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Green Carnation - Journey to the End of the Night CD (album) cover


Green Carnation


Experimental/Post Metal

3.41 | 81 ratings

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3 stars Though this album was released in the year 2000, Green Carnation were formed in 1990 by guitarists Tchort and X. Botteri, bassist Christopher Botteri and drummer Anders Kobro, the band recorded the Hallucinations Of Despair demo before Tchort departed to fill the vacant bass position in Emperor, while the remaining members took on a new singer and became In The Woods...In 1998, Tchort and the Botteri brothers regrouped to pursue their original vision. Along with vocalist RX Draumtanzer and new drummer Alf T. Leangel, Green Carnation was revised and recorded Journey To The End Of The Night.

Musically, Green Carnation come across as a doomier and less enthralling In The Woods.... Of course, the fact that this music contains sounds that are being made by the Botteri brothers and appearances are made by female vocalist Synne Soprana makes it just a little difficult to not think of In The Woods... while listening to this album. There is a similar experimentation factor at play here. The songs are quite lengthy, weaving in and out of doomy metal excursions and airy atmospheric passages, while even dabbling in a similar dark psychedelia at times. Green Carnation's compositions act more as dark mini-journeys than songs, recalling at times the ITW... masterwork Omnio. But these similarities, while justified by the presence of certain musicians involved, are only in structure, not in feel. Where In The Woods... wrote dark journeys (that did, in fact, also act as songs) that were captivating and emotionally enveloping, Green Carnation's works often befall to aimless meandering and soulless performances and ideas. While it can certainly be argued that this album takes more than a few thoroughly attentive listens before the scope of its entirety starts to make its impact, the same can be said of the classic In The Woods... works. The bottom line is that Green Carnation are just not as engaging, musically or emotionally. It's easy to tune this album out at times, and I don't think that these tracks were constructed with that effect in mind.

As for individual performances, the Botteri brothers are, as always, phenomenal. Christopher's bass playing is always more than just the typical pulsating under-current employed by most bands of this nature, as he works in tandem with brother X in creating dark, introspective atmospheres that build to metallic climaxes. Together, they possess an approach and technique that is truly unique. Tchort's riffing is not quite as intriguing, but adequate enough for the material. His vision for this album and for Green Carnation itself, although not yet fully developed, is of more credit than his actual instrumental individuality. Drums are handled well enough by Leangel. Nothing spectacular, but he gets the job done. The vocal performances are where I have a problem, however. The lead male vocals by Draumtanzer are, at times, flat and annoying. In some sections his delivery is decent enough, but I would not have minded much if there were much less of his voice on this recording. The same goes for the female performances as well. Though delivered convincingly during particular moments (notably by the talented Soprana and Vibeke Stene of Tristania), they are just all over these tracks, sometimes ruining an otherwise pleasant atmosphere. I'd like to hear this album as an instrumental effort as something tells me that it would work better without the female vocal overload and the lifeless male vocals. However, it should be mentioned that the vocal performances were improvised in the studio with the contributors having little time to learn the material.

Journey To The End Of The Night is dedicated by Tchort to his deceased daughter, and it's the unfortunate event of her untimely passing that forms the concept of the album. Undoubtedly a weighty project for Tchort, the album succeeds on most levels aside from the vocal shortcomings and the sometimes wayward arrangements. It's easy to get lost in the cumbersome structures, yet the listener can use this to his/her advantage by not approaching the album in terms of individual tracks. Taken as a whole, it can be effective when acting as a journey through doomy soundscapes or simply as background music for whatever task is at hand. All in all a promising, if directionless, first effort from a band that surely will create even more interesting music in the future.

bleak | 3/5 |


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