an injustice.

Anyway, I'll get off my fan-boy pedestal before I fall off and give this album a very obvious and predictable rating... 5 stars - can't go wrong with this and like a fine wine its aged very well indeed over time!

 Cryptic by EDGE OF SANITY album cover Studio Album, 1997
2.03 | 29 ratings

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Cryptic
Edge of Sanity Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Insin

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.

 Crimson II by EDGE OF SANITY album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.66 | 92 ratings

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Crimson II
Edge of Sanity Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Progrussia

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.

 Crimson by EDGE OF SANITY album cover Studio Album, 1996
4.27 | 409 ratings

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Crimson
Edge of Sanity Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Progrussia

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 as a story set to continuous stream of music. Opeth's Mikael Akerfeldt was involved, and it shows - it's the familiar for fans of Opeth's mid-period formula of death metal interspersed with calm breaks and more traditional thrash and power metal moments. It's actually fairly accessible and melodic by death metal standards. But I still think it's overrated. It's no Opeth. Calmer breaks are mostly just what they are - breaks, not countermelodies. Production and clean singing is weak - and I'm sick of the excuse that's its weak because it's supposed to convey a theme that is bleak. Opeth's Ghost Reveries production - now that kicks some serious behind.
 Purgatory Afterglow by EDGE OF SANITY album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.82 | 73 ratings

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Purgatory Afterglow
Edge of Sanity Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by LSDisease

4 stars I used to like Swedish death metal of the early 90's but still prefered American or even British (Carcass) metal brutality. And then Edge Of Sanity released this album. They did it when I wasn't into such music anymore or should I say I was more into classical metal and prog rock. This is a bit of surprise as it starts like some kind of AOR stuff with clean vocals and keyboards in the background. After that intro Twilight turns into typical death metal tune but the most important thing is, it's still melodic death metal. That pattern with clean and growling vocals is also used in Blood-Colored as it's heavy metal + death metal song. Black Tears is sung with clean vocals in its entirety however it's very short tune. Velvet Dreams is my fav on the album, it's melodic death metal with great guitar harmonies. To sum it up, Purgatory Afterglow is a major step toward more sophisticated metal than the one band presented before. It's still brutal but at some points it turns into another direction, more classical metal filled with passion and nostalgia. Unleashed or Dismember didn't want to explore these territories leaving them to Edge Of Sanity. And they absolutely made it.
 Crimson by EDGE OF SANITY album cover Studio Album, 1996
4.27 | 409 ratings

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Crimson
Edge of Sanity Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

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.
 Crimson by EDGE OF SANITY album cover Studio Album, 1996
4.27 | 409 ratings

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Crimson
Edge of Sanity Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Codera the Great

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 witness the events before you). The music, lyrics, and overall concept paint such a beautiful image of this futuristic dystopia, where the daughter of a King leads a successful coup attempt against him, and eventually becomes ruler herself, only to be captured and imprisoned in crimson fluid (as you see on the cover). The performances all-around are top-notch and the intensity does not let up, even Mikael Åkerfeldt from Opeth makes a guest appearance here and displays one of his all-time best harsh vocal performances alongside Dan Swanö's equally powerful roars. This is simply a must have for fans of progressive music and old school death metal in general. One of my personal favorite albums in any genre of all time.
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