Review Summary: Dan Swano's opus. He proves why he is the best artist in the history of metal.
For the past two years, death metal has been a very hit or miss genre with me. I think most of you remember my None So Vile review in the summer of 2008 (last time it’s going to get mentioned.) Well I eventually listened to it a few more times and I appreciated it to some extent. In the beginning of this two year journey throughout the various sub-genres of death metal, a good old friend of this site Crimson introduced me to the album of the same name from a group known as Edge of Sanity. At first a 40 minute song sounded ridiculous and seemed like this group was trying too hard with writing music. The first time was a chore to get through, but there were bits and pieces of the song that were pretty amazing. After a few more listens the thing grew on me and Crimson became one of my favorite albums at that time. Shortly after, I found out about the sequel of Crimson, obviously known as Crimson II. This basically was one song, but it’s been divided into nine, or in some cases forty-three, parts. One listen through Crimson II and I came out saying “This is one of the greatest albums ever!”
Two years later, and numerous listens to the “preeminent” death metal albums that have been discussed through the ages, I can firmly say this is the best death metal album ever!
, and one of the best albums ever made as well.
What separates this album from the None So Vile’s, Blackwater Park’s, and The Jester Race’s of the world? Everything does quite frankly. The melodies are so intricately placed, the vocals are so well executed, and the keyboard blends into the harmonizing guitars perfectly. The Forbidden Words
starts off this masterpiece with a nice atmospheric tone but explodes into metal heaven with brutal riffs and excellent growls. For the next 40 minutes this never lets up either. Incantation
starts with a riff that will definitely get stuck in your heads for weeks. The catchiness mixed with the brutality is just phenomenal for the genre.
Interestingly enough this album isn’t all out balls to the wall death metal. This has a very progressive feel to it too, especially in the solos (one of which will be discussed later.) The middle of Passage of Time
gets all spacey and proggy after four minutes of baby kicking metal. Dan Swano, who will also be discussed later, shows his very impressive clean vocals before going back to his signature growls, and ending it with this amazing clean section. The end melody is one of the best things on the album.
Speaking of best things on the album, the final eleven minutes are easily the strongest. The beginning riff of Face to Face
is without a doubt the greatest riff ever written. People always talk about face melting, baby blasting, and nun punching riffs, but this, people of Sputnik, is the Günther of riffs. Basically nothing is sexier, nothing portrays more emotion, and dammit nothing is better than this riff. Oh, the rest of this section rules pretty hard too. After witnessing the brilliance of that, Disintegration
are more than worthy to finish off the story being told here. Disintegration
does the opposite of Passage of Time
and gets all spacey before ripping your face off. Aftermath
begins with this gorgeous solo that comes out of nowhere. The transition from songs made my mouth drop the first time I heard it. After a minute of the same exact section that started in The Forbidden Word
, Swano finishes this masterpiece with his clean croon and a soulful guitar solo.
Crimson II is definitely one of my top three albums of all time because of all the musical variety within it; it has brutality, melody, and just it is just plain epic. What makes this more spectacular is that after Edge of Sanity broke up after recording Cryptic without Swano, he reformed the band by himself to record this album. Every solo, riff, synth, bass line, and drum section was written by this man. That in itself was unbelievable, but to follow it up with producing one of the best albums ever truly shows Dan Swano’s talents. I whole heatedly recommend this to anyone who is a fan of not only death metal, but metal in general. Have lyrics to both Crimson’s and listen to the original first because the storyline of these songs are pretty amazing too. Lastly, if you have about eighty minutes to spare, listen to both of them back to back. I’ve done it once and I am better because of it.