EDGE OF SANITY — Purgatory Afterglow (review)

EDGE OF SANITY — Purgatory Afterglow album cover Album · 1994 · Melodic Death Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
"Purgatory Afterglow" is the 4th full-length studio album by Swedish death metal act Edge of Sanity. The album was released through Black Mark Productions in October 1994. Edge of Sanity were quite busy in the early part of their career and as if it wasn´t enough that they had released one album per year from 1991-1994 (including this one), they also had time to record and release the "Until Eternity Ends" EP earlier in 1994. The material on "Purgatory Afterglow" was originally meant to have been released on two seperate EPs. One EP (titled "Purgatory") featuring the most death metal oriented material, and one EP (titled "Afterglow") featuring the more progressive/hard rock/metal oriented tracks. However the band and the label ultimately opted to release the material as a full-length studio album instead.

Great material diversity worked pretty well for Edge of Sanity on "The Spectral Sorrows (1993)", and "Purgatory Afterglow" continues that trend. At this point most listeners understood that you needed an open mind to fully appreciate Edge of Sanity´s releases, so it probably didn´t come as much of a surprise to anyone that "Purgatory Afterglow" features both progressive rock, goth rock, and industrial rock/metal traits in addition to the band´s trademark melodic yet still relatively brutal take on death metal. If you came looking for a standard old school Swedish death metal release, you came to the wrong place.

The material on the 10 track, 45:11 minutes long album is well written and memorable. Epic and progressive oriented death metal tracks like "Twilight" and "Velvet Dreams" sit along more brutal death metal tracks like "Of Darksome Origin" and "Silent". The clean sung vers/growling chorus track "Blood-Colored", the goth rock/metal track "Black Tears", and the industrial tinged closing track "Song of Sirens", are some of the tracks which ensure great variation on the album. The tracks often feature melodic guitar harmonies and leads (occasionally also keyboards), and while I wouldn´t as such label Edge of Sanity a melodic death metal band (at least not a melodeath styled one), there is generally a strong emphasis on melody in their music, which makes it quite catchy and memorable.

No matter what musical style they play on the album, Edge of Sanity deliver the material with great skill, conviction, and passion. Dan Swanö´s growling vocals are intelligible and commanding and his clean vocals (which there are more of on this album than on any of the predecessors) are also performed with great skill. Swanö has a strong and distinct sounding voice and he sounds less restrained and more confident delivering his clean vocals than on the previous releases. Swanö was no stranger to clean vocals though as he already at this point had the Unicorn and the Nightingale projects, which both solely feature clean vocals (although the latter didn´t have an album out before 1995).

"Purgatory Afterglow" features a well sounding heavy production, where the Edge of Sanity trademark of two very different sounding distorted guitar tones is more clearly heard than on any other release by the band. The sound production is vastly different to the production featured on "The Spectral Sorrows (1993)" (much darker and not as clear sounding), which helps make "Purgatory Afterglow" stand out in the band´s discography.

Upon conclusion "Purgatory Afterglow" is another high quality death metal release by Edge of Sanity. It shows a band that are still in the process of refining and developing their sound, but who continue to deliver quality releases in the process. I´d call both "The Spectral Sorrows (1993)" and "Purgatory Afterglow" "transition" releases between the early predominantly old school Swedish death metal oriented albums ("Nothing but Death Remains (1991)" and "Unorthodox (1992)") and the full on progressive death metal featured on "Crimson (1996)", but what great and unique sounding transition albums they are. A 4.5 star (90%) rating is deserved.
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