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Green Carnation - The Acoustic Verses CD (album) cover


Green Carnation


Experimental/Post Metal

3.89 | 156 ratings

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3 stars I finally got around to picking this album up when I found it at a good price in a used record store while driving through Kansas. I was pretty surprised to find such a new CD in the used bins, and listened to it all the way down Interstate 70 through the otherwise incredibly boring state of Missouri. The tensely restrained acoustic guitar and eerie mellotron take on a whole different mood when you listen to it in the early dusk evening surrounded by miles upon miles of waving wheat fields and drab farmhouses. Kind of creepy actually.

In many ways this is an improvement over the previous release ‘The Quiet Offspring’. The production sounds much richer, probably thanks to the crisp acoustic guitar and sonically pleasing sound mix. But overall I think there’s a bit of a lack of variety, and by the later tracks it tends to lose one’s attention just a bit. Although “Sweet Leaf” is a solid opening track, “The Burden is Mine... Alone” tends a little toward a more commercial sounding introspective ballad kind of thing – a bit like the more mellow Opeth records. Okay I guess, but this one particular track seems a bit out-of-place with the rest of the album.

“Maybe?” is possibly the most laid-back track on the record, enhanced a bit by a whispering theremin and Bjørn Harstad’s tremolo. I kept expecting this one to explode at some point, but it simply fades away at the end leaving me a bit disappointed.

The strings on “Alone” offer some variety from what up to now has been mostly understated vocals and acoustic meandering. This is a solid track that sounds a lot longer than the 3-1/2 minutes it actually plays.

The lumbering “9-29-045” probably demands more exploration before it can be fully appreciated. On the surface this seems much too long for what it offers, which is simply much more acoustic strumming and rather abstract lyrics. I may revisit this one after a few more months of listening to it, but for now I’d say this could have benefited from some additional instrumentation and a tempo change or two.

The “Child’s Play, Pt III” instrumental is vintage Green Carnation, especially the stark piano. This album could have been much stronger had the presence of piano been as strong throughout as it is on this track. Another solid composition that could easily have been expanded on. Green Carnation are at their best when performing instrumental in my opinion.

Finally, “High Tide Waves” offers some modest forays into sonic exploration and an occasional tense moment or two. A decent closing to what overall is a fairly subdued record.

I really like Green Carnation, and this is the kind of metal that I think is underappreciated by many progressive music fans. But the lack of real variety in ‘The Acoustic Verses’ demonstrates one of the common failings of bands like Green Carnation, Opeth, and to a lesser extent Porcupine Tree; namely, the lack of grit and tension in their music that the pedigree of their musicians almost demands. This is a very good record, but the instruction of a bit of fiber would have made it outstanding. I’ll give this three stars, reluctantly, but well recommended to fans of the band and to purist progressive fans who don’t otherwise delve into the metal side of the community.


ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |


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