Review by Joshua on October 1, 2003.
The original "Crimson" was a monumental sci-fi epic, a successful and brilliant experiment in melodic death metal. The sequel proves that Dan Swano can rival that accomplishment, even without the rest of Edge of Sanity backing him. From the very beginning, the listener is witness to tempo changes, innovative rhythms, and melodic passages that conjure memories of the first "Crimson" _ technical, melodic death metal at its finest. The differences are just as apparent, though, and they keep the album from becoming a clone of the first: The album isn't mixed as cleanly, the musical transitions occur less uniformly, and there's less repetition. As such, the album never feels like any portion is a hackneyed hook, and it always manages to keep the listener's interest. In a way, this is the antithesis of popular music.
Edge of Sanity are willing to experiment with music and time changes in ways that most musicians don't, and the transitions between passages are all superb. In fact, the entire album incorporates dozens of interesting musical ideas, without ever losing its cohesiveness. The first "Crimson" drew some comparisons to Opeth, but this is more chaotic, more dependent on technical musicianship. The comparison remains valid, but barely so. One can also hear some ideas incorporated from the days of Pan-Thy-Monium, though they're infinitely more discernible on this CD; aside from that, there's nothing to which "Crimson II" compares.
The album has exactly two flaws, for which I deduct a half-point each. First, the production is not always as clean as it could be. This is frustrating, because the incredible, corybantic time changes can get lost in a fuzz of distortion and static. It seems as if the distortion is deliberate, for sake of adding atmosphere, but it's annoying nonetheless. The second is that Dan Swano decided to compensate for the lack of track breaks on the first "Crimson", because there are 44 tracks on this. Every musical section is its own track... making the average track 55 seconds long. It's a nice idea, but...why?
Bottom Line: Sequels rarely measure up, but this comes very close! This is a fantastic concept album, a technically brilliant piece of melodic death metal that shines from start to finish, and never grows old. Belongs in all CD collections.
Categorical Rating Breakdown
Rating: 9 out of 10