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Edge Of Sanity - Crimson CD (album) cover

CRIMSON

Edge Of Sanity

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.23 | 457 ratings

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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!

AndyJ | 5/5 |

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