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Edge of Sanity
Released: 1999, Black Mark Production
Reviewer: Nathan Robinson
For more than ten years, Edge of Sanity has been churning out some of the greatest music ever to come from Sweden. And to celebrate their ten-year anniversary, former vocalist Dan Swano has stepped back into Edge of Sanity territory one last time to bring us one of the greatest compilations ever! This is not a "best of" or "greatest hits"…this is an assembly of remixes, remasters, unreleased, and rare songs spanning the band's entire existence. And to top it off, this is a double CD release!!! That's 89 minutes of pure death from one of the greatest death metal bands ever!
The tracks are organized chronologically, commencing with the first ever Edge of Sanity recording "Pernicious Anguish" (1989) and ending with the band's latest endeavor "Epidemic Reign" (1999). Every demo and album is represented here with at least one track from each. Every song (with the exception of "Epidemic Reign") has been either remixed or remastered specifically for inclusion on the compilation. Dan's point in remixing/remastering these tracks is to obtain better sound quality. So be at ease, because for once remixing does not mean "pointless techno bullshit", and remastering does not mean "oh boy, sounds just like the original". Inside the booklet you will find many interesting photos, plus a condensed history of the band which ties together all of the tracks on the compilation. Here is what these two CDs have to offer:
Pernicious Anguish: from the 1989 demo "Euthanasia", this is the first song the band ever wrote and recorded together. For being such an old demo recording, it sounds amazing!
Immortal Souls: from the 1990 "Immortal Rehearsals" demo…listen past the tape hiss and the slightly muffled drums and bang thy head!
Maze of Existence: from the 1990 demo "Kur-nu-gi-a". Heavier than the earth! And that bass guitar sticks out well.
The Dead: from the 1990 demo "The Dead".
Angel of Distress: from the 1991 LP "Nothing but Death Remains". If you own this album, you know how bad the production is. I am able to accept it, however, the dropouts in sound level throughout the album really fucking suck. This song finally sounds the way it should have.
Everlasting: from the 1991 "Dead but Dreaming" demo. Listen to those guitars!
After Afterlife: from the 1992 LP "Unorthodox". If you do not own this album, then do not call yourself a death metal fan!
Human Aberration: from the cassette version of "Unorthodox". This remake from the "Nothing But Death Remains" album was a bonus track on the cassette version of "Unorthodox". It also features Dread on vocals, although I still swear it is Dan.
Kill the Police: unreleased Cryptic Death cover track from 1992. Strange, this one is…and really short.
When All is Said: unreleased remix from 1992. Ultimately heavy and sorrowful doom! The original version appeared on the "Unorthodox" LP. The piano and cello stick out a bit more in this remixed version, which really helps bring out that dark atmosphere. Plus a touch of new vocals have been added.
Blood of My Enemies: unreleased 1992 demo version of this Manowar song.
Elegy: unreleased song from 1993. This ballad is as far from death metal as Edge of Sanity has ever gotten. In fact this track resembles Dan's Nightingale project more so than Edge of Sanity, and showcases Dan's amazing clean vocals. Too bad this song is so short though.
The Masque: from the 1993 LP "The Spectral Sorrows".
Pernicious Anguish: 1993 version previously found only on the Japanese version of "Unorthodox".
Until Eternity Ends: from the 1994 EP of the same name, with newly re-recorded vocals.
Song of Sirens: from the 1994 LP "Purgatory Afterglow". Dan has remixed this track to make it sound as industrial as the band originally attempted. I wouldn't way it sounds more industrial…just a bit heavier. Nevertheless, don't worry, it's not some fake techno crap!
Criminally Insane: from the 1995 Black Sun Slayer tribute compilation "Slatanic Slaughter", remixed to sound much better than the original.
Murder Dividead: from the 1996 Black Mark compilation "Black Mark Attack", also found on the Japanese version of the ruling "Crimson" LP. It is not a typo…the song has been slightly re-titled.
I Wanna Go Home: from the 1996 Sator tribute "Guldskivan". Who in the hell is Sator? This song sounds too alternative, but at least we finally get to hear it. The extreme death ending is a nice, unexpected touch!
Damned By the Damned: from the 1997 LP "Infernal". Call this album whatever you want, I think it rules! I do prefer the album version of this song as opposed to this remaster, which sounds a little too hollow.
Moonshine: unreleased song from 1997, recorded for fun during the "Infernal" sessions. This fun, just-for-the-hell-of-it, pissed-off hardcore track is the last song Dan wrote with Edge of Sanity.
Bleed You Dry: from the 1998 LP "Cryptic". Many people thought this album just was not up to par with previous albums. Although I will agree, I still think "Cryptic" crushes!
Mother: from the 1998 compilation "Black Mark Tribute II". This tribute to Danzig was unexpected, and the band pulled it off well, complete with clean vocals (not Dan's either).
Epidemic Reign: unreleased 1999 recording. This final song is a duet between Dan and current vocalist Robert! Backing tracks were recorded during the "Crimson" sessions, and the lyrics date back to 1990. Overall it sounds like Edge of Sanity five years ago!
As you can see, there are plenty of tracks to salivate over. All Edge of Sanity fans must get this compilation. And those of you living outside Europe (like myself), do your best to get this from overseas mail order, or as an import from more local carriers. It will do you no good to wait for Black Mark to get their heads out of their asses and give this the proper worldwide release it deserves. But that goes for all Black Mark bands in general. Get your shit together, guys. And even though this is quite a lengthy compilation, it leaves me craving more, more, more! I shouldn't be picky, but these two CDs have the capacity to hold more tracks. I know I should just shut my mouth and accept this jewel as is. But the band has so many demos and I just want to hear them all…remastered or not! Regardless, I only wish every band and/or record label would take the time and effort to put out a compilation of unreleased/rare tracks. Fuck greatest-hits compilations, give the fans what they really want!