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Green Carnation - The Quiet Offspring CD (album) cover


Green Carnation

Experimental/Post Metal

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2 stars Edited 09/27/05!

GREEN CARNATION's fourth studio output is a bit of disappointment compared to their other releases, I've got to say. I can only explain the dramatic decay in quality with the reason, that they had some commercial success in mind. Many songs are at least for my ears more reminiscent to Finnish goth rock band HIM, maybe with a bit more heavy approach. The title song is still one of the better ones and rather prog metal-alike. Track 2 has a main part, which reminds me more to grunge or alt.rock with a short keyboard section in the middle. Track 3 is quite straight modern hard rock. Track 4 is the second one showing more the quality of their previous albums. Tracks 5, 6 and 9 are again very much HIM-reminiscent, quite nice goth rock, but nothing special. Track 7 is a nice dark ballad, but as well rather ordinary and track 8 is very much in a METALLICA vein more or less. Tracks 9 and 10 are more acoustic-type ones, quite nice and a bit outstanding of the rest.

As a summary, THE QUIET OFFSPRING is for me without any doubts their weakest album showing only in half of the songs some resemblance to the type of music they did in their first two releases. An album quite nice to listen, but actually it could be from any other goth rock band and after the already weaker last one it marks another step downward for them. Fans of mentioned band HIM or similar stuff should be attracted by it for sure. Absolutely NOT ESSENTIAL for a Prog fan I would say and worth not more than 2 1/2 stars!

Report this review (#34341)
Posted Thursday, March 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars The Green Carnation of 2005 is slightly different from the Green Carnation I heard back in 2001, 'Light of Day, Day of Darkness' was a masterpiece, I heard that album and fell in love with the band. Their root style of doom/black metal is still somewhat present in their work, but now they just rock out a lot more and go for a more conventional progressive metal style, yet it doesn't sound like any other progressive band I've ever heard. The first three tracks made a really big reaction on me simply because these songs rock, nuff said. There full of great guitar riffs, fantastic solos, fine lyrics, and have very catchy structures to them that keeps you coming back for more and more. Then there's 'Purple Door, Pitch Black,' which is my personal favorite song on this new album. This particular song features great keyboard work, a very catchy riff, and one of the most memorable chorus' I've ever heard. I love it! Another thing that really makes this album excel is Kjetil Nordhus' vocals, which sound a lot more confident and just vastly improved over his earlier performance with the band. Of course everyone else sounds great as well. The two guitarist's belt out great riff after great riff followed by some fantastic solos, the drumming is tight and precise, and the keyboards help to give the album a great atmospheric touch.

There's a few more mellow tracks like 'Child's Play - Part 1 & 2' or 'When I was You,' which are really great, but largely The Quiet Offspring is a more fast paced rocking progressive album that just blew me away and keeps me coming back for more and more.

Report this review (#34342)
Posted Friday, May 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars I agree with the first review: for me this 4th studio full album is a disappointment. This is not a bad cd and surely deserves 3 to 31/2 stars in a more general rock site. My 2 stars are because (1) here we have a PROG site and (2) this band previously performed splendid albums as "Journey to end of the night" and "Light of day, day of darkness". Apparently the guys are interested in more mainstream audiences. Unfortunately the delightful female vocals are gone since the 2nd album. Also gone are the long tracks, for now we have most of them inside 4-5 min - a radio friendly desire? I am sad too that the last influences of the awesome and unfortunately extinct IN THE WOODS (the drummer Kobro - yet credited in this album) seems to be out of the band for the next album. It is only recommended to fans of the band and general metal fans. **1/2 stars.
Report this review (#37362)
Posted Thursday, June 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars The Quiet Offspring is Green Carnation's fourth studio album, and just as it was with previous offerings, the band aptly demonstrates again the far-reaching facet of their talent. You'll find them treading all over the musical map, sometimes classic rock, sometimes 80's heavy metal, sometimes American acoustic folk rock and sometimes the keyboards and vocals will simply remind you of 70's rock. And lets not forget about the "progressive" musical influences that at times suddenly emerge out of nowhere and appear somewhat awkward until you get used to it...many spins later. I'm afraid mainstream enthusiasts will not find it commercial enough and those who prefer their metal hard, heavy and melodic will also be disappointed and consider this album too "experimental."

