This was a big unexpected surprise for me when I first heard the music of a 10-piece group. Yes, I said 10-piece line-up of a group from Norway called, Gentle Knife. And this year, they have released their sole self-titled debut concept album and it’s a real outstanding winner. There are two singers both male and female and eight musicians to go along with it.
It’s really an ambitious and challenge to have a decet line-up here, but from the moment I listen to their debut, I knew I saw hope for them and it is perhaps a wonderful combination. The story of the album is about an adventurer going into the forests without any chance of coming back and the eight compositions tell the story of what happened to the character and how the adventurer went into a demise by going in without no turning back.
The music itself is a darker cavernous place filled with Prog and Jazz into a gigantic blender. I can hear the essence of King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Van Der Graaf Generator, and White Willow thrown into the mix. And Gentle Knife have done their jobs right to carry the three bands and letting them know that they have their backs and carrying the flaming torch to see where the roads will go into.
Our Quiet Footsteps has that Crimson vibe and the haunting sax rhythm in the styles of David Jackson followed by a crunching guitar solo, militant snare drum and moog finale while the haunting ballad of Beneath the Waning Moon, captures a mystical atmosphere between the Mellotron, lukewarm flute solo, jazzier tone, and Floyd-sque guitar improvisations that makes the track influential.
Melina Oz’s voice resembles the sounds of Allison Williams (Mellow Candle), Annie Haslam, Sylvia Erichsen (White Willow), and Kate Bush. I just love how Melina voice carries on like a shining diamond and the male counterparts from the group help her out and decide to see where she wants to take them into next. Epilogue: Locus Amoenus, has a spooky ambient introduction through the keyboards in the styles between the Wish You Were Here-era of Pink Floyd, Tangerine Dream, and Goblin. It gives it a chilling yet haunting call of no return.
I just love what they had done on this track. It is almost as if they had done this back in 1980 and recorded this for either between a John Carpenter or Dario Argento movie and the music sets the tone to see where the characters go into and Gentle Knife nail it at the exact moment. And the track, Coda: Impetus reminded me of the Permanent Waves-era from Rush with the complex changes between keyboards, bass, drums, and guitars to give it an alarming siren that you would never expect whilst ending in a Jazz finale.
Perhaps one of my favorite track is the 10-minute opener Eventide. I love the fanfare introduction done in the style of Premiata Forneria Marconi’s Storia Di Un Minuto-era before going into a mid-tempo piano concerto and calming folk-like surroundings that gives it the ominous feel of being alone but finding hope to survive. With a horn section and virtuoso guitar and calming rhythms, they know what they are doing.
This is my third time listening to Gentle Knife’s music and the 10-piece have accomplished a brilliance and different passages in the compositions that are quite unexpected. So if you love White Willow, Rush, Pink Floyd, Van Der Graaf Generator, and King Crimson and if they want to share with you a hot and spicy burrito, then sink into the rivers of the sounds of Gentle Knife.