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Edge of Sanity: Cryptic

Cryptic is the 1997 release from Edge of Sanity following the departure of leader Dan Swano. Taking over the lead vocal slot was Robban Karlsson (who also sang under the name of Derelict for one of Swano's other bands Pan-Thy- Monium), who has a similar death growl as Swano but doesn't venture into melodic territory like Dan did on occasion. The music on Cryptic also has a more typical Swedish melodic death metal style, similar to bands like In Flames, Soilwork, and Dark Tranquility, relying heavily on catchy guitar riffs and harmonies. Overall the formula works, but it's apparent that Swano's magical touch is missing. There was always that extra edge to the songwriting, the arrangements, and the vocals, that Swano brought to the table, that little something that made the music of Edge of Sanity so different from other death metal bands. Perhaps it was Swano's love for progressive music that helped separate their music from others on the scene, but with him gone the band seemed to have lost that edge. That being said, Cryptic is still a very solid album, and one that should not be overlooked in the Edge of Sanity discography.

Surely, it's all about the riffs here. Tunes like "No Destiny", "Uncontroll Me", and "Hell Written" crash out of the gate with mammoth guitar chords from Dread & Sami Nerberg. While these songs are very heavy, there's a melodic sense to them that gives each song an almost accessible flavor. "Demon I" sees Karlsson finally asserting himself for the first time on the CD, a real barnburner of a track that sees the singer giving a deliciously evil performance, while rampaging riffs fly about the mix and the blistering rhythms of bassist Anders Lindberg and drummer Benny Larsson really working overtime. Despite some inventive riffing and some breakneck & furious pacing, tracks like "Not of This World", "Dead I Walk", and "Born, Breed, Bleeding" sound a tad too similar to some of the other music that was coming out of the Swedish scene at the time. Generic? Perhaps. The band however redeems themselves with the excellent closing number, an old-school styled metal number called "Bleed You Dry", which combines influences like Celtic Frost and Judas Priest into a strong riff monger that also features Karlsson's best vocal on the album.

One of the main problems with Cryptic is that Karlsson is featured low in the mix on most of the songs, so you don't fully get to hear what he could actually bring to the table for Edge of Sanity. After this release the band would implode, until Dan Swano decided to do a "one-off" and recreate the band for Crimson II, which was basically a solo album. Cryptic for many was a mistake, and an album that should have never been made, but regardless of the fact that it does not include their longtime leader, it is still a solid Swedish death metal album, perhaps not one of the better Edge of Sanity albums ever released, but a good listen nontheless.


Track Listing
1. Hell Written
2. Uncontroll Me
3. No Destiny
4. Demon I
5. Not of This World
6. Dead I Walk
7. Born, Breed, Bleeding
8. Bleed You Dry

Added: December 27th 2006
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Score:
Related Link: Black Mark Productions
Hits: 980
Language: english

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