Green Carnation - A Blessing in Disguise
Season Of Mist
Dark Melodic Progressive Rock
9 songs (56'36")
Release year: 2003
Green Carnation, Season Of Mist
Reviewed by Alex
Album of the month

I have to confess. I was going into this latest album by Green Carnation with huge expectations. After all, the symphonic melancholic choral masterpiece that was Light of Day, Day of Darkness couldn’t be topped. And almost knowing it, the band decided to take a markedly different direction with A Blessing in Disguise. From symphonic melancholic doom with harsh vocal touches in the margins to dark progressive melodic rock in a span of one album – meet Green Carnation in 2003.

What precipitated the changes? The line-up of this Norwegian band remained the same (making a session keyboard musician a full-time band member doesn’t count). Could it be the label switch (why, oh why, you left my beloved The End??!!)? Could it be the desire to produce something more readily accessible than a 60min long track that made up Light of Day, Day of Darkness? In the end, though, I think it is the same reason that drove Green Carnation’s another incarnation (no pun intended) – In The Woods – to release no two albums that were alike. True artists, like Tchort, just can’t stand still, they need to evolve, transform and revolutionize. Well, the last word may be overkill, but with A Blessing in Disguise Green Carnation put out another extremely solid album.

As I mentioned before, Green Carnation delved into dark progressive melodic rock on this CD. The band site states it, and I couldn’t agree more. Maybe a little more commercial than Katatonia’s Viva Emptiness, A Blessing in Disguise has songs that combine sufficiently heavy guitar chords, quiet melodies, keyboard sprinkles on the perimeter and unbelievably catchy choruses that you will be humming for days (Crushed to Dust, Myron and Cole, As Life Flows By). Some of these songs are so radio friendly (As Life Flows By), it feels like they were made to be played over airwaves and uplift moods despite the not-too-jovial lyrics. There are enough melody variations ranging from mid-Eastern market melodies (Myron and Cole) to moody blues (Into Deep) for this album not to crush into a predictable rut. Besides, Green Carnation drops several dark, but cleansing experiences in between. Lullaby in Winter is a two-part song with the first part having clean guitar and floating tender and serene vocals by Kjetil Nordhus. As the outstanding drumming by Anders Kobro begins to ratchet up the pressure, something that started out as a dark Pink Floyd goes through jazzy Deep Purple into a soft polyphonic with string section clearly heard. Such mood changes are also prevalent on Two Seconds in Life where velvety voice over empty melody can change to a full instrumentation combined with strings in a matter of seconds. Guitar, bass and high-hat intro to Into Deep switches to heavy riffs with audible bass and strings hovering above. While not being overly symphonic A Blessing in Disguise has enough of symphonic elements and string instruments (cello on Two Seconds in Life and harp on Rain) to really make the whole effort multi-dimensional. Throw in the crispiest production, excellent musicianship, and, indeed, you have an excellent album by the mature band.

What will sound as a commercial effort from the beginning, upon repeated listens will become more and more personal and emotional. For the second time in a row, Green Carnation managed to completely capture my imagination. Invest without second thought.

Killing Songs :
Crushed to Dust, Lullaby in Winter, Writings on the Wall, Two Seconds in Life, As Life Flows By
Alex quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Green Carnation that we have reviewed:
Green Carnation - The Acoustic Verses reviewed by Alex and quoted 94 / 100
Green Carnation - The Quiet Offspring reviewed by Alex and quoted 84 / 100
Green Carnation - Light of Day, Day of Darkness reviewed by Alex and quoted 95 / 100
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