Edge of Sanity - The Spectral Sorrows
Black Mark
Melodic Death Metal
13 songs (53:56)
Release year: 1993
Edge of Sanity, Black Mark
Reviewed by Tony
Archive review
Swedish Death Metal is known for its Melodic value, shredding guitars, and longtime prowess amongst its local musicians. Even before the Gothenburg movement took flight early classics were being released yearly. Nothing about some of these bands could be deemed obscure, but in terms of general exposure in the American continent, where Death Metal is strongest, you will not hear much talk of Dismember or Entombed. Despite the masterworks of these two acts, coupled with the excellent At the Gates and the Modern gravitation to melody through acts like Arch Enemy or Dark Tranquility, you are more likely to hear about the Florida bands, and rightfully so, right here in Death Metal’s birthplace. But while Norwegians were birthing the second wave of devastating Black Metal, a triumvirate of Swedish Death Metal acts were living through their golden age. Within just a few years, Like an Everflowing Stream and Left Hand Path were revealed to the world, establishing Sweden as Florida’s international rival.

The third of these acts is the equally as potent Edge of Sanity who made Death Metal history with their unique take on the styling with Crimson. That album plays itself more like a classical opus than a Death Metal album, forever cementing Death Metal as a genre that has many epic qualities. Spectral Sorrows is one of the best albums from the band. Wrought during the height of Death Metal’s rise to potency in the Extreme Metal world, the album presented enough melody to wow us with talent, and enough brutality to keep us banging our heads.

If not for the cutting edge guitar tones and boatloads of brutally constructed riffs, the vocals of band leader Dan Swano could very easily take the cake as the highlight of the album. Before Pro Tools or any other studio tricks could clean up a choppy vocal performance, Swano took vocals to the next level, his booming vocals nearly otherworld aggressive. His best delivery early on the album being the chorus of Lost. The mystique of the instrumental title track adds to the European vibe, only for groovy and heavy riffs to take over in the forms of great tracks such as Dark Day and The Masque. That song specifically contains a catchy chorus, a theme consistent to The Spectral Sorrows and uncharacteristic to Death Metal. Another inconsistency is a cover song in the midst of an original album. Usually a cover will occur following the last track. Here, Blood of My Enemies by Manowar is covered, which sounds little to nothing like the rest of the album. Swano sings clean here; his voice once again booming above the mix but not in an overwhelming manner. He has a tremendous power quality to his vox, clean or harsh.

Right after the superb cover the Death Metal resumes once more. The atonal entryway of Across the Fields of Forever play for muffled voices before Swano begins again. I can healthily say that this is one of the only Death Metal albums I have ever heard where there are more than 50% slower to mid paced portions and I am not left scorned. When one things of Death Metal, or Extreme Metal in general, they think of breakneck guitars, blast beats, and barked vocals. But here, Edge of Sanity harness an enthralling quality that trudges on yet somehow keeps the listener bound to their headphones.

Sacrificed begins almost like an 80s Rock song.

The final three songs round out a complete and fantastic album. This is my only other exposure to Edge of Sanity aside from their brilliant duo of Crimson and Crimson II. Swano in many ways has contributed and influenced a plethora of masterful acts with his multi-faceted talents. Spectral Sorrows, is nothing short of elevation to his pantheon of finest records.

Killing Songs :
Tony quoted 91 / 100
Other albums by Edge of Sanity that we have reviewed:
Edge of Sanity - Infernal reviewed by Alex and quoted 82 / 100
Edge of Sanity - Crimson reviewed by Dan and quoted 99 / 100
Edge of Sanity - Crimson II reviewed by Alex and quoted 91 / 100
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