Green Carnation - The Quiet Offspring - The End Records 2005
11 Songs
Running Time: 55:07

Nobody does it like Green Carnation. Realistically, how were they supposed to follow up two albums (2001's Light Of Day, Day Of Darkness and 2003's lush Blessing In Diguise, respectively) that seemed like they were released at exactly the right time, breathing fresh breath into a somewhat stale metal climate? For those among the uninitiated, Green Carnation has alot in the way of reputation to live up to, being made up of members of other already-legendary metal outfits. We'll get to which bands later, because really, besides points of reference in sound, it's not that important when trying to understand what drives Green Carnation.

Green Carnation lyrics are nothing if not introspective, and those of The Quiet Offspring are no exception. The opening
words of the title track, "A choice were made and it came clear to me, the quiet offspring fucked it up again.", set the tone for this album, and are delivered over a bed of staccato riffs that Deliverance-era Corrosion Of Conformity would've been proud to call their own. Where COC revel in the dirty chug of their alcoholic redneck metal, Green Carnation manage to clean it up to fit the more spatial sound of a band equally inspired by Procol Harum as Deep Purple. I'm referring at this point to 'Between The Gentle Small And The Standing Tall', where we find that 70s-driven guitar giving ground to the Gary Brooker-styled keyboard work of Kenneth Silden, who shows himself more than able to carry on where Oystein Tonnesen left off. 'Just When You Think It's Safe' is pretty much a straight-ahead rock number, leading into the positively Floydian tone of 'A Place For Me'. Understated dynamics are what it's all about for Green Carnation. The familiar hiss and pop of a vinyl album lies barely submerged behind the keyboard/vocal intro, which is broken up by the triple-guitar action of Tchort (ex-Emperor, current Carpathian Forest), Michael Krumins (formerly of Trail Of Tears), and Bjorn Harstad. Harstad especially is a point of reference here, his criminally underrated work as a founding member of In The Woods colouring much of his output in Green Carnation. When you've got that sort of history in only your guitarists, the rest of the band had better be able to step up to the plate. The main riff of 'The Everlasting Moment' recalls the Heaven And Hell album by Black Sabbath. I'd say that Green Carnation vocalist Kjetil Nordhus has now been exposed as the bastard child of Ronnie James Dio and Mikael Akerfeldt. The Dio comparison lies mostly in how the vocal melodies are arranged, but in delivery and tone, he makes the effort to break from his influences and find his own voice, doing so more ably than most in his chosen field. 'Child's Play - Part I' is pure Green Carnation, their colourful palate of sound being dipped into and used to paint a song of luxurious depth. The heavier side of the band returns to the forefront for 'Dead But Dreaming', held up quite ably by the impeccable rhythm section of Tommy Jackson and Stein Roger Sordal, the latter joining In The Woods for their live epitaph, then making the move to Green Carnation in 2001. 'Pile Of Doubt''s tastefully done leadwork segues into the subdued acoustic fingerings of 'When I Was You', which - in my opinion at least - is where you can most see the guitarists exploring the varied dynamics of which they are capable. Green Carnation revisits a former composition with 'Child's Play - Part II' for the album's ending, the grandeur of Silden's keys again providing the perfect coda to this work.

Yes, there have been many bands mentioned as comparisons to Green Carnation in the course of this review. At best, though, these comparisons are flawed and allusions, based on what Green Carnation is able to take from their influences and pour into the mold, which - when heated in the metalworks of the recording process - becomes something singularly theirs. The groundbreaking work begun well over a decade ago in Green Carnation carries on today in The Quiet Offspring.

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