Sunday, 3 June 2012

EDGE OF SANITY - The Spectral Sorrows (1993)

01  The Spectral Sorrows
02  Darkday
03  Livin' Hell
04  Lost
05  The Masque
06  Blood Of My Enemies
07  Jesus Cries
08  Across The Fields Of Forever
09  On The Other Side
10  Sacrificed
11  Waiting To Die
12  Feedin' The Charlatan
13  A Serenade For The Dead

'The Spectral Sorrows' is the third full-length studio album by the Swedish death metal band, Edge of Sanity, recorded by Börje Forsberg in July–August 1993 and released by Black Mark Productions later that year. It is of interest to note that bassist Anders Lindberg could not record the album due to mandatory military service. "Gloves Of Metal" is a Manowar cover.

This album marked the beginning of Edge of Sanity’s progressive death metal stage. Not as melodic as 'Purgatory Afterglow' but more melodic than Unorthodox. The hard “edge” of both 'Nothing But Death Remains' and 'Unorthodox' is still present but tends to take a step back. 'The Spectral Sorrows’ emphasis is on melody and song structure. Songs tend to focus on a fewer ideas rather than riff after riff, which usually becomes tedious after a few tracks anyways. The vocal department is a step up from previous work. Swano’s hoarse death shout is still powerful as the last two albums but feels more controlled and audible. Clean vocals return but are not overused. Those looking for more of an emphasis on clean vocals should check out the albums following this one.

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.

In conclusion, the main thing holding this album back is the fact that Edge of Sanity's sound was still progressing into bigger and better things when this album was released. The production also leaves something to be desired. However, Dan Swanö proves that he is one of the leading vocalists in the early melodeath movement, and it leads to some of the best material in the genre's history. This, combined with the fact that the majority of the tracks are enjoyable and catchy, make 'The Spectral Shadows' an effective album and one that any fans of the band or melodic death metal in general should check out.

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