What makes this album so interesting to me is the manner in which the band manages to mix a plethora of influences into one melting pot and continue to maintain a certain modern atmospheric metal inkling to their sound. To achieve this and to do it successfully is an amazing accomplishment in itself. How many albums do you know that one minute remind you of one metal band or another - in this particular case Katatonia or Beseech come to mind - and the next moment Deep Purple or some other classic rock act from yesteryear strangely pops up in your mind. I mean, nobody in the metal realm even comes close to Green Carnation when it comes to mixing a wide range of influences spanning not only in different rock and metal sub-genres but through decades of musical influences as well. This band has effectively released four very different albums, all with their own unique and distinct musical influences and appeal.

On The Quiet Offspring, the band hits hardest when they are at their most experimental, that is when they are mixing opposite musical styles together, to superb effect I might add. For instance, the slow building "When I Was You" instills a false hope of tranquillity before exploding in a delirious mix of crushing guitars. Also, the boys rock out in true rock 'n roll fashion on two back to back performances: "Between the Gentle Small & the Standing Tall" and on "Just When You Think it's Safe." These tracks manage to put a big smile on my face.

About the only thing I can complain about here is the lack of hard hitting guitar riffs on the album as a whole. These guys don't tread into melodic metal territory very often preferring to rely on good sound rhythm guitar patterns and the occasional very sweet solo or chaotic guitar moment.

Did I forget to mention this band also relies heavily at atmospheric undertones, piano, hammond keyboard, acoustic guitars, clever song-writing and song structures, good melodies and arrangements, what more can one ask for? Just listen to the bands first single, the engaging "A Place For Me" and then try to imagine where the band is heading musically? Whatever you're thinking, you're so wrong. First, a piano intro, then Kjetil comes in acapella, then with what appears to be a cello, very melancholic atmosphere here, then they hit you with crashing guitars and just as you think they're rocking out again they slow it all down with acoustic guitars, very soothing, very unexpected. And the song's not over yet, progressive elements are added to the mix. Great stuff I tell you. Just when you think you have them all figured out they'll throw a ballad at you or something with a 70's vibe and then a heavy modern metal vibe a la Beseech, in the end, it's all so irresistible to me. I can't get enough of it.

This is far from being an experimental album, it borrows heavily from a wide variety of musical influences, pulling them all in together, resulting in a most original album. I like these guys, I fell in love with them when I first heard Light of Day, Day of Darkness and, my appreciation for the band continued to grow with A Blessing in Disguise and now this - The Quiet Offspring - an album that grabbed me, lured me in, got my complete attention and now won't let me go.

Report this review (#46134)
Posted Friday, September 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is the fourth release from the band, and still I found it hard to categorize its sound as prog metal as the next man would probably said. For me the music of Green Carnation is less metal than Dream Theater or Shadow Gallery to name some examples. I found it more commercial, if you like, and therefore more accessible. A diverse array of musical references comes into mind when one listens to this album. Eighties hard rock influences (Van Halen-like), some classic rock snippets (Deep Purple-like), as well as progressive references can be heard, which consequently transformed into large diversity of styles, ranging from gloomy ambience to up tempo and heavy guitar works. In all, they blend into Green Carnation sound which would linger longer in one's head after a couple of spins.

"The Quite Offspring" is a good opening track with its catchy and memorable chorus. This song may be dubbed as a Green Carnation sound signature. However the second song, "Between The Gentle Small And The Standing Tall" and "Just When You Think It's Safe" offer different tune, for it has a straightforward rock'n roll feel to it. Kjetil Nordhus, the vocalist' delivers nice vocal parts here, but I still regarded his as a little poppy, since the songs need tougher deliverance. The third song, the better one however, has a good sing a long melody, and it has a definite Green Carnation sound.

