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Green Carnation - Light of Day, Day of Darkness CD (album) cover

LIGHT OF DAY, DAY OF DARKNESS

Green Carnation

 

Experimental/Post Metal

4.12 | 277 ratings

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Moatilliatta
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Music is best when it results directly from inspiration that the composer has at the time of writing said music. These ideas and emotions propel the song indefinitely in different directions as the composer is led to channel them. The composer does not know how long the song will be ahead of time, but he does know that when he is finished, the length of the song will be appropriate.

Now here we Green Carnation's "Light of Day, Day of Darkness," a sprawling piece, lasting in excess of 60 minutes. In the progressive realm, it's not uncommon for a band to play long pieces, but 60 minutes is quite a bit longer than even the longest ones in our memories. Conveniently ending just after the hour mark, this piece screams (or proclaims convincingly in a reasonable tone and at a reasonable volume) "I planned this." Tchort must have had the ambitious goal to produce an hour-long piece ahead of time. I'm as reasonable a man as Tchort is ambitious, though, so I gave him benefit of the doubt here. Maybe he was so remarkably inspired that he, unaware at the time of its writing, wrote a glorious and powerful 60-minute piece.

Time and time again, though, I feel like it's not worth giving benefit of the doubt anymore, and I question my having doubts beforehand. Indeed, "Light of Day, Day of Darkness" comes off as largely written to achieve a goal set beforehand. That's not to say that it isn't replete with excellent riffage, melodies and so on. In fact, roughly 40 minutes of this thing are pretty darn good. Despite the rather flat tone and timbre of the vocals, we are provided with several strong melodies, and a growl so brief it's not even worth noting (yet here I am noting it). There are also riffs galore that lead the way along side the vocals. The drum work provides a firm foundation and implements a variety of beats that help keep things interesting throughout the first half of the piece. There are sparse uses of orchestral instruments and choir as well.

But Tchort was obviously not content with writing just another really good 40-minute piece. So, a little over half way through this track, which has been really solid in its writing so far, we are subjected to a rather strange middle-eastern influenced duet between a saxophone and a female vocalist. Out of place to begin with, it really wears out it's welcome as it goes on for five minutes before another instrument appears. The instrument, an acoustic guitar, takes us into a nice acoustic passage which later builds into the albums only guitar solo. The solo is a great, melody and emotion-oriented one and I could see it taking the song to its finale, but under the circumstances imposed by Tchort, we have another 17-18 minutes to muddle through. Within these minutes are some of the album's stronger bits, including what should have comprised the finale, but the momentum of the song was halted by the aforementioned duet and even the intensity the band tries to bring back fails to an extent as a result. On top of that, the place where the song should have ended ends up being a teaser ending (as it occurs at the 55-minute mark) and the band builds their way back into that same ending a second time (with inconsequential variation). And even that didn't get us to the 60-minute mark, so the piece ends with about a minute of music box music. A rather anti-climactic ending, I say. That music box might have actually worked out if the song was appropriately long and with that single finale, but hey, that's not how it went.

As another point of criticism, I must also say that the production sounds a bit stale. It's not as thick, atmospheric and luscious as it could have been given the technology at the time and I do believe it's over-compressed. The atmosphere is there, but it could have been more engulfing.

So, what many on the ol' Archives (and other prog fans as well) claim to be a masterpiece really is not. Green Carnation clearly know how to stroke a prog fan's bone, as well as their own, but others like myself are not so easy.

Moatilliatta | 3/5 |

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