|Review: Edge of Sanity - Crimson II|
Label: Black Mark Productions
Year released: 2003
Genre: Progressive Death Metal
Review online: December 19, 2007
Reviewed by: Nicholas Lazarus
Rated 4.27/5 (85.38%) (26 Votes)
Before I start, I must point out that I am not a fan of Death Metal (though this album refuses to be chained to such a label), and there is probably less Death Metal in my collection than anything. Hence I will only spend my time reviewing truly outstanding Death Metal.
This, is truly outstanding.
As if uncapping his head and pouring his twisted ideas out was an everyday occurrence, Dan Swanö forged what is surely beyond the capability of most mortal men.
Not only is this the brainchild of one man, but it is the most dynamic and epic Death Metal album ever. Surely in the case of a left-of-center concept Death Metal album, you'd expect the generic phrase "conceptual masterpiece". Most people will be impressed enough by a good story and epic format, and throw a phrase like that out. But having a good idea is not enough, execution is key.
But sure enough, this album delivers on ever platform. Tactful keyboards both blow the music up to colossal scale in the background, and weave haunting melodies in the foreground. Guitars that are trance-inducing one minute, and six-string chainsaws the next. Swanö's singing is simply chilling. The solos are soaring melodic torrents, the lyrics are brilliantly written and compliment the music perfectly. And though these, nor the exceptional growls are to Swanö's credit, they are of his caliber.
Indeed, this album delivers, but it goes beyond that. It's akin to a catcher expecting a 90 mph fastball and receiving a 90 mph semi truck.
Like the crests and troughs of a wave this album fluctuates from both spacey ambient progressive sections to flawlessly executed melodic Death Metal. And everywhere in between. The mood of the music adapts to each turn in the story. With the exceptions of the pulverizing Death/Thrash, every riffs exudes emotion. This area especially is one where this album sets itself apart.
A range of keyboard and guitar effects are used to paint a genuinely eerie and piercingly expressive picture. This is something few bands could ever hope to do. He's taken something that is normally corny and above all else, artificial sounding, and made it very human. Anyone can play ugly chords on a distorted guitar and deem it dark. Anyone can play some major chords and deem it happy. Or minor chords and call it sad. But after listening to an album like this, you know that there are ways to bring about feeling that go far, far deeper than that. And that to me is part of the magic of music. That intangible something that connects the source and the recipient.
That is what sets something great and something masterful apart. Finding albums that are just solid all the way through is rare enough. But even if I really love the style, and the songs all work, it doesn't mean it's masterful. The gripping emotion has to be there, the boundary breaking has to be there. It has to transcend genres and all conventional understandings of music. It has to be something that puts meaning into the word art, and this is it. And only a brilliant mind like Swanö could do it for the duration of an entire 43 minute song/album.
This is the benchmark of mastery.
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|Review: Crimson (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)|
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