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.
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.
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.