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Glass Hammer - Three Cheers for the Broken-Hearted CD (album) cover

THREE CHEERS FOR THE BROKEN-HEARTED

Glass Hammer

 

Symphonic Prog

3.03 | 80 ratings

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AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars Glass Hammer has been a band I have pursued over the years due to their clean pristine upbeat sound, Christian lyrics and especially the wonderful vocals of Jon Davison. Indeed, they normally sound close to the Yes sound and it is little wonder that Davison eventually took the helm for Yes with the departure of Jon Anderson, followed by David Benoit. Having seen the new Yes lineup in a recent 2012 concert in Saint Kilda, Australia, I have experienced the vocals of Davison first hand and he is always astounding with a high register unlike Anderson. Thus I was drawn to listen to more Glass Hammer. In this early lineup of the group the lead singer was Susie Bogdanowicz, who would be replaced by the far superior Anderson on "If" in 2010. The other members of the group on "Three Cheers for the Broken Hearted" is Fred Schendel on keyboards, mellotron, cello, horns, guitars, drums, Steve Babb on bass, keys, guitars, Josh Bates on guitars, and David Wallimann plays a cameo guitar on 'Sleep On'.

The sound on this is far removed from the Yes influences of the band's earlier material. Susie has a golden tone that is pleasant to listen to but it is very unlike the earlier Glass Hammer. The guitars are heavy and moody on 'Come On, Come On'. The rhythmic distorted guitars dominate also on 'The Lure of Dreams', with Susie sounding passionate throughout. The bassline is effective and there is a heavy atmosphere prevalent. The lead break has a wah wah effect and the nuances of organ and strings enhance the symphonic aspects.

'A Rose for Emily' is a sweet melodic song that is a commercial sound, but I like Susie's vocals so this does not disappoint me. The band have definitely diverted though from their prog Yes sound, and of course this diversion did nothing but harm the band's elite fanbase.

The heavy prog returns for 'Sleep On' with a great riff and some spacey effects. I like the riffing on this and the psychedelic overtones, kind of like prog metal with psychedelic layered effects. There is some nice piano on this too, cool synths and it is one of my favourites on this album. 'The Mid-Life Weird' follows, with a radio sound and awful male vocals that really grate on my nerves. Surely the worst thing they have done.

It is followed by 'A Bitter Wind', a beautiful ballad from Susie with a strong rhythm and flute nuances. The symphonic elements are very pleasant on this lovely song. 'The Curse They Weave' has a strong synthesizer rhythm and great melodic vocals from Susie. The male vocals return on 'Sun Down Shores', a slow song with lots of keyboards and a steady meter.

'Shrodinger's Lament' is an odd prog song with King Crimson riff time sigs and some weird narrations about cockroaches and other craziness. It really is a fish out of water but so good to hear among all the other commercial tracks. It is followed by another riffy song 'Hyperbole', with Susie sounding great and some very heavy guitar distortion. It is a longer song at 7: 39, and features an excellent bassline and some odd instrumentals such as guitar and organ. The narration of a miracle doctor scam artist reminds one of the circus travelling false doctors that used to rip people off with false cures and miracle medicines. The song is lot of fun with this section and overall has a terrific heavy rhythm. The album is getting better as it goes at this stage, but only one track remains. The last track is 'Falling', that is heavily reliant on piano and male vocals. It does nothing for me at all.

In conclusion this is not the starting point for Glass Hammer but it is still a solid album with some great tracks. The diversion in sound on this album was short lived and they returned to the less heavy more complex symphonic sound, much to the relief of their adoring fanbase.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 3/5 |

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