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Green Carnation - The Quiet Offspring CD (album) cover

THE QUIET OFFSPRING

Green Carnation

 

Experimental/Post Metal

3.40 | 78 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

bleak
4 stars A Blessing In Disguise was a success for this Norwegian band on a number of levels. Not only was it a fantastic collection of atmospheric, progressively-inclined metal/rock songs, but it was an intelligent move for a band who were following up a monolithic epic in the form of the single-tracked, sixty minute Light Of Day, Day Of Darkness. Similar to Finland's Sentenced, Green Carnation's first three releases turned out dramatically different from each other, admittedly while maintaining a related core guiding the sound throughout. Now, again like Sentenced, Green Carnation appear to have discovered an approach with which they feel comfortable with, as The Quiet Offspring patterns itself in a similar fashion as its predecessor.

The increased input of other members of the band has broadened Green Carnation's soundpicture, proving the songwriting talents of guitarists Stein Roger Sordal and Michael S. Krumins as dependable as Tchort's. While this music does not have aspiration that reaches the towering heights of Light Of Day, Day Of Darkness, the material comes across uniquely affective in such a way that is not as immediate as its predecessor. This is despite the many simplistic rock riffs that serve as foundations on which these songs operate, and heavy reliance on melodic hooks. The melancholy of the band's sound is still present, though this time around it seeps through unnoticed initially, even during up-tempo rockers like "Between The Gentle Small And Standing Tall" and "Just When You Think It's Safe".

"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."

The true treasures within these songs are the impassioned choruses, particularly in "Dead But Dreaming", "Purple Door, Pitch Black", and the title track. Kjetil's singing is powerful and engaging, and he does an admirable job of driving home the emotional essence of the songs with his rich and versatile voice. Indeed, Green Carnation, much like fellow Norwegians, In The Woods..., are quite skilled in the act of striking at the emotional core within the listener, and more than anything else this band does, it's this talent that ultimately keeps one returning to their albums.

Perhaps the most appropriate display of the band's atmospheric and emotional dynamic is "Pile Of Doubt", which traverses through a variety of moods creating a colorful and enveloping moment on the album. The quick riffing and double bass drumming descend like a glistening waterfall into saccharine harmonies and floating keys, making for an interesting representation of the elements that construct the architecture of Green Carnation's sound. Elsewhere, songs like "When I Was You", "A Place For Me", and "Child's Play" (parts one and two), emphasize the yearning and desperation of a darker destination, reached by brooding sound passages.

"Forced out of sleep The dream was too real And on the other side I was you, and you were blind"

The theme of childhood experience is again explored, with allusions to the innocence of youth and the misunderstandings brought alive from confusion to a world of division to be found in most songs. While not a concept work in the true tradition of such, the childhood/adulthood theme forms the basis for the majority of the lyrics. Because the words are written from the position of the child, these themes are free of grandiloquent expression, yet communicated in close alignment with the perpetual dark that holds the triumph of complete tranquility hostage in every human being.

It's a common occurrence for band's to settle into a comfortable formula after a few recordings of experimental, wildly adventurous music. Amorphis, Sentenced and Tiamat spring immediately to mind, and one might suspect Green Carnation close to joining that list based on the more streamlined, accessible nature of the past two works. However, one gets the feeling from this band that there is much still left to discover within their world of sound creation, and after two bold and epic albums to begin their career, it seems natural that they would scale things down a bit. What Green Carnation have sacrificed in terms of experimentalism they have made up for with excellent songs rich with feeling and high musicianship. Even so, you never want a band to stop pushing themselves, as many seem to once their name has been established to some degree of significance. It's a maneuver that would be a sure pity should this talented and creative act follow. The Quiet Offspring, regardless of where the band take their craft from here, stands as an accomplished work abundant with captivating moments as gifts presented through deceptive appeal.

bleak | 4/5 |

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