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Glass Hammer

Symphonic Prog

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Glass Hammer One album cover
2.86 | 57 ratings | 3 reviews | 5% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2010

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Ex Oblivione (6:32)
2. Hypnos (3:49)
3. The Nameless City (2:52)
4. The Fortress Unvanquished (4:49)
5. The Glittering Gate (4:28)
6. The Shunned Hills (3:03)
7. A Glimpse From the Watch Tower (3:56)
8. Chased By Things (2:11)
9. The Whisperer in the Dark (4:56)
10. The Book of Wonder (3:51)
11. A Lurking Fear (4:43)
12. Dreams in the Witch-House (3:35)
13. Beyond the Fields We Know (2:34)
14. Beyond the Wall of Sleep (2:46)
15. A Night At The Inn (2:36)
16. To Journey Onward (3:49)

Total Time: 60:30

Line-up / Musicians

- Fred Schendel / Memory Moog, Roland D50, Ensoniq Mirage sampler. Dr. Rhythm drum machine
- Steve Babb / Memory Moog, Roland D50, Ensoniq Mirage sampler. Dr. Rhythm drum machine

Releases information

Sub-titled "Babb & Schendel's First Recordings 1991-1992"

CD Arion Records ‎- sr2723 (2010, US)

Note: "One" represents the first recorded collaboration by GH co-founders Steve Babb and Fred Schendel. These instrumental synth-scapes were originally released on cassette in 1991 and 1992, and have been kept in the vault since the release of "Journey of the Dunadan" in 1993. "One's'" Ambient / Electronic-Prog tracks are now available exclusively on the Glass Hammer website, professionally packaged and duplicated at the GH studio using master-quality Taiyo Yuden CDRs.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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GLASS HAMMER One ratings distribution

(57 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(5%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(7%)
Good, but non-essential (32%)
Collectors/fans only (37%)
Poor. Only for completionists (19%)

GLASS HAMMER One reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars This album, although released officially in 2010, was recorded by Fred Schendel and Steve Babb in 1991.and 1992, before the first official Glass Hammer release, "Jouney Of The Dunaden". Unlike all of the following Glass Hammer albums, these songs were performed by only the core duo of the band (and released on cassette at the time).

The pieces are all relatively short (only a handful venture past the four minute mark), and as such do not contain much of the thematic exploration that the duo would perform on albums with a full band. What each song seems to do is set the tone very quickly, play some melodic lines on a synth or guitar, perhaps a short solo, and end. But with this succinctness, only a few tracks sound unfinished or abrupt.

So while this bit of electronica may not be everyone's cup of tea, I find it more enjoyable than many of the minimalistic synth bands (like Kraftwerk), or even most of Tangerine Dream's post-seventies output.

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Although not technically their debut album, the recent release of `One' features early recordings of core Glass Hammer members Steve Babb and Fred Schendel from before their first album `Journey Of The Dunadan'. For a band that's known for being greatly influenced by the symphonic progressive acts of the 70's, this album is strangely electronic based, more in the mold of Tangerine Dream era 1977-1984, yet it still has plenty to associate it with the lush and grand medieval and fanciful prog they would later become known for. It makes sense to review this album first, to see where they were headed at the very beginning.

Opener `Ex Oblivione' is full of booming church organ, neo prog synth solos, and all the classical overtones and the medieval romantic themes that Glass Hammer are known for. `Hypnos' is a drifting electronic soundscape with gentle percussion, like the more accessible `Force Majeure'-era and beyond Tangerine Dream material. ` The Fortress Unvanquished' has playful Yes/Wakeman- like whimsical synth runs, while `The Glittering Gate' sounds like a T.Dream `Thief' soundtrack outtake. `A Glimpse From The Watchtower' has a sad and downbeat keyboard melody that is surprisingly moving, and `Chased By Things' is a nasty spasmodic sinister attack but borders on outright plagiarism of Steve Hackett's `A Tower Struck Down'! `The Whisperer In The Dark' has a creeping electronic malevolence, rescued by the majestic prettiness of `The Book Of Wonder'. Not surprisingly, `A Lurking Fear' is full of eerie tension, which leads into the murky `Dreams In The Witch House', full of unnerving throaty chanting and droning ambience. New-age piece `Beyond The Fields We Know' has glistening synths dancing amongst an aquatic backdrop, which carries on into urgent electric guitar driven `Beyond The Wall Of Sleep'. `A Night At The Inn' is a brief regal sounding madrigal piece before the albums ends on the mysterious but hopeful `To Journey Onward'.

Although highly embryonic, this compilation stands as a successful work on it's own, even if some of it sounds unlike anything else the band would release. Like those early Ozric Tentacles cassette releases, everything is in the right place, and there's enough moments that show the potential and skill that the band would later use on their more established albums. It certainly doesn't sound like a bunch of fragmented scraps or demos, rather the whole album has a darkly classical and dramatic flow that is highly effective. Considering Glass Hammer have had a history of many different vocalists, it's also interesting to hear them work in a totally instrumental format. Some listeners who enjoy progressive albums free of vocals may actually prefer this album!

Listening to `One', it's fascinating to see what sort of progressive band Glass Hammer could have become. Who knows, perhaps Steve and Fred may one day revisit some of the electronic elements from this album and reincorporate them into the current version of the band?

Latest members reviews

5 stars Babb & Schendel's finally made it!... or not??? Glass Hammer consistent lack of passion finally comes to an end. That could be a great news, but the problem is, even if "One" was published in 2010, in fact they are the very first compositions of the band, this time as a duo by its core musicians. ... (read more)

Report this review (#973721) | Posted by ramien | Saturday, June 8, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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