Insin on May 4th, 2015
Edge of Sanity Ditches Dan Swano and Prog.
In 1996, Swedish progressive death metal band Edge of Sanity released Crimson, a concept album consisting of only one forty-minute song. It was an ambitious project, and later that year, EoS followed it with Infernal, often considered a disappointment due to the internal struggle over the band’s direction showing through into the music. Cryptic is its followup, and the only EoS album without Dan Swano. It’s decent music and stylistically average melodeath, with most of the progressive elements absent. The band’s sound has been uncomplicated and sounds generic, each song speeding along at an unchanging pace, with a few exceptions. Hell Written is the only real prog song on here, switching from frantic metal to a softer, calmer part, like how Opeth writes (only not ten minutes long). The strangely upbeat riffs scattered throughout the album also stand out as different -- but other than these examples, there isn’t much variation, and the band’s innovative side is no longer present.
As mentioned earlier, Dan Swano does not contribute on this album. Instead, Karlsson takes over vocal duties. It’s a slight improvement, but still mediocre. His vocals are little messy, as if he’s slobbering while he growls, and he lets out the occasional “Yeah!” and “Let’s go!” therefore succeeding in sounding somewhat stupid. Clean vocals are completely gone. On the contrary, Cryptic has some good riffs on it, and solos are common, but tend to get buried under the rest of the music instead of standing out in the forefront. The riffs suffer due to uninteresting songwriting, and the bass is audible but could be higher in the mix. Song structures are plainer and uninventive.
Cryptic may be nothing special, and overall sounds passable, but that’s not to say it doesn’t have its moments. Dead I Walk has an excellent opening riff, and Hell Written’s brief soft section throws you in for a loop, but the song might have been more effective had it been placed later in the album, instead of as the first track. It could have broken up the monotony of the unchangingly paced, standard metal, and it sets a misleading example for something that does not exist on the rest of the album.
The album is a good length; much longer than its thirty-five minutes, and it would drag. Without Swano, it deviates from Edge of Sanity’s already-established sound: the addition of progressive elements to death metal. Now the emphasis on progressive is gone, leaving only a decent melodeath album with a few untraditional aspects. Still, I’d recommend picking it up, but only after you’ve familiarized yourself with the band’s other works.
shantanupatni1991 on January 28th, 2009
Proves a point
Being the only Edge of Sanity album not to feature Dan ‘GOD’ Swano, I got this one the last; and now I realize what a foolish skeptic idiot I was to question the amazing-ness of this album. Swano left the band after Infernal but guitarist Andreas Axelsson wanted to keep things together so he recruited Robert Karlsson of Pan.Thy.Monium to handle vocal duties, who couldn’t have been a better choice. He doesn’t disappoint at all, heck, you might actually not miss Swano here, what more can one ask for?
You know what’s hard to do while making the kind of music these guys make? It’s making every song sound fresh without slowing down the tempo. Can they do it? Yes they can, effortlessly, and convincingly. I’ve always loved the band’s overall sound and song construction; something which hasn’t been lost in this release. They manage to keep the “progressive” tag and come up with some extraordinary riffs, solos and interludes.
The first track, Hell Written, is somewhat boring till that break at around 2 minutes, after which you are blown away by seeing how perfectly they have created the Opeth feel without making the song as long as 12 minutes or playing the same god damn riff 77 times. Now that they’ve got you in the mood and risen above your expectations, they continue making similar stupendous songs one after another, overflowing with more inimitable riffs. By the time you reach the third track, No Destroy, you’re head banging and air-guitaring like a maniac.
And after one of the shortest half an hours of your life, you come back to your play list, disheartened by why the album was so short. And then you double click on Hell Written, wanting to repeat the whole cycle once again.
OzzyApu on December 20th, 2007
All right, time to take out the baseball bat and find where that little prick Andreas Axelsson is jerking off. That bitch was rolling tough all over the last album on how he wanted to go back to his roots. That was Infernal and this is Cryptic, the one Edge Of Sanity piece everyone was skeptic about. After hearing everything on this album, I figured fate spared these guys, because what we have here is an album that doesn't disappoint. Karlsson isn’t Swanö, but he sure delivers some decent growling. His growls are a mix between throaty bellows and yelling on the uppity side. I also feel like Andreas gave some vocals with the higher screams, considering he did do vocals for Marduk, but it probably was Karlsson as well since he's versatile himself.
Production values are rather topnotch and perfectly fulfilling for the music, which is nearly just as progressive as Infernal. I really felt a depression coming on when anticipating this album, but hearing it takes a load off my shoulders. The tunes here are recognizable like crazy, from the psychedelic “Hell Written” to the Grave-esque “Bleed You Dry”. It’s amazing how much of a personal achievement this album is (given the amount of time to write, record, and release it). No track is truly a legend, but the melodies, riffs, and rhythm all work well enough to keep you entertained and coming back.
The bass fits well with the overall depth of the album, yet the drums feel louder than the mix. It doesn’t drown out anything, but they definitely are louder and make a rather bleak and dark album seem optimistic. The rhythm really flows tenderly, ranging from slow changes to fast charges to even steady paces – all usually in one song. The album is technically progressive metal with heavy leanings on death metal and influences of even punk at times ("Uncontroll Me" is a good example of that) but the progressive elements in unison with the riffs keep it from sounding too shallow.
It isn’t hard at all to look at this album as an Edge Of Sanity piece, even though the signature sound is gone. It actually may sound similar to the other records, but it gives off it’s own feeling instead, and one that I at least enjoyed. The length of the album seems just right, so nothing too epic or simplistic for the ears. This could have been the last Edge Of Sanity album and hands downs the most personal next to Infernal, but I guess Swanö felt it was necessary to have the last laugh.
Cryptic track list
|5||Not of This World||03:50|
|6||Dead I Walk||03:26|
|7||Born, Breed, Bleeding||04:30|
|8||Bleed You Dry||05:23|