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A few months ago, a friend of mine whom also has a Metal Archives account(Howie) told me on another forum about the Norwegian doom metal band Green Carnation. He told me about their single track album "Light of Day, Day of Darkness", which now remains as one of my favorite doom metal albums of all time(up there with Black Sabbath's "Paranoid" and Katatonia's "Viva Emptiness"). Although "Journey to the End of the Night" isn't nearly as great as their newer 60 minute doomfest, it's still an album you should check out.
On this album, Green Carnation combines elements from both Doom and Gothic metal and this mix produces beutifully sounding songs lasting well over 8 minutes. Like most doom metal, the songs are very slow and somewhat deppressing. Occasionally some Gothic melodies and vocals step in to lighten things up a little and keep you focused on the songs.
The opening track "Falling Into Darkness" is just a soft intro played with two echo-ish guitars without distortion and some slow drumming and a female chanting in the background. Then the song pulls these steady fast distorted riffs out of nowhere and the drummer picks up the pace a bit too. The chanting continues and the song quickly ends. It's just an intro after all, but it's still good.
The second track "In the Realm of the Midnight Sun" is a slow but loud doom song with more female opera-ish chanting. This female chorus greatly reminds of some songs in Therion's "Sirius/Lemuria B", and so do some guitar riffs. You get to hear the main male vocalist too, but he doesn't do such a great job on this track. The drumming isn't fascinating, but it's well done. The song overall is very dark and boring at times, but it lasts 13:42 minutes so it leaves space open for the other great songs to follow.
The 17:50 minute masterpiece that follows is called "My Dark Reflections of Life and Death". As it's title implies, it is very dark. One thing that caught my attention is how the actual playing begins almost 2 minutes into the song. The notes sound very similar to the opening of another GC album: "Light of Day, Day of Darkness", an album upon which I cannot bestow enough praise. A nice melody with some background noise last for a little. Some drumming builds up and starts playing at a medium-fast pace while the guitar notes change and eventually get some distortion forming an even cooler sounding doom melody. The male vocalist begins singing about 5 minutes into the song. Personally I don't like the parts in which he stretches the vocals for a few seconds... I may just be too used to death vocals. :P Anyways, the singing is still good. Very dark, dramatic, and deep, and it seems to echo a little. There are gaps in the song where the distortion dissapears and you get a plain ol' guitar like in the beggining and then silence. Once again, the song builds up from silence after about 10 minutes. With more dramatic vocals you hear another female chanting as in the previous track, but with a different melody. Very cool.
The fourth track "Under Eternal Stars" is just as good as the previous one. It begins with some dreamy female singing and guitars, later to gain distortion and play a slow melodic riffing. The female singing gives us some more taste of Therion with her opera-like voice, and she occasionally hits some insanely high notes. Very nice. This song is dark as it should be and it has a Gothic feel to it on some parts. As it progresses it gets better with every different melody. Despite progressing slowly, it's a very fun song unlike the second track.
The 5th track "Journey to the End of the Night" is a very nice and somewhat fast doomy song lasting 11:30 minutes. The vocals get really good on this one. This trackstarts a multiple part song which is made up of the last 4 tracks. These songs just flow into the next one and have several different melodies, so it would take me a while to explain them in detail. The 6th track("Echoes of Despair") is just some filler ambient sound, followed by an awesome fast Doom song called "End of Journey?". I think the vocalist does really well on this one compared to the other tracks. You get to hear some melodies from the 5th track hidden in there too. The concluding song "Shattered" is an unusually powerful track with some fast riffing. It sort of surprised me since this is Doom/Goth metal, and it was the closing song. Oh well, it's very good but lasts only about a minute and a half.
All in all, I can say that this album certainly deserves a listening. Although the male vocalist didn't do so well, the instrumental work is exceptional. Doom and Goth metal fans will love the dark themes and variety in GC's songs, but I highly reccomend their newer album "Light of Day, Day of Darkness" if you haven't heard any GC yet.