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The Acoustic Verses

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★★★★½
(13 Reviews)

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Green Carnation takes a logical detour into their more sedate, mellow personality with ’The Acoustic Verses’. With their songwriting stronger than ever, these lush and superbly performed songs will please not only committed fans but fans of prog and folk-rock. This very special Norwegian entity offers another important chapter in their fascinating evolution.

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  • Green Carnation has taken many forms but this one(an acoustic one) is by far their best. Though very simple, it is very moving and beautiful. Nordhus(vocalist) has a powerful voice that flows over the acoustic guitars and synths. Songs range from catchy 3 minute tunes to a long epic 15 minute piece. This epic composition alone is worth buying the album, oddly titled 9-29-045. Though my favorite song off of this is, Alone, which has the most memorable lines and shows the band’s most creativity and elegance. Anyone who likes any type of acoustic music should definitely pick this up, this is not an album to dissapoint.

    Posted on January 6, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • “The Acoustic Verses” strives to time travel back to the Middle Ages with a multi-track recorder sitting next to the flux capacitor. It’s a bit of a mixed bag. The record has a somewhat jagged, unnatural flow, detrimental to such albums, which rely very heavily on subtlety and understatement. So when something as blunt, over-repetitive and seeming like it could be the ballad from Modern Rock Band X’s new CD as “The Burden is Mine… Alone” comes on, it’s a wrench in the gears.

    That “The Burden” is track two doesn’t help much, either. In terms of accessibility, nothing here quite touches the opener, a morbid, shuffling acoustic march titled “Sweet Leaf” that plays like the soundtrack to a Stonehenge sunset.

    The instrumental “Child’s Play Part 3″ — sounding almost like a “too poppy” outtake from composer Matt Uelman’s brilliant and understated DIABLO/DIABLO II scores — comes close, and “Alone” comes even closer with a sonic base of acoustic strumming flirting with a sort of Britpop edge. The song is swiftly thrown to the orchestra pit, and dire violin strokes breathe a weird energy under the haunting amalgam of sparkling guitar rhythm, vocals and humming keyboard harmony.

    Requisite epic “9-29-045″ fields the “contemplative” side of things, winding down slower and slower until its final movement. Right on the precipice of grinding to a complete halt, the song undergoes a dynamic, emotional outburst at about 12:35, and the ensuing choral textures re-energize the track before it finally fades out in a haze of guitar (one of which has a tendency to sound like a flute).

    Later, some lovely flamenco-flavored guitar graces the last quarter of “High Tide Waves,” providing a neat exit strategy for quite a strangely-toned album.

    A decent gateway drug for fans of bands like The Gathering, Lacuna Coil and Evanescence; a serviceable appetizer for Porcupine Tree, Pink Floyd, or Espers addicts.

    Posted on January 6, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Green Carnation have officially slated themselves in the annals of talented metal bands.

    Every album manages to surprise me, even when I think they’re reaching their creative limits. “Light of Day, Day of Darkness” was a towering monument to musicianship and progressive metal, just as “Blessing in Disguise” and “The Quiet Offspring” demonstrated their ability to stray from their original path in remarkable ways, forging such standout tracks such as “Into Deep”, “A Place for Me” and “The Everlasting Moment”.

    And now we have “The Acoustic Verses”, an album worthy to be placed among the ranks of Pain of Salvation’s “12:5″ with the added bonus that all the songs are new.

    The album is all-acoustic (as implied by the title) and exceptionally touching. From the bleak and somber “Sweet Leaf” to the crippling “The Burden is Mine … Alone”, each note resonates with the emotional power behind both Tchort’s songwriting and Kjetin Nordhus’ increasingly touching voice. The folk-heavy “Alone” is a real treat, giving listeners a dance between acoustic guitars and a violin.

    The cryptically titled “9-29-045″ is by itself worth the price of the album. The 15-minute, 3-part song is astounding. Beginning with “My Greater Cause”, it explores many guitars and Nordhus’ soft croon with great economy. The second part, “Homecoming”, is instrumental and builds to a lovely crescendo before ending the painfully beautiful song with its third and best part, “House of Cards”. Few songs can capture the overpowering emotion in the songs final minutes …

    My confidence in these Norwegian metalheads rises exponentially with each release. “The Acoustic Verses” proves yet again that Green Carnation can and will continue to amaze.

