Review Summary: With A Blessing in Disguise, Green Carnation showed that it is willing to experiment with its sound. Fortunately, the album is a case where such experimentation is a success.
Green Carnation's third album takes a differerent approach than its predecessors, Journey to the End of the Night and Light of Day, Day of Darkness. Instead of a windy staircase of progressive doom metal or a 60-minute epic, a more conventional side of Green Carnation is shown. While sticking to their progressive metal roots, they bring some poppier elements into play and, in the end, this works out perfectly for them.
Green Carnation wasn't trying to make songs of epic proportions on this album. All of the songs on A Blessing in Disguise fall in the range of being 4-8 minutes long. However, their skills at songwriting, coming from two albums' experience were nearly flawless and because of this, they could pull off something new and exciting, without using the same song structures they were used to. For example, the chorus takes a bigger role in all of the songs; something which they were not keen on making use of on their debut and sophomore albums. The result is that the songs are catchier than anything they did before this. Also, none of the songs are too repetitive, which is an astounding achievement for a band that has made a big change in its sound all at once.
Green Carnation does not let the changes interfere completely. The drums, guitar, and bass generally fit around the vocals on this album, but the three longest songs - Lullaby in Winter, The Boy in the Attic, and Rain - show a big focus on the music and have long instrumental sections compared to the rest of the album. These three songs are the peak of the album's progressiveness and present another change in the latter two tracks' use of keyboards. This helps the variety of the album and the quality of those two songs.
Kjetil Nordhus, the vocalist, is like a plane among the clouds. His voice shows its freedom to maneuver through whatever turbulence it may find in the music. Unlike so many other planes though, he doesn't show the capability to crash; his vocals can change to fit in with different music and with this adaptability, he contributes greatly. The blending of the other instruments to his work is a splendid art.
A standout of the album is Crushed to Dust which features heavy riffs and tons of energy. Green Carnation chose this, the heaviest track, as an opener - a superb and very agreeable idea because otherwise it wouldn't have fit in with the rest of the songs. It gets the album off to a momentous start, though it is misleading, as the album mellows out afterwards by quite a lot. The aforementioned The Boy in the Attic is another standout, mainly because of the long keyboard sections at the beginning and end. Other songs on this album are about equal in quality and don't feature anything exceptionally different from the rest of the album, giving a feeling of connectedness.
While perhaps leaving some old fans behind, Green Carnation made a positive change to their music and created music that sounds unique. This album is more accessible than the first two albums, a trait which is shared with the subsequent albums, The Quiet Offspring and The Acoustic Verses. It may even appeal to non-metal listeners.
Crushed to Dust
The Boy in the Attic