Before the magnum opus that was “Light Of Day, Day Of Darkness,” there was “Journey To The End Of The Night,” the deliciously atmospheric full-length debut of Norway’s GREEN CARNATION. Forgetting their Death Metal stylings of the past, Tchort (EMPEROR, BLOOD RED THRONE, CARPATHIAN FOREST) and the Botteri brothers (IN THE WOODS…) burst into the Metal world bleeding ambition. Not many bands can get away with releasing a concept album debut featuring not only five different vocalists and violinist, but also 10, 15 and 18 minute long compositions, but GREEN CARNATION did just that and they did it well.
As I said, “Journey” is a very atmospheric record, at times making the listener feel as if they are floating along through a hazy green mist. There are drawn out, minimalist passages and bursts of crushing riffage, all condensed into a structure like that of a dream – the music ebbs and flows, somehow coherent and incoherent at the same time. The music will hold your attention and keep you in suspense, but you’ll have a hard time remembering back to what exactly you heard. The tracks are layered with lots of strange, semi-psychedelic effects, courtesy of the brothers Botteri and the sounds lend themselves well to the pounding crescendos found throughout. This record has been compared to PINK FLOYD-meets-Doom Metal and though that doesn’t really accurately describe what is going on here, it’s a good enough reference point.
Vocally, things are very interesting. Right before entering the studio, the band had to part way with their vocalist, so five vocalists, both male and female, were brought in to improvise the lyrics over the music. This works to varying degrees – at times it sounds spontaneous, forceful and downright classy, while at others it sounds awkward and forced. There is a lot of lyric-less vocalizing going on, adding to the disembodied, dreamy atmosphere of the album and the vocalists all are quite good at what they do. If the music takes you through that hazy green mist, the vocalists are the angels that guide your way.
After this album, everyone except for Tchort left the band and we all know what happened next. *cough* Loddy-doddy *cough*. When compared directly to “Light Of Day,” “Journey To The End Of The Night” takes a back seat, but then again, most things do. Taken by itself, this is a not only a very solid album but also a great piece of art, as the record is dedicated to the memory of Tchort’s deceased daughter. “Journey” stands out as quite unique in the GREEN CARNATION discography and though not as essential as the band’s later work, still comes highly recommended. (Online November 20, 2005)