October 2020 Feature Release - The Infinite Edition
It's now October which of course means that we'll be nominating a brand new monthly feature release for each clan. This essentially means that we're asking you to rate, review & discuss our chosen features for no other reason than because we enjoy the process & banter. We're really looking forward to hearing your thoughts on our chosen releases so don't be shy.
This month's feature release for The Infinite is 2001's classic single-track sophomore album from Norwegian progressive metallers Green Carnation entitled "Light of Day, Day of Darkness".
When I first encountered the 2001 sophomore album "Light Of Day, Day Of Darkness" from Norwegian progressive metallers Green Carnation I was absolutely blown away. I simply hadn't heard an hour-long single-track album that not only kept me interested throughout but also flowed effortlessly through any number of different & equally impressive movements. In fact, it made such an impression on me that I saw myself reaching for full marks which is a very rare occurrence.
We're now a good twelve years down that track & I've finally gotten around to revisiting this progressive masterpiece & it's certainly an impressive release that oozes of class. I do have to say that it hasn't connected with me on the same level as it did before though, mainly due to the fact that when I consume it in one sitting I find several parts that don't appeal to me as much as others from a purely stylistic point of view but also because I don't connect with the vocals as much as I'd need to for this record to maintain its place in my Hall of Metal Glory. I do love the sheer ambition in taking on so many different musical styles in the one lengthy piece & it's quite astonishing that they've made it sound so natural & fluent.
"Light Of Day, Day Of Darkness" is a prime example of a release that only really needs the "progressive metal" tag because it celebrates the very essence of progressive music while not really fitting into any of your popular genres. Sure, you can definitely identify the influence of the Peaceville Three in the heavier & doomier riff work (particularly My Dying Bride) & there are even more smatterings of the gothic metal of Type O Negative however you're never left pondering as to what type of album this one is. Don't expect to be dazzled with obscure time signatures & technical gymnastics though. That's not the sort of progressive metal Green Carnation concern themselves with. They're far too busy creating wonderfully captivating soundscapes to worry about anything too showy & that approach has rewarded them with an timeless & enduring release that may not annihilate me like it did over a decade ago but still manages to have me nodding in appreciation of some fully realised potential.
For fans of In The Woods..., Novembre & Wolverine.
Single-track albums typically come with a heap of speculation and worry in which the group will not be able to live up to the heightened expectations. These expectations are primarily brought on by the fact that there are two drastic extremes in this style with little room for a middle ground. It's either Crimson or it ain't Crimson as it were.
Green Carnation's Light of Day, Day of Darkness is a phenomenal Progressive/Doom/Gothic Metal album and it is done by excellent songwriting and interconnectivity. When the album breaks away from the Doom metal mold, it produces some beautiful interludes. The hooks are plentiful and the production is solid, if a little patchy. A lot of people listen to Dopesmoker when they want to get high and sucked away into that musical world. I listen to Light of Day, Day of Darkness for that rush. And I don't even need drugs to get there!
I'm really glad I came back and checked this one out because, for me, it shows how much my musical taste has grown throughout the years. I used to be a massive Dream Theater and Prog Metal guy, in awe of their 20+ minute songs and insanely technical writing and somewhat random transitions. However, over the years, I've gotten tired of that kind of "whiplash Prog Metal", and Green Carnation's extremely cohesive and gradual style is now much more appealing to me. The whole thing is superbly written and has great pacing, even though the album is generally more low energy than most Prog Metal since it dives into Doom/Gothic themes for its massive climaxes. There's a great deal of variety stuffed in here, especially with the sax/vocal interlude, and it all comes together like very few hour long tracks can.
I think I've grown to appreciate the progression of melodies and ideas more and more as I've drifted away from the likes of Dream Theater. Tracks like "Octavarium" and "Metropolis Pt. 2" are obviously stunning and impressive, but they're an entirely different beast compared to this. DT's brand of Prog lives off of subverting the listener's expectations by constantly swapping between ideas that sometimes have nothing to do with one another and are there to just sound cool. Light of Day, Day of Darkness has almost none of this and while it requires more patience to really get a solid listen out of it, the payoff is definitely worth it. I can see why people were so hyped up about Green Carnation's return album this year and while I wasn't too impressed with that one, I'm glad I finally came back and got to appreciate this album from them.
Cheers for the rec, Daniel! Here's my review summary:
Progressive metal is one of the most characteristically difficult genres of all time, when it comes to playing, composing, and sometimes listening. If you're an expert at composing excellent progressive music, you'll create wonderful results, otherwise everything would be incorrect. If you're new creating progressive metal, surely a 10-minute epic would be difficult to start with, but it's still easy to keep interesting. It would definitely be more difficult to attempt a 20-minute track with half of it is long instrumental sections and the other half is filled with ambitious vocals, all with no coherent pace. You can even challenge yourself further with 30 minutes. Now 60 minutes, an exact hour, THAT's the ultimate challenge! You have to be the master of getting used to prog to enjoy this hour-long epic, Green Carnation's Light of Day, Day of Darkness! Green Carnation's music for this album can be described as progressive metal with slight doom. Dark sorrow in the atmosphere fits well with the high-quality composition. Probably a third (20 minutes) of the track is instrumental while not straying away from the concept, with a continuous pattern throughout the progressive complexity. Unlike Dream Theater or Rush, the album is more doom-inspired than upbeat, including the mid-range vocals and the riffs that contain slow dark heaviness to fit nicely with the sorrowful leads. The album also includes saxophone, sitar, strings, synthesizers, and other instruments starting with "S", greatly enhancing the guitar and atmosphere. Everything flows without being too loose or out of place (for the most part). This is a must-have for all progressive metal fans, and while I didn't start my prog journey here, for anyone wanting to start on this genre for the first time....welcome!