Released: 2004, Metal Mind Productions
Reviewer: Michael De Los Muertos
Green Carnation is a dark progressive metal band from Norway featuring guitarist Tchort, who has played with Emperor, Satyricon, Einherjer and Carpathian Forest. Their main claim to fame is the sprawling album LIGHT OF DAY, DAY OF DARKNESS, and, after three eclectic albums, they’ve come out with this live DVD of a show they recorded in Krakow, Poland in January 2004.
This video is extremely well-produced and showcases the band very well. Green Carnation has a very unusual, moody sound and atmosphere. Beginning in a very low-key way with a single guitarist warming up on a darkened stage before an empty auditorium, the first track, “Into Deep,” showcases their strange low-key style. Still, it’s heavy and quite enjoyable, and those fans who may not have heard much by Green Carnation may be tempted to check out their albums. “Crushed to Dust” is a speedy rollicking track, very heavy and punishing. Most of the other tracks are mellower than that. I especially liked the mood of “The Boy in the Attic,” though by this point in the DVD, 40 minutes in, the more impatient metal fans might be wondering when Green Carnation are going back to shredding! Throughout it all, vocalist Kjetil Nordhus is unquestionably the star of the show. None of the other band members have any noticeable stage presence at all, and Tchort, while he’s on camera quite a bit, seems especially sedate.
The concert is beautifully shot, and the production quality on this video is very high so colors virtually burst out of the screen. The sound is also excellent. If you have a halfway decent stereo setup on your TV/DVD player, you won’t miss much of their sound. Strangely the Krakow crowd seems awfully subdued. European metal fans are generally much less rowdy than their American counterparts—and possibly East Europeans even less so than Germans, French or British—but it didn’t seem like Green Carnation had that many hard-core fans in the audience. Thus, although the show is excellently-done, there’s a sense that the energy level doesn’t get that high.
The bonus tracks on this DVD aren’t much to write home about. The extra videos are mostly bootlegs, which means they’re grainy, shaky and the sound quality isn’t good. I suspect they were added mostly as filler, and in an attempt to justify the label on the DVD, “Total running time: approx. 155 minutes.” The main video is much shorter than that, and you won’t really want to spend too much time on the bootlegs. Also, some of the other special features were disappointing. There is a photo gallery, band bio, discography etc. and all are pretty standard. I did like the “art gallery,” however, which in addition to the band’s album covers showed documents such as their set list, the stage setup, what the passes looked like for their former tours, etc.
If you’re a fan of Green Carnation, you will definitely want to have ALIVE AND WELL…IN KRAKOW and you’ll probably love every minute of it. If you’re not a fan but have an interest in atmospheric prog metal, it’s still probably a good investment. It’s not the best metal DVD I’ve ever seen, but it’s very well-done, and I enjoyed it.