When people think of the most influential death metal bands and albums, they will almost always mention Possessed's Seven Churches, Death's Leprosy, Morbid Angel's Alters of Madness, Carnage's Dark Recollections, Carcass' Symphonies of Sickness, Cynic's Focus, Atheist's Piece of Time, Entombed's Left Hand Path, Suffocation's Pierced from Within, At the Gates' first two albums... etc. But for some strange reason Edge of Sanity's Crimson is overlooked. It may be true that Crimson might not have changed the direction of the genre on a very high scale, but no one can deny that this album has breathed new life into the overblown death metal scene in the 90's when every other band prefered to walk in the footsteps of their pioneers. Dan Swano had the will and courage to create something different, namely a one-track album with a running time of 40+ minutes instead of copy-cating whatever was 'the big thing' in 1996. Having recorded and produced tons of bands and also the first two Opeth albums including songs like "Black Rose Immortal" it is no wonder why he was so independent-minded, bold, intelligent and independent to experiment with his music. Dan has always looked for different ways to express himself and with Crimson he proved to be one of the most creative artists of the decade.
Crimson is definitely Edge of Sanity's most lauded recording to date. Although Dan has mentioned that he thinks the Unorthodox album is by far his favourite and Crimson was recorded when the band was in a very bad state, I still consider it a true masterpiece! It easily paved the way for so many other bands with its rich content and song structures which simply refuse to compromise. The music is very experimental borrowing lots of elements from the 70's and blending them seamlessly with the fundamental parts of death metal. Dan uses both his death and clean vocals, and also Mike from Opeth does some killer death grunts to bring this 40-minute CD more depth and life. This album features very melodic and intricate riffs including acoustic passages and unexpected key and tempo changes. Generally most death metal releases focus on destruction and single-minded fury, but Crimson isn't afraid to lend itself to various other pursuits. It delivers consistent musical and lyrical themes from beginning to end. I doubt Dan Swano and his friends in EOS were aware of the fact that they were pushing the limits of death metal to unfathomable artistic heights when they were recording this CD. I'm glad they did because even after 8 years of its release I still love playing it and enjoy every second on it. Dan recently put out a sequel to Crimson which is also highly recommended not to mention his solo album Moontower, and his more prog rock driven projects Nightingale and Unicorn, all of which are intense, poignant, bold, and independent works of art.