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The Underworld, London June 15 2005

Green Carnation's latest release `The Quiet Offspring' has been one of only a handful of new releases to really kick my ass in 2005 and I was delighted to see that they had arranged a short tour that featured some English gigs. However, once again there was a poor turnout and there were only about 100 people present at the Underworld, when I arrived, including the bands. One has to admit that the Norwegian band's profile over here is rather low and as they are on the smallish French label Seasons of Mist, that situation seems unlikely to change without the band getting out and playing live.

I missed opening band Desolation completely and had not intended to catch Derby-based Black Metallers Cruel Humanity either, but the latter were still onstage when I arrived. Rather than playing the variety of Black Metal that I do not like, I was pleasantly surprised to find that their music was quite progressive in nature and much more melodic than I had been expecting. It was also surprising to discover that they were only a four-piece and that they included a keyboard player. With the Death Metal vocals not being so prominent as to distract too much from the music that certainly seem worthy of further attention. Definitely a band that I'll take the opportunity to watch properly, next time that they play locally.

With a lineup that includes the ex-bassist of Black Metal legends Emperor (on guitar) and a heritage that includes cult band In The Woods, the members of Green Carnation have an unusual background and this shows in their music, which encompases everything from 70s Progressive Rock to Black Metal, with compositions varying in length from 4 to 60 minutes. However, as the clock had already reached 21:30 before the six-piece took to the stage, it was pleasing to see that they wasted no time at all in opening strongly with `Crushed to Dust' from `A Blessing In Disguise', the vocals being shared between bassist Stein Roger Sordal and main vocalist Kjetil Nordhus.

I was delighted as they continued with `Just When You Think It's Safe' as it is one of my favourite tunes from the band's most recent album "The Quiet Offspring". It sounded louder and much heavier being played live, but fortunately the soundman managed to find the correct volume controls in time for us to hear the rich organ tones of Kenneth Silden's solo. There was also an excellent, if slightly showy solo from Michael Krumins, who was much more prominent throughout the show than his more famous fellow guitarist.

Kjetil, most recently seen here in London as the vocalist for Trail of Tears, welcomed the crowd and announced that it was the first time that the band had played the UK. Most of the material came from the band's last two albums with `Rain' and `Lullaby in Winter' representing `A Blessing In Disguise' and `The Quiet Offspring' being represented in the form of the title track along with the sensational `Everlasting Moment' and `Dead But Dreaming'.

However the crowd was not going to allow them to leave without playing something from their concept masterpiece `Light of Day, Day of Darkness' - an album that features a single 60 minute piece of music. Obviously, on this occasion there was not sufficient time to play the whole piece, but even so, the 25 minutes or so that were played were sufficient to satisfy the crowd who cheered loudly as the song came to an end. The piece gave everybody in the band an opportunity to shine, especially the keyboards of Kenneth Silden and the guitar of Michael Krumins. Also worthy of comment were Kjetil's excellent vocals, the drumming of Tommy Jackson and the fine backing vocals supplied by Stein Roger Sordal. In contrast, Tchort seemed content to stay out of the limelight.

While I might have liked the mix to have been a little more refined, I still left the venue feeling very impressed by what I had seen and heard and I'm now very much looking forward to the band's appearance at Progpower Europe in early October.


Crushed to Dust - Just when you think its safe - Myron & Cole - Rain - The Quiet Offspring - Lullaby of Winter - The Everlasting Moment - Dead but Dreaming - First part of Light of Day/Day of Darkness

Review: Charlie Farrell

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