Glass Hammer - Culture Of Ascent CD (album) cover


Glass Hammer


Symphonic Prog

3.54 | 139 ratings

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2 stars Culture of Ascent has all the hallmarks of a great Symphonic Prog album, the sweeping majestic keyboards, excellent musicianship to handle the complex arrangements, long tracks with one just seconds short of 20 minutes and an album cover that just screams out Progressive Rock. I was hoping for great things with this album but while it's far from bad it just leaves me a little underwhelmed.

Jon Anderson from Yes guests on a couple of tracks, Life By Light and a cover of the Yes classic South Side of the Sky. He doesn't add particularly to the music and you can't help thinking he's there more to help boost sales rather than for any creative reason. Hardly surprising then that there's many Yes influences in Glass Hammer's music. Their cover of South Side of the Sky is passable but lacks the greatness and energy of the Yes original. A nice idea to use Susie Bogdanowicz on lead vocals though, who I wish was used a little more than she is throughout the album, most of the vocals going to Carl Groves of Salem Hill fame.

Of their own material I enjoyed the 16 minute Ember Without Name the best which held my interest more than most the album. As already mentioned the musicianship is top notch complimented by a good production but much of the material lacks strong melodies and that killer punch to keep me hooked. Longest track Into Thin Air has some good mainly instrumental moments but they're in short supply for a track of this length. In particular the last 5 minutes are very good and there's an instrumental section with powerfully majestic sweeping keyboards and an excellent guitar solo that frustratingly makes me long for more moments like this.

Don't write off Glass Hammer though but if you want to check them out I'd recommend listening to their Shadowlands album which is far superior in my opinion and though I wasn't blown away by Culture of Ascent I'll certainly want to hear their next release in the future. For now though I'll give this one 2 stars.

Nightfly | 2/5 |


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