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GENTLE KNIFE

Crossover Prog • Norway


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Gentle Knife biography
Gentle Knife is a Norwegian progressive rock band counting 10 members. With both male and female vocals, guitars, synths, mellotron, woodwinds and everything else you would or would not expect, the band combines the mood of the ?70s with a modern take on the genre. Gentle Knife's self-titled conceptual debut album takes you from the clamor of the big city, into an alluring forest. The journey is supposed to renew your energy, but somewhere deep in the forest, you are drawn away from the path, and into the unknown...

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Clock UnwoundClock Unwound
Import
BAJKA 2017
Audio CD$19.50
Gentle KnifeGentle Knife
Import
JFK 2015
Audio CD$19.93
Gentle Knife by Gentle KnifeGentle Knife by Gentle Knife
Bajkal 2015
Audio CD$48.39
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GENTLE KNIFE discography


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3.67 | 38 ratings
Gentle Knife
2015
4.19 | 39 ratings
Clock Unwound
2017

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GENTLE KNIFE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Gentle Knife by GENTLE KNIFE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.67 | 38 ratings

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Gentle Knife
Gentle Knife Crossover Prog

Review by maryes

3 stars I start my review about GENTLE KNIFE "Gentle Knife" talking with a little frustration, because after listen the two initial tracks my impression was very good. The first track " Eventide" a very well done mix of symphonic/psychedellic rock remembering GENESIS, VAN DER GRAAF and PINK FLOYD with an introduction and final theme with a clear KING CRIMSON influence .The second track "Our Quiet Footsteps" and this "cerimonial" heavy overture and main theme, recalling again KING CRIMSON (mainly) but at this time with GENTLE GIANT "hint", a very captivating track ! But the rest of album don't cause the same impression... Although the tracks 3, 4 , 5 and 6 aren't so bad, at the same time, in my point of view aren't to a pleasant audition. The two last tracks are both repetitive and boring ! Due this considerations and specially due the already mentioned quality of two initial tracks, my rate is 3 stars !!!
 Clock Unwound by GENTLE KNIFE album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.19 | 39 ratings

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Clock Unwound
Gentle Knife Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

5 stars This is the second album from Norwegian act Gentle Knife, but the first I have come across, and to try and give some idea of what it sounds like let's look at the line-up. They have no guests, as with this many people they really don't need any more! It must be one of the largest line-ups of a progressive rock band I have ever come across, but each has their place. Astraea Antal (flutes, woodwinds and visuals), Pål Bjørseth (keyboards, vocals, trumpet), Odd Grønvold (bass), Thomas Hylland Eriksen (sax and woodwinds), Veronika Hørven Jensen (vocals), Håkon Kavli (vocals, guitars), Eivind Lorentzen (guitars and synths), Charlotte Valstad Nielsen (sax), Ove Christian Owe (guitars), Ole Martin Svendsen (drums, percussion) and Brian M. Talgo (samples, words, vocals, visions and artwork) have put together one of the most interesting albums of the year.

That it is progressive is beyond doubt, but as to what sub-genre it belongs to is more of a discussion. The band have been claimed by Crossover, but they could easily have gone into eclectic if it wasn't for the majestic beauty of some of the passages that transcend all thoughts of prog into stunning classic rock pop. The production has a large part to play on this album, and in many ways, can almost be thought of you as yet an additional instrument, as it is the clarity and separateness of all those involved that prevent this from turning into a muddy mess. There is an emotional use of a baritone sax on the fifteen-minute- long title cut where the notes resonate against the gently picked electric guitar with quite devastating effect and impact. They aren't afraid to use volume, driving riffs and screaming guitars when the need is right, or to move from melody into atonal noise where everything crashes together, before moving into yet another space and time.

This is music that is exciting, vibrant and with a controlled chaos that is rarely heard in today's scene. The arrangements are complex and perfectly executed, and in many ways this album is reminiscent of the most rich and fragrant paella one could come across: take a bite, give it a stir, and the next bite could be totally different as firstly one tastes mussels, and the next chorizos, yet at all times the rice is providing a balance and continuity. I think this is the first time I have ever compared an album to food, and I have written many thousands, but this is comfortable, intriguing, welcoming and inviting, just like a good meal. Needless to say, a good drop of South Otago Pinot Noir goes with it very nicely indeed, thank you very much.