    See also: Green Carnation – “The Quiet Offspring”, Pain of Salvation – “12:5″

    Posted on January 6, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I love “Light of Day, Day of Darkness” (LODDOD) as much as anyone. But when the two albums after that were coming out, I listened to some samples, and one whole song I think, and they really didn’t interest me. However, when I heard the swift violin sweeps and touching acoustic harmony of “Alone” I instantly kept pressing the “Order Now” button until my mouse broke (maybe that’s why I received 847 copies).

    So, unfortunately, my review is slightly incomplete since I will be unable to compare this to “Blessing in Disguise” or “The Quiet Offspring,” but that isn’t really essential to review something.

    “Sweet Leaf” opens up with some quick acoustic strumming and keyboards, and then adds percussion and soft singing. The percussion gets thicker, and after a while the vocals get much more prominent and powerful. The calm, crisp, cascading acoustic melodies in between more upbeat verses remind me a lot of Nest if you’ve heard of them. This song really changes pace a lot for something truly exciting and refreshing. This is actually probably my favorite song on the album.

    “The Burden is Mine… Alone” is primarily somber, fast-paced plucking and straight-forward singing. Remind’s me a lot of the folk songs on Antimatter’s “Planetary Confinement”: very simple, yet emotional and effective. However it is not really an ultra-depressing folk style, it is fresh, but retains a trace of melancholy feeling.

    “Maybe?” starts off slowly similar to the song before but about halfway through, blooms into more of a full band, the rest of the song being instrumental.

    “Alone” is a gorgeous, harmonic, upbeat piece, guided primarily by precise, clever violin strokes between the verses. The strumming, especially at the beginning is stunningly similar to Opeth’s “Harvest”. At the end the violins develop into a dancing harmonization beautifully executed.

    “9-29-045″ is a fifteen minute acoustic-based epic that visits many different ideas, pace changes, buildups, progressions and moods. The first part is quite slow-paced, with harmonized vocals and lots of keyboard melodies. Then it shifts into an instrumental section, with what I can best describe as romantic sounding Italian-influenced acoustic strumming, and then some violins. There are so many unexpected, abrupt changes of pace yet they sound perfectly natural at the same time, with some of the most beautiful melodies I’ve ever heard. I really admire a band that can successfully write music that flows so naturally through so many different moods. This song is truly epic and amazing, like a mini “LODDOD” in itself, however being acoustic-driven now and not metal.

    “Childs Play Part III” is a very mysterious, distinct, piano-driven instrumental that will inject eerie muses in your mind and chills down your spine. This is honestly one of the very best instrumental tracks on an otherwise vocalized album that I’ve ever heard, up there with Agalloch’s “The Misshapen Steed,” Pain of Salvation’s “Pluvius Aestivus” and perhaps Anathema’s “Violence” (replace with your favorite three)

    “High Tide Waves” explores deep contrast with very subdued verses and more “extreme” choruses while still being acoustic, with the use of thick percussion and aggressive vocals.

    Fans of Porcupine Tree, Opeth (especially Damnation), Anathema, Riverside, and Antimatter’s “Planetary Confinement” check this out.

    I will definitely look into the two albums between this and LODDOD. If I love these two so much, I must have been missing something on the other two.

    Edit (11/14/06) Wow. Since writing this I’ve got “The Quiet Offspring,” I don’t know what I was thinking not to buy this when it came out. Amazing.

    Posted on January 6, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • GREEN CARNATION – The Acoustic Verses
    -
    This is my favorite Green Carnation since Light of Day, Day of Darkness. Both Blessing in Disguise and The Quiet Offspring were good but they seemed to lack the emotion that makes both this album, as well as their first, so damn inviting. There is just something captivating about these seven songs that draw you in.

    Every single song on this album is stunning on its own merit… The beautiful `The Burden is Mine… Alone’ gives me chills every time I listen to it… Sincerity is hard to fake, and this entire album is full of it. From start to finish this is simply put… Beautiful.

    Highly recommended for fans of progressive, folk and/or acoustic rock, People that liked Opeth’s Damnation album or bands like Porcupine Tree or Riverside will likely enjoy this. Also at times has a toned down rock feel like Alice in Chains or Stone Temple Pilots Unplugged.

    Anyway enough yapping… If you do not get this album it is your loss!

    Favorite Songs: The Burden is Mine… Alone, Sweet Leaf and 9-29-045
    -5 Stars

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    Posted on January 6, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now