On With the Saga
CoC Chats with Edge of Sanity
by: Adrian Bromley
What a dilemma. Your main songwriter/lyricist/singer leaves the band. Suggestions, anyone? Well, that was the case for Swedish metallers Edge Of Sanity when singer Dan Swano fled the coup to continue on with his solo band (Nightingale) and/or other future music endeavors away from working with EoS. Was this the end of EoS? I am pretty sure that was what was running through thousands of fans' heads who have latched onto the numerous LPs of the band over the years. The band's momentum and creativity (much to do with Swano's direction) paved the way for metal music today, as it opened up what could be done with music and laced it with Swano's delicacy and ingenuity. EoS were not only trendsetters to some degree, but an important element in the metal scene. How could they go away after hitting such landmark goals with many of their six LPs? There had to be a way to avoid dissolving the band. There was. His name: Robert "Robban" Karlsson. Following Swano and his many accomplishments with EoS (1993's _A Spectral Sorrows_, 1994's _Purgatory Afterglow_ or the brilliant 40-minute opus of 1996 _Crimson_) is Karlsson and his pipes as he guides his new bandmates (past EoS crew rounded out by guitarists Sami Nerberg and Andreas Axelsson, bassist Anders Linberg and drummer Benny Larsson) through a gut-wrenching and powerful EoS effort titled _Cryptic_. Falling back to the older era of EoS with the growls and vocals, _Cryptic_ loses its taste of melody to some degree and leaps and hurls its weight with such force to make a bold statement of where EoS are headed back to. Back to brutal music. On the phone from Sweden calls guitar player Sami Nerberg to talk about _Cryptic_, the 'new guy' and Swano's departure. Read on:

CoC: Talk to me about the new record _Cryptic_. What are your feelings about the new LP with the new vocalist?

Sami Nerberg: To start, for people to know, the record is only 35-minutes (eight tracks) and that is because we had such a small amount of time in the studio to work and record the material. I wish it could have been longer, but at least we got the record recorded and out. We seemed rushed at first, but we then realized that things were clicking for us quite quickly. It was a weird situation. But nonetheless, we did get down to business and put a lot of energy and soul into the material. This is a brutal record from start to finish. This is like _Purgatory Afterglow_ in some ways, at least in the sound department, I think. This record works off the ability to combine brutal and heaviness. It's more of an intense record than EoS have delivered in the past.

CoC: And what about not working with Swano this time out? Did that feel strange?

SN: When Dan was in the band he did everything. He was always in control of doing everything and with him out of the lineup it has allowed us to be able to work as a team and be able to feed off each other. The music has gone away from what he brought to the band and made it more brutal and not symphonic. I am very happy with the way the band and its music has progressed and gone to with _Cryptic_. The band is quite happy too.

CoC: Did Robban just fit right in as new singer? How was that worked out that he would sing for EoS?

SN: He used to be the singer for Pan-Thy-Monium and lives in the same city as us, so we have known him for quite some time. We knew he was a fan of EoS and asked him if he wanted to try out. He came down to the studio, tried out some songs and we were happy with what he was able to do with the new material and its sound.

CoC: What is it about Robban's voice that you like?

SN: First off, he is a good singer. He can sing in many different voices. Another reason for us to bring him into the fold was that we knew him as a friend and knew that he was a hard worker. For him to come into the band and make it work we all needed to get things going in the same direction.

CoC: When Dan Swano did finally decide to leave, did that come as a shock to you? Did you not know what was going to happen to you? Were you concerned about continuing on with EoS?

SN: It was weird. We didn't know how to react. We thought that was it -- the band was over. But then we realized we had booked some studio time to record already and were indeed going to have to continue on. We searched out for a singer, found Robban and finished up the recording. We are now more than ever determined to keep EoS alive and well.

CoC: You said earlier, and I agree, that _Cryptic_ is a brutal record. Was being brutal almost throughout intentional on the band's part to get away from the melodic death metal that Swano had been known to work with?

SN: It was quite natural and premeditated that we wanted to go back to the more brutal death metal stuff. Dan was really getting into the symphonic stuff, with melodies and all, and we all were really digging the heavy brutal stuff. When he left, we eliminated a lot of the melody and keyed in on brutality.

CoC: How was the recording process for the record?

SN: It was pretty simple for us to gather material and ideas for the record. The stuff just flowed right out of us and into the studio. We really had a lot of fun making this record. The ideas kept mounting up for us and that was making it easier for us to sift through ideas that would work best for us on _Cryptic_.

CoC: Having been in a band that helped forge the way for a lot of bands to follow, what is your take on today's music scene? Any bands you are into?

SN: I think the music scene has changed quite a bit. I am into metal still, but I prefer to buy older metal than any new stuff that is coming out. I think that older, earlier metal is better. Right now there are so many bands that are not doing anything original. Nothing out there grabs me.

CoC: So why should people listen to EoS? Are you original in sound and style?

SN: I think people will listen to us if they like us and what EoS has done in the past. I think what we do now and will continue to do is create brutal music. Sure it may have been done before, but we add our own EoS sound to the material. Basically, we think we are moving forward in creativity, with brutalness being the major attribute to focus on for future EoS material.

CoC: So will new material be like the music found here on _Cryptic_?

SN: I would assume so. As I said before, we are aiming to making EoS brutal once again, but who knows? We may incorporate a bunch of new ideas into what we do next time we go into the studio. We'll see. I'm just glad to see EoS back into a brutal groove again and I am sure fans of EoS are too.

(article submitted 1/1/1998)

4/9/1997 P Azevedo Edge of Sanity: Swano's Edge
5/10/1996 G Filicetti Edge of Sanity: Over the Edge of Sanity
11/8/1995 G Filicetti Edge of Sanity: On the Edge of Complete Conquest
9/29/2003 C Flaaten 9 Edge of Sanity - Crimson II
11/17/1997 A Bromley 8 Edge Of Sanity - Cryptic
4/9/1997 D Schinzel 7 Edge of Sanity - Infernal
4/18/1996 G Filicetti 9 Edge of Sanity - Crimson
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