EDGE OF SANITY — Unorthodox

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EDGE OF SANITY - Unorthodox cover
3.84 | 20 ratings | 5 reviews
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Album · 1992

Tracklist

1. The Unorthodox (0:38)
2. Enigma: a) The Blessing / b) Celestial Dissension / c) The Loss of Hallowed Life (7:05)
3. Incipience to the Butchery (2:00)
4. In the Veins/Darker Than Black (4:42)
5. Everlasting (5:34)
6. After Afterlife (4:37)
7. Beyond the Unknown (3:51)
8. Nocturnal (5:35)
9. A Curfew for the Damned (4:31)
10. Cold Sun (2:54)
11. The Day of Maturity (3:44)
12. Requiscon by Page (1:24)
13. Dead but Dreaming (4:03)
14. When All Is Said (6:53)

Total Time: 57:35

Bonus track on Japan version:
15. Human Aberration [3:35]

Line-up/Musicians

- Dan Swanö / Vocals, piano
- Andreas Axelsson / Guitars
- Sami Nerberg / Guitars
- Anders Lindberg / Bass
- Benny Larsson / Drums, percussion

About this release

Full-length, Black Mark Production, July 8th, 1992

Thanks to J-Man, UMUR, TheHeavyMetalCat for the updates

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EDGE OF SANITY UNORTHODOX reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

UMUR
"Unorthodox (1992)" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Swedish death metal act Edge of Sanity. The album was released through Black Mark Productions in July 1992. Edge of Sanity was formed in 1989 and relatively quickly released their first demo cassette tape "Euthanasia (1989)". A second demo cassette tape followed in 1990 titled "Kur-Nu-Gi-A (1990)", before the band was signed to Black Mark Production for the release of their debut full-length studio album "Nothing but Death Remains (1991)".

The debut featured a fairly technical and slightly progressive take on old school Swedish death metal and that music style is continued on "Unorthodox (1992)". The progressive tendencies have been taken up a notch though and especially "Enigma" is a fully fledged progressive death metal track. It´s the first track in the band´s discography to feature clean vocals (albeit only in a short section) and it also features a relatively adventurous structure and a level of complexity seldom heard in old school Swedish death metal (at least in those days).

"Unorthodox (1992)" is a pretty varied album though, and not everything is as sophisticated as "Enigma" ("Everlasting" and "When All Is Said" are two of the other more progressive oriented tracks on the album). The old demo tracks "Incipience to the Butchery" (from "Euthanasia (1989)") and "Beyond the Unknown" (from "Kur-Nu-Gi-A (1990)") are for example pretty standard old school Swedish death metal (which certainly doesn´t mean they aren´t of a high quality), but even an old demo track like "The Day of Maturity" (from "Kur-Nu-Gi-A (1990)") features some pretty progressive ideas. And that´s the strength of "Unorthodox (1992)". Edge of Sanity successfully balance between progressive ideas and old school death metal brutality. Highlights include "Enigma", "In the Veins / Darker Than Black", "A Curfew for the Damned", "Everlasting", "When All Is Said", and "Dead but Dreaming" (I have a weakness for "Incipience to the Butchery" too).

The musicianship is on a high level throughout. Not only are Edge of Sanity a well playing band, there´s also a rare attention to compositional detail present on the album, which provides the music with a distinct sound and a high memorability factor. Dan Swanö´s distinct sounding intelligible growling vocals are a major contributor to the catchiness of the material, as he understands the importance of effectful hooklines and phrasing. When you can´t sing a melody (which is damn near impossible when you are growling), there are other effects to use for catchiness and he successfully implements those.

"Unorthodox (1992)" features a powerful and well sounding production. One of the trademarks of the band´s sound, which is the two different distorted guitar tones, is heard throughout. Upon conclusion "Unorthodox (1992)" shows a band in stylistic development. At this point still rooted very much in their original old school Swedish death metal sound, but occassionally dipping their toes in the more progressive oriented death metal style they would fully embrace a couple of albums down the line. In addition to the intriguing songwriting, the high level musicianship, and the well sounding production, "Unorthodox (1992)" should especially be noticed for how unique it sounds compared to contemporary releases by artists like Dismember, (early) Entombed, Unleashed, and Grave. Although it is part of that scene it´s still in many ways vastly different. A unique listening experience and a 4.5 star (90%) rating is deserved.
Warthur
Edge of Sanity's second album saw them taking precisely the opposite to trajectory to fellow Swedish death metallers Entombed - whilst Entombed were gradually moving away from a complex blend of genres to a more purely death metal sound, Edge of Sanity were beginning their work of fusing progressive rock and death metal. An ambitious plan? Maybe, but regardless of whether they fully succeed this time Unorthodox is one of the most terrifying and aggressive Swedish death metal albums from the era, with brief respites of prog-inspired tranquility slipped in here and there to soften the listener up for the next assault.
Conor Fynes
'Unorthodox' - Edge of Sanity (7/10)

One of the greatest Swedish metal outfits of all time, Edge of Sanity is a legendary band with some legendary albums to boot. Although most may know them best from their forty minute epic 'Crimson' and their more progressive work, Edge of Sanity was also instrumental in bringing that heavier edge of melodic death metal. Frontman and band mastermind Dan Swano has called their second album 'Unorthodox' his favourite album by the band, even going as far as to call it 'perfect'. While I would be much more moderate in my pleasant feelings towards this album, it is quite a great album, especially for its time. In the period where death metal was finally getting on its own two feet as an artistic form, 'Unorthodox' was a great omen for even more ambitious things to come in the future.

