1993 saw the release of this monster from Sweden's Edge of Sanity. The Spectral Sorrows has long been considered one of the band's early classics, an album where they started throwing in some experimentation into their music. Clearly influenced by some of the heavyweights of the Florida death metal scene like Death, Morbid Angel, Deicide, Atheist, and Obituary, Edge of Sanity also for the first time started to see some of Dan Swano's love for progressive rock start to drip into their music here. Keyboards, multi-layered guitar harmonies, melodic clean vocals, and moments of dark atmosphere, all make appearances here, giving The Spectral Sorrows a well rounded sound that separates it from other death metal albums of the early 90's.
Listen to the layers of melodic guitar riffs from Dread & Sami Neberg, as well as the sprinkling of keyboards from Swano on the brilliant "Livin' Hell", or the doomy dirges on the massive sounding "Lost", for proof of this band's maturity. Swano's evil growls permeate the crushing mini-epic "Masque", a brutal piece with eerie keyboards, sledgehammer guitar riffs, and manic rhythms, especially from drummer Benny Larsson. Although it's questionable why the band decided to cover Manowar's "Blood of My Enemies", they do a fine job of it, with Swano really hitting the high notes well and even throwing in some death grunts for good measure. "Jesus Cries" is fast-paced trashy Swedish death metal, while "Across the Fields of Forever" is an experimental and progressive death metal number, which might remind you a bit of Celtic Frost's Into the Pandemonium material with its sense of brooding atmosphere, spoken narration, keyboards, and acoustic guitars which complement the slow, doomy riffs. Swano's death growls on this one are some of his best on the album, and the riffs from Dread and Neberg are truly crushing.
More progressive and melodic flavors come out on "On the Other Side", and "Sacrificed" has a sort of gothic, techno feel to it, somewhat like Peter Tagtgren's band Pain, with Swano singing in his husky clean voice, surrounded by symphonic keyboards, slamming drum beats, electronic programming, and power riffs. This one is an intriguing piece, sort of sounding out of place here, but fun nontheless. The band rampages back into snarling death metal territory on the brutal "Waiting to Die", and deliver an almost punkish/hardcore performance on "Feedin' the Charlatan", a song that features lead vocals by guitarist Dread. This diverse album ends, much like it begins, with an instrumental, the proggy "Serenade for the Dead", featuring Swano on the piano and synthesizer.
Certainly Edge of Sanity gave their fans much more to think about on The Spectral Sorrows than with any other album that they had released at that time. While it's up for debate whether this release or perhaps Purgatory Afterglow or Nothing But Death Remains is their strongest of their earlier recordings, this is still considered one of their best no matter how you slice it.
1. Spectral Sorrows [Instrumental]
3. Livin' Hell
6. Blood of My Enemies
7. Jesus Cries
8. Across the Fields of Forever
9. On the Other Side
11. Waiting to Die
12. Feedin' the Charlatan
13. Serenade for the Dead [Instrumental]