The fourth studio album from Norway's Green Carnation is a drastic departure for the band, as they seemingly have stepped away a bit from their past, which included forays into death metal and moody progressive rock. On The Quiet Offspring, Green Carnation have centered on a sound that mixes alternative rock and goth with classic 70's keyboard/guitar driven hard rock styles similar to Deep Purple or Uriah Heep. While to listeners new to the band this will sound like a good combination, those who have followed the band from the beginning might be a little put off by the very commercial sounds that permeate this new CD. This is a band that has seen an opening, and wish to take a stab at mainstream acceptance. Gone are many of the melancholy arrangements (although they have stuck quite a few in the back end of this CD), lumering death metal dirges, and progressive rock flights that were major characteristics of their earlier albums. Instead, you get some accessible and well written rock songs that are accentuated by some metal guitar and proggy keyboard textures. They haven't forgotten their past, just progressed forward, which is all what this style of music should be about.
Make no mistake about it, this is a very good modern heavy rock album. Much like the recent album from Amorphis, Green Carnation have molded their past into a very commercial sound that will appeal to a broader audience. Take the song "A Place for Me" for instance. Here, the band sounds almost like modern day Marillion, as the the moody keyboard intro gives way to some crunchy guitar work and catchy yet melancholic vocals from Kjetil Nordhus. Some heavy guitar mixes with spacey arrangements on "The Everlasting Moment", reminding a little of the band Arena, while songs like "Between the Gentle Small & Standing Tall" and the bouncy nu-metal of the title track could seemingly find a home on US alternative rock radio.
Nifty keyboards saturate the driving rock of "Purple Door, Pitch Black", while the lovely "Childsplay Part I" sees the band moving in a Pink Floyd direction, complete with dreamy keys, acoustic guitars, and haunting melodies. To make sure you are on your toes, the band segues from that song into the blasting symphonic metal of "Dead But Dreaming", complete with chunky guitar riffs and waves of keyboards. The band dabbles a bit with technical prog-metal on "Pile of Doubt", thanks to some intricate guitar and keyboard passages, while the pleading vocals of Nordhus soar over the mix. For some flat out prog-rock, the spacey and atmospheric "When I Was You" is a dripping journey into severe melancholy, again reminiscant of Hogarth era Marillion or even Porcupine Tree. Here, the kayboards of Kenneth Silden play a major role, building passion and drama while the tortured vocals of Nordhus tear at your soul. It's easily one of the best songs on the CD, and proves to be a nice accompanyment to some of the more straightforward rock based songs on the album.
So, if you thought earlier albums like 'Light Of Day, Day Of Darkness or Blessing In Disguise were the be-all-end-all as far as Green Carnation goes, The Quiet Offspring might not be your cup of tea. However, if you give it a chance, you'll discover some great stuff here. Amidst some of the more commercial sounding pieces are some deep and riviting songs that bridge the gap between prog, metal, goth, and pop. I give Green Carnation credit for taking a chance like this, and I think it will work for them.
1. The Quiet Offspring (4:05)
2. Between The Gentle Small & The Standing Tall (4:15)
3. Just When You Think It's Safe (5:18)
4. A Place For Me (5:26)
5. The Everlasting Moment (5:09)
6. Purple Door, Pitch Black (4:12)
7. Childsplay Part I (4:47)
8. Dead But Dreaming (5:26)
9. Pile Of Doubt (5:56)
10. When I Was You (7:22)
11. Childsplay Part II (4:23)
Total Time: 56:24