Green Carnation - The Quiet Offspring
Ok, I'll admit first off that I've never been into Green Carnation before. Yeah, I've listened to bits and pieces of their material before, but I've never sat down and listened to an entire record. This may be a bad thing when trying to review this disc, but it may also be a good thing. From my brief experiences with Norwegian band in the past, this album is yet another departure to a new sound for the band. So, instead of trying to be all smart about their past, I'm gonna try to review this album on it's own merits and let the reader decide what they do from there.
The material on The Quiet Offspring, while taking many different faces, all seems to have a cohesiveness about it. The band falls somewhere between a progressive metal, hard rock, and straight up heavy metal sound. While many of the songs have a dark feel to them both musically and lyrically, they also mix in some good ol' rock and roll moments that make this album have an aurora of fun to it instead of making it some depressing album that you only want to listen to on those days you just want it all to end. While many parts of this album are simple and straight-forward, the band weaves in many creating passages that keep this from being an album that bores you out of your mind. The band fluidly mixes heavy riffs, acoustic guitars, well-placed keys, guitar solos, and hugely memorable and catchy choruses to create an album that sticks with you long after you hit the stop button. While some songs rock hard, others slowly and methodically wrap their tentacles around your ears. One song in particular that shows this side is "Child's Play - Part 1". The acoustic guitars in this song are stunning and beautiful and the emotion is raw and laid open. "Child's Play - Part 2" that ends the album is equally, if not more beautiful and emotional. Another song "A Place for Me" starts off slowly with a gorgeous piano opening before bring the heavy goods. The rest of the songs seems to intertwine the heavy guitars, piano, and acoustic guitars at all the right moments. Another songs with a great opening is "Pile of Doubt" that begins with some fine clean guitars that continues on as the speedy distorted guitars join in shortly after. Speaking of clean guitars, some of the guitars on "When I Was You" sounds similar to the sound on Opeth's Damnation album. And before I spend the whole review talking about the music, there are vocals on this album too. Kjetil Nordhus does a very solid job on vocals throughout this disc. He has good ability to get very aggressive and yet still do the softer "pretty" vocals with class and style.
Lyrically, the band does a very nice job...aside from the once-used f-word in the title track. The lyrics are written by many different members so it's cool to see the different directions the different songs take. Some tend to be full of regret and despair. Some tend to be full of hope and relief at moving on past the person they used to be. Some seem to be about sadness over death. And yet, all of them seem to be on that borderline of vague where you can guess at the general meanings of the songs, but the specific topics are more out of reach. Some interesting lines on that album you ask? How about on "Pile of Doubt". "I've been beaten badly/but somehow I've stumbled on/and this wonderland you planned for me/never felt like home/and the more I tried the more I realized/I don't believe in things I cannot see/I've had enough/Don't you understand/I'm half the man?/I've said enough/The life I used to live/I have left behind/The pile of doubt you had in me/Went on to shine." Then on the song, "When I Was You" the lyrics state, "Forced out of sleep/The dream was too real/and on the other side/I was you and you were blind/Forced in too deep/No dream that could heal/the feeling of disbelief/and I was you and you were blind." The song also has a huge, passionate build-up at the end that is very effective. The lyrics on "Dead but Dreaming" are also interesting. Penned by Tchort (ex-Emperor, Satryicon, etc.)..."You make me strong/and I make you weak/The perfect mismatch and disharmony/Tired are the feet/That crossed the floor/Hell's doing great/But I am serving no more/If there were no heaven/There would be no hell/If I couldn't feel/I would probably hurt myself/I open my eyes but I cannot see/The people I looked up to are not for real/Lonely is the soul/Empty are the eyes/Vague is the flame/That used to burn in your eyes/Knocking before passing through the doors/The love that used to live here/Lives no more..." Very interesting to say the least.
While past Green Carnation fans may or may not like this new offering, I for one am really liking what I hear. The band displays fine musicianship, solid songwriting skills, and the ability to writing massively catchy songs without sounding too commercial....although they'll probably be labeled that by disgruntled fans. And as for production and artwork, both are very good quality and do nothing but help the overall package. Probably the weakest moments on the disc are the title track and the song "The Everlasting Moment", and if that is as bad as they get then their doing good in my book. Now that I'm hooked on this album my next step is to go back and re-introduce myself to their past material and give it a second chance.
Review By: Matt Morrow
Label: The End Records
Total Songs: 11
Total Time: 55:01
Tracklisting: 1. The Quiet Offspring, 2. Between the Gentle Small and the Standing Tall, 3. Just When You Think It's Safe, 4. A Place for Me, 5. The Everlasting Moment, 6. Purple Door, Pitch Black, 7. Child's Play - Part 1, 8. Dead but Dreaming, 9. Pile of Doubt, 10. When I Was You, 11. Child's Play - Part 2.
Best Songs: Tracks 2, 3, 4....heck every song but tracks 1 and 5 could qualify.
Band Lineup: Kjetil Nordhus - Vocals, Tchort - Guitars, Tommy Jackson - Drums, Michael S. Krumins - Guitars, Stein Roger Sordal - Bass & Guitars, Kenneth Silden - Keyboards.
Band Website: http://www.greencarnation.no