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Green Carnation: The Burden Is Mine ... Alone

With The Burden Is Mine Alone, Green Carnation has confirmed its position at the forefront of modern music's stylistic chameleons.

In their early days Green Carnation played extreme metal. It was very intelligent stuff - not the garbage put out by so many of today's death metal acts - and the underlying musicianship was very apparent. Fast forward to their more recent Light Of Day, Day Of Darkness which received a prestigious 5-star review here on Sea Of Tranquility. What a change! That very progressive record blended so many styles, so successfully, it was impossible to classify. Their recent The Quiet Offspring was different again - more alternative, more gothic, and a little darker. The one element that has been consistent is that darkness, a sort of brooding black-metal tone that washed over almost every song.

This one is totally different. The black metal pretensions are gone, and this is an unplugged, folksy piece. Just as Pain Of Salvation has their acoustic 12:5 and The Gathering had their acoustic Sleepy Buildings, so Green Carnation has their equivalent in The Burden Is Mine Alone. This is a strictly limited edition that was cut to coincide with 'Day Of The Equinox festival' in Toronto on October 14th, and will be available only through Profound Lore records and the band's own production company,Sublife Productions. It is a 16-minute EP containing just 4 tracks, 2 of which will appear on an acoustic album called The Acoustic Verses, scheduled for release in 2006. The other 2 tracks are exclusive to this EP.

The title track is a pleasing ballad with an intricately picked acoustic guitar (two guitars in some sections) and softly sung in a clear voice. The tone is soft, appealing and emotional and it ends with a few seconds of softly swelling female choirs - and there are no drums or bass guitar rhythms anywhere. "Transparent Me" is a little heavier with the full rock lineup including jangly strummed acoustic guitars, keyboards and backing vocals played through a distortion effect. Yet the tone is very restrained and the song goes through several tempo changes in its 5-or-so minutes. "Sweet Leaf" is the most complex piece on the EP with multiple guitars, a male/female duet and an elegant soft piano line.

Considering the band's extreme metal origins the final track represents the biggest departure imaginable. Our Australian and English readers will remember a TV series a few decades ago called "Against The Wind". It chronicled the early settlement of Australia by British convicts - and the difficulties they experienced settling the wild country. For those of us living in the colonies at the time it was a huge hit. Australian actor/musician Jon English played a leading role, and he penned "Six Ribbons", an olde-English folk piece in a style that could have been written 500 years ago. The song became an international top-10 hit, but it may never have been heard in the USA. Green Carnation's rendition of this song is very true to the original, and recalls those classic English pieces that some of us grew up with.

The Burden Is Mine Alone can be yours alone for just $9 and is a rewarding listen to fans of progressive folk rock. And it will probably convert a few metal heads to the genre, and draw some prog-folk fans into the band's fascinating back catalog.

Track listing:
  1. Burden Is Mine ... Alone
  2. Transparent Me
  3. Sweet Leaf
  4. Six Ribbons (a Jon English cover)

Added: November 22nd 2005
Reviewer: Duncan Glenday
Related Link: Green Carnation's Web Site
Hits: 3519
Language: english

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