Edge of Sanity - _Infernal_
(Black Mark, 1997)
by: Drew Snow (
I really, -really-, wanted to just love this album. I'd been eagerly awaiting the master Dan Swano's next effort (no, I'm not talking about the next Unicorn album, either), and upon seeing the old EoS logo resurrected front and center of the cover, and Unorthodox-sounding song titles, my spirits went up; I dreamt that EoS had remained true to the sound they had developed on previous masterpieces _Purgatory Afterglow_ and _Crimson_, not to mention the other godly albums in the hallowed Edge of Sanity back catalog. Now, however, after listening to _Infernal_ a few times, reality hits: The new Edge of Sanity album is somewhat of a disappointment. Granted, it would be difficult to match the last two incredibly melodic, catchy, and indeed, beautiful EoS albums, but _Infernal_ doesn't even come close. With a decided lack of the high-tuned melodies and the epic feeling that enveloped previous efforts, _Infernal_ is instead an eclectic mix of different influences, some good, some bad. All one needs to do to prove this is to look at the song credits; guitarist Andreas Axelsson sings lead (black) vocals on two songs, Swano sings cleanly on three songs, he only wrote the lyrics for one song, and Axelsson and drummer Benny Larsson wrote the majority of the music. The biggest difference can be heard in the riffs and song style. The majority of the riffs are heavy and distorted, and while this style came out just fine on such _PA_ tracks as "Elegy" and "Blood Colored", they just seem uninspired and rather unoriginal here. The clean melodies are all too rare, and to add insult to injury, when they -are- present, they're usually outstanding, simply punctuating their dearth. The actual songs seem somewhat lacking as well. Whereas on _PA_ they had a real sense of feeling and seriousness, on _Infernal_ that feeling is missing, except on one or two lonely tracks. Of course, there are some highlights to the album, such as the third song, "15:36", with its brilliant contrast of clean and death vocals, and the opener "Hell Is Where the Heart Is" (both, not coincidentally, written by Swano), however, none of the songs can match the awesome power of the classics like "Twilight" or "Elegy", or even the older material like "Enigma" and "Darkday". What else is there to say? If you are an Edge of Sanity fan, you, of course, have to have this, since most EoS fans are fanatics and would buy anything with the Edge of Sanity name on it (not me though, no way <cough>). If you're not familiar with EoS, however, I suggest starting with the now-classic _Purgatory Afterglow_ for a taste of what EoS is all about.
(article published 9/4/1997)
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