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Glass Hammer - On To Evermore CD (album) cover

ON TO EVERMORE

Glass Hammer

Symphonic Prog


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Greger
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This is a progressive rock concept album, with a story that runs parallel to GLASS HAMMER's previous fantasy-musical album "Perelandra" released in 1995. After listening to "On To Evermore" more than a dozen of times (and it's still spinning in my CD player), I think it's a shame that I haven't heard " Perelandra". It would take to much time and space to describe the story so let's concentrate on the music. Their melodic progressive rock has got a complex '70s style with folkish touches and many different mood and rhythm changes. Take a bit of EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER, GENTLE GIANT, KANSAS and YES, and you've got GLASS HAMMER. GLASS HAMMER has got two very good guitar players in Walter Moore and David Carter, and the music does contain a lot of very nice twin guitar playing. They also got a fast-fingered keyboard player in Fred Schendel. The best example of these three gentlemen's skills is shown in the final instrumental track " Twilight on Longview". This is a very beautiful song. The best tracks are "The Mayor Of Longview" (a very accessible easy-listening song, but still very good), "The Conflict", "Arianna" (a long epic suite that passes seventeen minutes) and the aforementioned "Twilight On Longview". This is one of the best prog albums in 1998. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED...!

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Send comments to Greger (BETA) | Report this review (#2911)
Posted Tuesday, January 13, 2004 | Review Permalink
Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Prog Specialist
3 stars The first albums I heard from this good USA band where the Tolkien based "Middle Earth Album" not really prog but would have made a great soundtrack for The Lord of the Rings and the excellent "Lex Rex", so I bought the conceptual "On to Evermore" (The Story of Arianna and the Sculptor) with great hope and expectation only having heard the remake of the amazing "This Fading Age" from The Middle Earth Album.

Disappointed is a strong word to describe how I felt, but surely I expected much more from them, the album structure, instrumentation and vocals are more than correct, but there's something missing, and I believe it's strength, the music flows gently from start to end, but there's not a great emotion except in the previously mentioned "This Fading Age".

Every song is well structured and correctly developed what is probably their main problem, everything comes as you expect, there's no surprise, sometimes even a weak song followed by a masterpiece create a reaction in the listener, but in this case there's not a bad song or a masterpiece, only correct and well developed tracks.

It's hard to choose favorite tracks because most of them are in the same level, but this are the some of them:

"On to Evermore", after a soft beginning with bird sounds, gets even softer, to be honest I find nothing memorable in this track and the best I can say about it is that it's well played and has some interesting vocal sections

"The Mayor of Longview" is a strange track rhythmic and syncopated sounds like a march or a soundtrack for a fantasy movie maybe because it has something of The Neverending Story theme, in the end there's a light baroque keyboard section, which is the higher point of the track.

When I heard "The Conflict" had to read the credits five times to make sure Keith Emerson was not a guest for this track, absolutely ELP start that renewed my hope in Glass Hammer but again it dissolves in the same perfectly expectable structure, a good track but again something is missing, don't ask me what because everything seems correct and all the notes fit perfectly.

"Arianna" starts with a powerful synth solo, which reminds me of the 4 men era Genesis, followed by excellent piano and drums, at this point I expected an explosive song, but when the vocals joined, the reality was different, suddenly turned into something similar to a Phil Collins Ballad, this vocal section is far too long and repetitive, becomes absolutely boring, the soft middle section instrumental prepares for a final more aggressive plethoric of good keyboards and excellent vocals with a couple of abrupt changes, a good but uneven track, maybe too long for their own sake, the band could have done it better in 5 or 6 minutes.

"This Fading Age" is my absolute favorite, extremely beautiful track that starts with a fantastic mandolin and vocals, followed by excellent keyboards. A friend who's an excellent musician heard this track and told me that some backing vocals sounded unfinished as if a third vocalist tried to join but forgot the lyrics, it's absolutely true, but that's what I was expecting, at last Glass Hammer dared to do something different in this album, maybe incorrect for purists but absolutely innovative and challenging for the listener. The track ends with an ultra complex vocal and keyboard structure. The best track by far.

"Junkyard Angel" is another track where the band dares to do something different, starts with a soft piano and vocals that made me expect another pretty tune but suddenly burst in an Emerson Ian keyboard explosion followed by an almost heavy metal guitar

All the other tracks are in the same level, good but IMO not outstanding, a correct album, pleasant for the listener, but absolutely not challenging.

The complex vocal structure developed with the participation of all the band members deserves a special mention, especially Fred Schendel, Steve Babb and Walter Moore who take turns in the lead vocals with equal success, outstanding achievement.

Don't start your Glass Hammer collection with this release, begin with Chronometree and Lex Rex, then you should try this album, but don't expect something as amazing as the previous two.

Three stars is the correct rating IMO for a good but not spectacular album.

