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Glass Hammer - Journey Of The Dunadan CD (album) cover

JOURNEY OF THE DUNADAN

Glass Hammer

 

Symphonic Prog

1.99 | 59 ratings

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Andy Webb
Forum & Site Admin Group
Site and Forum Admin
2 stars Eh....

Glass Hammer, a great modern prog band influenced by classic prog and filled with great musicians, didn't exactly step out on the right foot. Journey of the Dunaden, an album loosely (very loosely) based on Lord of the Rings, heavily relies on cheesy synthesizer sounds and drum machines, which in general isn't good. The melodies themselves sound computed and then computed again, making the music lose any real organic quality and giving it over to a synthesized aura of unoriginal cheese and filler.

Because there are 16 tracks (not including the "single edit") and reviewing all 16 would be a rather lengthy review, I will break it up into 5 sections.

Section 1 (1-4): The stronger part of the album. Shadows of the Past and Something's Coming are a nice into duo, that somewhat set's up the plot. The title track is really one of the best on the album, with some nice, albeit computerized, instrumental sections. Fog on the Barrow Downs is just a creepy sound bit track that really is hard to understand and doesn't have much effect on the "plot" of the album. Section 1 overall: a half-strong intro with weak sections and strong sections.

Section 2 (5-7): The Prancing Pony is another nearly useless sound bit track that just takes up time on the album. The voices are difficult to understand again and I can't see what it really has to do with the album's plot. The Way to Her Heart is a nice ballad, however, and finally starts the music again. However, another pseudo sound bit track is featured as The Ballad of Balin Long Beard. Section 2 overall: weak, with mostly sound bit tracks and very little musical value.

Section 3 (8-10): Rivendell is a narrator's track with some nice background music. At least on this track you can actually hear what is being said. Khazad-Dum is a nice piano track, although the piano sounds incredibly cheesy. It is a great little "classical" piece, although I don't really see what it has to do with Khazad-Dum. Nimrodel is similar to Rivendell as it is a narrator's track with mostly new-age background music. Section 3 overall: the section is a little stronger that section 2, but the music is so much more like new-age than the others that it can easily be overlooked.

Section 4 (11-13): The Palantir is one of the better tracks. It actually has some musical value! It is more ballad-like, with slower tempos, cheesier drum lines, and more solemn vocal melodies. Pelennor Fields is a continuation of the cheesy music, but it is a faster tempo and can be tolerated. It is a nice song, despite the horrible drum machine solo. Why I Cry is Glass Hammer's "single." Even more ballad like that any of the others, it is, oh so surprisingly, about love! It's cheesy, border on humorous, and can easily be overlooked. Section 4 overall: A cheesy section with lots of fake ballads. Some of the music is creative, but the instruments are so fake you can't even enjoy them.

Section 5 (14-16): The "climax" of the story! Anduril is a more upbeat song, that nonchalantly proclaims the end of Sauron with nearly no emotion. Morannon Gate has a little bit of a dynamic change, but it sound so much like an 80s electro-pop song it's extremely forgettable. The Return of the King haphazardly finishes the album off by uniting all the "plot" nodes and reusing some of the previous cheesy riffs. Section 5: one of the stronger sections, but that isn't saying much. Still cheesy, still fake.

ALBUM OVERALL: Weak. Very weak. More new-age that prog, more filler than music, and just not impressive at all. I don't know if they just couldn't afford a drum kit, but the drum machine really angered me throughout the album. Even the bass was put through a synthesizer. Pathetic. They definitely improved with later releases.

Andy Webb | 2/5 |

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