GREEN CARNATION / SORCERER - Livestream Doubleheader!
May 26, 2020, a month ago
Almost like pre-Covid days, when multiple metal shows would compete against each other across town. Well, the weekend saw multiple diverse acts vie for attention, virtually simultaneously, despite being in Norway and Sweden. Yet each offered something different. On Saturday, Green Carnation played a live show, from Kristiansand, celebrating the release of their new album, Leaves Of Yesteryear. An hour's flight away, Swedish doom lords Sorcerer were showcasing Lamenting Of The Innocent, with a listening party that included some acoustic material. Unlike in real life, it was possible to be in two places at once, thanks to split-screen technology. Both of these events were free, but encouraged fans to donate or buy merch. Actually, the Norwegians provided an option to get an extra 90 minutes of exclusive content (interviews, documentary and vid premier) for 5 Euros, but otherwise the performance was free.
Sorcerer basically threw a two hour party for their fans. Although hampered by an ailing drummer and delays that prevented the box set from being unveiled, the guys sat around, had a few drinks, answered questions about the album, their history and influences and even awarded some prizes. Lots of discussion and accolades for Tony Martin and Black Sabbath's Headless Cross album, an avowed band reference point. A couple of lit candelabras and bar stools, with Peter Hallgren on 12-string guitar, even without percussion, they aired a trio of pre-recorded acoustic tunes, including a pair from the forthcoming disc ("Deliverance" and multi-voiced backing vocal "Condemned"). Promotional videos for the title cut and "Institoris" were debuted, as well as the revelation that the aforementioned absentee box set (in addition to a pin, pendant, beer coasters and CD) will include a DVD, with videos for EVERY album track! Producer Max Norman called singer Anders Engberg's cellphone for a brief discussion. There was a teaser of the "Making Of" documentary that will also be available, prior to the trivia questions segment, where fans could win prizes, as decided by the spinning, wheel of fortune. The day allowed fans (or simply the casually curious) to see that Sorcerer are regular Joes, who enjoy playing/listening/making music. There was an opportunity (beyond buying new record or affiliated coffee mugs) to contribute, via PayPal, so that they continue doing what the love. Hope it's sooner than later!
Green Carnation commandeered the ballroom of a local hotel. Beneath the chandeliers, they arranged themselves in a social distancing circle (plenty of cameras between them) and ran through 10 songs, in about 75 minutes, including all of the originals off their just-issued Leaves Of Yesterday, beginning with the massive length re-recording of "My Dark Reflections Of Life And Death". The musicians jam for a while, prior to the appearance of bearded vocalist Kjetil Nordhus. When not singing, he strolls about, air drumming. The keyboards and lead guitar of Bjørn Harstad (he of the Edvard Munch 'Scream' guitar strap) are in lock-step, playing the same notes. The rasp of snare and the jangly keys introduce "Sweet Leaf” (no, not the Sabbath song, even though they cover "Solitude" on the new disc, the lone newbie not aired this evening). As he'll do on many of today's offerings, Stein Roger Sordal adds backing vocals. A live Green Carnation show (in these conditions, or elsewhere) is never about action, but features plenty of dynamics: hushed tones, suddenly switching to aggro guitar. Tchort (guitar/founder) is content to survey the proceedings and Nordhus wanders on/off, but the remainder are quite stoic (and stationary), the exception being bassist Sordal, who works up a sweat, swaying to and fro to his driving bottom end.
Things get livelier on up-tempo "Myron & Cole", while the current titular number is lit in purple. There's almost a seamless transition between tunes, seguing from one to the next without fanfare. Nordhus essentially treated the show as a rehearsal, not speaking to the viewers until ultimately imparting band news, come the last song. "Lullaby In Winter" has long been a staple of the live show and during the lengthy instrumental mid-section, each musician is given an onscreen close-up, with the singer offstage. "Rain" gives way to another new one, "Sentinels". The main camera frequently zooms in, to capture the singer, both hands clasped on the mic. The emotive "Pile Of Doubt" ends as an a cappella duet between Kjetil and Stein. Hats off to the camera operator for attempting some nice depth-of-field shots, seeking to get these two singers in the same frame: one sharp image, the (bassist) behind, slightly out-of-focus, Hammond organ (courtesy of synthesizer, the old-school piece of furniture not in the room) introduces the plod of "Hounds". The festivities culminate with the trippy sedation of "When I Was You" finale, where Stein uses his fingers, the pick clenched between his lips. A live Green Carnation gig is something of a rarity anyway, so being able to see one, under these absurd global conditions, is akin to securing the leprechaun's rainbow ending prize. Treasure it!