The next song, "A Place For Me" has a similar approach with the tenth, "When I Was You". A melancholic atmosphere, a promise of a ballad song, gradually builds up into heavier and crashing guitars, followed by keyboards lead, thinned down with acoustic passages, which ultimately creates superb songs. A haunting guitar solo that starts around 2:15 in "When I Was You" is quite interesting. The vocal department is great, a bit less dramatic than it should be though (Daniel Gildenlow of Pain of Salvation would probably do better). These two songs really provide us with some nice sound surprises and progressive breaks. The later song is the longest track on the album which helps the composition to accommodate those dynamic breaks.

The rest of the songs are also quite good, although, as with the other above mentioned songs, do not contain hard hitting guitar riffs which used to be present on a prog metal outing. It is recommended because of its almost experimental nature, but hardly essential.

This review is dedicated to the -hopefully-new fans of Green Carnation, Mr. Sumantri and Mr. Baskoro of Surabaya, Indonesia.

Report this review (#60086)
Posted Sunday, December 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#86099)
Posted Monday, August 7, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is the kind of album that lands easily into my ears and my mind. Not quite sure at first spin what makes this album is enjoyable at first experience. I learned from my friends during rock music discussion held recently that it's basically "groove" that makes me feel okay with the music. First of all I have to make point that I don't want to talk whether or not this album is prog. The fact is that most songs featured here are pretty straight forward and practically no curved-lines in its composition. Do you still consider this as prog? I leave it up to you to categorize. One thing for sure "The Quiet Offspring" delivers an appropriate balance of riffs (heavy and soft) and nice melody. This combination provides good nuance and groove of the music. There are parts with heavy riffing and there are parts without riff, replaced with rhythm section.

When I heard the opening track "The Quiet Offspring" (4:05) at the first time I almost rejected the CD because the guitar riffs were too loud to my ears. With some patient I could get through with track one which basically is a good metal track with good melody. "Between The Gentle Small & The Standing Tall" (4:15) brings bass guitar to play as melody at introduction part and it then becomes rhythm section during lyrical passages. The song has good harmony especially when piano augments the arrangement.

"A Place For Me" (5:26) has a touchy soft piano touch with classical music influence. The low register notes voice line at the intro part is really great. Guitar rhythm brings the music into upbeat mode and returns back to a bit psychedelic style. The basslines are really good. The guitar riffs and rhythm section in "The Everlasting Moment" (5:09) is really a good one to rock. Well, I can consider this track as an excellent straight forward rock music with good melody. In this case I can see the band's similarity with Opeth, musically. "Purple Door, Pitch Black" (4:12) is another beautifully crafted metal music with good melody.

The album can be considered as a mixture of Porcupine Tree's music with its ambient-spacey nuance and Opeth - especially on heavier parts. Song like "When I was You" proves to be sufficient to say the ambient nature of the band's music. It's an excellent mellow track. "Child's Play" Part 1 and 2 are also excellent tracks; ccessible to many ears. These two tracks should be united into one cohesive whole.

On summary level, I can only say that the music offered by this album is a pleasant one to enjoy. Viewed at any dimension, no one would deny how excellent the composition is. It comprises good melody augmented with music riffs (soft and heavy) and some solo and ambient / psychedelic mode at some segments. This is an excellent addition to any rock music collection even if you don't consider this as a prog album. If you don't find the subtleties of this album - be it a memorable melodies and / or hard-edge guitar solo - what you need to do is simple, if I can advise you, just enjoy the groove. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#96698)
Posted Wednesday, November 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars I must confess I was very surprised at how accessible this record is. The reason for my surprise is my familiarity with IN THE WOODS... and considering that GREEN CARNATION is the offspring (haha) from that band, I was expecting something different. This is my first taste of GREEN CARNATION and this record seems to be a concept record or at least have a theme.There are pictures of the band in the liner notes of them all as children, and the title song seems to be about a son who can't do anything right in the eyes of his father, so he's quiet. "Child's Play-Part 1" is dedicated to Pascal who died at 5 years old. So this is an emotional album, which is not surprising knowing IN THE WOODS...

