"The Acoustic Verses"

(The End)

01. Sweet Leaf
02. The Burden Is Mine… Alone
03. Maybe?
04. Alone
05. 9-29-045
06. Child's Play Part 3
07. High Tide Waves

RATING: 8/10

Anyone unfamiliar with the pedigree of GREEN CARNATION could be forgiven for thinking this EP was, at various intervals, a new product from COLDPLAY, U2, PINK FLOYD or PORCUPINE TREE. Make no mistake, while this is all acoustic, it's as lush, orchestrated, and enigmatic as any "electric" album from this quizzical band. Reviewable on a metal site by the band's pedigree alone, "The Acoustic Verses" is still well worth checking out, as it contains some haunting, evocative music.

The sense of melancholy that pervades this album is palpable, almost too much even for those raised on a steady diet of ANATHEMA and KATATONIA. The stark, sparse "The Burden Is Mine… Alone" oozes heartache and resignation, while the subtle strings that rise up behind the plaintive guitar and vocals in "Maybe?" add to the aura of helpless despair. "Alone" is a little more upbeat, with a folky violin part, but its rollicking tempo disguises glum lyrics.

The fifteen-minute centerpiece of the album, "9-29-045", is a harrowing, aching tale of abuse and dependency with a human side. Who can't relate to the lyrics "all that I wanted/was to slip away for a little while/'cause I couldn't keep up with the world?" It's a poignant, moving piece that plays itself out well, like an album side from the good old days of progressive rock, when the story and the feeling was as important as the virtuosity of the players.

Chances are, this acoustic diversion will only appeal to those who've already fully bought into this chameleon-like band of introspective former black metallers and musical omnivores. It's a shame more people won't get into this album, though — it reveals its secrets slowly, after multiple listens, but it's the kind of dark, mind-altering music that gets under your skin and stays with you long after a host of heavier, louder assaults have come and gone. A somber trip for the open-minded.


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