Green Carnation – Leaves of Yesteryear (Season of Mist)

Monday, 27th April 2020
Rating: 8.5/10

Green Carnation’s acrimonious, sudden 2007 split couldn’t have come at a worse time. Touring in support of their excellent 2006 Acoustic Verses, which was preceded by the even-more-excellent The Quiet Offspring, the Norwegians had effectively cornered the accessible dark/progressive metal/rock market. (In reality, they are probably more of a heavy rock band, but, splitting hairs here…) To see all of that momentum come to a crash halt was saddening. Thankfully, the band caught the reunion bug in 2014, hooked up with Season of Mist a few years later and have returned with Leaves of Yesteryear.

A sprawling and arrangement-driven affair in comparison to the taut, song-first rub of The Quiet Offspring, Leaves of Yesteryear is dense without being overwhelming. Lead dude/founding member/primary songwriter Tchort has long possessed the capability to stand at simplicity’s edge only to adorn his songs with ornamentations that push them further. And the five cuts here are proof of that, from the sweeping, keyboard-driven opening title track, to the anthemic “Sentinels,” which boasts an instant ear-worm of a chorus thanks to Kjetil Nordhus’s graceful, identifiable croon. The album’s 15-minute prog centerpiece is every bit as explorative as the album that brought Green Carnation into view — 2001’s Light of Day, Day of Darkness, while “Hounds” oscillates between breathy acoustic bits and rollicking riffs. A rather serene cover of Black Sabbath’s “Solitude” rounds out the set.

The expectation often overrides the result when it comes to reunion albums. Green Carnation, though, is in a favorable position — they are more than a cult curiosity, backed by a legacy that was satisfying enough to leave fans wanting more. Few will come away disappointed by Leaves of Yesteryear.

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