Originally written by Patrick Dawson
Green Carnation has been on a slide away from Light of Day, Day of Darkness’ scope and creativity since the moment that project left the pressing plant. As a listener I have been left not really knowing what to expect since the rather abrupt transition into a more prog oriented breed of heavy rock presented on 2004’s A Blessing in Disguise and I felt the same sort of disorientation after loading Quiet Offspring in my I-pod and having its opening notes fly at me just as I stepped out the door to head for the bus. The opening title track begins with a riff that would sound much more appropriate on an album bearing the artist name The Cult and quickly proceeds into an amalgamation of the aforementioned band and a style of songwriting that smacks of Dream Theater minus the uncomfortable vocals of James LaBrie and Portnoy’s busy footwork.
The more tracks slip by on this album I find myself thinking that while it is not necessarily my bag, it is certainly a great solution to gritting my teeth all the way through a Dream Theater disc. If the rules of engagement allow for the use of fake advertising terms, then “Lite” readily comes to mind about midway through Quiet Offspring. Green Carnation isn’t exactly striving to be the modern incarnation of Yes. Prog in the loosest sense these days seems to mean an extra bridge and perhaps the odd diverging verse; just enough to keep a rock song from drawing the pop tag. Moments on the album like “Just When You Think it’s Safe” really test my patience with a more straightforward approach even if the bombastic guitar solos do tickle my fancy. I swear if they hadn’t cut the song lengths down since the last outing I could draw a Use Your Illusion II stylistic comparison here; with all the mellow beginnings building to sometimes gaudy choruses.
“Purple Door, Pitch Black” proves to be the flagship song. Powerful chorus hook, great thick guitar riffs and a good deal of variation within synth and drum work highlight this track as the high water mark that Green Carnation should be aiming for next time they hit the studio. The band have taken a much simpler approach this time around and though much of the material consists of very solid guitar foundation with a lot of diversity in instrumental undertones, great piano and keyboard accents can not magically turn above average rock into a spectacular product.
My final opinion of this album is this: while it is an enjoyable listen for an afternoon bus ride to campus, its edge is dulled a bit by the ambivalence I feel towards the latter half of the track list. The run of songs beginning with “Childsplay Part 1” can be described as filler with a level of certainty I am totally comfortable with. The bizarre thing about Quiet Offspring is that after listening to it for so long I feel like it is an album by a band that I really enjoyed 10 years ago. Even though this modern output isn’t terrible, I know their best work is clearly behind them. Considering this band has not been around long enough to be intertwined with fond memories from my youth and that this is their second attempt at the style, I’m not sure an old soul vibe is a good thing. I think I expended my tolerance for this sort of thing when Amorphis pulled the old switcheroo a few years back. Quiet Offspring is not a bad album but it is certainly the band’s weakest output and only necessary for fans pleased by the musical tangent these Norwegians seem to have committed to.