Things get started with "The Quiet Offspring" a song that contrasts the heavy in your face riffs and the pastoral acoustic guitar passages. "Between The Gentle Small And The Standing Tall" is again about "gentle" children and "tall" adults, it opens with bass guitar leading us to an uptempo melody. There is lots of riffing and some keys as well in this alternative sounding tune. "Just When You Think It's Safe" is an enjoyable, energetic song with some great guitar.

"A place For Me" features mood and tempo changes throughout. It opens with piano and gentle vocals that sound similar to Peter Nicholls (i'm serious !). The synths remind me of PORCUPINE TREE and I love the guitar in the uptempo melody. Good song ! "The Everlasting Moment" features a catchy guitar melody and theatrical vocals at times. "Purple Door, Pitch Black" is another melodic, accessible tune with lots of guitar. "Child's Play-Part 1" is a mellow, mournful song with synths, acoustic guitar and violin. "Dead But Dreaming" is a heavy song with aggressive vocals. It's great ! "Pile Of Doubt" is an atmospheric song and I love the way the keys are playing slowly in the background of the faster paced melody. "When I Was You" is a powerful, emotional slower paced tune. Another good one. "Child's Play-Part 2" features lots of piano melodies and fragile vocals.

A good album but when compared to IN THE WOODS... for example it's just too mainstream sounding to these ears.

Report this review (#104534)
Posted Tuesday, December 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars My "The Quiet Offspring" CD contained a sticker that said: An avant garde sensation of groovy hard rock and progressive metal from this ever evolving band

I think this statement is very true! Green Carnation started out with a good debut, followed by their one track masterpiece album "Light of Day, Day of Darkness". Their third release "Blessing in Disguise" was somewhat more accessible and contained more 'plane rock songs', varied with some very emotional tracks. "The Quiet Offspring", being their fourth release is an album in the same vein of its predecessor.

I must admit that when I first heard this album it just sounded okay. I wasn't anyway near as impressed as when I heard "LOD, DOD" for the very first time, but this comparison is somewhat unfair as "LOD, DOD" still impresses me with each listen. When listening to this album more often you get a better grip on it and the songs begin to open up. The tracks "Child's Play, Pt 1" and Child's Play, Pt. 2" are very emotional, especially when you know what they're about. When you're curious I recommend you read sinkadotentree's (John Davie's) review.

"The Quiet Offspring" probably started out as a three star album to me, but now, after listening to it some more, I really think it deserves 3,5. Nevertheless I round it down to 3 as I would normally rate "Blessing in Disguise" and "The Acoustic Verses" both a bit higher.

Report this review (#117418)
Posted Thursday, April 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Folk Researcher
4 stars This is among my favorite Green Carnation albums (so far at least), even more so because I managed to pick it up for only $7 USD at a used record store. Not being a hard-core metal fan, I can appreciate the band’s tendency lately to put out less heavy and more melodic music, although they certainly haven’t turned into a folk band or anything.

This one is more commercially-minded than their previous releases, which is most evident in the simpler guitar riffs and tighter vocal tracks. Songs like “Between the Gentle Small and the Standing Tall” and the title track would sound just fine on FM radio, and that’s not in itself such a bad thing since a little commercial success helps ensure the band will be around for a while to make more music.

Green Carnation always seems to find ways to keep reinventing their sound from album to album without ever trying to recreate or improve upon their previous work. This probably puts off some fans much in the same way Opeth has managed to alienate some of their fans as they’ve taken a similar approach to finding new ways to make music over the years. But for me the chance to hear something fresh from Tchort and company every couple of years is a bit of an adventure. This one seems to be the least well-received by many fans, and the fact the band has simplified their arrangements somewhat and tended toward more traditional-sounding metal vocals (no growling once again) might be a put-off for some.

