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Gentle Knife - Gentle Knife CD (album) cover


Gentle Knife


Crossover Prog

3.74 | 53 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Hmm, what do I know about contemporary Norwegian prog? I know at least Wobbler, White Willow and Airbag. GENTLE KNIFE goes right there to the top of my list. This new 10-piece group from Oslo has made an "8-part suite rooted in the classic 70's concept album". If Wobbler can be described as Yes-derivative and Airbag as Pink Floyd -derivative, GK has in my opinion absorbed a wide pallette of influences and executed a pretty original outcome.

This music also makes me think of the thin line between various subgenres, e.g. "Symphonic" and "Crossover" Prog; at least I would like to emphasize the symphonic tendencies heard here. I don't have anything against placing them under Crossover Prog, but unlike many artists in that subgenre, GK definitely is pure and full-blown progressive rock in the traditional sense, even having the epic approach and themes that are slightly escapistic and mythical; the album "recounts the tale of an adventurer's unfortunate demise in an alluring forest".

Perhaps the most notable feature is the use of both female and male lead vocals. I like them both, but Melina Oz's voice is rather thin in its [Sarah Brightman reminding] high clarity. All in all the sound & arrangements are not as rich and varied as one could imagine with ten members. GENTLE... Giant? No, not that much of eclectism in the use of instruments. The group features a flautist and a saxophonist, and the keyboard player plays some trumpet too. Saxophone sometimes - not often - approaches VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR territory, but flute is sadly quite a little heard. The synths and electric guitar seem to dominate more than the acoustic elements, and the male vocalist Håkon Kavli obviously isn't a master of acoustic guitar.

I tend to agree with BrufordFreak, that this undoubtedly potential band is at this point still a bit immature, and the technical skill doesn't reach the same high level as the ambition. Especially if you pay close attention to the rhythm section, you'll find the music to be quite unimpressive from the technical point of view.

The 80's King Crimson reminding 'Coda' following the 'Epilogue' feels more like a separate bonus than an essential part of the whole. The melancholic beginning of the title track with Melina's nice solo voice is better than the latter half featuring male backing vocals. These reserved notions aside, this is a pleasant album to sink into, dreaming oneself away of the everyday routines. Highlights are the slow-paced 10-minute opener 'Eventide', the emotionally powerful 'Tear Away the Cords That Bind', instrumental 'Beneath the Waning Moon' with its flute/saxophone/trumpet contributions and the 8-minute instrumental 'Epilogue'.

3½ stars, rounded up for the beautiful layout, and to wish the band the best of luck for the future!

Matti | 4/5 |


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