Green Carnation
Leaves Of Yesteryear


4.0
excellent

Review

by Robert Davis CONTRIBUTOR (298 Reviews)
May 12th, 2020 | 32 replies


Release Date: 05/08/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Leaves that bloom with passion.

I've always thought of Green Carnation as a band who managed to traverse the fine line between progressive rock and progressive metal. You see, there was a time in the 21st Century when a band would either favour the more lilting, charming atmosphere of progressive rock or go full-throttle with technical precision and dub themselves the next big thing in progressive metal. With that said, Green Carnation have always been fairly hard to categorise, and that's even taking into account the band's humble beginnings. Of course, if Green Carnation are ever going to be remembered for one thing and one thing only, it's the mammoth one-song epic in 2001's Light of Day, Day of Darkness, an album which has over the last few decades resonated with fanbases from multiple sub-genres and often been hailed as the go-to opus for those patient with such lengthy epics. Alas, here we are in 2020, looking at the first bit fresh material from Green Carnation in 14 years.

To be fair, it's not like there's been any apparent growing demand from the masses for new Green Carnation music. I myself only came across Light of Day... in 2012, and that was already over a decade since it had been released. In hindsight, Leaves of Yesteryear will require as much patience as any other Green Carnation album, except for those who have dissected their discography and settled well with every single release. Opening with a title track that is arguably one of the most alluring progressive-minded songs of the year, it's pretty obvious the band have given full effort here. Beautiful vocal deliveries are at the forefront, softening any blow from the rhythm section with a neutral, passionate performance, and yet they are never overdone. On the contrary, there are times in the title track where you're left wanting Nordhus to sing even more, particularly after his lilting ululation of “I hope you remember my name” towards the end. It's not very complex, nor does it raise awareness of the band stepping out of their comfort zone. Really, it's just right. This continues throughout the album, and the apparent charm of “Sentinels” is maintained in spite of obviously heavier guitar work and perhaps a reminder of modern Amorphis at their most magical. Though a shorter song, "Sentinels" feels like a yin to its predecessor's yang, in which the shorter song builds on heavier tones and embraces the band's pacier moments.

Leaves of Yesteryear may be considerably shorter than its predecessors, but it's also very compact and ensures no song overstays its welcome. The reworking of an original song in “My Dark Reflections of Light and Death” may make some have second thoughts when seeing that it lasts almost 16 minutes, but it feels more like a journey through the band's career and how they've adapted to an ever-changing musical direction, not so much like a chore. Of course, the song takes time to settle the listener with its atmospheric introduction, but opens up in ways which consistently command the listener's attention. It's arguably the most progressive-minded song of the whole album (as you'd expect regarding the length), yet isn't one of those songs that feels as if it's a hodge-podge of multiple parts. Rather, each transition is fluent and provides delicate changes in pace, performance and tone to emphasise each aspect of the band's musical palette. The vocal delivery is at its most soulful, the almost tear-jerking cries of “What I was, forgive me” and “This cold embrace of temptation” backed by a rhythm section growing and expanding with atmospheric vigour. No, it's not a new song, but what it does prove is that Green Carnation can rework a song and make it just as compelling 20 years after its initial placement.

With only five songs on Leaves of Yesteryear, three of which being wholly original material (the reworking of “My Dark Reflections...” and the cover of Black Sabbath's “Solitude” aside), there's a sense that those looking at the tracklist will be left wanting more. You could call it an EP, but then you'd be underestimating how important the new songs may turn out to be in the near future. “Hounds” may seem overshadowed by “My Dark Reflections...” due to a shorter length but it actually stands out with its calming acoustics and later on technical precision which showcases the band's instrumental talents. In fact, “Hounds” seems even darker and lyrically takes on a more isolated tone, the almost echoed grief of “Darkness beats upon my soul” resonating with those who have stumbled on hard times and are seeking hope. The hard-hitting thrum of the rhythm section strongly resonates with those who prefer the more metallic side of the band, but as with the previous three songs on the album, “Hounds” develops a je ne sais quoi to make it stand out. It's slow-burning energy may leave some wanting a bit more pace, but to say it's the last bit of new material on the album is to say that Leaves of Yesteryear is theoretically warmer as it reaches its end, with a suitably calming closer in “Solitude” to close the experience.

