Our top ten Edge of Sanity songs list looks at the work of a Swedish death metal band who are regarded as one of the first bands in Sweden to fuse the genre with progressive rock along with Opeth. They were first formed in 1989 and split up in 2003. They released their debut album Nothing But Death Remains in 1991. Their second album Unorthodox released the following year saw them embracing more progressive elements. The next few albums that they released saw them firmly established as a progressive metal band.
Their 1996 album Crimson was a one track concept album with its lyrics dealing with the idea of a dystopian future where the human race its nearing its end due to its loss of the ability to breed. After their next album founding member Dan Swano left the band and it is from that point that the band’s material is generally considered to have declined in quality. After the release of one more album the band officially announced their split.
In 2003 Swano briefly revived Edge of Sanity as a one man project and recorded a sequel album to Crimson titled Crimson 2. However, this was short lived and since then Edge of Sanity has remained defunct. Here is a list of their ten best songs.
# 10 – Until Eternity Ends
Kicking off our Edge of Sanity songs list is the title track of the band’s one and only EP released in 1994. In addition to this and two other original songs, the EP also features a cover of “Invisible Sun” by The Police. The songs on this EP were not included on any of the band’s full length albums and they were released on this EP because the band did not feel that they fitted in with the songs that were recording for their next album.
# 9 – The Forbidden Words
Our next track is from the final Edge Of Sanity album Crimson 2 released in 2003 that is a conceptual sequel to Crimson released in 1996. The album is only classed as an Edge Of Sanity album due to being released under the name, with Dan Swano being the only original member to be featured on it.
# 8 – Hell Written
This song is the opening track of the band’s seventh album released in 1997 titled Cryptic. This is the only Edge of Sanity album not to feature Dan Swano. In his place is Robert Karlsson who had previously played with Swano in Pan.Thy.Monium. This line-up was short lived and the band would split up after this release.
# 7 – Losing Myself
This track is from the band’s sixth album Infernal released earlier in 1997. This was Dan Swano’s last album with the band before his departure. As previously stated, Swano would record under the name after the band’s dissolvement essentially as a one-man band. His other band Nightingale recorded a cover of this song.
# 6 – Crimson Pt 1
Although technically speaking, 1996’s Crimson is all one big track, it can be split into separate tracks, and this entry on our list refers to opening five minutes of the record. The album is forty minutes long and deals with apocalyptic themes dealing with the end of humanity. It is often considered to be the band’s best work.
# 5 – Black Tears
This track is from the band’s fourth album Purgatory Afterglow released in 1994. A music video was made for this song. It has also received two cover versions, one by Eternal Tears Of Sorrow and the other by Heaven Shall Burn. The album was dedicated to the memory of the Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain who had died earlier that year.
# 4 – Sacrificed
This song is from Edge Of Sanity’s third album The Spectral Sorrows released in 1993. This album marked the beginning of the band’s transition from a pure death metal band into a more progressive one. This track in particular has a much cleaner style of vocals and is rather reminiscent of goth bands such as Sisters Of Mercy.
# 3 – Enigma
At number three is this cut from the band’s second album Unorthodox released in 1992. Dan Swano has named this as his favorite Edge of Sanity album and has even described it as being perfect. Although this is mainly a death metal album, this track does feature some of the cleaner style of vocals that would become more prominent on later albums. This record has the kind of sound that was generally associated with the Swedish death metal sound at the time. This is particularly like fellow Swedish band Entombed.
# 2 – Tales
This song is taken from the band’s debut album Nothing But Death Remains released in 1991 which is a very solid debut. Although it may not be as unique as their later material, the musicianship is definitely very impressive for a band who were just starting out. There are certainly some killer riffs on the album, of which this opening track is one of them. This also has a similar sound to Entombed, who were essentially the flag bearing band of the Swedish death metal movement of the time. Although the record is much more straightforward, there are a lot of interesting things that it does with speed and tempo, which makes it more than just a noisy metal album. The production is a little dated, but in a way that gives the sound a certain charm. In addition to its classic death metal sound, there are also some symphonic metal elements.
# 1 – Crimson Pt 8
Topping our Edge Of Sanity is another “track” from the Crimson record that makes up the final seven minutes. Although the album is split into eight tracks on digital formats, when it was originally released in 1996 it was all classed as a forty-minute song. This was a record that is very similar to Opeth. Although that might seem like an obvious comparison, it is not unwarranted. Like Opeth, the band essentially give a more extreme take on classic progressive rock. These comparisons aside, that is not to say that Edge of Sanity are mere Opeth soundalikes. As for the actual music and concept itself, Crimson is a true masterpiece in terms of how it is put together and how it tells its story.
With this record, the band were really going all out, taking the progressive elements that had been introduced into their music over the past few records and taking them to a whole new level. Although I may have selected this one segment as the number one track on this list, the album absolutely should be listened to in its entirety. As previously stated, the story of the album is a dystopian nightmare where humanity is facing extinction because of its inability to breed more life.
What happens is, a miracle baby daughter is born to a king, but then once that happens, the world falls into further despair due to the rest of humanity still being unable to conceive children. All in all a brilliant record that would make a great soundtrack to a film adaptation that could be made based on it.
Feature Photo: Cecil; with permission of Nosturi-organiser Elmu ry, CC BY-SA 3.0 <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/>, via Wikimedia Commons
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