And sure – there are a few forgettable tracks here. “A Place for Me” doesn’t do much for me, and “Purple Door, Pitch Black” actually sounds like a fairly generic late nineties hair band tune. But the title track and “The Everlasting Moment” in particular stick in my mind for hours after playing them, and the band still exudes that uniquely Nordic sense of barely-restrained gloom on songs like “When I Was You” and the two-part “Child’s Play”, although the latter is a bit too laid back – almost a lead-in to “Sweet Leaf” on The Acoustic Verses.

This is not the kind of album serious metal fans will likely flock to, but the first three tracks and “The Everlasting Moment” are among the band’s tightest and most memorable songs in my opinion. I should probably give this three stars, but those solid tracks I’ve mentioned and an extra nod for the baby pictures (plus one of my favorite album covers ever) convince me to bump that to four stars. Recommended to fans of later Opeth albums and those who like a little melody in their metal.


Report this review (#168534)
Posted Wednesday, April 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is my third Green Carnation purchase and I have to say, I'm not disappointed with any of them or the Acoustic Verses which I purchased after. Each album seems to have a strong unique identity and I appreciate the depth of talent in creating such varied works. While LODDOD presents a mystical world that's easy to jump in to, Blessing in Disguise rocks harder and leaner with a melodic Hammond organ bringing warmth to the music. The Quiet Offspring is more straight ahead rock with compact compelling songs. True to their progressive rock leanings though, they'll surprise you with a trip to an altogether different place and you find yourself coming right along before you realize it. One note: The vocals on this album are consistently very good.

The first tune The Quiet Offspring grabs you immediately with a hard guitar crunch and deep drums. Right away though you slide into a mellow verse with acoustics sounding nice and a strong vocal. The sound stays very interesting as it alternates between the rich acoustic sound and the hard driving electric guitar. Great chorus with ringing open strings and concise sharp drumming. While this may not be my favorite it's the one you keep in your head. Great vocals and this is the one I'd pick off the album as a hit if there is such a thing anymore.

We get a little more ambitious with the second song, Between the Gentle Small and the Standing Tall, as the more you listen to it, the more you realize it's a gem. Starting with a cool sounding warbled guitar, which I've heard from Green Carnation before and sounds reminiscent of Midnight Oil, the drums quickly bang us over to a great rocking verse with vocals that also recall Midnight Oil. Nice drums and bass here, moving along great and rocking very hard. The vocals are inspiring and exciting (Bring it ON!) and right away this is a very cool piece of music. At 2:30 or so the entire tune takes a new direction with the Hammond organ leading the way. To me this is a Green Carnation signature sound and my favorite side of them. Smooth warm organ over a pleasing beat. Nice sounding cymbals and clean shimmery guitar chording. Very nice and an album high point. Phased vocals complete the sound as the song moves ahead lushly into a guitar break promising a new direction once again. No disappointments here as a Fender Rhodes-like electric piano provides a nice melody and the band, never stronger, gives us a sound to match the best of Pink Floyd Warm, strange and interesting. Very musical. Alas, however, all great things must come to an end as we visit the original verse, just long enough to remind us where we whence came, and close o that strong note. In my opinion the best tune on the album.

With a great beat moving to a simple but effective melody on the guitar, Just When You Think It's Safe grabs you from the start. Strong vocals are the highlight here with lots of support from the bass. The chorus is strong but overall, and to this point, the song just is not that interesting until 3:11 when the piano, organ and mellotron offer some very cool sounds. Straight ahead rock guitar leads are on tap now and it seems like a call and respond with two guitars. Pretty cool. Except for this (too) brief interesting divert in the middle though this song is just average.

A Place for Me begins with a nice piano sequence, made to sound scratchy record (this has been done before), with the piano falling off to a strong, clear vocal supported by a great sounding cello. No drums yet as the sad cello and vocals own the show. A cool guitar break leads us into the heart of the song and the band simply sounds tremendous. Strong rock sound into a strange beat with the drums sounding almost like a steam-shovel. Very industrial and interesting. Unique sound. Very nice vocals with lush and strange harmonies over synthesizers. Synths rule and lead us to a strong clear beat with piano and acoustic guitar. The beat builds into a superb sounding palmed guitar lead that is simple and satisfying. Nice sound here, accessible and pleasing. We're keeping this theme and melody through the end, the sound, especially the vocals, is reminiscent of Tears for Fears, in a nice way, until the final piano chord which has a cool noir feel to it. Very good song.

