A partial re-incarnation of In The Woods, Norway’s Green Carnation have evolved over three studio albums into a stunning example the future of heavy progressive rock. Along with bands like Opeth, Anathema, Amorphis, Sirenia, and many others, Green Carnation proves that ex-death/goth metal bands can evolve into exceptional and very progressive minded musical entities.
As with many of the aforementioned bands, the sounds on “Blessing In Disguise” display a clear, melodic new direction for the band. Gone in totality are the death/growl vocals. Though sparsely used, vocals are clean and actually a melodically effective punctuation of the music.
Green Carnation consists of Tchort doing the guitar, lyrics and compositions. Stein Roger plays bass, Bjørn Harstad on guitar, Kjetil Nordhus on vocals, Anders Kobro on drums and Bernt A Moen on keyboards. The line up is identical of the one for their last album on the tiny The End label, “Light of Day, Day of Darkness”, but with the addition of Bernt A Moen on keyboards. Moen’s keyboards are a stunning addition to the CD. Though simple in places, its presence in the music is well orchestrated and highly prevalent. The band’s clean, often brilliant compositions now have the powerful symphonic element that places the music clearly in the progressive rock genre.
The band’s last album, “Light of Day, Day of Darkness” was a one-track (60:00 min) album. The record was well received by both fans and press, and was voted album of the month in Germany's Hammer magazine. The band performed this richly complex, multi-layered track in its entirety in the 2002 Wacken Open Air festival and was voted by several publications as the best live act of the festival that year.
The track listing for the new album is 9 songs ranging in length from 4 to 8 minutes, mostly in 5-6 min range. The track list is as follows:
1. Crushed to Dust
2. Lullaby in Winter (2 parts)
3. Writings on the Wall
4. Into Deep
5. The Boy in the Attic
6. Two seconds in Life
7. Myron & Cole
8. As Life flows by
The band is most effective when doing the symphonic, melancholic songs but the rockers are dense, heavy and not without their own form of symphony. “Blessing in Disguise” is a well-balanced, superbly recorded and fully realised piece of work with few weak moments. Instead of the superfluous wanking of the turgid prog-metal scene, this band displays a melodic, energetic, well-crafted form of heavy symphonic prog rock that is re-defining the genre.
This is an essential listen for fans of heavy music. Along with Opeth’s “Damnation”, “Blessing in Disguise” is an important album in the future of things to come