The departure of longtime vocalist and Edge of Sanity mastermind Dan Swano was too much for the group to overcome on this 1997 Black Mark release. The death metal vocal forays of Swano's replacement, Robben Karlsson, aren't the problem; it's the music that is lacking on Cryptic, no doubt due to the lack of Swano's songwriting and leadership. The performances are still tight, but there are too many aimless riffs -- and an ill-suited rock vibe on songs like "No Destiny" -- that might be delivered with all the necessary fervor but somehow seem flat anyway. All is not lost, however, as standouts "Bleed You Dry" and "Not of This World" generate enough momentum to keep listeners away from their CD player's eject button. Cryptic is in no way a bad Scandinavian metal offering, but Edge of Sanity produced some of the genre's finest work just a couple years before this record's release and, without Swano around, this disc just doesn't hold up. This is a difficult recommendation considering the many superior efforts from this group.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Jason Anderson