Laying a mean walking beat with very crunchy guitar work, The Everlasting Moment, has its moments, especially when we move into the chorus at 1:11 or so. Dissonant notes seem to blend nicely and the sound is lush with synthesizers and the drums carry the beat nicely. Nice sweep picking on the guitar lead but all in all, this song is just average.

Purple Door, Pitch Black, despite a solid sound, good lyrics, a very good chorus and a killer guitar lead, just doesn't excite me too much. For most bands I'd consider this a great song but this is not why I'm a Green Carnation fan. This is a good sound but maybe just a little too typical of a straight ahead rock song.

Child's Play, Pt.1 takes us to a different place altogether. Nice acoustics and synthesizers start us off and immediately bring us back to why we're listening in the first place. Strange, interesting with a nice beat and great vocals. Finally the drums come in to move us along nicely and they have a strange "sonar ping" quality to them. I like this and it signals things to come with the groups next offering The Acoustic Verses. Very nice, rich, musical, interesting. Very Green Carnation.

Dead But Dreaming, straight ahead rock with a strong lead, bass and guitar. Rock.and rock is good. At 2:20 or so a very interesting and unique guitar lead. Very cool this part but the balance of the song is just average. Just average for Green Carnation though and that's pretty damn good in any book.

Pile of Doubt begins with a lush sounding church organ as the guitars build in the background towards what we know will be a mind blowing sound. And we're not wrong as this tunes explodes into a sound not unlike a freight train on steroids. Double bass drums pound out and you swear you can hear the train whistle a blowing as the guitar keeps time with bell sounding arpeggios. Rock on. Verse is strange but cool as the beat turns inside out. The chorus gives us a culmination for it all that seems just right. Great song with inspiring drums and a very good vocal performance.

Some folksy acoustic guitar and vocal work starts When I Was You with a tap drum sounding ominous in the background. Excellent drums, synths and guitar work pick up the tune and we're back in Green Carnation territory. This is the sound I signed on for. Interesting and disconcerting throughout. A gem, especially listening on headphones.

Child's Play, Pt. 2 completes the set and begins with a dark and unsettling piano. The vocals are strange but musical as the theme of the first Child's Play is revisited but in a leaner and moodier setting. The piano work gets more complex and involved still as it couples with a unique voice- synthesizer sound creating disconcerting and strange imagery. An odd listening experience but moving and powerful in its own way. Very good.

This is a great album and lives up to the consistency of quality music that I've come to expect from Green Carnation.

Report this review (#182380)
Posted Saturday, September 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars The Quiet Offspring ? 2005 (3.4/5 - nearly 4 stars) 11 ? Best Song: Just When You Think It's Safe

Is it Green Carnation going Dream Theater, or are they just running out of ideas? I'll go with the latter, because the former is much more of a shameful venture. It's a lot like Blessing in Disguise, only less idiosyncratic, less shocking, louder, harder-edged, and more 'radio hard rock/octane metal for the late 1990's headbangers' sort of package. The title track's heavy one-two punch skip riff may be one of the band's best (it's not a long list of riffs that's in their possession, either). I don't care for the softer elements because it seems as if they didn't put any time into writing them into the metal segments, and who needs poorly written soft rock in between your poorly written hard rock? IF you're Tom Petty, you can come out on top with a rousing pop anthem, but where's Green Carnation's American Girl? Don't tell me it's 'Just When You Think it's Safe', which oozes post-stoner rock driving mentality. I hate it when bands have a nice rocking riff and then think it's fine to cut the riff out completely in favor of bass guitar and the singer, like they do on 'Between the Gentle Small'. I'll admit he can sing with conviction, and they aren't worthless by far.

