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Glass Hammer

Symphonic Prog

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Glass Hammer Untold Tales album cover
3.66 | 22 ratings | 1 reviews | 9% 5 stars

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 2017

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Shadows of the Past (2008) (2:25)
2. Infusion (3:16)
3. Identity Principle (12:38)
4. Hold Your Head Up (4:17)
5. Babb's Bach (3:18)
6. And Then She Sighed (1:59)
7. Eiger Dreams (2:23)
8. It's All Too Much (4:36)
9. Troll (5:03)
10. A Grain of Sand (2:58)
11. Cool Air (9:44)
12. The Impulsive Type (4:38)
13. No Man's Land (live) (14:44)

Total Time 71:59

Line-up / Musicians

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

- Walter Moore / vocals
- Jon Davison (Yes) / vocals
- Carl Groves (Salem Hill) / vocals
- Laura Lindstrom / vocals
- David Wallimann / guitars
- Matt Mendians / drums

Releases information

Featuring rare and previously unreleased studio and live recordings spanning the 25-year history of Glass Hammer.

Label: Sound Resources/Arion Records
Format: CD, Digital
October 20, 2017

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to Aussie-Byrd-Brother for the last updates
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GLASS HAMMER Untold Tales ratings distribution

(22 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(9%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
Good, but non-essential (36%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (9%)

GLASS HAMMER Untold Tales reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Notable modern American prog-rock band Glass Hammer have decided to mark time in-between their grander symphonic works with `Untold Tales', their second collection of rarities after the little-known `The Compilations' collection from 2006. Covering 1993 through to now, it contains several instrumental sketches, a recent live adaption, all-new exclusive pieces, contributions to various-artist sets and a couple of covers, and it makes for a lovely stop-gap release that will especially hold great appeal to long term fans of the band.

Opener `Shadows of the Past' originally appeared in much sparser form on Glass Hammer's debut album `Journey of the Dunadan' back in 1993, and here keyboardist Fred Schendel has been able to give this short introductory piece a suitably grander orchestral-like makeover, and it lifts the piece closer to something along the lines of the fancy and prancing fanfare pomp of Rick Wakeman's solo work. Further instrumental `Infusion' hails from a rare 1995 solo album that the band contributed to by one of their early singers Tracy Cloud, and a compact and nimble symphonic interlude it is, where some of the whirring keyboards call to mind Dream Theater's Jordan Rudess.

The first lengthy prog workout arrives with the spiritual themed `Identity Principle', a near-thirteen minute epic that was partially recorded in the mid Nineties and recently completed, and it could have easily found a home on the early `Lex Rex' and `Chronometree'-era albums of the band. There's no shortage of crisp ringing electric guitars and softer acoustic strums dancing around strident drumming, and the contemplative lyric is given plenty of vocal variety from the trio of Fred, bassist Steve Babb and frequent Hammer vocalist Walter Moore. A cover of Argent's `Hold Your Head Up' has been given a bombastic rocking makeover in a punchy Neal Morse/Spock's Beard-like manner, instrumental classical reinterpretation `Babb's Bach' is a delightful smorgasbord of ravishing Moog, pretty piano and Steve's murmuring bass, and his `And Then She Sighed' is lovely shorter choir-lifted madrigal folk prettiness in the fairy-tale manner of so many early Glass Hammer pieces.

`Eiger Dreams', used to open Glass Hammer's `Live at the Tivoli' DVD from 2008 starts with moody electronic ambience before launching into electric guitar histrionics, and frequent Glass Hammer leading lady Susie Bogdanowicz takes the lead for the Beatles cover `It's All Too Much' that stands apart from the original and Steve Hillage versions with thick Hammond organ and a strident stomp. The snarling bluesy guitars, dirty harmonica and bashing drums of `Troll' perfectly convey the sly dig at unhelpful and negative internet taunts, and it's one of the heaviest pieces the band have ever delivered with just a hint of dusty plodding stoner rock to it! Dating from 2010 and linked to the `If' sessions, guitarist Kamran Alan Shikoh's `A Grain of Sand' is an ethereal guitar rumination that almost serves the same purpose here as those Steve Howe acoustic breaks on so many Yes albums - although Fred and Steve help out with little fancy touches!

The near-ten minute organ and Mellotron dominated dreamy epic `Cool Air' originates from the superb 2012 triple CD set `The Stories of H.P Lovecraft: A Syn-phonic Collection' (also several fine Italian modern prog bands on that box-set, do check it out!) and features future Yes frontman Jon Davison on vocals, and it compliments the darkest Davison-led Glass Hammer album `Perilous' with its ghostly atmosphere and maddening gothic symphonic mood. With connections to Sound of Contact/Mantra Vega's multi-instrumentalist David Kerzner and Rush's Neil Peart, `The Impulsive Type' is sung by frequent Hammer contributor over the years Carl Groves, and it's a sleek metallic harder edged rocker. The disc then concludes with a blistering take on `No Man's Land' off Glass Hammer's recent superb concept disc `Valkyrie', and it's wilder, more jagged and frequently attacked with an aggressive energy, with Aaron Raulston's busy thrashing drumming, Steve's malevolent crooning and Susie's raucous vocal taking plenty of the focus.

While these sort of compilations are rarely essential, `Untold Tales' is a very welcome undemanding set that makes for a welcome breather between the bigger conceptual musical statements that Glass Hammer frequently issue like `The Inconsolable Secret' and `Valkyrie'. It probably didn't need the live piece at the very end (as great as it is!), because solely studio recordings help discs like this serve as a fine standalone album in their own right. But `Untold Tales' is a winning collection of unrelated pieces that also serves as a nice commemorative set to celebrate the quarter century career of one of the leading modern symphonic bands, and it should tide over fans of the group nicely until the next grand Glass Hammer work.

Four stars.

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