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Tag Archives: Melodic death metal

Band of the Month: Edge of Sanity

Death metal water sold here

Death metal water sold here (Photo credit: Nick Sherman)

In the 90s, metal was practically dead to the mainstream media apart from some exceptions. But metal was not dead. It kept evolving in the depths of a weird place called the metal underground. In that place, the most extreme genres of metal became something new and interesting. One of these genres was melodic death metal,  born of death metal, NWOBHM and thrash metal.

When people about melodic death metal, they usually talk about certain bands: In Flames, Carcass, Dark Tranquillity,  At The Gates and so on. And when they talk about progressive extreme metal, bands such as Opeth, Cynic, Death.

But at that time, in the mid-90s, there was one band who played melodic death metal, progressive death metal and much more. The band was called Edge of Sanity from Finspång in southeastern Sweden, hundreds of kilometers from Gothenburg, the Mecca of melodic death metal.

Cover of "Purgatory Afterglow"

Cover of Purgatory Afterglow

I usually divide their albums into four groups.

The three first albums were rather basic death metal, although you can some original elements on them. “Sacrificed”, released on The Spectral Sorrows (1993) is actually one of the very first gothic metal songs ever despite of being “just” a Sisters of Mercy pastiche.

The second group consists of Until Eternity Ends EP, Purgatory Afterglow, Crimson and Infernal (from 1993 to 1997). Purgatory was the first EoS album I heard and it really blew my mind. Melodic death metal had not been so innovative and versatile before.

Cryptic (1997) is alone in the third group. Without Dan Swanö, there weren’t elements of surprise and diversity on this album. The music got a bit one-dimensional without the melodic, progressive elements. To my ears, Cryptic sounded nothing but a half of what it had been before. It was heavy and extreme but something was missing.

Cover of "Crimson II"

Cover of Crimson II

After Cryptic, EoS broke up. But Dan Swanö raised the band from the dead once more to create Crimson II (almost) all by himself in 2003. The result was an updated version of the EoS sound. Unfortunately, I had sort of melodic metal and could not enjoy the album as much as I had wanted. Had it been released just after Cryptic, it would probably have been the best EoS album.

And that was the end of Edge of Sanity. They always remained a cult band with a huge influence on many bands, including mine. Why didn’t they become the biggest band in the whole extreme metal genre? Perhaps their record company (Black Mark) was a bit too small. Perhaps their unwillingness of doing a lot of tours around the world. But well, it happens.

Anyway, their songs can be found on Spotify and Youtube, so check them out. If you’re into melodic but extreme metal, I’m sure you like them.

 

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Saivo, Lapland and Melodic Death Metal

Cover of "Children of The Dark Waters"

Cover of Children of The Dark Waters

I’m listening the seventh album by Eternal Tears of Sorrow, called “Saivon Lapsi”. It’s finally been mastered and should be released in.. Well, I’ve stopped talking about exact dates or even wide estimations because nowadays, release dates seem to be quite flexible. And they are never ever up to us. Next year, that I can promise. Massacre Records say it’ll be out in late February in Central Europe, so… We’ll see.

For Children of the Dark Waters, we recorded “Vilda Mánnu”, the title song of our second album. Also this time, we re-recorded an old song. So,  when listening to Saivon Lapsi and this re-recorded song, I can’t help thinking “oh boy, we’ve changed during these years”. Which is not a negative thing at all. Most bands change, most bands have something new on their new albums. Yes, we have changed since our first album, too. We’re a bit angrier, a bit more symphonic, even a bit more melodic (if possible) but it’s still us. Wiser and older. Well, older, anyway.

Still, Saivon Lapsi (“The Child of Saivo”) closes one circle. It is the underworld of the Sami people (or the Saami people, both are acceptable) that were the theme of our second album. And now, the Vilda Mánnu theme and the Angelheart theme are drawn together. (I didn’t realize this until now, weird…) And we’ve had song titles in Northern Saami, Japanese, Irish, pseudo-Latin (Nocturne Thule), so I suppose it’s only natural to have song titles in Finnish, too. But no spoilers because as always, there are surprises on the album! 🙂

By the way, I hate categorizations, especially when people try to categorize bands I’m involved with. No, Eternal Tears of Sorrow are not a gothic metal band. And no, Eternal Tears of Sorrow are not a black metal band either. The accurate categorization would go something like “Symphonic melodic death metal with influences from many kinds of metal, including gothic metal, progressive metal, thrash metal, black metal, and so on…” In the end, we don’t care what people and the record companies call us or our music. Metal. Call us metal!

 
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Posted by on 12.11.2012 in In English, Music

 

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Three Classic Metal Videos from the Early 90s

Headbangers Ball

Headbangers Ball (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Oh, the early 90s. That’s when Music Television actually played music videos instead of some stupid reality tv shows. And the most interesting MTV show for me (and many other metal maniacs) was Headbanger’s Ball that was shown every Monday night between 1 and 3 o’clock. Oh, and Vanessa Warwick, who was a synonym for a hot female metal lady. Monday was usually a school day for me, so I always taped the show on VHS. That was our YouTube of the early 90s. You could basically see anything on that show. Or at least good metal videos and bad metal videos.

1. The Gathering: King for a Day. Most metalheads and headbangers remember this band from their Anneke van Giersbergen era (1994-2007). Their first album ‘Always…‘ (1992) was an interesting album. There was something really new to me: having keyboards and keyboards while playing extreme doom/death metal and growling your brains out. I almost forgot this band after their horrible, horrible second album ‘Almost a Dance‘. But fortunately, they got Anneke in the band in 1994, and ‘Mandylion’ was (and still is) a true masterpiece. And it’s a good thing Anneke and The Gathering are still doing well and rocking.

2. Death: Lack of Comprehension. I think this was the first Death video I ever saw. Chuck Schuldiner wasn’t just a death metal musician. He loved traditional heavy metal and it can be heard on this song. This isn’t traditional Floridan death metal of the early 90s. This could even be a precursor to melodic death metal and surely was one of the first progressive death metal bands ever. In the early 90s, I preferred ‘Individual Thought Patterns‘ over ‘Human’ but nowaways, I think ‘Human’ might just be the beast Death album, and specially the brand new, remixed version of the album. RIP Chuck, the world won’t forget you!

3. Carcass: Incarnated Solvent Abuse. Now, this video was funny. Me and my “metal school mates” used to call this “the plastic bag video”. Heavy, really heavy but still some tongue-in-cheek attitude. ‘Necroticism – Descanting the Insalubrious’ was a good death metal album but it was the next album ‘Heartwork’ that blew my mind. The best melodic death metal album ever? Could be, could be. I just don’t know if I want them to make another album. It would probably turn out to be a disappointment to many. But on the other hand, it could be a great album, too. Fortunately things like this are not up to me.

Ok, everybody back to the 2010s now. At ease!

 
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Posted by on 17.4.2012 in In English, Music

 

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