One of the best things about Norway’s GREEN CARNATION is that you can never tell where the band is going to go next. Starting out as a Death Metal act in the early 90s, the group disbanded after recording a demo, with Tchort heading off to EMPEROR and the remaining members forming the wonderfully avant-garde IN THE WOODS… Nearly a decade later, the fellows got back together and recorded “A Journey To The End Of The Night,” a spacey, psychedelic Doom Metal ode to the death of Tchort’s daughter. Not long afterwards, the band released the incredible “Light Of Day, Day Of Darkness,” an positively stunning sixty-minute song, this time devoted to the birth of Tchort’s son. Despite the cult status which the band had earned, many fans were turned off by “Light Of Day’s” follow-up, “A Blessing In Disguise,” which found the band lightening their Doom Metal approach and writing more compact Progressive Metal songs. The nice thing about the band’s evolution, though, is that there are always parts of a new album that harken back to the last release – in other words, they never pull a complete 180. Sure, you don’t know what they’ll do next, but you can bet that it will still sound something like GREEN CARNATION.
Well, the same can be said for “The Quiet Offspring,” which takes the Progressive Metal approach of “A Blessing In Disguise” and mixes it up with some good old rock and roll. The songs here are shorter, heavier and catchier than on the last record, but pack that same emotional impact that GREEN CARNATION has become known for. With six different writers, the songs are all quite varied as well, with “Childsplay, Part I” and “Part II” likening themselves to the material on “A Blessing In Disguise” while songs such as “The Quiet Offspring” and “Dead But Dreaming” take a much heavier, more streamlined approach. With “Pile Of Doubt,” the band even delves into Power Metal, with an incredible riff motif that appears throughout the song and, for me, might be the highlight of the entire album.
On first listen, “The Quiet Offspring” might sound like GREEN CARNATIONS’ most mainstream record yet…and, well, it is, but it’s still a great listen. This record will separate the band’s fanbase even more, I predict, with those who are willing to accept great music loving it and those who evaluate their music based on how “underground” it sounds writing the band off as a thing of the past. Ah well, taste is taste, I guess, but as that latter group of folks is searching around for the most obscure, unknown, underproduced sensation, I’ll be gladly rocking out to “The Quiet Offspring.” (Online June 10, 2005)