GREEN CARNATION, much like their Scandinavian shape shifters AMORPHIS, are a genre escaping paradox each time they get together and write an album, you just couldn’t depend on them to make the same album twice (AMORPHIS lost their touch after “Tuonela” I know). The Norwegians may not sound like the Finnish chameleons but they do have one thing in common: a strong affinity for not caring what others play and what they don’t play, they change drastically from album to album, simple as that.
From Death Metal to a sudden six year sleep, the band around former Black Metal merchant Tchort made its gloomy awakening with the epic and doom laden “Journey To The End Of The Night” (inspired by the death of his daughter), which seemed like a necessary evil to gather eclectic inspiration to write and produce an avant-garde peaking single track album like “Light Of Day, Day Of Darkness”. The melancholically rocking “A Blessing In Disguise” marked another change in the band’s sound, always on the move and never looking back, only Tchort would be so tempted to relive his obscure past in bands like EMPEROR and SATYRICON, hence his on/off fixation in BLOOD RED THRONE.
Being a recent fan only, I was really looking forward to the new album, it felt as if their elements of surprise would knock me off this time. “The Quiet Offspring” generates a similar Rock’n’Rolla vibe, like the band feels comfortable with doing things more straight forward but never forgetting atmosphere and catchy song writing. Although the first two albums will always be considered their unique period, I fell in love with the band’s Progressive Rock sound when getting “A.B.I.D.”, needless to say that I’m quite thrilled with “The Quiet Offspring”. Rocking and darkened tracks engulf with simplistic drum and guitar arrangements and balancing organic keyboard work together with the affectionate vocal presence of Kjetil Nordhus at the mic singing in a higher tone than he has done.
There’s this genuine and traumatising depiction of forsaken childhoods, drug struggles (can you say “Purple Door, Pitch Black”) and times of freedom and innocence from “A.B.I.D.” (linking to the innocent band pictures in the booklet) evoking these loosely Prog driven Dark Rock ballads that hits the heart of the listener; “A Place For Me”, “When I Was You” and the two chapters of “Child’s Play” (the first part you heard on last year’s DVD if you remember right) point at life’s distressful periods we all can relate to.
There’s an increase in acoustic guitars swarming behind Kjetil’s delightful singing creating a warm and fussy melancholic character when the music’s not grooving on the heavy guitars. The sinfully catchy title track shows how it’s done effectively, pretty heavy for their standards but wait til you hear “Pile Of Doubt”. The song has a very heavy and melodic atmosphere, the pace goes slightly Power Metal here and there with great double bass runs from Anders Kobro, who found out he didn’t fit in with the rest of the guys and had to leave, one of their best tracks so far. I think there was more room on the last album soundwise. Terje Refnes, a guy mostly producing gothic bands like TRISTANIA, TRAIL OF TEARS and THEATER OF TRAGEDY doesn’t really sound like an obvious choice for them but it turned out good anyway, it’s a bit more compact leaving the drums with a small sound on some tracks, the rest of the instruments are heard just fine.
To simplify things: the avantgardish cycle following the band since re-entering the scene has sort of stopped or at least slowed down immensely, “The Quiet Offspring” greets with a lot of emotion and small details but isn’t anywhere near the grand scopes of past albums. If you liked “A.B.I.D.” you should come to like this one with time. (Online June 14, 2005)