Sanity’s Edge. A local metal band straight from Denver. They’ve recently began streaming their E.P. on SoundCloud before making it available for download, but I was lucky enough to get my hands on a physical copy, and I must say, it’s really unfair; I saw these guys live, and now that I’m listening through headphones and imagining their set, I just want to skip class and go see them again. This E.P. isn’t one to skip over if you’re a fan of metal, of local artists, or of having a good time.
FALLING AWAKE: The soft intro that steadily grows the groove is awesome! You know something is about to happen as the intro progresses in exotic fashion, and you know I’m a sucker for exotic, unusual sounding leads. As the intro finishes, the guitars and vocals come in. Though the “punch” in the record isn’t as powerful as it is live, it’s still there and enough to keep you listening. This minor flaw, of course, is overpowered by the sheer content of the song, from the vocals to the drums to the guitars and bass. As a guitarist, I love listening to the guitars, and the verse riff really catches my ears.
The verse, while definitely unique, leads to a breakdown that I love. My foot taps during the verse, but my head bangs during the breakdowns, with the guitars adding a sick back drop to the spoken vocals; the effects on the vocals really up the creepiness felt from them, which is awesome if you love creepy sounding stuff . And honestly, with Halloween right around the corner, how could you not like the creepy atmosphere provided by the music?
FREAK SHOW: The beginning is hilariously awesome. Carnival music plays, and really makes you feel like something is going to happen; with a title like “Freakshow”, it’s just perfect. But again, the “punch” from soft to loud isn’t powerfully translated on the disc. The riff that follows the carnival music is a great though, and you really just have to smile at how it blends in the carnival music, and how if you were to listen to this live, your head would just be dropped as soon as that first note struck, your neck getting sore as it progressed because of the constant head banging. Then the vocals come in, and the youth of the band shows through. They come in very suddenly against the guitars, though once the song gets into its core, you don’t really care. It’s a fast paced song, and your heart will speed up a bit. And as the each chorus ends, the resolution to the verse is very satisfying, like the song is giving your ear a good, soft loving.
The middle of the song shows where this band could really be though, as the breakdown on the bridge blends in with the vocals that come growling in, and the vocals, vice versa, blend in the upcoming outro. While each section might stand out a bit too much from one another, they all make you move, so if you’re casually listening, instead of trying to scrutinize each song like I am, you won’t even notice. You’ll just notice that it takes more energy to NOT move, since naturally, you’ll be bobbing your head a bit.
The only hardcore complaint I have about this song is there isn’t enough distorted, metal, carnival riffs.
5.5 TO LIFE: The intro to this continues with the theme of “each intro telling a story”. This also shows that, when done carefully, the blending of the intro into the song can be very, very cool, as the guitars make a demanding statement on top of the soundtrack of the crowd of people. And the verse, plain and simple, is kick ass. The vocals also are intriguing, going from singing to growling flawlessly, which I love in metal.
The solo, though short, still shows signs of growing maturity, and while it starts off a little rough, once it gets into its core, it does sound like it’s telling a short story; there is a purpose for each note, and incorporating that with speed is fantastic. As it finishes, of course, Sanity’s Edge puts in another breakdown to finish the song. And the breakdowns employed by this band always sound good.
THREAD: The intro does sound a bit familiar, but the opening solo is something to admire. It has sections of speed, but still has melody, and relies on that, only adding in fast licks when needed. And the solo impressively makes a great transition into the calm verse.
This song feels about as close to a ballad you’ll hear on this record, and it still is powerful, and quickly translates back into the distorted, electric guitars, adding in a solo for the outro, which is played under the vocals, and therefore able to focus more on speed rather than melody. Usually, that’s not the greatest attitude toward solos, but by adding a speedy solo underneath the vocals, the speed is used as a way to add more depth, and it definitely does add that to the outro of the song.
SECOND THOUGHT: Second Thought is really the most metal song on the disc. Where the other songs utilize a lot of singing combined with growling, Second Thought focuses more on growling; while it might seem that would be out of place, it really isn’t, and fits in nicely on the disc. Everything fits into the context of the song, and it’s really a nonstop train of metal for approximately 4 minutes. Starting from the first verse to the outro, there isn’t a calm moment in this song, which depending on what you’re doing, could either be an incredibly awesome thing, or a bad thing. The only way it would be bad, though, is if you’re trying to rest, in which case, why are you listening to metal? Metal is supposed to be in-your-face, make-you-move type of music, which this does.
The solo, again, is a little rough, but Sanity’s Edge definitely knows what a solo needs. It’s quick, and while it’s mostly fast, it basically narrates the guitar riff going on underneath it, which makes any solo sound fuller and more thoughtful. And while it’s quick, it’s not forgettable.
The song quickly transitions back into its in-your-face verse and chorus before ending the train ride of head banging and moshing.
CASUALTIES OF WAR: This song definitely starts off IN YOUR FACE, and might just be my favorite on the disc. After a solo that sets the chaotic, war-type mood, the verse starts in. The reason I like this song so much is that the verse is metal and so damn catchy, from the guitars to the lyrics to the drum and bass; it’s intense, yet doesn’t stop as soon as the song ends, staying with you. I’ll admit: thinking about this album, and this song in particular, has caused me to bounce my head in random places in public.
OVERALL: This E.P. definitely sounds like it’s from a growing local band; from the songs to the mixes, there’s lots of room to grow. Is that a bad thing though? No. I found myself tapping my foot, bobbing my head, and moving my body like a reflex. If the music makes you move, there’s definitely something strong there, and that’s something good to have going on. Sanity’s Edge has a killer E.P. that’s listenable all the way through (you know how some CDs and E.P.s have fillers? Well, personally, I found none. And if one or two were included, they weren’t found by me, and that’s a good thing).
There’s things to work on most definitely, but there’s things being done right too. While each song seems to struggle with the transitions from intro to verse to chorus, etc (and that could be simply due to the transitions just not translating on CD), Sanity’s Edge definitely knows that a story must be told by each song, and each song seems to tell a different story. But it’s not just the content of the lyrics that shows maturity, but the musicianship on the instruments, from the drums not overpowering anything, to the bass keeping a tight groove, to the solos that don’t focus on showing off, but rather on adding to the song. And when a song enters its breakdown, it enters hard. Very hard. I love the breakdowns on S.E.E.P. 1. They are some of the best things I’ve ever heard.