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Green Carnation have changed a LOT since their first album in 2000, so it should be said firstly that this is not really the same band who released 'Journey to the End of the Night'. Tchort is the only member who remained constant through those 5 years and the sound has evolved from very heavy death/doom to more progressive metal/rock hybrid, similar to that of 2003's 'A Blessing in Disguise' but a bit lighter on the guitars and a little more compact. By this point, Green Carnation could have considered releasing singles, which would have been laughable a the start of their career. I would say that Opeth's trajectory bears a striking similarity, since their sound was initially much heavier and the song structures more complex, before more traditional elements began to seep in. With both bands, the '70s influence is also quite noticeable.
One might expect a lot of solos and instrumental passages from this description, but Green Carnation have always been remarkably restrained in this regard and play as a band without any particular instrument outshining the others (vocals included, for the most part). The keyboards feature strongly on this album, though usually not from the forefront of a song but as a guiding force, affecting the mood and momentum of the band. Guitars vary from positions of prominence to complete disappearance, while the rhythm section offers little in the way of surprises.
On 'The Silent Offspring' the songs are mostly well-written but some may prove frustrating for metalheads. For every wistful, riff-based, tune like 'The Everlasting Moment', there is a maudlin, piano-led, song like 'A Place for Me' or 'Child's Play', which disrupts the flow of the album and gets boring in its minimalism. I mean, did 'Child's Play' seriously need two parts? They sound almost identical. 'When I Was You' takes a very long time to reward the listener's patience as well, which typifies the downfalls of the album - the band is trying too many things and don't stick to what works.
On the other hand, the title track manages to be catchy, subtle, and heavy in 4 minutes, 'Purple Door, Pitch Black' has a terrific set of hard rock riffs and a great instrumental break, and 'Pile of Doubt' goes off on its own heartfelt journey and drags you along with it. The best of the lot is probably 'Just When You Think You're Safe', which rattles off on a speeding surge of guitars and keyboards and climaxes on the sort of ascending chorus that will stay with you for days. The reason that these songs have such an impact is not purely because they tend to be the heavier or faster tracks. Most songs on the album have moments of introspection or progressive touches, but these songs use them sparingly to add nuance to well-written songs. The difference is that these highlights are already songs before these details were added, whereas the weaker pieces don't have much substance beneath the other elements.
So, not really a bad album, but one that doesn't know exactly what sort of listener it is targeting. Unless you have eclectic tastes, approach cautiously.
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.
The sound of Green Carnation comes off as a strange mixture of modes. One moment, the group emits hard rocking, palatable, yet almost grungy sounds and another finds them launching into progressive-minded, wide-open jams that are as artistically constructive as any group currently on the scene today.
Much of the music on “The Quiet Offspring” could find its way to radio airwaves if programmers could understand that many folks have an attention span that surpasses three minutes and thirty seconds. Many of those who have followed the career of guitarist Tchort may bristle at the accessibility and commercial appeal of Green Carnation, but if this is the case, they would be wholly missing the point.
It is far more desirable that the prolific guitarist satisfy his need for artistic diversity by performing in this band, as opposed to attempting to bastardize his more extreme creations. Sometimes, artists just cannot win with fans of metal. If they alter the basis of the style which the fan enjoys in the first place, certain fans will raise complaints. Conversely, if the artist chooses to branch off artistically with a different project, the artist becomes accosted for attempting to explore a new artistic vision.
Here’s one thing for any person who genuinely considers themselves a fan of music to bear in mind. Artists who compose and perform music, in most cases, no more desire playing the same riffs and rhythms again and again for a prolonged period of time than a person of another profession would enjoy flipping a burger or turning a wrench. People naturally desire diversity in their lives and this is both natural and from a musical perspective commendable in most cases.
That said, there are six members of Green Carnation and it would be patently unfair to dismiss the entire project as without merit simply because Tchort is not playing black or death metal. This man has shown himself to be a master of several musical styles and more power to him for it. Ranting aside, “The Quiet Offspring” is laden with thoughtful, richly dynamic compositions that show an immense array of creative direction. The title track offers a distinct, memorable refrain and powerful movements in arrangement. Vocalist Kjetil Nordhus has a very unique quality about his vocalizations that makes for enjoyable listening as well as giving the group a sound that is all its own.
One certainly cannot accuse Green Carnation of sounding quite like another act. Without a doubt, the band is blazing their own musical trail and you will find proof on songs such as the symphonic modern rock cut “A Place For Me” or the tuneful and invigorating “Pile Of Doubt.” A majestic radiation surrounds “Purple Door, Pitch Black”, where the listener will discover a soaring chorus that is decidedly tuneful.
The withdrawn, acoustically brilliant coupling of tunes here entitled “Child’s Play” (Parts I and II) lend a warm moodiness to the record that breaks the album apart and retains the attention with a Pink Floyd-like presence.
“The Quiet Offspring” is an excellent album that succeeds on many levels and should bring much enjoyment for those who enjoy a bit of diversity in style and composition.
For those of you who don't know Green Carnation, they are a progressive metal band coming from Norway. This release is one of the better releases for progressive metal, due to several factors. Let's get into them, shall we?
First, Green Carnation actually writes song. What I mean by that is, a lot of progressive metal bands really wank off a lot, such as Dream Theater. Dream Theater may have talented musicians, but their songs get rather boring I find. Green Carnation, however, makes an album that is enjoyable to listen to. If you want to view this band in a quick summary, they make soft, even gothic-like songs that progress throughout, adding in heavy riffs here and there, making it fairly easy to listen to.
They decided to start the album off with a heavy riff, which should get most people into it right away. And from then on it's pretty much a balance of "chill out" jams (which reminds me of a psychedelic perhaps) with heavier areas.
Like the average progressive metal band, Green Carnation is aesthetically classical and consonant, nothing that really confuses your ears, even at the heavier parts. Basically, you'll either know you like this album or hate it right away, because there isn't a lot you'll need to decipher in your head. That can be a good thing or a bad thing. I personally prefer bands where I can find new things on each listen, but that doesn't really apply to the style of music here. Let that piece of information affect you on whether you want to hear this album or not.
I'm not a really big fan of this band, nor am I really obsessed with this album, but it is a positive release for 2005. There's not a whole lot I can say other than it's just a well written album that flows nicely. Perhaps something to listen to while going to bed or waking up in the morning. It's definitely better than their album previous to this ("A Blessing In Disguise"). If you like this band's style, or progressive music in general, it's not a disappointment at all. But if you're looking for something that'll kick you in the teeth, this isn't the place to look.