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Green Carnation – The Acoustic Verses (Reissue) Award winner

Green Carnation
The Acoustic Verses (Reissue)
by Mark Machlay at 25 January 2022, 6:21 AM

The return of the constantly evolving Norwegian progressive metal band GREEN CARNATION came almost eight years ago and I completely missed any inkling of their reformation. Thankfully this has been remedied upon seeing the amazing acoustic release “The Acoustic Verses” is getting a remaster and re-release and diving back into their recent history. While the band may have formed way back in 1990 and released an 8-track demo, it wasn’t until 1998 that they would record their first album “Journey to the End of the Night” released in 2000 that would show their first sound as folk inspired doom metal. After a couple members leaving, they shifted their sound and spent two years creating, what I at first considered, their seminal work, the 60-minute progressive metal epic “Light of Day, Day of Darkness” in 2001. They would further genre bend while keeping the progressive metal bedrock into gothic metal and more hard rock influences for 2003’s “A Blessing in Disguise” and 2005’s “The Quiet Offspring”.

In early 2006, the band seemed to follow similarly progressive metal band OPETH with their all-acoustic album “Damnation” in 2003. “Acoustic Verses” was certainly stylistically different but still contained progressive elements and a lean toward straight-ahead hard rock sensibilities with mostly shorter track times and structure. I can remember finding the EP “The Burden is Mine…Alone” – that served as a pre-cursor to the album - while randomly browsing in a record store in 2005, which contained the title track and other original track “Sweet Leaf”. I remember it surprised me on first listen, but it hit me at that perfect time when I was moving out of my more “heavy metal” phase and thoroughly enjoying more experimental music fueled by finding bands like DREAM THEATER and PORCUPINE TREE. It kind of crushed me a little to hear they had gone on hiatus shortly after releasing “Acoustic Verses”, since they announced in the booklet of the aforementioned album, they were going to continue the “Chronicles of Doom” trilogy they started with “Light of Day, Day of Darkness”.  They’ve seemed to return to a more progressive doom style they had initially with their most recent album “Leaves of Yesteryear”, along with abandoning the plot of the announced trilogy. While the new album was enjoyable, I’m glad to see a re-release of the album in which the band were at their stylistic peak, at least for me.

On the re-release, slightly retitled to “The Acoustic Verses”, GREEN CARNATION always seemed like they were firing on all cylinders, which may be helped by the fact the practically all members of the current lineup contributed to the writing. The sense of melancholy pervades this album and it seems there was much more a warmth given to the mastering process, smoothing out whatever edges were in the previous release providing for a strange inviting, yet depressing mood. The fifteen-minute centerpiece epic of the album “9-29-045” with its achingly sorrowful tale of abuse and dependency is given full weight with this remaster, showing all the highs and low in a more robust package. But then there is the mystical “High Tide Waves” the captivating and uplifting strings and circular chord structure of “Alone” that seemingly lifts your soul a bit before you realize the title of the track and it takes on a whole new dimension. Needless to say, this is a perfect introduction for new listeners or re-introduce yourself to the majesty of great progressive metal from the pinnacle of GREEN CARNATION.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Sweet Leaf
2. The Burden is Mine… Alone
3. Maybe?
4. Child`s Play, part 3
5. Alone
6. 9-29-045
7. Six Ribbons
8. Transparent Me
9. High Tide Waves
10. Child`s Play, part 3 (live version)
Original recording line-up:

Tchort - Guitars (acoustic)
Stein Roger Sordal - Bass, Vocals (backing), E-bow, Vocals (lead)
Kjetil Nordhus - Vocals (lead), Vocals (backing)
Michael S. Krumins - Guitars (acoustic), Theremin
Tommy Jackson - Drums, Percussion
Kenneth Silden - Piano, Mellotron
Bjørn Harstad - Guitars

Current line-up:

Kjetil Nordhus - Vocals
Terje Vik Schei - Guitars
Bjørn Harstad - Guitars
Stein Roger Sordal - Bass
Kenneth Silden - Keyboard
Jonathan Alejandro Perez - Drums
Record Label: Season of Mist Records


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