Swedish band Edge Of Sanity was one of the first bands to sign to Black Mark Production and reached its popularity partly through its music (which did not much resemble other Swedish metal acts) and partly through the constant wife-swapping of singer/leader Swanö. He further managed to garner additional publicity by having bands record at his studio - Gorysound renamed later Unisound.
Not only Dan Swanö managed to entertain himself - and some others - by his many projects, Swanö would routinely contribute musically to the bands visiting his studio. In the late 90's Swanö closed Unisound Studio and began working at a music store. He had had hearing problems and had gotten impatient with working with other bands for days. Some of his equipment would later end up at Soundlab Studio.
The band's history began with several low budget demos until the infamous Kar-Nu-Gi-A tape put the band on the map. The quartet, with the addition of Lindberg who was in the punk band Ulanbator, became a quintet and signed to the fledgling Black Mark which would many more Swedish acts for the next several years. The result of the session at Montezuma Studio was the well-received Nothing But Death Remains album. The side projects never ceased, especially because unlike their Swedish brethren, Edge Of Sanity had to succumb to Black Mark's aversion to its bands' touring.
Axelsson is kicked out of Marduk because, according to the Satan worshippers, he's "wimped out."
1996's Cryptic is quite suave and features a 40-minute long song. The follow-up album Infernal is recorded by Hypocrisy's Peter Tagtgren. This album does not see a performance from guitarist Sami Nerberg who is absent because of "personal problems." When after much here and there Swanö left in the autumn of 1997 the band, Edge Of Sanity not only continued but actually did its second ever tour with replacement Karlsson. Karlsson becomes the bassist for Solar Dawn in the summer of 2002.
Somewhat surprisingly, Swanö returned to and took control of Edge Of Sanity in 2003. As payback for sending him packing from the band earlier, Swanö composed and played the new album solo. Swanö recruited musicians such as Mike Wead and Andy LaRocque to guest on Crimson II. Black Mark duly issued Crimson II in the August of that year. The label also issued Crimson and Crimson II as a double-LP together. Black Mark Productions released a sampler, When All Is Said - The Best Of Edge Of Sanity, in late 2006. Rogga Johansson who had contributed to Crimson II and Dan Swanö recorded an album under the Demiurg monicker in 2006. He also had his Banished From Inferno EP be mastered by Dan Swanö.
EDGE OF SANITY - INFERNAL- BLACK MARK PRODUCTION
Seeing that Edge Of Sanity's mastermind Dan Swano is not finding as much dedication to the band in himself as before, and noting that this will be the last Edge.. album in a couple of years - at least - and that guitarist Sami Nerberg couldn't even afford/bother to show up to do this album, fans would be well- advised to get this. For, basically, it might be Edge Of Sanity’s swan song. Black Mark’s head office is going frantic at the thought. Regardless, the album is an "interesting" one, as some would say. Kick off song Hell's Where The Heart Is attempts a rightful mixture of Cannibal Corpse (listen to the Bleeding riff) and In Flames (the melody of course, stupid). Song number three 15:36 begins like a Crowbar tune with Dan Swano doing fine impression of Viking-era Quorthon! Then the band turns around and does a brutal number complete with Kevin Sharp-esque high screams. Fascinating. Especially when songs 7 and 11 are no more than lame wastes of time. Oh well, can't have it all, I guess. Still, 9 out of 11 isn't all that bad now, is it? - Ali "The Metallian"
EDGE OF SANITY - CRIMSON II - BLACK MARK
Crimson II is the come-back/reformation/resurrection album of Edge Of Sanity, albeit with only Dan Swano as a returning member. One would expect musical changes given the presence of a lone original member, but Crimson II has turned into quite a mess. The extensive lyricism, quality riffs and King Diamond-ish solos are all pleasing elements. The silly clean vocals, clicking triggered samples and juvenile keyboards, on the other hand, are the opposite. When Dan Swano decided to unleash the cheese while releasing an album as Edge Of Sanity he neglected to consider the integrity of the band's name or heavy metal. For Crimson II is a deficient and disappointing album that did not need to be. - Ali "The Metallian"
In a recent review of Edge of Sanity’s album number five, Crimson; I attributed the enhanced stature of the band to the persona that is Dan Swanö. “Edge Of Sanity have come a long way in terms of popularity, mainly due to the activities of vocalist Swanö who keeps the band constantly in the public eye. Not to say that musically the band is worthless,” read the review. That quotation just about sums up my sentiment towards the Swedish band which is rounded out by guitarists Andreas Axelson, Sami Nerberg, Anders Lindberg and drummer Benny Larsson. To talk about the aforementioned album, my sentiments towards the band and his sentiments towards my perceptions of the band Andreas Axelson contacts me from his hotel room in Germany and I press the ‘record’ button. - 1996
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: So has Edge Of Sanity become a prisoner of Dan Swanö’s profile?