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Send comments to Ivan_Melgar_M (BETA) | Report this review (#2912)
Posted Friday, June 04, 2004 | Review Permalink
apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Neo Prog Team
3 stars The next step for Glass Hammer was to release a live album, so ''Live and revived'' became reality in 1997, containing material from the band's first pair of albums as well as some previously unreleased cuts.Michelle Young appeared for the last time with the band, having already an album out (''Song of the siren'' from 1996) and moving on to a solo career.The basic core was now reduced to a quartet: Fred Schendel, Steve Babb, David Carter and Walter Moore.With a handful of guests the third studio album ''On to evermore'' was released in 1998, based on a story of a sculptor and the woman he creates.

This was another solid effort by the Americans, showing the group moving into the right direction but suffering from the same weaknesses as all of Glass Hammer's early efforts.The YES comparisons become apparent for the first time: The band tried to develop interesting arrangements with dramatic sections, symphonic underlines, poppy sensibilities and complex themes into mid-length, elaborate tracks.The keyboard work is mostly performed on modern keyboards, which is basically the main problem of the album, as some parts sound very thin and amateur.However the bulk of Babb's and Schendel's work is quite interesting with Classical touches, atmospheric passages and bombastic, flashy solos.Moreover the album contains a decent dose of organ runs and a few Mellotron sampling to display the vintage inspiration of the band.''On to evermore'' marks also the first attempt by Glass Hammer to produce a long epic, the 17-min. ''Arianna'', containg evident KANSAS influences, built around romantic piano lines, sensitive vocals, angular synthesizers and discreet organ with lots of YES blinks during the instrumental exercises and some nice melodies.Even if the band struggled to find a balance between Classic Symphonic Rock and symphonic-oriented Neo Prog, the material in here is well-performed, directed by the passion of Glass Hammer for pompous, multi-part arrangements.

KANSAS and YES fan is pretty likely to love this work, which I would basically list as symphonic-inclined Neo Prog in the vein of SPOCK'S BEARD.Warmly recommended.

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Send comments to apps79 (BETA) | Report this review (#146892)
Posted Thursday, October 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars So far, this band could hardly move me. Their first two albums were very average and I was only suspicious about this one.

Even if I hate this word, their retro-prog held here is not of the best effect. The title track is a soft and dull song. An attempt to mime "Yes". Needless to say that it doesn't even close. But the band sounded already like this on their previous effort "Perelandra".

The worse is reached with "The Mayor Of Longview". Comparable to the worst Camel songs of the late seventies. Pop, without any soul, repetitive. Really painful.

Same Wakeman-esque keyboard intro for "The Conflict", which is not improving the originality of this album. A poor cloning, indeed.

IMO, the epic song is the best material available on this album. Don't think that they are setting their cloning apart: you'll get some acoustic guitar like.., some fine keyboard la ., strong bass as.etc. Surprise: the closing section holds vocals la . Walsh (from Kansas). So, even if the highest originality is not on the rendezvous, this fine piece of music could please some old nostalgic freak ( once their irritation swallowed).

The band will go on with a more "Kansas" oriented song. Almost hard-rocking, providing a solid guitar solo, this song also features "Walshian" vocals.

As you can imagine, this album is not reaching a peak in creativity. Dj vu and even if "Junkyard Angel" is also one of the best here.

Two stars for this cloning affair.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#169829)
Posted Sunday, May 04, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Number Eight in the list of Glass Hammer Studio works, and this CD is not as good as most of the rest! It has some nice parts, but there is something missing, a flow? A Musical direction? Perhaps, but it just hasn't got the keyboards you would expect, where is the thrumming Hammond? The CD is saved by Tracks 7, This Fading Age (5:13) and the REAL saviour Track 9. Twilight On Longview (5:47) which is a sort of Camel Lunar Sea instrumental and probably made me glad I purchased this CD, it is a disappointment after the good stuff by GH so far, thus this is only a Three stars by the skin of it's teeth,because I know a lot of people will probably like some of the other tracks as well.

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Send comments to M27Barney (BETA) | Report this review (#176607)
Posted Saturday, July 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Glass Hammer officially began in 1992 when longtime friends Steve Babb and Fred Schendel began writing and recording the Tolkienesque concept album Journey of the Dunadan. They released the album independently in 1993 and were amazed when several thousand copies were purchased through the internet, The QVC Shop At Home Network, several international distributors, and their own toll-free order number. The stage was set for a successful career that now includes numerous albums and an enthusiastic, world-wide fan base that continues to grow at a steady rate. [Glass Hammer's official site]

This third album "On To Evermore was originally released on February 18, 1998 under Arion Records/Sound Resources label. It's a continuation, story-line wise, from their previous release Perelandra which revolved around a fantasy world they named it as "Evermore". The masterminds of the album are still the duo Steve Babb and Fred Schendel. The liner notes give a little more aid in following the plot.

