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Glass Hammer - Culture Of Ascent CD (album) cover

CULTURE OF ASCENT

Glass Hammer

 

Symphonic Prog

3.54 | 128 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

johnobvious
4 stars Fans of Shadowlands need this album. If you were put off by Inc. Secret (I wasn't-thought it was a grower and very good with some weak spots on disc 2, 3.5 stars), GH are back and IMO opinion as good as ever. The big change is Walter Moore is no longer singing but instead Carl Groves of Salem Hill handles the male leads and his voice fits the music very well and I think I like him better than Moore in context of the GH sound. He isn't credited with playing any instruments, but you do get an SH feel from time to time.

The cover of the Yes classic South Side of the Sky starts off mellow with female vocals and then kicks in with that GH sound. A very well done cover that reworks the song while maintaining the framework of a great song. If you liked what GH did with Longer, you will be pleased here. GH ramps up the use of the guitar from previous albums and this really helps set off the constant keyboards. We aren't talking Rush levels of guitar but there are more solos than usual. When GH does feature guitar, it is always well done and I am glad they are moving toward more if it.

There really aren't any soft passages like we saw on side 2 of IS. They get their trademark bombastic parts out while keeping an ebb and flow. Judicious use of strings augment the many varied sounds they get out of their array of keyboards. And having the full time drummer now is also a plus from when Fred Schendel handled those duties. The highlight is probably Into Thin Air, clocking in at 19 minutes, but I find absolutely no filler or weak tracks. Jon Anderson sings on only a small portion of the album but when he does, it fits wonderfully.

I am strongly leaning to calling this GH's crowning achievement. It is a groove laden work with excellent production and shows them at the top of their game. If you are a fan of any of their past work, this is a no-brainer. Tough choice between 4 and 5 stars. We'll call it 4.5 but round down to 4.

johnobvious | 4/5 |

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