In some ways very Seventies, and in others very up to date, this wonderful album should be heard by all progheads. It is simply stunning.

 Clock Unwound by GENTLE KNIFE album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.19 | 39 ratings

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Clock Unwound
Gentle Knife Crossover Prog

Review by Matti
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.

 Gentle Knife by GENTLE KNIFE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.67 | 38 ratings

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Gentle Knife
Gentle Knife Crossover Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Norwegian band GENTLE KNIFE was formed back in 2012, with a stated aim to explore vintage era progressive rock with a modern twist. Their self-titled debut album appeared in the summer of 2015 through the Norwegian indie label Bajkal Records.

Those who tend to enjoy vintage era progressive rock with eclectic qualities and recurring dark atmospheres should find this debut album by Gentle Knife to be of interest. A certain affection for bands that are fond of using the saxophone will be needed, and I'd hazard a guess that among those who find a band like Van der Graaf Generator to be among the more interesting bands that ever appeared, there will be quite a few people who will be charmed by the landscapes explored by this Norwegian band. All in all, this is a fine, good quality debut by a promising band.

 Gentle Knife by GENTLE KNIFE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.67 | 38 ratings

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Gentle Knife
Gentle Knife Crossover Prog

Review by Matti
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!

 Gentle Knife by GENTLE KNIFE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.67 | 38 ratings

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Gentle Knife
Gentle Knife Crossover Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team

3 stars Gentle Knife is a new band from Norway delighting in promoting the fact that they have ten members, all interested in contributing to a progressive rock format. The album is intended as a concept album expressing the overwhelming confusion as an urbanite wanders and gets lost in a vast forest. Musically, the band seem to draw major influences from the classic prog artists of the 1970s, specifically, KING CRIMSON, VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR and GENESIS. The opening song, 'Our Quiet Footsteps' (12:35) (8/10) definitely is a 'suite' of four distinctive parts: the four- minute instrumental intro, the verbal story telling, the instrumental development of said story, and then an odd fourth part that seems to go off on its own before tying back into the original sections. Like most of the album, this song gives me impressions of an ambitious band that is still as yet unpolished in its collaboration, performance, and engineering. The use of two lead vocalists, a male and female, with sometimes alternating storytelling, sometimes one harmonizing with the other slightly in the background is nice but, like on song #2, 'Remnants of Pride' (7:58) (8/10), the timing of the two vocalists is just enough off kilter to be distractive. I like it much better when each voice is given center stage, alone--though the alternating style works well, too. Often the songs are saved, for me, by the interesting inputs of the brass/woodwind instruments. Two electric guitarists seems a delightful prospect yet one of the guitarists style is so raw with his fast picking over sustained notes that it feels as though he needs a few more months of practice to really master this technique. The other style of soloing used predominantly through the course of the album is much more pleasing and integrated--kind of a Robert FRIPP style and sound. Keyboards and rhythm section are good though song rhythmic foundations are often very basic, repetitive, and toilsome. This works well for the soloists to noodle over and the vocalists to sing over, but the 'lead' instruments are rarely as fiery or flamboyant enough to take the music to a different level.

Favorite songs: the strongest, most complete, energetic, emotional and mature sounding song on the album, 'Tear Away the Cords that Bind' (4:53) (9/10); the synth/electronica founded instrumental, 7. 'Epilogue Locus Amoenus' (8:03) (8/10), and; the woodwind-dominated instrumental, 'Beneath the Waning Moon' (4:35) (8/10).

Should this new band rise up to the potential exhibited on 'Tear Away the Cords that Bind' they will become a great band that many prog rock lovers will scramble to see and hear. For now they are mostly interesting for their ambition, rawness, and potential.

