Edge Of Sanity is a band which I really think doesn’t get the credit it deserves. Yes, Dan Swano was in this band, but other than that there is really no reason why anyone really references this band. Even for me, it was well into my tenure of listening to metal before I had even heard of this band, let alone listen to anything by them. It was with their album Crimson
that I was introduced to their unique kind of progressive death metal, which has many nods toward the Gothenburg melodic death metal scene. However, the 40 minute, one song album kind of threw me off and didn’t serve as a good introduction to the band, mainly because I didn’t really get it. It was when I heard Purgatory Afterglow
that my interest in this band really started to peak. After many listens to Purgatory Afterglow
, I went back to Crimson
and was really able to understand Edge Of Sanity’s style a lot better, and how their frequent riff changing and vocal style all melted together in the music. It wasn’t until many months after I had first listened to the band that I was able to get my hands on their first album, the very death metal oriented Nothing But Death Remains
Nothing But Death Remains
is a much more raw and primal album than anything else this band has made. It takes away the harmony of the guitars and thrusts in a slower, heavier and more crushing tone to the riffs and vocals alike. The album is, basically, a death metal album, nothing progressive or melodic about it at all. This came as quite a shock, and it took a while to really dissect the album and get through it with a fine-toothed comb to pick out all the details, because it is a much more difficult album to listen through in one sitting. Maybe that’s how I am with death metal, maybe it’s just the album and how it was written and produced, but it seems to be a much less welcoming album, which is why, like their later album Crimson
, it is a much more difficult album to start off with for this band.
The album is short, straight-forward, brutal, and right to the point. Things start off with a bit of symphonic elements to introduce “Tales…” but after that the album is nothing but death metal. The sound really, really brings to mind the way Dark Tranquillity sounded on Skydancer
and before, so if you have heard any of their really early work you will get a good idea what Nothing But Death Remains
sound like. The parts which are not as crushing and more slow and coherent really show this similarity, such as the part around five minutes into “Tales…” which made me honestly think I was listening to a Dark Tranquillity song. The riff is melodic considering the others which litter the album, and to vocals are really deep and guttural, and stay that way throughout the play time.
The production emphasizes how heavy and raw the album is, and you are easily able to pick out that fact that this album is Edge Of Sanity’s first full-length album. There are songs like “Decepted By The Cross” which take shots at Christianity, bringing to mind the beliefs of many other death metal bands of the time and even the Norwegian black metal scene which was at its height in 1991, when this album was released. Also, we have your typical, no-frills death metal tracks like “Angel Of Distress” and “The Dead” which are far from original and are usually tracks which would be labeled as ones to skip right by.
It’s in this sense of monotony and that “I’ve heard this song before…” type mentality which really weighs down Nothing But Death Remains
. It isn’t the album to showcase what Edge Of Sanity is capable of doing, and is more of a lackluster debut just to get their name out there. It isn’t really until 1993’s The Spectral Sorrows
when Edge Of Sanity brings out their more creative side and utilize that excellent songwriting ability which Dan Swano is capable of. An album which sounds the same through much of it’s playing time isn’t one to make a lasting impression, which is probably why Nothing But Death Remains
goes overlooked even by the fans of Edge Of Sanity, because it sound so drastically different from their other material.
I recommend Nothing But Death Remains
for listeners who are already fans of the band, but for those who are looking to get into this band, this would be the last album I would recommend. It isn’t even close to the classics like Crimson
and Purgatory Afterglow
, and the majestic guitar riffs and far-off clean vocals are still a ways off. It is a decent death metal album, with a couple tracks that stand out above the rest, but all in all this is only a half-painted picture of what Edge Of Sanity is and the type of music that they play.