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Gentle Knife - Clock Unwound CD (album) cover


Gentle Knife


Crossover Prog

3.89 | 107 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars The Norwegian 10-piece (now 11!) group debuted two years ago with the eponymous album, which perhaps didn't get the deserved recognition. I used the word "promising" back then, and this new release is a valid answer to the expectations of maturing and artistic progress. There are some changes in the line-up. One more saxophonist has been added, and bright-voiced but slightly amateurish Melina Oz (who mostly sang simultaneously with the male vocalist) is replaced by Veronika Horven Jensen. Only, her excellent voice could have been put to much wider use here. Concerning the large combo, one is bound to estimate how much sonic variety it brings to the music. For the most part, it's not remarkably much.

They play the usual modern, tradition-friendly prog that favours extended song-form, some degree of complexity, and the part-instrumental dynamics, guitar and keyboards upfront. The colourful use of reeds brings some extra, but don't expect a breath-taking sonic rollercoaster ride. However, as a band Gentle Knife (categorized as Crossover Prog) approaches both Symphonic and Eclectic areas with some Neo flavour. One may think of bands such as UNITOPIA, IZZ or DELUSION SQUARED.

As an album whole, the progress is notable. The conceptual debut suffered e.g. from an ill-chosen running order (for example the Crimsonesque instrumental Coda broke the coherence in the end). Clock Unwound starts gently with a moody, classically oriented instrumental featuring mostly piano and trumpet, followed by the edgiest and longest track of the same name. Powerful guitars, but I'm glad the band didn't take a heavier path as too many prog bands tend to do nowadays. The epic proceeds from intensity with wailing saxes to delicate passages with a beautiful flute. The mostly male vocals deepen the emotion. 'Fade Away' starts with an acoustic guitar, flute and Mellotron sample. Male and female vocals appear both in turns and together. It's another fine prog track shifting between delicacy and edginess. Ah, the flute!

'Smother' operates on the rockier side, but it brings a fresh surprise in its jazzy, groovy section. If one hasn't yet noticed how much better the drums are on this album compared to the debut, now it's impossible not to notice. More of that, please! 'Plans Askew' is pretty good too, in its dynamic, semi-instrumental form. The reeds widen the sonic pallette again, though perhaps slightly too cautiously. But then 'Resignation' functions excellently as the closing track, giving a lot of room for the various saxes. This is basically an instrumental featuring low spoken words. - Not necessarily among the most unique prog albums of the year, but very satisfying.

Matti | 4/5 |


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