Green Carnation - The Quiet Offspring
The End Records
Atmospheric Prog Rock
11 songs (55'07")
Release year: 2005
Green Carnation, The End Records
Reviewed by Alex

New Green Carnation CD was supposed to be my birthday gift. The birthday arrived early, as I am not turning 35 until tomorrow and I had a chance to listen to The Quiet Offspring for more than a week now. And even though, as they say, you don’t look a gifted horse in the mouth, this album could have been so much more for me.

I have been a Green Carnation fan for as long as they existed in their second incarnation, after the demise of In The Woods. Green Carnation leader, guitarist and one of the main songwriters Tchort (Terje Vik Schei) and I share a tragedy. He lost his first child and so have I. Journey to the End of the Night, recorded with multiple vocalists, was inspired by the loss of Tchort’s daughter. Next came the masterpiece Light of Day, Day of Darkness. More than an hour long one-track album, this composition has struck an incredible chord with me. Dedicated to the birth of Tchort’s son that album connected with me on so many personal levels. And that is what I have been looking for from Green Carnation albums ever since. A tall order to fill, I know, but with every album I want to rediscover that incredible connection I have formed with this band. Previous album Blessing in Disguise saw the band shift to the more song-oriented rock out approach. Still, the album has held a dark edge and captivated me fully. It is safe to say The Quiet Offspring is just as song-oriented and even more atmospheric rock than its predecessor and it does not have a dark edge of Blessing in Disguise. However, the album somehow appears very commercial and radio-friendly. I may sound egotistical and silly as with this album the band should get more mainstream recognition, however, my private personal connection is beginning to wane away.

The first two songs are probably the biggest testament to the paragraph above. Cerebral, but grungy radio rock guitar riffs form the foundation of the title track and first part of Between the Gentle Small & the Standing Tall. Such grumbling riffs (verse of The Everlasting Moment) and very simple intro/verse/chorus/verse/chorus/solo/chorus affairs that are Just When You Think It’s Safe and Purple Door, Pitch Black confirm the album’s song-oriented approach. A Place for Me with its gothic chords and blaring siren guitar riffs could fit, for example, on the gothic tinged latest outputs by Lake of Tears and Cemetary.

I have to restrain everyone from thinking, however, that song-oriented rock means weak songs. Guitar twists and slightly atonal vocal melodies of Just When You Think It’s Safe are very memorable, just like the sorrowful verse and heavier chorus chords of A Place for Me. Green Carnation even does an unexpected power metal (think Kamelot) impersonation with galloping palm muted chords in Pile of Doubt covered up with Hammond organ softer chorus. The best moments of the album, however, for me anyway, remain those where layers of music meet head on: guitar riffs and ivory tinkling in Between the Gentle Small & the Standing Tall, Dead but Dreaming, voice and keyboards in the chorus of The Everlasting Moment, as well as dreamy and peaceful, albeit with the frightful lyrics, Childsplay Part I and II, the latter having a huge buildup ending up with Kjetil Nordhus singing almost hysterically.

Green Carnation musicianship can never be questioned, guitar solos coming in at the right time and lasting just the right amount of time. Keyboards on The Quiet Offspring are very tastefully done and bringing the atmosphere of light, as opposed to Blessing in Disguise, even though piano on Childsplay Part II does sound creepy. Kjetil Nordhus clean vocals probably sound his very best and Terje Refsnes’ production (too many gothic bands to list here) is responsible for all those magnificent musical layers and powerful rock sound destined to be popular in mainstream at the same time.

I guess I should quit living in the past and expect another Light of Day, Day of Darkness. Albums like that are born once a decade. Green Carnation is moving on with not unique, but quite pleasant atmospheric prog rock they prefer these days. At least, unlike some other artists in this genre, Green Carnation do not overthink, their songs maintaining structure and their music still transmitting a lot of emotion. It is just for the broader audience from here on out.

Killing Songs :
Just When You Think It's Safe, A Place for Me, Childsplay Part I, Dead but Dreaming, When I Was You
Alex quoted 84 / 100
Other albums by Green Carnation that we have reviewed:
Green Carnation - The Acoustic Verses reviewed by Alex and quoted 94 / 100
Green Carnation - A Blessing in Disguise reviewed by Alex and quoted 90 / 100
Green Carnation - Light of Day, Day of Darkness reviewed by Alex and quoted 95 / 100
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