"A Journey in Darkness" is the debut full-length studio album by Swedish black metal act Ophthalamia. The album was released through Avantgarde Music in 1994. Ophthalamia was created by IT (Abruptum, Vondur) and at various points in the band´s career members of acts like Dissection, Swordmaster, Godsend, Pan.Thy.Monium, Marduk and Edge of Sanity, have been part of the lineup. On "A Journey in Darkness" the lineup consist of IT (Tony Särkkä) on guitars, Winter (Benny Larsson) (Godsend, Pan.Thy.Monium, Edge of Sanity) on drums, Mourning (Robert Ivarsson) on bass and the notorious Shadow (Jon Nödtveidt) (Dissection) on vocals.
The music on the album is melodic black metal with strong roots in traditional heavy metal. The lyrics evolve around a fantasy-world called Ophthalamia and there is a generally adventure themed atmosphere about the album, which song-titles like "A Cry From the Halls of Blood / Empire of Lost Dreams" and "Castle of No Repair / Lies From a Blackened Heart" also bear witness to. The music is definitely in the softer end of the scale when it comes to black metal and besides the raspy vocals, the music really isn´t that harsh. Fans of traditional heavy metal with lots of melodic guitar work, who can tolerate black metal type vocals, are the target group here.
"A Journey in Darkness" was recorded in the spring of 1993 at Unisound Studio, Sweden and was produced by Dan Swanö and Ophthalamia. While Ophthalamia doesn´t exactly sound like a Dan Swanö band, he has still put his mark on the sound production, which features that distinct Unisound Studio sound, and by laying down some guitars and vocals on the album under his pseudonym Day Disyraah.
"A Journey in Darkness" is a quality release by Ophthalamia. Great musicianship, relatively intriguing songwriting and a good quality sound production ensure that I´m entertained all the way through the album´s playing time. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.