This album is fun, it's not deep or introspective or brimming with creativity, it's just got some neat riffs and a couple vocal hooks worth checking out. 'Purple Door, Pitch Black' balances the melancholy with the upbeat (and more unnecessary synth backing washes) for a real ear-splitting engagement. 'Child's Play I and II' return to the directionless quietness of yore, but it sort of falls flat. Can you tell they/he hasn't had much experience with that sort of folk music? I sure can. I'm glad everything gets fixed in 2006.

Report this review (#458259)
Posted Wednesday, June 8, 2011 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
3 stars 'The Quiet Offspring' - Green Carnation (6/10)

Green Carnation was a project first incarnated by its members in order to explore sounds other than black metal, so it should not come as a surprise that this band has been constantly changing. Featuring members of the Norwegian black metal band Carpathian Forest, Green Carnation first began with an artistic doom sound; their album 'Light Of Day, Day Of Darkness' is a classic for its style, and considered by many of this band's fans to be a masterpiece. The bottom line is that Green Carnation had a great thing going on, but if this project had become stuck in one sound like Carpathian Forest, it would defeat the point. 'The Quiet Offspring' sees a big change of Green Carnation's sound, and while many listeners may be put off by the simplified approach that they take here, the band does do an admirable job of taking on this new sound, although I cannot say it is an improvement over anything they had done before this.

While I would not quite say that Green Carnation has traversed into the realm of 'mainstream rock', there are some big moves that the band has taken towards tighter song structures, and an overall more to-the-point attitude when it comes to their music. Considering that this is the same band who churned out an hour-long epic, hearing Green Carnation now adhering to the much more common four minute formula is a little jarring at first, although I will say that it is not quite as bad as it sounds; the band hasn't totally turned its back on its fans. We still have a metal edge, and proggy sound in the songwriting, although these are much less integral to what the band is about on 'The Quiet Offspring'. The songs have a progressive metal sound to them, but the familiar textures are transposed onto a more accessible style. It's certainly not a preferable move in terms of enduring musical enjoyment, but there are some damned good songs here.

The production and performance is edgy (albeit in a 'hard rock' sort of way), but there are also sounds here that emphasize atmosphere in Green Carnation's sound; much of 'The Quiet Offspring' is led by groovy guitar licks and riffs, but Green Carnation gives the listener an alternative here as well. 'Childsplay' parts one and two are leaning towards mellow ambiance over any rock orchestration, and the standout track 'Pile Of Doubt' has a very atmospheric intro that harkens back to the sounds of Green Carnation when I really liked them. Here, I am not feeling their music nearly as much, although the band manages to pull off this hard rock sound very well, and even throw in some added layers. The album- from by understanding- is a loose concept piece about childhood, but there is not so much depth in it as to give it much attention. Green Carnation may have simplified (some might say 'dumbed down') their sound here, but 'The Quiet Offspring' is still worth checking out.

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Posted Sunday, September 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars 10 Years On: Green Carnation's The Quiet Offspring

I don't think anyone really had a problem with A Blessing in Disguise, in the end. Sure, following up an album-long epic that has since become a prog metal classic with a song-oriented album is obviously going to get a bit of backlash, but what else were they going to do to follow it up? Retire? Do another one?

This, however, is not something that needed to happen. A Blessing In Disguise was an exercise in restraint, Green Carnation seeing if they could still make quality material after the non-restraint of Light of Day, Day of Darkness. And they did it well. That album had some incredible songs, with lengths that didn't make you nauseous, being progressive at the same time as being restrained, and was one of the best progressive albums of 2003, the only real sign of them slipping in quality was the really lazy "As Life Flows By" which sounded like a twenty-minute rush-job, with absolutely no complexity whatsoever.

The Quiet Offspring, unfortunately, offers no such compositional quality. Right from the intro we're treated to straight-up laziness. I mean seriously, how long did it take them to come up with the opening riff for the title track? Palm muted chugging in the most basic rhythm? Yeah, sure, this is exactly how we want to open the new record, let's show them how great we are at coming up with guitar riffs! The rest of this opening track is actually not as bad as the rest, aside from a rather edgy inclusion of a few swear words, but boy that intro had me rolling my eyes. It sounds like the sort of riff a 12 year old Slipknot fan would write after playing guitar for half an hour.

