Swedish Death Metal at its very best
Who’s Edge of Sanity? You might as well ask, because there is not much chance that you have heard of them unless you have a liking for metal that extends beyond Black Sabbath (yeah, the band which had Ozzy in it…Ozzy who? Cmon, the star of that MTV show the Osbournes!! ..yeah that’s the one.) and Metallica. I mean, you have to be really into the Swedish Death Metal scene to know about them. In the 90’s we had a lot of bands from the Sweden indulging in death metal. Oh no, wait a minute.
The following para is only for the uninitiated. The people who are not into all this goofy stuff. The initiated, well they won’t be reading this anyway, so I am assuming that you, the casual reader, is uninformed and uninitiated into the holy lore of METAL!!!
See, there are various forms of metal. Metal started off sounding slow and dreary a.k.a Black Sabbath, who unluckily decided to pursue academic themes such as Satan and drugs and madness etc. which later on led to these themes becoming genre conventions and ended up sometimes in helping us differentiating the genre from hard rock (which pursues themes of sexy girls with long legs and big ___ and whores etc.). But people soon started innovating, and we ended up with myriad forms of metal. Some forms are harsher than the others, faster than the others, nearly all are crude and talk about the devil, with the exception of prog metal which is much more textured and improvised and they generally talk about fairies and brownies. Death Metal was a form which, I guess developed in USA (most of it is trash but some, like Death, Six Feet Under etc., kicks ass) and later on the mantle was taken up by Swedish bands who specialized in providing razor sharp riffs and lightning quick solos as opposed to death metal bands in USA who specialized in providing badly produced soundscapes and guitar solos which you couldn’t hear unless you turned up the volume really high and listened really closely. Few people have the commitment and in the end as soon as things get interesting and the music attains momentum, death metal bands have the tendency to move away and go back to the boring “I will scream and grunt, you make the guitar sound like the drilling machine” so, you know, they could sound scary. I once heard a great anecdote about a guy who was a friend of my friend. This guy (who was a friend of my friend) was the type of guy who tries to listen to rock’n’roll to make himself look cool and rebellious, you know, the dude, so he downloaded a lot of stuff from the net. He selected the stuff he downloaded by just typing in the words “death metal” in the search engine. The neighbors started complaining a few days thereafter, that “these rich families never seem to get their construction done and dusted with”.
Ok. When I heard it, I laughed my head off. It doesn’t look great typed out in word. Few things I type ever do.
So as I was saying, before I drifted off into other paths, there were these Swedish Metal Bands providing razor sharp riffs and relatively simple song structures that could be understood easily as compared to the black metal scene where the structures are so convoluted and twisted (evilly of course) that it is impossible to digest in the first few listens. I will be talking about Black Metal in my Bathory and Burzum reviews so lets give it a rest here. Back to Edge of Sanity.
As I said before, but you might have forgotten, since I myself had to scroll upwards to verify, that Edge of Sanity is a Swedish Death Metal band providing…….woooh…you get the point dontcha, yes, they provide razor sharp…….
Now to get down to the dirty work finally, I would like to state that I personally think that by this point in their career, EOS where wandering down the path of progressive metal and had come quite far from traditional death metal. Sure, the “vocalist” (LAUGHTER) still grunts in between, but there are times when you can (gasp!!) actually understand the lyrics. Furthermore, the riffs are more complex than the normal death metal standard and more “poppish” if you know what I mean. I mean, c’mon, there is an official video for the song “Black Tears”. It was a “hit” (LAUGHTER). This albums is regarded widely (LAUGHTER) as the best album that EOS ever produced. Of course there is Crimson, where their progressive tendencies are wholly revealed, but this one is regarded as the best. (Oh, I don’t know, I just read it somewhere, that it is widely regarded, and it sounded a good and mature line as opposed to most of my output which is childish and smacks of an illiterate person)
Oh no, oh no. I just can’t write about the album. I just drift of into some side issue. Lets try again. This album…..
Oh, gimme a break, who am I kiddin’? I don’t remember most of the album, except for the exceptionally good opener “Twilight” and the almost radio friendly “Black Tears”. The rest is all good, no doubt about it, great riffs and all that, great lead guitars, great bass, and the drums are good, rather than having the drummer do the traditional “bash ‘em into oblivion”, that is the death metal standard, he actually brings in variation, for chrissakes. The songs are also well structured, songs that flow to their logical conclusion, instead of the arbitrary stop and start style that is employed by most bands and which irritates me no end, you can actually remember the riffs of each song and by the end of it you know when the song starts and when it ends.
The bottomline is, if you like metal, specially the progressive territory, there is a high chance that you will like this album, since it is way above the normal league. People who don’t like metal, well they ain’t reading this crapola anyways. Sounds right to me babes!!!