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Glass Hammer

Symphonic Prog

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Glass Hammer Double Live album cover
3.92 | 17 ratings | 1 reviews | 18% 5 stars

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Live, released in 2015

Songs / Tracks Listing

Disc one:
1. Nothing, Everything (9:34)
2. So Close, So Far (9:54)
3. Mythopoeia (9:17)
4. Third Floor (10:46)

Disc two:
1. The Knight of the North (26:12)
2. If The Stars (11:25)
3. Time Marches On (11:55)

Total time: 89:08

Deluxe Edition includes DVD of entire live concert.

Line-up / Musicians

- Kamran Alan Shikoh / guitars
- Fred Schendel / keyboards, vocals
- Steve Babb / bass, vocals
- Aaron Raulston / drums
- Susie Bogdanowicz / vocals
- Carl Groves / vocals

Releases information

Recorded and filmed live May 3 2015 at RoSfest, The Majestic Theater, Gettysburg, Pennysylvania

2CD Arion Records / Sound Resources (2015)
2CD+DVD Arion Records / Sound Resources (2015, Deluxe Edition)
2CD+DVD Marquee MAR-152475 (2015, Japan, Deluxe Edition)

Thanks to Aussie-Byrd-Brother for the addition
and to NotAProghead for the last updates
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GLASS HAMMER Double Live ratings distribution

(17 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(18%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(65%)
Good, but non-essential (6%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (6%)

GLASS HAMMER Double Live reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars American Symphonic Progressive band Glass Hammer may be sixteen studio albums into their near-quarter century career, but they've only delivered two previous live albums (yet three live DVD's) in that time, and not one for eleven years. 2015's `Double Live' is here to change all that, a thrilling live document that highlights not only the best tracks from Glass Hammer's superb recent album from earlier this year `The Breaking of the World', but several fan-favourite pieces from their long career. The current line-up of core members Steve Babb (bass) and Fred Schendel (keyboards), joined by long-time contributors Kamran Alan Shikoh (guitars), Carl Groves and Susie Bogdanowicz (vocals) and recent drummer Aaron Raulston has been in place for a few years now, and their honed live skills are beautifully captured on this warm two CD set and accompanying DVD.

Three of the four tracks on the first disc are from the current studio album, beginning with a more relaxed and buoyant `Nothing, Everything', where Carl and Susie's voices lift gently together during the repeated chorus, and Fred delivers a nimble-fingered flighty electric piano run in the middle. The opening section of `Farewell to Shadowland's `So Close, So Far' is more fun and relaxed, with Kamran adding a dash of jazz/fusion simmer and ethereal shimmers throughout to the guitar solos, and the racing final vocal section has never sounded so flowing and breathless. Then it's back to the lead track from the current disc, `Mythopoeia' where Fred's Mellotron wisps stand out nicely, Carl's voice croons sweetly and Steve's bass weaves and rumbles aggressively thick and upfront (as it should on all prog albums!), and the amusing story of elevator wrong gone wrong (yes, really, look into it!) `Third Floor' sounds better than ever with a stronger and clearer lead vocal from Fred in comparison to the studio version, and `new guy' drummer Aaron Raulston reveals what an absolute talent he is, effortlessly attacking all the little fragmented sections with fluid ease. It's no surprise that this version of the band that wrote these newer pieces and performed them on that album deliver them with all the excitement that comes from playing the most fresh compositions, along with the confidence of knowing how strong they are.

Considering a previous live version of `The Knight of the North' that appeared on the `Live at Belmont' DVD featured a 150 piece orchestra, this current five member Glass Hammer line-up pull it off perfectly well all on their own to open the second disc. One of the defining Glass Hammer works, a lot of the lavish Emerson, Lake and Palmer-flavoured instrumental passages have a more frantic, deranged quality here, Aaron's drums are furious and dominating, and the loopy psychedelic break and sly seemingly fourth-wall breaking passage in the middle are more amusing than ever before! Considering ex-lead singer Jon Davison is now occupied fronting a fairly obscure prog band that will likely never catch on (wink, wink!), it's inspiring to hear Susie and Carl completely re-invent `If The Stars'. Already a highlight off the studio album `If', the band have added a more mysterious slide?guitar intro, and regal church organ booms with dignity and sophistication throughout. One of the first real Glass Hammer standout moments then closes the concert, and it's amazing to see what a template `Time Marches On' from 1995's `Perelandra' is for the band these days, and especially a showcase for Fred's dizzying variety of keyboard colour. Fans of the group may perhaps be overly familiar with some of these pieces by this stage, but the band truly rework them with a string of solos that sound very different to the studio versions, so what's old is new all over again.

But even better might be the DVD of the performance that is included on the deluxe editions, and seeing the group in action takes this set even higher. To witness the band tear through a lengthy set with power and finesse, interact with each-other with smiles all around that comes from knowing they're in an amazing band that has yet to put a foot wrong is hugely satisfying from a fan's perspective. Instantly evident on both the audio CD's and the DVD is how perfectly balanced yet upfront and powerful all the musician's instruments are, and the same goes for all the multiple different singing voices of the leads. Despite Fred and Steve being the core of the group and already long-established prog musicians of note, to see the unsung `little' guys like Kamran, effortlessly navigating his way through a army of guitar sounds, and Aaron's busy, versatile drumming performance is inspiring and may be a revelation for some viewers. The DVD also frequently shows the charisma that both Carl and Susie bring to the band, and it's nice to see their sense of humour shining through, with the raised-fists call- to-arms `This is where we draw the line?' opening of `The Knight of the North' especially infectious!

Of course, with such a wide catalogue of albums behind them, it will always be difficult to cover all the tracks that fans want to hear (and with Glass Hammer you'd need at least a quadruple disc set to even begin that, but let's face it, there'd be nothing more deliciously self-indulgently prog than a massive live release like that!), but the 90-odd minutes on offer here should more than satisfy them. To hear and see a group of musicians and singers in such fine form, performing inventive, challenging and varied symphonic music is a wonder to behold, and `Double Live' is a triumph for lovers of the grandest kind of retro flavoured progressive rock music.

Four stars, but if you're a long-time fan of Glass Hammer, add a whole other star!

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