The band expected that the centerpiece of this album is the almost seventeen minute epic "Arianna" (track 5). The music is basically a keyboard-drenched composition with some good guitar crunch all over the passages. It moves too slow from the opening "On To Evermore" (7:00) where there is hard to find catchy tagline melody. The melody and harmony do not really move naturally even though there are some catchy notes but do not move smoothly from one segment to another. When it moves to the next tracks "The Mayor Of Longview" (5:26) and "The Conflict" (5:45) I find not only catchy melody this album suffers but it lacks soul and energy. Everything sounds to flow in floating style with no firm base where the notes are leading to. Even, I am not quite impressed with "Arianna" (16:41) which not only suffers in melody but it has structure issue as each segment do not contribute a cohesive whole to the epic.

Having known the music of Glass Hammer, I can only say that this is a neo progressive music which should be compared to Marillion, IQ, Pallas, Pendragon. Talking about Marillion, if you compare "On To Evermore" with Marillion's debut album "Script for a Jester's Tear", this one lacks on catchy melody, soul & energy, and of course the structural integrity of the songs it contains. Despite all of this, I love the keyboard solo di "Arianna" and stunning guitar solo in "Only Red". Unfortunately they do not help much when I look at the overall album. "This Fading Age" is really a poorly composed music (so sorry for being honest .) as it lacks catchy melody and does not flow naturally, too boring for me. Only for collectors of neo prog this album is suitable. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW (i-Rock! Music Community)

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#177854)
Posted Tuesday, July 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Errors and Omissions Team
4 stars To be frank, I quite expected something awful, by all these negative reviews (hate to say, but of all these, I the worst to understand from them is Gatot's, it sounds to me positive, but it's negative rating, however, it's his opinion. And of most of other people reviewing this album too). But I'm pleased. A lot. I'm enjoying it, I'm happy about it. Nothing cheesy (or I have high tolerance threshold, that's of course possible, however, if I was you, I wouldn't count on it though). I don't really get it, this music has everything I expect from prog, that can't be negative. Few negatives, OK, I admit (spoken passages, some of Adrianna parts are useless and boring, but after all, it's subjective point of view).

So whose review is right, "the good ones", or "bad ones" ? I'll tell you whose, everyone's, as reviewing is subjective thing and you can say just few objective things. For example that this is pleasant album (it is) and has good deal of prog elements to keep me happy about it.

4(+), therefore.

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Send comments to Marty McFly (BETA) | Report this review (#260265)
Posted Sunday, January 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars This story-telling album scores very differently, from a prog fan to another, because it is indeed a little bit special. The sound that emanes from this one is very keyboard-oriented, with good guitars most of the way, but the 'color' of the sound is kind of surrounding and light. You could hardly compare "On to Evermore" to the other GH albums and see it within a straight line. The textures are different. So, it is original, at least from that point of view.

There are some good, even magnificient tracks, and some very average ones. If you focus more on the last ones, you could end giving a score of 2/5, and of course the other way is also possible. So, the best ones ? (I am not used to describe every track but I can go for exceptions, i.e. those that deserve it). First, the epic, Arianna. Very melodic, with a non-standard rythm in the first part, after a bombastic keyboard intro. Then, the smooth and atmospheric keyboards take over, followed by an explosive intensity comprising a super rythmic part. At the end, you hear back the debut part, which sounds a little different and slower, ending in a typical fashion, with a climax. I consider this one to be among the very best of what GH has produced, and it is a reference for this band.

The other very good ones are "On to Evermore", "Only Red", "Twilight On Longview" (super instrumental, new-age-type, relaxing, well-done) and... "Junkyard Angel", which is one of my GH favorites : another very different track, with very odd tempos but easy to listen, an increase of power, a smoother part, and an impro-ending constructed around a unique 'chord'. A very very good small epic.

Because of the good tracks, I do not feel able to inscribe a 3/5 (and also I like those guys' music too much)... The 'not-so-numerous' good ones are too good. Rounded to 4, then. Yes, a good addition (see definition).

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Send comments to Progdaybay (BETA) | Report this review (#432168)
Posted Tuesday, April 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
3 stars This is a difficult album to place. Glass Hammers influences are varied, almost too varied, as each song seems to have a different style. The one constant and saving grace are the excellent keboard parts and fills.

The album opens with On To Evermore, an exciting piece, that reminds me quite a bit of Echolyn. The Mayor Of Longview follows. This song sounds like the power pop era of Utopia (but with better keyboard solos than Roger Powell was playing at the time).

Next comes The Conflict, which begins with a Deep Purple-like keyboard into, but disappoints when it becomes a Styx-like arena piece. Arianna sounds like it's trying to be a Genesis song, down to the buzzy vocals. It's only saving grace is a spectacular keyboard & rhythm break in the middle.

Only Red is a fairly straight rock song, with a coll and heavy bass line. And This Fading Age, with mandolins is a nice prog folk song. Junkyard Angel again sounds like Echolyn, this time one of their more sedate songs, especially in the vocals.

Twilight On Longview is a simple, but king of nice keyboard & piano feature piece. And Wind breaks in at the end, with sound effects and a few chords.

The performances are fine on this album, but the wide variance in styles make this a hit or miss affair.

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#705443)
Posted Monday, April 02, 2012 | Review Permalink

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