Fireworks

Gentle Knife - 'Gentle Knife' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/10/66/07/Gentle-Knife-Gentle-Knife-91-1452796921.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     January 14, 2016    
 
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An interesting debut.

It takes a special kind of listener to truly embrace Progressive Rock (in all its innumerable guises). One needs an open mind, adaptability, passion and perseverance; and it's becoming clear that maybe I'm lacking in one or two of those departments compared with seasoned Prog aficionados. That's not to say I struggled with this self-titled debut album from Norway's Gentle Knife nor does it mean I haven't given it a fair chance; it just took a little longer to appreciate.

The band (or should I say '"orchestra"?) consists of ten (!) members the nucleus of which are Melina Oz (vocals), Hakan Kavli (vocals, acoustic guitar), Ove Christian Owe (guitars), Eivind Lorentzen (guitars, synths), Odd Gronvold (bass) and Ole Martin Svendsen (drums, percussion). But it's the peripheral players who tend to set this band apart from its contemporaries; Pal Bjorseth (keys, vocals, trumpet), Thomas Hylland Eriksen (sax, woodwind), Astraea Antal (flute, winds, visuals) and finally Brian M. Talgo (samples, words, visions) are cleverly integrated within this pastoral soundscape.

I could offer a hundred comparable bands to GK, but if you think Transatlantic, Mostly Autumn and Flower Kings of the modern era, and King Crimson, early Genesis and Pink Floyd from those halcyon days of the late 1960s and early 1970s, then you're in the right ball park.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Conceptual in nature, and containing eight songs/suites, the album depicts a rather enchanting story about an adventurer's innocent sojourn into a "seemingly" innocuous forest (I promise, I won't spoil the ending for you!). The songs themselves are all slow/mid-tempo, conventional Prog fayre but the subservient woodwind and brass embellishments are never far away to add texture, depth and much welcomed variation.

The opening twosome, 'Eventide' and 'Our Quiet Footsteps' are both over ten minutes in length; the former replicating the Neil Morse/Spock's Beard/Transatlantic sound, whilst the latter gradually unleashes everything they have at their disposal. Throughout the opus the duel vocals of Oz and Kavli dovetail rather well, however, it's Oz with her Christina Booth (Magenta)/Kate Bush traits that steals the show.

'Remnants Of Pride', 'The Gentle Knife' and the very PF ('Us & Them') 'Beneath The Waning Moon' are more standard Prog, which seductively manipulate their way into the psyche. 'Beneath ...' is an instrumental, but a major highlight nonetheless. As the narrative unfolds, so does the music, and at times the spasmodic infusion of Jazz creates a sense of foreboding – 'Tear Away The Cords That Bind' does exactly that, as Oz replicates Bush at her most flamboyant!!

Does Gentle Knife cut it? Overall I'd have to say yes – however, the tempo throughout is rather pedestrian. Progheads fill your boots, the remainder... prepare to be tested!! An interesting debut.

Dave Crompton

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