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Glass Hammer - Culture Of Ascent CD (album) cover

CULTURE OF ASCENT

Glass Hammer

 

Symphonic Prog

3.53 | 129 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Gatot
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is the group that I have not been familiar yet with the music as I only had "Shadowsland" album prior to this one. So when my colleague prog head, Hardiansyah Rizal, offered me the new album "Culture of Ascent" I was not quite interested. It's not that because of like or dislike, it's rather more on the priority in purchasing new CDs and I did not think that this album deserve to be put on my top of wish-list. But when he told me that Jon Anderson guest singing here in two songs, I was then inclined to purchase the CD, especially with quite reasonable price.

I was impressed with the opening track, a cover of Yes' "South Side of The Sky" (Fragile), where Jon Anderson (Yes) did the vocalization work. Please do not imagine that you can find full blast of Jon Anderson's voice like you heard from "Fragile" album. In here, the lead vocal sounds like Susie Bogdanowicz, while Jon does some choirs and background vocals. That's why, I believe that the band has carefully selected the vague wording on Jon's credit: "vocalization" which can mean that Jon was the one who conceptualized the vocal line and NOT necessarily singing the song in its entirety. The result is an excellent new musical arrangement that for me personally is a good alternative in addition to the original arrangement. In here, Glass Hammer puts some more ambient and eastern music style at the opening. Jon Anderson's "voice" contribution is on backing vocals in the vein of his solo album "Olias of Sunhillow". I remember that couple of years ago I purchased "Tales from Yesterday" tribute album where I found some songs of Yes were arranged differently (especially "Don't Kill The Whale" by Magellan). This version of Glass Hammer still takes the original tagline melody with different nuance.

All the remaining own tracks of this album consisting excellent tracks as well, demonstrating great guitar solo, keyboard solo and beautiful violin / cello (string section) work. "Sun Song" gives that good impression especially its solid and natural music flow, great usages of keyboard, violin, guitar and tight bass lines. "Life By Light" (7:29) starts nicely with an acapella using single vocal line with no choirs followed with soft music and Jon Anderson backing vocal. The strength point of this thirds track is on the nice flow from one segment to another in mellow style.

"Ember Without Name" (16:33) is basically an epic with multi-structure, great opening part using soft guitar riffs. The overall music of this track reminds me to Spock's Beard's music. Again, the guitar solo work during opening part is really stunning and inspiring. Drumming is also dynamic in nature, combined with complex keyboard work / effects. The addition of string section makes this song quite comprehensive. Another epic "Into Thin Air" (19:14) is also another excellent musical journey which starts with nice piano solo. There are quite balanced sounds of mellotron, piano, keyboard and string section. "Rest" concludes the album nicely.

Overall, this is an excellent addition to any prog music collection with the musical roots on symphonic progressive rock. The music is not as complex as Yes but the overall composition does not create any sense of getting bored. I recommend this album to those of you who adore symphonic progressive rock music. Keep on proggin'..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Gatot | 4/5 |

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