ANDREAS AXELSON: He’s done all the interviews. Now he didn’t have much time so he sent me down here. It doesn’t bother me that much. We are not jealous – not me anyway – I don’t know about the others. Sure, we have become more popular because of his activities. I mean, his studio (Unisound Studio) is almost as big as this band. I think it’s only helped the band; it’s cool. He deserves it.
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: But in the same context, is Edge Of Sanity a real band as far as Dan’s profile, duties within the band and the fact that you do not reside close to each other is concerned.
ANDREAS AXELSON: Dan Lives one hour from us in the south of Sweden. We haven’t rehearsed for two or three years., but now the band is rehearsing for the tour we will be doing in Germany. For Crimson, we jammed most of the album in the studio. We couldn’t believe we went into the studio with nothing and came out with an album like that. It’s cool.
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Going back a bit, tell me, where did the name Edge Of Sanity originate from?
ANDREAS AXELSON: It was Sami who came up with the name. We got the name from the Anthony Perkins movie. We think it’s a really good name. Plus it describes how we work! We’ve always been the same line-up, except on the first demo I played bass. By the second demo, a month later, Anders was part of the band. We don’t rehearse so we don’t get bored of each other. We’ve always had a very relaxed view of the band. If we had rehearsed three or four times a week since ’89, perhaps we would have split by now.
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Regarding Crimson, what is most interesting is the fact that it is comprised of a lone song with only the Japanese version including a second and bonus song. Does that concern you so far as people’s reaction of commerciality is concerned?
ANDREAS AXELSON: That was Dan’s idea; he’s a fan of symphonic rock, like Peter Gabriel and all that stuff. There’s no death metal band that’s done this before. We didn’t worry about radio airplay or anything like that. It was supposed to be uncommercial; we are satisfied with it. People will remember when you have done a 40-minute death metal song.
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: What is the concept behind the song album?
ANDREAS AXELSON: It’s a futuristic world where people can’t give birth and the race is a dying breed. You should make your own conclusions. You’ve got to read the lyrics.
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Another aspect of Edge Of Sanity, which interests me, is the lack, or absence, of touring. However there are plans for a German tour now, correct?
ANDREAS AXELSON: Last time we played live was three years ago. We are rehearsing trying to remember the songs because we know we’ve got them somewhere inside ourselves. It’s starting to sound good now. Let’s hope it goes well. We are going to begin with the first riff from Crimson and the rest of the show will be comprised of older songs. We are going to do nine shows in Germany with Cemetary, Lake Of Tears and Sadist. I would love to go to North America, but Dan is so busy. It’s up to Black Mark to put a tour together.
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Tell us about the bonus track on the Japanese version of Crimson. What is it called?
ANDREAS AXELSON: It’s called Murder Divided. If you’ve read American Psycho, you’ll notice some similarities. It’s a normal guy who smokes a lot and kills. That song will appear on the Black Mark Attack compilation.
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Fill us in on the state of the scene in Sweden.
ANDREAS AXELSSON: It’s good. All the bands which we started with still exist. But there is no hype anymore. It was blown up in the press. You don’t read so much about them anymore. The hype nowadays is for hardcore and straight edge like Earth Crisis and Sick Of It All. I think It’s alright and you can’t argue with them. Of course. It’s a good way of living (no drugs, no sex, etc.), but when they try to make you be straight edge then it’s not so good anymore. I’ve been a vegetarian for two and a half years, but it’s your own thing. It’s up to the individual. That’s what it’s all about: democracy. Black metal is the hype, now, and many of the older death metal bands have jumped on that bandwagon. I know a lot of black metallers.
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Since we are on the topic, hat exactly occurred between yourself and Marduk and what other bands do you play in?
ANDREAS AXELSSON: I am in eleven other bands (laughs). I am in a band called The Lucky Seven, which is punk on Wounded Records. We have a CD out. I am in a hardcore band called Predead and I am in various other bands. I am in a local glam band. Dan and I are in Infest Dead on Invasion Records; it’s kind of a Deicide tribute. The album came out recently. We like Deicide so much that we sound like them. We are in love with Deicide because they are so fast.
As for Marduk, I sang on the first album and demo and that’s that. They’re good friends of mine. I talk to the new singer who lives near me.
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Finally, seeing that it’s late there, let us wrap up the conversation with your plans regarding your future.
ANDREAS AXELSON: There was a video for Black Tears, but we filmed it ourselves and it’s a poor one. There won’t be one for this album. After this tour, we might start writing for the next album. I would love to do a real rock ‘n roll video. It would be like a movie or something. Doing this album, we noticed we are really interested in doing a little movie or a short book.
This interview initially appeared in Pit Magazine No. 17.