Edge of Sanity - _Crimson II_
(Black Mark, 2003)
by: Chris Flaaten (9 out of 10)
The Evil Queen is back from her Crimson Sleep. This of course means that the Swedish King has finally risen from his slumber. Reviving the defunct Edge of Sanity single-handedly, Dan Swanö makes a triumphant return to the world of extreme metal... by making a follow-up to one of my all time favorites, no less. As rumours about this album have run rampant, I'll lay the most important one to rest before we go on. Swanö has not forgotten how to growl! He is still by far the best death metal vocalist on the planet -- and his clean vocals are better than ever. There are also some guest vocalists though, who -- just like on _Crimson_ -- handle the more high-pitched brutal vocals.

Because Swanö is working almost solo on this release, it has a more epic and less brutal edge than its predecessor. This is, according to the man himself, closer to how he originally wanted the first _Crimson_, before caving in to his bandmates' requests. With less generic death metal and more melodic solos, guitar harmonies and synth, _Crimson II_ thus lands somewhere between the original _Crimson_ and Swanö's solo album, _Moontower_. The production is as grandiose as the music, but perhaps a bit too heavy on the echo/reverb fuzziness.

Lyrically, I am a bit disappointed though. The story takes place an unknown number of years after _Crimson_ "ended", but the scope is much more narrow this time. While you could envision the struggle of an entire world on the first album, this time the story revolves around only a handful of characters. Still, there are multiples of mothers, queens and children in this story, so you have to pay close attention to sort out what's really going on -- and to whom things are happening. But I am willing to forgive this, as Dan's vocal execution can fill even the most lifeless of stories with an abundance of vitality.

Musically, this is a joyride all the forty-three minutes from beginning to the end. Only a few times can you hear musical nods to the original; just enough to establish a link, but well beneath the threshold of repetition. Brimming with fantastic transitions and epic passages, some comparisons can actually be drawn to Diabolical Masquerade's _Death's Design_ as well as, of course, the original _Crimson_ -- in terms of quality, the follow-up races head to head with both.

Contact: http://w1.191.telia.com/~u19115213/ds/news.htm

(article published 29/9/2003)

1/1/1998 A Bromley Edge of Sanity: On With the Saga
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
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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