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Green Carnation - The Acoustic Verses CD (album) cover

THE ACOUSTIC VERSES

Green Carnation

 

Experimental/Post Metal

3.86 | 118 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Vanwarp
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Norway's Green Carnation continue to defy classification with "The Acoustic Verses." In the beginning, they were known as a progressive metal band with their milestone "Light of Day, Day of Darkness" and then they went the hard rock route with "A Blessing in Disguise" and "The Quiet Offspring."

The fact that Green Carnation wants to explore new, different and exciting things, may partly be responsible for them being considered as one of the worst commercial bands in the world, cause just as soon as you think you have them figured out, they're off doing something else. But this is also why I love them so much, why they hold a very special place in my heart. The fact that they allow their music to breathe, to experiment and go to different places, it's like allowing your child to grow and learn from all the different experiences in his life.

The Acoustic Verses is again very different from past offerings. It's not a folk album although you'll find some folk influences; and it's not a straight ahead progressive rock album either, though it is progressive it's also very light on the rock side of things. The band has taken a very mellow approach, they have served up an all acoustic offering with no heavy electric guitars whatsoever. Of course the band is not afraid to use other instruments such as the mellotron, violin, viola, cello, ebow, theremin, Fender rhodes and piano.

Onto the music then, shall we? The album opens with the emotionally plaintive "Sweet Leaf," a song written entirely by Tchort who apparently, had been working on for quite some time. It's not a duet, Kjetil Nordhus is clearly the lead vocalist but it does include bass player Stein Roger Sordal on backing vocals and together they sound pretty damn good. There is a distinct 70's vibe to this one, an excellent opening track.

"The Burden is Mine.Alone" is Stein Roger Sordal's song. He wrote it, plays the acoustic guitar and bass on it and anything else you might find on there and he does the vocals as well. This is one very sweet haunting song, not the kind you listen too while driving on a bright sunny day in mid-summer, but the kind that you sit down too on a cloudy cold winter night. The more I listen to this one, the more I'm thinking that it's probably just a matter of time before this guy goes solo. Outstanding performance!

The fact that everybody can contribute to the creation of an album is part of Green Carnation's strength and charm as a band. Even though the members are spread out around the world doing their own thing, they come together and pool their energy and then they thrill us with some magic, surprising their fans time and time again by refusing to conform to the mundane, the typical, the ordinary musical compositions and patterns of the past. No, Green Carnation is not satisfied with following any proven recipe, they mix things up, and they end up cooking something that is good, very delicious and most importantly, long-lasting and lifelong. Stylistically speaking, there's only a handful of bands in the world that can boast being true chameleons when it comes to categorizing them in one particular genre or another. But most agree that Green Carnation are really great at whatever it is they end up doing.

Back to The Acoustic Verses, Kjetil Nordhus contributed the following two-part track: "Maybe?" The song begins with just a simple strumming acoustic guitar and Nordhus trademark chilling vocal delivery. At about the halfway mark the song picks up the pace and gets very groovy all of a sudden, very dreamy like sequence, the atmosphere simply pouring out of the speakers, very effective ending to the song. maybe?

There's definitely an Irish folk feel to "Alone," a track based on the Edgar Allan Poe poem of the same name. Guest musician Leif Wiese provides the wonderful violin work on this one. Add the fact that it comes with a very up-beat tempo and Nordhus wonderful vocal lines and you have a winning combination.

The albums apogee is the three part Stein Roger Sordal penned 9-29-045. This fifteen and a half minute Pink Floydish track, can actually be broken into four distinct parts in my view. "My Greater Cause, part I" comes complete with a violin lead and is a rather lengthy introduction to the piece. I also find that this part can be broken in two parts, the part with the solo and the part following the 5m55s mark. "Part I" ends with the beginning of the instrumental "Home Coming, part II" with its beautiful melody and dreamy like sequence. This middle part can be considered as the climax and starts at about the 7m30s mark and ends at the 10m55s mark. Sordal closes this three part series with "House of Cards, part III." The band pretty much throws everything at you during the entire length of the track.Rhodes effects, synths, mellotron, viola, cello, slide guitar, haunting vocals, its all here.

Bernt Andre Moen, guest musician on cello here and he may as well be considered as the seventh member of the band. Moen was the keyboardist who left the band but he still wrote the instrumental "Child Play part 3." The first two parts to this one appeared on The Quiet Offspring and while this 3rd part was written back then, the band simply decided to save it for later and it was perfect for this album. Moen played all the instruments on this most relaxing piece.

The album ends on a high note with the somewhat jazzy and bluesy feel of "High Tide Waves," a plaintive track co-written by guitarist Michael S Krumins and drummer Tommy Jackson. Some gentle verses and some heavier choruses are emphasized here, and it contains a most inspired (the second part anyway) acoustic guitar solo.

I can't recommend this album enough, especially to fans of acoustic and progressive music. As far as the 4 star rating goes, based on the repeat value of the disc, this album actually scores 4.5 stars, but rounded down to 4 because of its overall length, less than 44 minutes. So, what this means exactly is that if you are a fan of progressive acoustic music, this album will still be on high rotation in your CD player after 50 spins or long after the probationary listening period has come and gone.

Vanwarp | 4/5 |

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