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Glass Hammer - The Inconsolable Secret CD (album) cover


Glass Hammer


Symphonic Prog

3.41 | 206 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars "They bit off more than they could chew."

And to some extent, they did. To some extent. Coming off the highly regarded Shadowlands, Glass Hammer went for it all, looking to create their magnum opus. Getting Roger Dean to do the cover. Doing the whole double album thing. They shot for the moon, but ran out of gas about 3/4 of the way there.

People often deride this album. I don't and I won't. I wholly appreciate what they tried to do, even if it is not my favorite from them. They took a chance and since it wasn't a major success, people gave them grief for it. I think it is great that they rolled the dice and I find a lot of good things to say about TIS. Based around an epic poem that Steve Babb wrote (and is available as a .pdf on the first cd), GH goes about putting that poem to music. The first disc is great if you give it several listens. It is not accessible but grows. This is really the last cd from them that shuns the guitar almost all the time. They brought in a guitarist for Culture of Ascent and it has been featured much more prominently since then. This is mostly keyboards with big time bass provided by Babb. They brought in an outside drummer for this one too after Fred Schendel played it for their albums up until this point. So big keys, big throbbing bass and a real nice drummer makes for some great prog. Sound like anyone you know? (cough, cough, ELP). Walter Moore is a good prog singer(his last album with the band) and the female vocals are used as a counterpoint really nicely. I can't speak of Babb's bass enough. It really provides a nice groove. And there is no shortage of wonderful keyboard runs. There is loads of melody if you give it a chance.

So what's the problem? It should have been one CD with 5 songs on it. The two on CD one, the first two and the last one on CD 2. That is about 70 minutes of music and the pruning may indeed have made this their magnum opus. The eight songs in the middle of cd 2, (with the exception of Mog Ruith, a 2-minute instrumental) are pretty dull. A lot of it is more toward classical music and some might find some beautiful stuff in there. But it kind of drags down the rest of the prog feel that they hit you heavy with on the first 4 songs. There aren't a lot of vocals, so they are trying to propel the story through the music. A tall order. I can't say the story is one I am really interested in but it has a medeivel feel to it, as you can tell by the song titles.

I have waffled between 3 and 4 stars but will go with 4 because the good stuff on here is really good and I have the utmost respect for these guys and what they tried to do. Appreciate this album for what it is and forgive them for a couple of tactical errors they made in their effort to make something truly special. There is special stuff here if you give it a fair chance.

johnobvious | 4/5 |


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