Green Carnation - The Acoustic Verses - 2006 - The End Records
1. Sweet Leaf 2. The Burden Is Mine...Alone 3. Maybe? 4. Alone 5. 9-29-045 6. Child's Play Part III 7. High Tide Waves
Everyone needs a mellow album. The one to put on while driving in the rain, or after an out-of-body experience. A soundtrack for our calm, introspective times. Green Carnation’s new release, ‘The Acoustic Verses’, would like to be that album. Their most famous work, ‘Light of Day, Day of Darkness’, was a single track more than an hour long, and while it also is a candidate for this position, its edginess and heft count it out. ‘The Acoustic Verses’ comes closer to the muted melancholy perfect for a rainy day, a mood Green Carnation have been pursuing for some time. It is a work of high class and style, excepting a very few unfortunate flaws.
For those unfamiliar, only two things currently tie Green Carnation to metal. The first and most obvious is band leader Tchort, who has played with both Carpathian Forest and Emperor. The second factor is Green Carnation itself—very few, if any, standard progressive, rock, or acoustic bands (all genres touched on in recent years) write songs that have the uneasy underpinnings Green Carnation often use.
This variability is a double-edged sword, as it both entices and distances the audience from the material. This album’s first half is an excellent demonstration of this trait’s positives. Each song is a competent foray into the very delicate balance of depressive beauty, unique without being affected or ostentatious. Light layers of guitar melodies and Kjetil’s intimate and cultured voice are very soothing on the surface, but both seem as though they could unexpectedly erupt into keening dissonance. True to the album’s title, though, Green Carnation never does, and their restraint speaks well to both their professionalism and creativity.
However, as moving and beautiful as much of this album is, there are a few rough spots. The chorus of ‘High Tide Waves’ unbalances an otherwise quality song, and ‘9-29-045’ would have functioned better as three separate tracks— its fifteen minutes overbalance the rest of the album’s brevity.
These are but small complaints, though. As the saying goes, an acoustic guitar is more unforgiving of mechanical errors than is the electric; this also holds true for albums. Green Carnation should be commended for undertaking such a project, particularly considering how successful the result is. Pleasingly reminiscent of Ulver’s ‘Kveldssanger’ album, ‘The Acoustic Verses’ showcases a very mature, subtle, and poetic talent worthy of attention.
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