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GLACIER

Neo-Prog • United Kingdom


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Glacier biography
GLACIER blend many elements from melodic / progressive rock, jazz and classical musics, with strong vocal melodies and intricate instrumental passages to form their unique brand of music. Specific references are hard to give, but think PENDRAGON, CYAN and many of the more obscure English prog bands from the eighties and you should have some idea. "Monument" is the bands debut album, but draws from their vast back catalogue of material.

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GLACIER top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.15 | 18 ratings
Monument
2001
3.63 | 21 ratings
Ashes for the Monarch
2015
4.33 | 12 ratings
Island in the Sky
2021

GLACIER Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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GLACIER Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Island in the Sky by GLACIER album cover Studio Album, 2021
4.33 | 12 ratings

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Island in the Sky
Glacier Neo-Prog

Review by Squonk19

5 stars North-East progressive rock group Glacier release their third album, Island in the Sky, and it's their most impressive so far. They have successfully built upon their 2001 debut, Monument and 2015's Ashes for the Monarch to produce a diverse and rich musical landscape, mixing classic, symphonic and neo-prog rock with more modern influences, along with thoughtful, contemporary and refreshingly quirky lyrical content tackling aspects of the human condition. The result is an entertaining musical journey that opens up even further with repeated listens.

The Isle of Glass begins the album and is actually an extended reworking of the final track on the previous album. Taking its title from the ancient name for Glastonbury ('Ynys Yr Watten'), a spoken narration by Dale Harbron takes us to Arthurian legend, before the vocals lyrically take us through ideas of faith and belief, with references to Jerusalem, the Moon landings, Christian and pagan perspectives and the nature of truth. Resonating guitar is joined by a musical wash with keyboards and violin in tandem, soaring over a mid-tempo chugging rock rhythm with Floydian hints of Echoes at times. Chris Wing's violin certainly enhances the track and lends it a dreamy, folky feel through to the extended atmospheric conclusion. The shared vocal contributions of Mike Winship, Dave Birdsall, Chris Wing and Linzi Hunter, along with John Youdale and Bob Mulvey, work well throughout the album, definitely giving the group a unique sound at times.

Union looks at conflict and division and how tribalism, especially at this particular time in our history, undermines our lives when standing together makes us stronger. A piano and bird song-like violin introduction changes into complex instrumentation. Expressive violin passages dominate the song, whilst Bob's bass and Mark Burley's drums propel the song through the vocals and a catchy chorus: "There's an angel looking for you. There's no flying red, white and blue. There's a hope we'll all pull on through. Union for you". A short interlude ends with a well-pitched guitar solo from John Youdale before the violin takes us to the end.

The sound of children is juxtaposed by an eerie flute rendition of "Boys and girls come out to play?" and a piercing scream at the start of Our Children. The track is a deliberation of malice, destruction and the myriad threats to our safety in these contemporary times. The complex and spritely ensemble playing complements the vocals well, with Chris's flute and Dave Kidson's keyboard flourishes enhancing the music. The "Our children will survive?" refrain seems to act as a shout of defiance, or possibly a forlorn hope.

The meaning underlying The Icing on the Wake harks back to the 'greed is good' mantra of the '80s and '90s (and even today) and the irony that the rich got richer and the poor got poorer ? often on the hard work and sacrifice of workers such as the miners. The acerbic, politically-charged lyrics are central to this 11-minute epic, which includes a number of vignettes and contemporary soundbites. There is lovely symphonic progressive rock instrumentation from all concerned, especially John's concluding guitar solo, alongside the 'Gabrielesque' word play, and overall you have an ambitious composition with an intriguing mix of Genesis, Twelfth Night and other neo-prog acts to these ears.

Lament for Persephone takes its inspiration from love and the sadness of parting, and is an instrumental tour-de- force that belies its brevity. Soothing Hackett-style guitar and subtle piano develops into a satisfying slab of soaring prog rock, before a melancholic end to proceedings. Excellent music ? it's just too damn short!

Classic-era Genesis influences show strongly in The Man Who Cried, with the late Victorian-period of amusement sideshows in the streets of London, conjured up by a fairground organ and barking dogs. It is a tribute to both David Lynch's touching film The Elephant Man and John Merrick himself. The vocals encapsulate the 'inside and outside' theme and the contrast between outward appearance and innermost feelings and emotions. Once again John's guitar dominates the instrumentation, with uplifting passages over a solid rhythm provided by Mark and Bob, with Dave's lovely, poignant piano taking us to the end.

Atmospheric piano also begins Nightwing (intro) segue Lights Out, with accompanying strained guitar notes. Shared vocals (a feature of many songs) are soon joined by a bright musical theme, as we take a lyrical look at the world of the internet and the inherent dangers of a life with everything online, with a plea to "Live life while you can. You're alone, but you're alive. You're bound to survive? somehow (somehow)". There is an accessible chorus and the violin once again lifts the musical assemblage, while a refreshing guitar passage concludes the song.