 Gentle Knife by GENTLE KNIFE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.67 | 38 ratings

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Gentle Knife
Gentle Knife Crossover Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars The Norwegian prog scene has always been an active supporter of the genre and the latest incarnation is a 10 member collective that truly espouses the traditional progressive values (what we call old school) and enhances the inherent creativity of modern processes to present a tactful, insightful and thrilling new chapter. Two vocalists (one of each gender), two guitarists and two woodwind/brass players combine with a rhythm section, a keyboardist and a sound sampler lyricist. The symphonic tendencies are balanced by some delightful Kate Bush-like vocalizations from Melina Oz, as well as tremendous sax, oboe and flute work that hint at Mel Collins-era King Crimson, Roxy Music or even Nucleus. With two guitarists, there is no lack of sparkle amid the glow and the traditional Nordic prog influences are given a powerful urban veneer. The music is both complex and accessible, in so far that a well-honed mood is perennially at the forefront of their artistic creativity.

Starting off the blocks with two 10 minute epics is quite an indication of how confident these players are with the progressive labelling, uninterested in being pop (poop) icons. The delicate "Eventide" is fueled by an incredible sense of space and time, twinkling piano exhorting the bass/drum combo to propel properly, as Hakon Kavli intones a fine heartfelt lament in partnership with Melina's shimmering and celestial voice, caressed along by some Ian Carr-like trumpet, all wrapped in a synthesized stew of smoke and mirrors that enchant, invigorate and swoon like some lost fjord lullaby. The buzz busy guitar solo is drenched in fizzy electricity, sounding almost like a bagpipe shoved through a Marshall amp.

At 12 minutes, "Our Quiet Footsteps" is anything but imperceptible, a brash reminder of early KC with shrieking sax blaring, turn-on-a-dime drum cannonades and a contrasting electric piano pool, on which Oz' angelic howl enchants once again, giving Hakon another chance at bellowing proudly. I love the fact that it's not a too polished sound, very dynamic and fresh like the Norwegian countryside. When they sing together, guitars and saxophones in tow, the feeling is quite like a window into early 1971, as I find a lot of Jefferson Airplane-like jam details. The presence of psychedelia, strident guitar work and those dual vocals, albeit dressed up in a way more progressive parka as well as the elongated blues-drenched lead guitar outburst only confirm my suspicions.

"Remnants of Pride" is pure melancholia, a stunning ballad that suggest an improbable sadness that affects us all, Hakon and Melina doing a hot duet that exudes another essay into the human condition, blooming into another sax and guitar showcase. The second go around gets even more intense and a highly pleasurable feeling emerges. A progressive ballad.

My favorite track must be "Beneath the Waning Moon", an archetypical bass-fueled launch pad for a mellotron carpeted guitar sortie, aided and abated by a slithering flute play. This is early KC revisited, with a slight Roxy feel (Trivia: Bryan Ferry actually auditioned for Robert Fripp back before Roxy became Roxy, which is proven later by Peter Sinfield being the producer of the debut album). Sensational 4 and a half minute track! The title/band name composition is next up with Melina Oz taking over the mike and the piece is undeniably quirky, marginally dissonant and weird, crowned by a protracted electric guitar solo, followed by flippy synthesizer one. Kate Bush with progressive backing (that mellotron!) is what comes to mind, and very enjoyable it is.

The prog quotient is raised once again with the unpredictable 8 minute flow of "Epilogue: Locus", a rather uncanny sense of doom and mystery is harped on to create quite a long and disquieting mood, a sudden acoustic guitar breaking through the mist, agile and cavernous bass clawing forward, creating a wonderful atmosphere. The honed musicianship really comes to the forefront here, displaying a thoughtful process and great technique. The sharp wind instruments breathe some very intense spirit into the arrangement, flourishing sonic images crowd the brain as one lets the music immerse the listener into lax submission. Another very strong highlight piece for sure.

"Coda: Impetus" puts this work into its final stretch, a rather rambling megalodon that has a raw tinge that is admirable, all kinds of current KC cubic guitar obliques that show a highly Cartesian tendency (math?), until the sax and trumpet kick in, giving off a smoky underground nightclub aroma, a platform for a screeching electric guitar run that shatters cliché penchants in favor of a more primitive expression. This is what makes Gentle Knife so appealing, a slick rawness that seeks and searches beyond the norm, carving, slicing and chopping its way to the great prog kitchen in heaven.

A very authoritative debut album, certainly a harbinger of things to come. A follow up album will determine their legacy within the prog community. Chop chop!

4 placid daggers

Thanks to tszirmay for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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