A 14 year gap in between albums isn't exactly easy for any band to accept and move on from, but perhaps that's what was needed for Green Carnation, a refreshing look back at how they developed a strong and consistent musical direction between 1990 and 2007. Yet it doesn't seem as if the band have forgotten what made their previous albums resonate so well with their fans, and it's an ultimately passionate performance that drives Leaves of Yesteryear to a subtle, satisfying conclusion. It's great to hear new material from the band, but even better to know they've essentially picked up where they left off effortlessly.



Recent reviews by this author
The Ruins Of Beverast / Almyrkvi Almyrkvi / The Ruins Of Beverast (Split)Ensiferum Thalassic
The Moon and the Nightspirit AetherCloven Hoof Age of Steel
The Black Dahlia Murder VerminousMariana Semkina Sleepwalking
user ratings (64)
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
May 12th 2020


2637 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

c/c welcome as always. I probably rambled on a bit here, hence the longer than usual review.

Digging: Self Hypnosis - Contagion of Despair

Sunnyvale
May 12th 2020


1741 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Need to give this another spin, it was awesome on first listen last week

PortalofPerfection
May 12th 2020


2366 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review, I really appreciate how much time you spent discussing the length and the fact that only 3 of the songs are new. That honestly kind of bummed me out. They really should have just done an EP with those three sounds and did the remake song and the cover individually later on, to tide is over till they do an actual full length.



All that being said, all the tracks are really good, especially Leaves and Hounds. Definitely looking forward to more from these guys.

Digging: Unleash The Archers - Abyss

Egarran
May 12th 2020


18018 Comments


Nice, didn't know about this. Good review.

Was a huge fan of Light of Day but I haven't been hooked on their other albums.

Digging: Skyforest - A New Dawn

Jethro42
May 12th 2020


16135 Comments


I love me some Green Carnation.

MO
May 12th 2020


22998 Comments


Oh damn will have to check

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
May 13th 2020


21217 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Wow this is pretty cool.

Digging: Hallas - Conundrum

Asdfp277
May 13th 2020


22973 Comments


wot in green tarnation-

Million Ghosts
May 13th 2020


124 Comments


this album is fun but too many parts sound very close to HIM's Venus Doom

Trifolium
May 13th 2020


18120 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah I liked it! Some nice throwbacks to Light Of Day even Egarran 💚

"Was a huge fan of Light of Day but I haven't been hooked on their other albums."

100% agreed, I don't think you'll give this more than a 3.0 either in that case.

Piripichotes
May 13th 2020


560 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great review! I had completely forgotten about this band, I remember listening to them quite a lot back in 2002. There's good material here... I just wish they had pushed a little bit more into the heavy realm...

Trifolium
May 13th 2020


18120 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah same. Love their riffs for instance. Sometimes this gets a little too prog-heavy for me. Still enjoyable!

Egarran
May 13th 2020


18018 Comments


>100% agreed, I don't think you'll give this more than a 3.0 either in that case.

You're hard on this, considering I choose to believe it's aoty - until I've heard it some more. But suddenly there's a lot of mandatory releases coming this way.

LunaticSoul
May 13th 2020


1452 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Well, I love Green Carnation. They're probably one of the bands I loved the most throughout the years, and while I'm fine with the throwbacks, and the Solitude cover is cool, this is not going further than a 3.5 in my books



As with the psych waltz disc (where I've been attacked for saying it sounded 'old', and I'm not interested in nostalgia music), this elicits similar sensations to me. But while I did not give two flying fucks about the waltz, I do for Tchort-boy.



I still bought the disc either way lol

Trifolium
May 13th 2020


18120 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'm going back in for sure Egarran!

As a matter of fact, it is happening right now!

DarkNoctus
May 13th 2020


11167 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i adore this

Digging: Noumena - Anima

Nerdurosis
May 14th 2020


407 Comments


Two tracks in and I'm loving this.

MrSirLordGentleman
May 14th 2020


13546 Comments


damn that artwork is dope

Disconnected
May 16th 2020


487 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Not as good as Acoustic Verses, but I'm glad this band is back. That Solitude cover is solid

Trifolium
May 16th 2020


18120 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I liked it more than a 3.0 on second spin, still not sure just how much. There are some lovely passages here for sure.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile