Originally written by Tim Pigeon
Green Carnation took the metal world by surprise in 2001 with their superb opus Light of Day, Day of Darkness. They were a mostly unknown band before then, but their emotional, hour-long, single-song album earned the band much acclaim in the metal media.
Fast forward two years and the new album, A Blessing in Disguise, is set to hit stores in mid-June. Now the main question on everyone’s mind is whether or not this album will be another deep, epic concept album or a more traditional affair. I’ll ruin the surprise and just reveal that this album is a nine song outing of progressive rock tinged with the slightest touches of metal. This development is sure to disappoint those hoping for another LODDOD, but I couldn’t be happier with the finished product.
I’m beginning to think that Tchort (ex-Emperor) is one of the most gifted men in metal. He’s the primary songwriter in Green Carnation, and this album comes fresh on the heels of the spectacular Blood Red Throne album, which was released a few months back. For the uninformed, Tchort also handles the guitar duties for them as well.
Kjetil Nordhus has a nice vocal range that hits a few different registers, yet it never sounds cheesy. Doomy piano contributes in a few of the songs. None of the instruments stand out as being too flashy, which is a credit to the high quality of the songwriting on display here.
Production-wise, the album sounds great. Very crisp throughout. “Crushed to Dust” gets the album off to a fast start, and the hard rock approach to the song is the heaviest found on A Blessing in Disguise. There are some nice chord progressions going on during the chorus as well. Next up is “Lullaby in Winter,” a slower track that is more par for the course. The song is actually broken into two parts, the first being a pretty standard singing-over-quiet-guitar composition, while the second half is much better, being more dynamic, and laced with nifty keys.
Another interesting aspect is how they resemble Alice in Chains in a few select spots, such as the vocal melodies in “Myron and Cole,” that sound straight off of Facelift, as well as the first minute or two of “Into Deep.” Each song has its moment(s) of beauty and they all stand on their own as little mini-journeys. My personal favorite song is “As Life Flows By,” with its moving, sing-a-long chorus and 80’s-rock feeling. But again, tastefully done.
Don’t approach this album expecting it to be a real headbanger or an amazingly epic tale, instead enjoy the emotion poured into and out of each song. I think it’s a worthy follow-up to LODDOD, but as always, when a band changes approach, sample a song or two first. This will definitely be near the top of my non-metal list for 2003.