1992 was a year where bands like Death and Athiest were making excellent albums, but across the Atlantic ocean in Scandinavia, the metal scene knew this area mostly for their contributions to black metal. Edge Of Sanity was a great band to take the sound of extreme metal towards the heavier, downtuned death metal sound in Sweden, and even from this second album, it is clear that Edge of sanity were pursuing some surprisingly progressive trends in their music. 'Enigma' opens with an eerie violin lick, before going into volcanic death metal that is full of blastbeats and melodic, yet heavy and dark guitar parts. Dan Swano's growls are also very powerful here, and while not being everyone's taste, his delivery is very good for death metal, and its noticeably easier to make out what he's actually saying than the average growler.

Furthering the progressive trend on this album are unconventional song structures, and even an acoustic interlude towards the end of the album. All the same, 'Unorthodox' is a death metal album before anything else, and while it lacks the precision or polish that alot of modern death metal has, its bite shouldn't be underestimated. 'Unorthodox' is a great album from a great band, and while my enjoyment of the album and its at-times rough edge keeps me from calling it a masterpiece of the genre, it is a classic, for what it is.
bonnek
On their second album Edge of Sanity didn't want to be just another regular death metal band. Their Swedish variation on the American death metal brutality has more sense for melody and also integrates elements from other styles of music, such as gothic rock and neo-prog. It's not surprising that many acts who started in this style evolved into more prog/symphonic or gothic directions. Katatonia, Therion, Tiamat and of course Edge of Sanity themselves are good examples.

The opening track Enigma is the best, it integrates some violin and it adds some clean vocals to offset the brutal death throat of the band's mastermind Dan Swanö. It has more melodic leads then any American band would integrate. The folksy anthemic lead at minute 3 is a good example. But all death metal ingredients are in place as well: constant tempo changes, brutality, technical playing, intricate riffing,...

Except for Enigma and the brutal The Day of Maturity which features some surprising synth effects, it’s difficult to distinguish the tracks from each other. Well it’s still death metal right; the aim is a relentless attack that doesn’t compromise itself to melodic indulgences. It’s a trick that usually gets tedious after 30 minutes, but the consistent quality and focussed performance makes it work here.

This is a classic death metal album with ambition. It promises more then what it actually realises, but future albums would live up to it.
J-Man
A Classic Swedish Death Metal Album

Unorthodox is one of the most unique albums in Edge of Sanity's discography. Their debut album was pure Swedish death metal, and by The Spectral Sorrows the band was playing pure progressive death metal. Unorthodox is a perfect bridge between these two albums.

This album is much heavier and less melodic than their future albums, but more progressive and diverse than their debut. What you can expect here is a wide range of influences. While this is first and foremost a death metal album, you can hear various influences (most notably goth-rock, neo-prog, and even some classical music). While it is an enormous stretch to call this progressive death metal, this is a very eclectic and unusual death metal album. In 1992 it was rare for a death metal band to incorporate keyboards, clean singing, and mellow sections into their music like Edge of Sanity does on this album.

These variations keep this album from tiring like many death metal albums. Rather than being a never-ending assault on your ears, this album has interesting experimentations that keep the album worth listening to. While this album is very heavy, and not recommended for the faint of heart, its experimentations keep it from becoming boring like many albums in the genre. Songs like the epic "Enigma", the beautiful "When All Is Said", and the experimental "After Afterlife" keep this album varied and full of surprises. That's not to say that none of the songs are too predictable and formulaic, though. Songs like "Incipience to the Butchery" and "Everlasting" are rather formulaic and predictable, but even these songs have memorable riffs and solos.

One of the things that makes this album stand out in Edge of Sanity's discography is the charisma shown between the band members. After this album it showed that Dan Swanö was doing things that the rest of the band didn't approve of, and the tension became obvious between the band members. I'll quote a few things said by Dan Swanö about Unorthodox in an interview.

" Unorthodox is great. The best album we ever did. Kind of perfect in its own way. The rest of the albums sound really weird but they all have great moments musically."

"I am pretty sure that the 5 original members will never be on stage together again ever. Not at least for a full performance. There really wasn't that much of a chemistry left after Unorthodox and it didn't get better with age."

I can completely understand both comments from Dan, though Unorthodox is certainly not my favorite Edge of Sanity album. There's a certain chemistry present on this album that wasn't present on any of their future albums. However, I believe the future albums still manage to be better in the songwriting department.

Conclusion:

Unorthodox is a great album from Edge of Sanity, even though it's far from my favorite album released by the band. If you're looking for the band at their best, I would recommend going to the Crimson albums and Purgatory Afterglow before this album, especially if you're a progressive metal fan. Unorthodox is still an essential album if you're interested in death metal, and a 3.5 star rating is deserved.

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