To call this album progressive metal is not just a push, it's a blatant lie. Whenever metal fans use the term "alternative metal", it's always with a bit of elitism, because that term has so often been synonymous with "metal I don't like", but I do like a great deal of alternative metal, and not only is this definitely an alternative metal record, it's a bad one. All the songs have that good old cruchy semi-industrial alt-metal guitar tone, and are chock full with riffs that involve nothing but palm mutes and power chords, and the vocals here go for some buttrock-esque tough guy gruff singing (with equally terrible lyrics). This isn't something I would complain about (too much) if the songwriting was good. But if you've heard the first half of this record, you know that it isn't.

"Between the Gentle Small and the Standing Tall" is without a doubt the worst song Green Carnation have come near, combining bad blues rock riffs with cheap post-grunge "Yeah!"s and "Bring it on!"s, with a rather disgusting pseudo-sexuality that reminds me of no other band but Nickelback. There's a little bit more skill here than most post-grunge bands, and the song's bridge breathes a bit of melodic prog into the mix that is refreshing, but there's no denying the majority of the songwriting is right the way down in the lowest-of-lows within rock music territory. "The Everlasting Moment" is another pretty poor track, as is "Dead But Dreaming", but aren't inexcusably awful like the second track. The former boasts one of the most cringeworthy riffs I have ever listened to, pushing beyond the Nickelback influence I mentioned before into some new territory of corniness that I really can't find a comparison point for. The rest of the song isn't too bad, but a bad riff repeated throughout can easily kill any moments of goodness. "Dead But Dreaming" goes straight back to buttrock though, but in addition to the Nickelback riffs, we get tryhard gruff "I'm a big guy" vocals, and one of the weakest choruses on the album.

Obviously there are little blips of goodness in this section of the album - "Purple Door, Pitch Black" has a really nice chorus, with a melody that reminds me greatly of Amorphis. It's pretty much the first time on this album I feel Green Carnation have done something good, but the rest of the song, being weak and cliched, tries its hardest to contradict that.. "Just When You Think It's Safe" and "A Place for Me" also aren't bad songs, but they not really good ones either. There are no godawful riffs or cheap radio-rock gimmicks in those tracks, but at the same time there's nothing that pulls them out as being a great songs, they're just kind of better than what surrounds them.

But it wouldn't be a bad album without a sudden transition to good for the last few songs. Part one of "Child's Play" hints at this finish, with its use of violin and fingerpicked acoustic guitar being considerably more artistic and sonically interesting than anything else on this record, but the album only really gets good at track nine, "Pile of Doubt". The opening few notes of that track alone have a better chord progression that the entire first eight songs combined, and even when it goes into a bit of power metal-esque riffing which isn't really warranted, it retains that strong melody and emotional link that I feel this album has been missing. The song has a weak verse, as well as some cheap parts reminiscent of the shortfalls of the first half of the album, but a pretty great chorus and an excellent lead melody progression remind me so clearly of the Green Carnation of the past. "When I Was You" continues this progression, being the first actually solidly good song on the album. A slow, building, progressive track, it again shows signs of what Green Carnation were two years prior, and then the album closes off with "Child's Play", part two, another pretty solid piece. None of these songs are groundbreaking or amazing, and in the context of a record like A Blessing in Disguise, they would actually be pretty lowly ranked, but they do show that Green Carnation still have some compositional skill left in them for this record.

The Quiet Offspring is truly a sad record. It's not the worst thing I've heard, and there are some pretty nice parts in it, but it shows Green Carnation regressing entirely from great epic prog metal to great non-epic prog metal to hard rock songs with aims at 30 year old midlife crisis blokes who go out to the pub every night to score underage girls. Or whatever Nickelback's current demographic is. Aside from the choice moments in the last few songs, this album runs between inoffensive boredom and absolutely disgusting degeneracy. Really sad to see coming out of a solid band.


Originally written for my Facebook page/blog:

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Posted Saturday, February 21, 2015 | Review Permalink

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