Edge of Sanity - Crimson
Black Mark
Epic Melodic Death Metal
1 songs (40'00")
Release year: 1996
Edge of Sanity, Black Mark
Reviewed by Dan
Archive review
While not being exactly an overlooked album, largely receiving its deserved share of praise from the Metal community since its release back in 1996, today Crimson seems to be a largely forgotten gem of an album. That is why your reviewer will humbly try to bring it back to life in the next few paragraphs. To make a long story short, Crimson is a conceptual album embodied in a 40 minutes long song by the once prominent Swedish Death Metal outfit Edge of Sanity lead by the talented and multi-faced musician who is Dan Swanö. Nowadays you are most likely to encounter Dan Swanö in the progressive rock band Nightingale or reviving old school Swedish Death Metal in the all-star band Bloodbath, but back then in the 90’s this man was cracking wide open the boundaries of Metal music in a totally different manner.

Reviewing Crimson is a difficult job, therefore your reviewer will try to make his task easier by jumping to an earlier Edge of Sanity album from 1994, Purgatory Afterglow, which is the cornerstone for understanding the sound displayed on Crimson. Therefore please take a short break from reading this review and lend your gentle year to the three following tunes : Twilight, Of Darksome Origin and Black Tears. You will notice the highly distinguishable brand of Death Metal created by Edge of Sanity: brutal old school riffs in the purest tradition of early Swedish bands – think of Entombed - seasoned with an extremely catchy melody delivered by the lead guitar and topped by Swanö’s powerful singing ranging from post-apocalyptic Death grunts to grave and cozy – even reassuring - clean vocals. Now take all these ingredients mixed in three different manners in the aforementioned songs, blend them for 40 minutes on top of a recurring melodic line and you will get the basic idea of what Crimson sounds like.

Now that we scratched the surface, it is time for a deeper incursion into the matter. What is most extraordinary about this album is that it tells a story of epic proportions worthy of Frank Herbert’s Dune in such a condensed and captivating manner that you will not need more than a single breath to capture it all. Your reviewer will keep it intact so it can unravel to you in its entire splendor during your listening experience in the self composed theatre of your bedroom – or whatever listening location you prefer – accompanied by the indispensable libretto of the lyrics. The epic moments of the story are punctuated by musically diverse sections ranging from pure Death Metal to progressive rock accompanied by the corresponding variations in vocal styles, with a deserved kudos for Mikael Akerfeldt’s (Opeth) contribution. Musically the story is told in circles, the starting and ending points of each circle being the same recurring melodic theme. This way the listener is kept from leaping into boredom or sleepwalking, instead he is constantly drawn back to the main thread. After numerous spins your reviewer also noted a subtle classic guitar with an oriental sound that brilliantly enhances the dimension of remote universe in which the story takes place.

Crimson is the kind of album that requires far more than a single listening to be fully grasped. Some parts of it may not have aged very well, mainly the rhythm section which sort of lacks the power of other Metal productions and may not completely satisfy the modern day Metalhead. But if you manifest the slightest bit of curiosity and musical openness and you’re ready to give it the time needed – at least 40 uninterrupted minutes of your time – then go for it without any hesitation.
Killing Songs :
Dan quoted 99 / 100
Other albums by Edge of Sanity that we have reviewed:
Edge of Sanity - Infernal reviewed by Alex and quoted 82 / 100
Edge of Sanity - The Spectral Sorrows reviewed by Tony and quoted 91 / 100
Edge of Sanity - Crimson II reviewed by Alex and quoted 91 / 100
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