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Green Carnation - Leaves of Yesteryear Award winner

Green Carnation
Leaves of Yesteryear
by Chris Hawkins at 25 May 2020, 7:05 PM

The close of the last millennium also marked the end of what has come to be known as the second wave of Black Metal.  It was truly an exciting time as there was a pioneering spirit that pervaded throughout, particularly in Scandinavia.  Many of the musicians who had been active in the proliferation of Black Metal were eagerly, and successfully, yearning to turn new corners in pursuit of new dimensions of sound, message, and creativity in general.  Being such a close-knit scene, Scandinavia was a hotbed for fortuitous musical endeavors.  An early example of this would certainly be ARCTURUS and their masterful album, “La Masquerade Infernale”.  Also of note are other bands who pushed the limits of dark musical arts including but not limited to TARTAROS, THOU SHALT SUFFER, and SOLEFALDGREEN CARNATION was also a key to the expansion of the genre.  Serving as both a parallel and successor to famed IN THE WOODS…, GREEN CARNATION was comprised of many consummate members of the scene including mastermind Tchort who had also done time in prominent bands such as EMPEROR, CARPATHIAN FOREST, and BLOOD RED THRONE.  The first GREEN CARNATION album, “Journey to the End of the Night,” was released in 2000 and was a consuming, groundbreaking album, but it was the release of their follow-up, 2001’s “Light of Day, Day of Darkness” that really made the largest splash.  Featuring one hour-long song, “Light of Day…” was an album full of epic peaks and valleys showcasing both proficient instrumentation and astute songwriting.  2006 saw the release of the band’s seminal “Acoustic Verses” album, but unfortunately also marked the beginning of a period of hiatus of the band.  Rejoice, though, Metal brethren for now the band have returned, and triumphantly so, with “Leaves of Yesteryear”.

This new release from the band is not unlike a trial run getting back with an ex for old ground is faithfully covered along with something captivatingly and excitingly new.  Of the five songs contained within, three are new, one is a re-recording, and the album ends with a cover song.  Assuredly, though, there is ample fire and passion here to once again bring the world under the spell of GREEN CARNATION.  This is at once evidenced by the first track, the title track, which immediately sets out with the mission statement of exploring the depths of the band in 2020.  Thankfully, the listener is entreated to an eight-minute journey which is sure to transfix one with a haunting hypnosis.  Like the classic GREEN CARNATION sound, there is sufficient heaviness combined with an apparent nod to classic ’70s Prog.  In short, it is a song that effectively forms a striking framework for the band at this moment, a convincing display of rich songwriting enhanced by a plethora of melody which does not threaten to detract from the Metal experience.

The production employed is nothing less than truly superb.  The guitar tone at the very center of the band’s sound is plenty heavy yet dynamically clean.  Each note can be discerned without getting squashed in a tub of mush.  Overall, the instrumentation is huge, and each contributes equally.   The percussion is assuredly solid and perfectly locked in with a powerfully pulsing bass guitar performance.  The vocals are almost exclusively clean, melodic, and serve to remarkably endear the songs to the listener.  A true advantage the band has is an accomplished keyboard player who beefs up the sound without becoming overbearing as well as providing a lush selection of vibe and atmosphere throughout.

Perhaps the truest delight of the album is the third track, a re-recording of the third track from their first album, “My Dark Reflections of Life and Death”.  At once, one is transported back two decades to revisit the prolific song.  Also, though, it shows how the band highly values its back catalog.  With a modern approach, the over-fifteen-minute long song gives a nod to the past while moving the music forward.  Of note as well on the album is the final track, a sublime cover of an oft-overlooked BLACK SABBATH tune, “Solitude” from the “Master of Reality” album.  Upon listening to the GREEN CARNATION version, it becomes apparent that the track translates well to the band’s format and it solidly wraps up a most prodigious five-song album.

A dear friend of mine who is unfortunately no longer with us was the ultimate GREEN CARNATION fan.  After hearing their triumphant return, I can think of nothing more than how excited he would now be.  I suspect that feeling is shared around the globe.  “Leaves of Yesteryear” came from out of nowhere ant it is absolutely thrilling to know that GREEN CARNATION have effectively returned.  I am already eagerly awaiting what comes next!

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Leaves of Yesteryear
2. Sentinels
3. My Dark Reflections of Life and Death
4. Hounds
5. Solitude
Lineup:
Tchort - Guitars
Stein Roger Sordal – Bass
Bjørn “Berserk” Harstad - Guitars
Kjetil Nordhus – Vocals
Kenneth Silden – Keyboards
Jonathan A. Perez – Drums
Record Label: Season of Mist
     


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