In a contemporary review, Paul Henderson of Kerrang! defined MacAlpine's technical abilities on guitar and piano as "quite phenomenal", but found his playing "totally cold" and with "a serious lack of rock 'n' roll attitude", while, in contrast, praised "the masterful, superbly sympathetic, yet also inspired" performance of bassist Billy Sheehan and drummer Steve Smith.
Andy Hinds of AllMusic described Edge of Insanity as following "the rough blueprint of Yngwie [Malmsteen]'s model" and praised MacAlpine's "impressive licks" and "exciting guitar/keyboard interplay". However, he remarked that "his second album, Maximum Security, is much better." Canadian journalist Martin Popoff gave the same judgement, but considered Edge of Insanity "nicely intimate, versatile and not embarassingly recorded."
In a 2009 article by Guitar World magazine, Edge of Insanity was ranked fourth on the all-time top ten list of shred albums. The staff wrote: "The album that launched Mike Varney's Shrapnel Records, Edge of Insanity shows off Tony MacAlpine's fearsome shred chops not only on the six-string ("Quarter to Midnight") but also on the ivories ("Chopin, Prelude 16, Opus 28")."