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EDGE OF SANITY - Crimson II cover
3.73 | 28 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 2003


1. Crimson II (43:00)


- Dan Swanö / Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Drums, Keyboards

Guest Musicians:
- Roger "Rogga" Johansson / Lead Growling Vocals
- Jonas Granvik / Backing Growling Vocals
- Mike Wead / Lead Guitar
- Simon Johansson / Lead Guitar

About this release

Black Mark Production
August 26th
Engineering, Production - Dan Swanö
Lyrics by Clive Nolan.
Cover artwork by Kristian Wåhlin.

Thanks to J-Man for the addition and bartosso for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

"Crimson II" is the 8th full-length studio album by Swedish death metal act Edge of Sanity. The album was released through Black Mark Production in August 2003. It´s been 6 years since the release of the preceding album "Cryptic (1997)". An album which didn´t feature regular frontman Dan Swanö. A dispute over the future musical direction of the band made Swanö split and pursue other projects. Edge of Sanity disbanded in 1999, but Swanö revived the band name in 2003 for the release of "Crimson II". He is the sole member of the band here though and plays and sings everything on the album except for a few parts performed by session musicians like Mike Wead (Mercyful Fate, Hexenhaus, King Diamond, The Project Hate MCMXCIX) and Roger "Rogga" Johansson (Paganizer, The Grotesquery, Ribspreader...etc.).

As the title suggests "Crimson II" is the sequel to the band´s arguably most lauded album "Crimson" from 1996. A single track 40 minutes long sci-fi/fantasty concept album performed in a sophisticated and powerful progressive death metal style, that was something new and fresh at the time of release. Neither "Infernal (1997)" nor "Cryptic (1997)" managed to reach the same creative songwriting heights of "Crimson (1996)" and paired with the internal disputes over musical direction, that probably meant the end of the band. Swanö apparently felt the "Crimson (1996)" story wasn´t closed though and "Crimson II" therefore continues the story of the evil queen and the struggles of her people.

Like "Crimson (1996)", "Crimson II" is one 40 minutes long track (actually 43 minutes) divided into subtracks which seque into each other. There are several musical references and use of themes from "Crimson (1996)" featured on the album, which along with the concept story ensure conceptual continuity. The vocals vary from death metal growling, to black metal styled screams, to clean vocals. Overall the music is unmistakably the sound of Edge of Sanity. Swanö has chosen to add a lot of keyboards to the band´s sound though, which provides an even more progressive touch than what was heard on "Crimson (1996)". Unfortunately the songwriting is a bit lacking and the material is generally not that memorable, and I often find myself waiting for one of the themes from "Crimson (1996)" to appear, because at least those moments are catchy and memorable.

The whole thing simply seems a bit messy, and that´s everything from the tracklist flow, to lack of memorable hooks, to the sound production, which may be professional but still sounds a bit wrong. The musicianship is not surprising of high quality and it´s not like "Crimson II" is a terrible album, but when you make a sequel to an album like "Crimson (1996)", you better put out something of great quality, because a sequel will always be compared to the original, and in that regard "Crimson II" doesn´t stand a chance. "Crimson (1996)" is simply in a whole other league. Viewed upon as an individual release it´s not exactly Edge of Sanity´s finest hour either, but a 3 star (60%) rating is still warranted.
Edge of Sanity's post-Crimson albums made in the absence of Dan Swano are, with some justification, seen as being a blemish on the band's otherwise impressive record. It's only fair, then, that Dan Swano had a chance to do the reverse and make an Edge of Sanity album without Edge of Sanity, relying on guest musicians and his own capabilities as a multi-instrumentalist to pull it off. And what better way to rub it in than to craft a sequel to the classic Crimson?

Though an impressive technical accomplishment as far as one-man bands in metal go, I think Crimson II is a pleasant listen which doesn't quite manage to provide a really satisfying sequel to the original. Truth be told, the story here isn't exactly as compelling as the original, and musically speaking there's few surprises to be had. Still, even if Edge of Sanity didn't end on a high, at least it didn't end on a low of the magnitude of the miserable Cryptic.
Conor Fynes
'Crimson II' - Edge Of Sanity (8/10)

Anyone who has heard the original 'Crimson' will hopefully have had a similar experience to the one I had. Although I was already a fan of death metal, Edge Of Sanity's defining opus astounded me beyond virtually anything else I had heard in the style. A while after 'Crimson' came out, Edge Of Sanity disbanded, and the musicians proceeded to go their own ways. However, frontman and Edge of Sanity mastermind Dan Swano decided to revive the band's name with one final output. Although something more of a solo album by any standard, Dan Swano would bring in some guest musicians for his prospective sequel of his magnum opus. 'Crimson II'- like many sequels- can be the target of some controversy, as the result of following up such a successful concept work. Although I would tend to agree with the consensus that the sequel no where near reaches the same majesty as the original, 'Crimson II' is an excellent album with some fantastic moments of its own, and can stand alone as a strong work of progressive death metal.

Unlike the first- which thrusts right into the fray of heaviness- 'Crimson II' begins more conventionally as an epic; beginning with a symphonic introduction which is reprised later in the album. Before long though, the listener is hit with some rapid riffs and technicality which seeks to outdo anything heard on the first 'Crimson'. Although the opening riff and many that follow here are more complex in nature than much of the material on the first, they do not enjoy the same powerful, epic feel to them. That being said, 'Crimson II' is much more about the riffs and individual sections than Edge Of Sanity made the first out to be, which tended to have a greater overall cohesion. Of course, albums are best judged based on their own merits, but Dan Swano obviously intended this album to be matched up against the sequel.

A large development here is the greater presence of keyboards in the mix. Although the composition is still driven by the heavy guitar work, the keyboards add a new dimension to the sound, that at times is slightly overblown but does tend to give the sound a greater depth and melodic feel than before. The performance of the instruments here is also on par, and at times even better than on the original 'Crimson'; quite ironic considering that this is essentially a Dan Swano solo project being compared against a full band effort. Stranger still is the fact that the production here seems quite weaker than before, despite- and possibly in relation to- the addition of new sounds. 'Crimson' the first had an organic feel to it, but 'Crimson II' feels a little too doused in reverb, giving it a muddy feel that takes away from what is otherwise a great record.

'Crimson II' offers some incredible moments of its own, and expertly throws in some ideas from the original to give a sense of continuity. It does feel as if the 'Crimson' series has taken a bit of a dip with this one; after all, how could the original ever be topped? But make no mistake; 'Crimson II' is an excellent work of its own, and would probably receive many more accolades from listeners, were it not always held in comparison with what I consider to be a near-perfect album.

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