There Be Monsters is an instrumental piano tone poem from Chris Wing, with hints of Keith Emerson, which takes us into Nightwing and a reprise of the earlier piano intro. Originally a section from a larger work called Projections (Part I to VIII) and with a main theme echoing a guitar piece called Lightwing (linked to the previous album), the song takes us into world of dreams and nightmares. The lyrics are a melting pot of disparate images and quirky references (with Ena Sharples and Miss Marple rubbing with Che Guevara, along with repeated "Island in the Sky" album title) with unsettling organ chords before rich, progressive rock interplay led by guitar, flute and piano, before the track soars away.

Oddessay (outro) is a short instrumental preview of what is to come on the next album (apparently inspired by Arthur C. Clarke's short story, The Sentinal, itself the inspiration for 2001: A Space Odyssey). The sound of celestial messaging, together with some nice bass playing, soft but urgent drumming and lush keyboards, provides a tantalising taste of the group's next release.

(from THE PROGRESSIVE ASPECT)

Glacier have produced an impressive and very enjoyable third album full of classic progressive rock instrumentation mixed with thoughtful and intriguing lyrical content. There are strong musical contributions from all, with the increased use of violin and strings this time around working very well, and the shared vocal approach proving very effective over a diverse range of compositions. The group continue to mature and develop, and this gem of an album definitely deserves a wider audience.

 Ashes for the Monarch by GLACIER album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.63 | 21 ratings

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Ashes for the Monarch
Glacier Neo-Prog

Review by Hogweed Returns

4 stars Glacier is a typical British band established in the end of the 70's. I've listened to this album on a website called "progstreaming" and I must say that I'm not disappointed. A bit of an odd album that must grow on you (before judgement). In between the songs there are a lot of humoristic passages and the songs are in the mood of Genesis and in particular Steve Hackett. The overall impression is very nice and the vocalist reminds me of a 70's band from Holland called the Dizzy Man's Band with also lots of humour in there songs (You should check them out!). The two songs and highlights on the CD are "Projections" and "One Man Alone". Let yourself be enchanted by the music and try their first album "Monument" from 2001 (yes a 14 years gap) which also gives much pleasure with songs written in the 80's and 90's. The song "Bring Down The Rain" could be a hitsingle! Four Royal Stars For Me ****

 Monument by GLACIER album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.15 | 18 ratings

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Monument
Glacier Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars UK Neo Prog band from Durham, formed in 1978 as Contraband and based around guitarist John Youdale.They soon changed their name to Glass Ear and then to Glacier, but the band called it off one day in the 80's after the numerous line-up changes and the dissapointment of being underappreciated by record companies due to their sound.In mid-90's though Glacier and John Youdale returned with Bob Mulvey on bass, female singer Heather Davies, Peter Cornforth on keys and Graeme Ash on drums.The late 90's found Glacier working on old and new songs, which were completed with Dave Kidson on keys and new singer Dave Birdsall, who was also a member of the early days of the band.The compilation ''Monument'' came out in 2001 as a self-produced CD.

Glacier played typical British Neo Progressive Rock along the lines of JADIS, IQ and ABEL GANZ with strong emphasis on the catchy melodies, the sensitive vocals and the careful keyboard textures.All tracks are well-crafted, pretty memorable and very melodic with some nice guitar solos, easy-going choruses and synth explorations, while the longer ones contain also some space for instrumental soundscapes of symphonic nature, which are pretty good.The atmosphere ranges from pleasant tunes to dramatic lyrical moments, surrounded by more grandiose musicianship and will please all fans of the genre.The vocals of Birdsall are warm, while previous singer Heather Davies appears also in a few tracks.On the other hand it is certain that the overall performance sounds pretty safe despite the hidden potential, while a few tracks are closer to Melodic Rock than even Neo Prog.Still the good arrangements will make the listener overcome these minor flaws.

Glacier's unlucky incidents continued after the release, as the band had suffered again from constant line-up shakes, while the major content of a second album was almost ready.Hopefully the new material officially sees the light someday.

Pretty good work for all fans of 80's British Prog, Neo Prog or light Symphonic Prog.Melodic and very intense at moments.Recommended.

 Monument by GLACIER album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.15 | 18 ratings

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Monument
Glacier Neo-Prog

Review by maryes

3 stars n my opinion the British band GLACIER in his entitled album "Monument" brings in their compositions a type of attempt of transforming to progressive rock in something that approaches more than a popular format of music.. Leaving aside some characteristics of the good and old progressive rock, such as sudden changes of rhythm s and more complicated vocal and instrumental harmonies and melodies reducing like this the resonant complexity in most of the tracks. In that way, brings me the memory bands as ASIA AND STYX and the influences that these same bands brought in their albums (YES, KING CRIMSOM, ELP etc...), and in some moments something of the space-rock of bands as ELOY in very smaller scale.To reinforce the presence of those influences the guitar player Jonh Youdalee and the keyboard player Dave Kidson shows a very approximate style of Steve Howe / Steve Hackett and Rick Wakeman/Keith Emerson. But, the rythimic session is very simple !!! I consider as the best moments of the disk the musics "Think of England", "Monument" and "East of Arabia." My rate is 3 stars!!!
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