Edge of Sanity
Crimson


5.0
classic

Review

by Crimson USER (60 Reviews)
July 17th, 2007 | 1048 replies


Release Date: 1996 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Gather every album you would consider classic and leave a space at the end, because Crimson is something that truly deserves to be there

For those of you who don’t know (shame on you), Crimson is forty minute song –not album- that plays through the events of an epic and bleak post-apocalyptic story. It is focused around the concept that ‘the last generations of earth have come to a point where they cannot breed anymore’, but when the queen of the land births a daughter that is presumed a gift from the gods, it sets upon a chain of events which eventually leads to war, death, treachery and misguided faith.

Moving away from the concept, you will find a predominantly death metal centred sound which has plenty of melody and more than enough interesting ideas to give most other established acts a run for their money. Indeed, it is the constant barrage of (often progressive) riffs that forms the base of Edge of Sanity’s sound, and it is always spot on. With the creativity of Dan Swano leading the band, each and every riff sounds as amazing as the last, none are overused, none are out of place and none are even slightly sub-par. Although some riffs are repeated later in the song for emphasis on the story, Dan keeps each one fresh by simply throwing an astounding amount at the listener. No sooner will one melody have finished when a new part of the story begins, a new character introduced, a new event unfolding and bringing with it another atmosphere and style within the story for the band to explore.

This might all get old though if it wasn’t for the other side of Edge of Sanity. The side where Dan could do whatever he wanted (if you haven’t gathered already, Dan Swano was the creative force behind Edge of Sanity) and where he could experiment to best effect. This is where the band introduces acoustic haunting interludes at will, gothic passages, haunting spoken word moments and everything in between. Where Edge of Sanity’s death metal side excels in its constantly inventive riffs, their progressive and experimental side helps break up any monotony, introducing new chapters of the story and developing or enhancing a new atmosphere.

Put these two together, and you have the perfect formula to perform a concept like this. As shown by the beginning, the huge roaring vocals of Dan Swano reflecting the doomed nature of mankind, which is followed by technical and melodic riffs being thrown around in a chaotic manner. It all slows down as the child is conceived, the melodies become more substantial, and the whole atmosphere lightens slightly (Oh what a sight to see / Reborn life / destined for all of eternity) But the music is still crushing, still pounding away at the senses; you can feel that mankind is in celebration. The child is a beacon of hope, a symbol of purity against the darkness of their future, But something below the music is haunting, a melody within a riff, it’s too... intense, too dark, it reflects the child’s true nature and motives. Something you will hear about later in the story. Indeed, the music only truly slows down when the child is actually born. Acoustic guitars are introduced, but they are still serene and haunting, the mother died at birth (The drop of blood from her mouth slowly fell to the ground. The child inside had dried her out. The king’s beloved is no more.)

Edge of Sanity unleash some of their most crushing and brutal material here, to reflect the anger and despair of the king (Anger and hate / Fear and Despair fills up his mind / In search for answers he can’t find / What god would end a life so pure?) It is clear that the king is distraught, crushed and without emotion which is displayed absolutely perfectly here, the melody has gone, it’s nothing but blank, heavy riffing. The only thing that calms the king down is the sight of his daughter’s clear blue eyes...

Of course, every single moment in the story is reflected by the music like this. Be it with the introduction of Mike Akerfeldts (Opeth) demonic vocals at points, or with the use of a psychedelic dream like passage before the final chapter of the story. Edge of Sanity are not afraid to give the story a hidden depth, look beneath the initial impression of the music and relate it to the story and you can find a whole new depth to the album. The fact that the music reflects every hidden emotion in the music is what takes the album to a huge and unbelievable high. Huge breathtaking climaxes are found often in the album, moments of ferocity go hand in hand with beautiful interludes and Dan’s vocals go everywhere. His’s vocals on this album are some of his best ever, his growl is throaty and demands attention, his cleans can be both soft and majestic or sinister and evil. His vocals suit the album perfectly and even if you don’t realise the hidden depth to the music you can at least follow the story as he leads the way, singing the lyrics with tremendous passion and skill.

It also helps that the talent of the musicians playing alongside Swano is phenomenal. The guitarists are perfect throughout, the bassist performs with solidity, shining in the quieter moments and the drummer performs the unsurprisingly hard task of trying to not be outshined too much by the rest of the music. There is also two other musicians that place their talent on the table, Anders Mareby plays the cello, while a name that some of you may know puts forward his exceptional guitar playing skills and vocals. Mike Akerfeldt. His contribution to the record is of the highest quality, and although his vocals only appear for a minute or two at a time, they suit the drama of the story perfectly. Deep, demonic and spat out with venom, he snarls out the most sinister and dark parts of the story with aplomb, in particular, there is a part of the story that he tells so well that it’s unreal, simply put, it’s epic (Liar! / All those who died / with you by their side were denied / access to the higher ground / Betrayal!))

