I didn’t get into metal until much later in life than most of the people who are reading these words. My education came as a result of my own exploration, but equally as a result of getting schooled by commenters at this site. And I hate to tell you this, but comments never go away — my web host has a searchable database of all of them for the last 6 years. And so I can tell you precisely the date when I first saw the name Edge of Sanity: It was July 30, 2010, and it came via a comment from one of our earliest and most frequent commenters, an old friend who called himself ElvisShotJFK.
I had posted a review of Wolvhammer’s debut album Black Marketeers of World War III in which I named a few bands as reference points for the music on the album, including Entombed. After ElvisShotJFK commented that Entombed had been a gateway band into heavier music when he was younger, I replied that Entombed “must have been particularly stunning to hear when they were fresh and so different from most metal that surrounded them.” And he then wrote:
“Fuck yeah! So was Carcass, another of the early heavier bands to me, back when the heaviest thing I had was Sepultura (I had bought Beneath The Remains and Arise without having heard one note and I never regretted that impulse purchase). It was different, it was heavy and though it took a bit to get used to the vocals – just as it still does to this day with many bands – it was awesome and I wanted more.
“Over the next few years, I became aware bands like Pestilence, Napalm Death, Edge Of Sanity and Cradle Of Filth, among countless others whose names I’d scribble down whenever the DJ would say who he’s just played. Good times, awesome metal that only myself and a few friends were into, but I never saw it as an excuse to look down on the hair metal and thrash that others were still listening to instead (partly because I still listened to it too), but there was some music snobbery around too that thankfully didn’t rub off on me.”
A couple of weeks later, Edge of Sanity came up again. I had posted a video of a great song by a great Swedish band named Canopy, and ElvisShotJFK recommended another video of Canopy covering Edge of Sanity’s “Twilight”. He also mentioned that he had just listened to Heaven Shall Burn’s cover of another EoS song, “Black Tears”. After telling him that I never knew HSB’s recording of “Black Tears” was a cover, and that I had also never listened to EoS, he wrote:
“Never listened to EOS? Oh man, you’ve been missing out.
“A lot of people will say to go with Crimson, which is understandable, but I’m rather partial to Purgatory Afterglow; “Twilight” and “Velvet Dreams” are worth the price of admission alone, but the whole album’s great. I think that’s a better album to start with before exploring the rest of the band’s discography, especially since Crimson is one single 40 minute song. It and Carcass’ Heartwork are albums that changed my perceptions of metal while in high school and helped ease me into death metal, black metal and so on, while the years since have given me time to expand my listening habits even more.”
And finally, I started exploring EoS. Maybe this post will be an introduction to the band for someone else out there right now — or at least a happy reminder for people who already know about this band.
For the newcomers, it was one of the earliest projects to function as outlets for the musical genius of Dan Swanö. Beginning in 1991 (following a few demos), the band released the first of 8 albums, with the last being Swanö’s solo effort (with guests), Crimson II, which came years after the band had broken up. Here’s a synopsis from The Font of All Human Knowledge:
“Edge of Sanity began as a death metal band with their debut release Nothing But Death Remains. The band’s second release, Unorthodox, with tracks like “Enigma” and “When All Is Said”, showed Edge of Sanity branching out from some of the genre’s conventions. The Spectral Sorrows, Until Eternity Ends, and Purgatory Afterglow continued the trend, so that by the release of Crimson (1996), Edge of Sanity was a progressive metal band. Crimson was a 40-minute concept album consisting entirely of one track, concerning a post-apocalyptic future in which mankind had lost the ability to breed.
“After one more album, Infernal (1997), guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Dan Swanö left Edge of Sanity, and his departure is generally associated with a decline in quality in the band’s material. Swanö was replaced by Robert Karlsson, the vocalist of Pan.Thy.Monium (a side project in which Swanö was also involved), but after one more album, Cryptic, the band split up.
“In 2003, Swanö revived the outfit as a one-man band (with several session musicians), and recorded a sequel to Crimson, Crimson II. Immediately after, he re-dissolved the project.”
And with that, here’s some music from a tremendously accomplished and tremendously influential progressive death metal band:
Edge of Sanity is definitely a name I need to dig into deeper, I guess I know now where to start.
Awesome band, I love “Nothing But Death Remains” 🙂
Hells yes. Respect the EoS and the might Swano!
Despite being into metal in college radio in the early 90s, have to say I missed out on Edge of Sanity. Thanks for bringing this up.
Edge of Sanity are one of my favorite bands and I have been saying for a long time that “Crimson” is the best album/song of all time. All categories. Glad to see that your eyes have finally been opened!
Well, this is the probably the band that got me into much of old school death metal, despite being not from the genre themselves. Dan Swanos’ solo moontower was great as well.
Weirdly, despite being well into the trading scene in the early 90s, I never really spent any time listening to Edge of Sanity, although I’m really not quite sure why? Was certainly aware of them, and I know I had some stuff on tape (remember those!), and perhaps even a vinyl, I think the debut. Don’t think it was a case of not liking them, more that there was other stuff I was simply more into at the time, so I just passed over them. Shall use this as a chance to rediscover them.
I bought Unorthodox on cassette when it was first released. Been a HUGE fan ever since. All albums are MASTERPIECE with Swano.
Edge of Sanity were a great band, although everything after (the original) Crimson is on a pretty steep downhill trajectory. That said they had some, shall we say, interesting choices of covers (Manowar, The Police) …
Dude, Edge Of Sanity … what an enchanting encounter when i got in touch with them! In a time, when the metal world was gasping for the In Flames tone of melodic death metal, those guys came around, and infused raging old school death metal with this great melodic blend!!! I personally prefer “The Spectral Sorrows”, it´s more raw than “Purgatory Afterglow”, yet melodic. Hall Of Fame of all time melo-death classics, with “Tales From The Thousand Lakes” from Amorphis, Unanimated-“Ancient God Of Evil”, Gates Of Ishtar “At Dusk And Forever”, At The Gates “Slaughter Of The Soul”, and those bands i forgot right now to mention 🙂
Holy shit where has this band been all my life??? I’ve been trying to catch up on the posts on this site that I’ve missed for like the past month and it’s already well worth it.
Great! Glad you found this post and that Edge of Sanity struck a chord with you.