Edge of Sanity "Crimson" CDPosted on Friday, May 22nd, 2009 @ 12:46am » permalink
I can't believe I've never written about this album before, as Edge of Sanity's "Crimson" is one of my favorite metal records of all time, and without a doubt one of those albums that – though loved by many – really does deserve a great deal more accolades. I can't really recall how I came to discover "Crimson", but I remember buying it off eBay sometime in the late-90's, and hearing this record is almost certainly what gave birth to my complete and total worship of musical genius Dan Swanö. Mikael Åkerfeldt from Opeth does make a guest appearance here, doing some vocals and lead guitars, so I bet that's what initially led me to pick it up, as Opeth was among my favorites at the time. Whatever the case, released in 1996 on Black Mark Productions, "Crimson" was the incredibly ambitious fifth full-length from Sweden's Edge of Sanity: One single song running 40 minutes. No track separations, nothing. One song. And it's an absolute masterpiece of progressive, melodic death metal from start to finish. You'd absolutely expect such an effort to get a little dull at moments, but it never happens. Not once. It's so good, I bought every Edge of Sanity album right after hearing it, and I can state with absolute conviction that, no matter what anyone else says, this album utterly demolishes every other contribution to the band's discography with ease.
In addition to loads of top-notch "melodic Swedish death metal" that doesn't really sound like what "melodic Swedish death metal" has come to represent are some of the most beautiful, haunting clean passages you'll ever hear; superbly moving lead work; occasional spurts of harsh, dissonant, borderline chaotic wails of tremolo picking and blasting percussion; and sparse fits of slow, sludgy doom riffs – not to mention Swanö's impeccable singing (and his/Åkerfeldt's harsh growls to boot). The lyrics tell a story, and the arrangements of the riffs follow suit, occasionally returning to variations (or literal revisitations) of earlier riffs throughout the piece, so in addition to the outright diversity, there are quite a few subtleties at work beneath the surface as well. So, while I don't give two shits about "fantasy" lyrics, the delivery of the material is so fucking powerful here that the lyrical content doesn't even matter, 'cause at its best, there's so much force and feeling present that it, well… it just kicks ass. Seriously, I can't think of any other album that urges the listener to headbang, fist pump, sing along, play air guitar, and feel some sort of emotional gut reaction – separately or all at once!
Seriously, this shit absolutely defines "epic". The fusion of death metal and melody on "Crimson" operates in an entirely different realm than any other band I've ever heard, and the best of the best riffs herein are, simply put, among the finest riffs I've ever heard in my life. Period. I'm not exaggerating. I've been flipping out over these riffs for at least a decade now, and the overall songwriting talent present is totally mindblowing. I mean, 40 fucking minutes! One song! And it's somehow one of the greatest songs in the history of all living things!?
I could gush about this for hours, but that's just scratching the surface, and none of it matters in the end. Just listen to these excerpts for yourself, and buy this CD immediately if you don't already have it. Every metal collection is incomplete without it!
Thankfully, unlike some of Black Mark's other old classics, "Crimson" is still relatively easy to come by – digitally or as a physical CD – so… like I said, this is absolutely mandatory for any metal fan. So good.