The production in the album isn’t the clearest. Not to say that it is badly recorded, no way, it just reflects the post apocalyptic concept of the world. The guitars bear a slightly fuzzy sound that makes the melodic riffs stand out all the more, while the keyboards provide a foreboding background and occasionally take the forefront. Some would argue that the production could be clearer, but take away the slightly (and it is only slightly after all) less than crystalline production and you would be taking away most of the atmosphere.

I can’t stress enough that to get the best out of this album you need to read the story along with it. One of the most vital parts about the record is the representation of the concept and it’s different meanings, listening to this album without the story is like watching a movie without the sound, sure, you can see all the explosions and witness all the tears; but you never really know why they’re happening. It also makes one of the largest flaws about the album, the length, near obsolete. For those that simply do not enjoy overly long songs this album might seem like a huge turn off, but as you read the story, you will want to get to the next part of the song, want to hear how it turns out. If the foreboding lyrics hint at another war or confrontation, then you sure as hell don’t want to miss how that plays out in music. Moments like when the sacred daughter takes the crown (Hail! / Hail the queen / Ruling supreme / She is queen alone / In the human zone / dethroned the king unpure) And the simply breathtaking climax of the entire story (They found a way to blind her / And it could cost some lives / They must seal the entry / From where all evil derives) are represented in a simply stunning fashion by the music. It is this depiction of the story that stops the music from becoming stale and keeps the listener interested.

This is one of those very, very few albums that truly deserves the acclaim that it gets. Not only is it a genuinely unique concept and idea, the music that comes with it is inventive and impressive. The poetic but still understandable nature of the lyrics is perfect. The atmosphere is perfect. And what could have been a pretentious attempt at grandeur is instead one of the most well executed releases ever (and I mean that literally), gather every album you would consider classic and leave a space at the end, because Crimson is something that truly deserves to be there.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Otisbum
July 17th 2007


1912 Comments


Pretty solid review, but little things like this bug me a bit:

I talked about...
To me, these parts make it seem like you're giving a lecture rather than writing a review. You might want to not include yourself in reviews so often, if you get what I'm saying.

Still, great review. You've got my vote.This Message Edited On 07.17.07

Hatshepsut
July 17th 2007


1997 Comments


It's best not to include yourself in much of what you write, especially a review like this or a paper or something. Avoid it as much as possible unless you must, like in a paper about yourself or something.
But yeah, it's a good review.
When I listen to this kind of metal, I kinda get into it for weeks at a time, then stop for months. This review makes me wanna listen to it. That, and there's Akerfeldt in the credits.

Crimson
July 17th 2007


1935 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Sorry and thanks for the constructive advice, it's appreciated!

kalkal50
July 17th 2007


2386 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Decent review. You're not supposed to put the bio in the tracklist.

Crimson
July 17th 2007


1935 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Also, I've edited it a bit to include a bit more as I though it was short at the beginning.

I've also changed the bit you two didn't like

Crimson
July 17th 2007


1935 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

@Kalka50, I didn't, that was what it was like to begin with.

How do I change it?This Message Edited On 07.17.07

Hatshepsut
July 17th 2007


1997 Comments


Go to your profile and click Edit my Reviews under your profile picture.

Crimson
July 17th 2007


1935 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Thanks

Willie
Moderator
July 17th 2007


16048 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

I've heard nothing but good things about the projects Dan Swano has been attached to... this has convinced me to check them out when I get off work.

Digging: Skrew - Universal Immolation

Crimson
July 17th 2007


1935 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

You won't regret it :D

TheHamburgerman
July 17th 2007


1297 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

hehe, i already thought 'when does crimson review edge of sanity" and here it is! i'm now going to read it.

EDIT: 't was a nice review, but I think you should try something more about the story, as it is a very important part of the album.

I agree, this song is godly, and even though its length, it is so easy to listen to it.This Message Edited On 07.17.07

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
July 17th 2007


16433 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album is one 40 minute song?!?!?! O_o

Digging: Swallowed - Lunarterial

TheHamburgerman
July 17th 2007


1297 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, but it feels like a 10 minute song.

Foodforthegods
July 17th 2007


425 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this album is one of the best swedish release. Hail Swanö and Akerfeldt!!!This Message Edited On 07.17.07

Brain Dead
July 17th 2007


1150 Comments


Holy fuck, I can't believe nobody had reviewed this yet. Dan Swano is virtually unknown here.

rattlehead42147
July 17th 2007


1345 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

good review, i'm downloading this now.
i had never heard of this until now.This Message Edited On 07.17.07

Confessed2005
July 18th 2007


3314 Comments


This sounds pretty bloody amazing. I think I shall be checking this out in the near future. Nice review, got my vote.

kalkal50
July 18th 2007


2386 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

woah 40 minute song I'm checking this out

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
July 18th 2007


16433 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Just got this.... its amazing, I've never heard anything quite like it.

FR33L0RD
July 18th 2007


1464 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Excellent Album for an underrated superb Melo Death band



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