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Glass Hammer - Shadowlands CD (album) cover


Glass Hammer


Symphonic Prog

3.71 | 215 ratings

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4 stars This is my first experience listening to the music of Glass Hammer. For me, this album is rewarding as the music is a combination of various styles with a keyboard-based rhythm section and solos ala Tony Banks of Genesis especially on later albums like "Duke" or "And Then There Were Three". There are some strong influences of classical music whereby some tracks really explore this influence with the use of violin in instrumental passage. Style-wise it's prog naturally as I can find easily that there are many tempo changes and some complex arrangements. Guitar is also pivotal element in this album. Vocals are done with male and female voices.

"So Close, So Far" opens the album with a fast tempo acoustic guitar work played as rhythm section followed with single layer keyboard work reminiscent of Tony Banks or Martin Orford (IQ). The opening part is really nice especially when there are some variations with quieter passage followed with high tone keyboard punch. Voice lines enter in duet style - while keyboard / organ serves as main rhythm section augmented with acoustic guitar. There are beautiful sound inserts from keyboard. The guitar solo is truly stunning and it reminds me to the style of Allan Holdsworth. Suddenly the style changes smoothly into a sort of blues music with some female voice line. This part reminds me of Magenta even though the voice timbre is different between the two female vocalist. This part is kind like enjoying a psychedelic / spacey music with voice. Very nice interlude! The song ends up with an uplifting mood where the beat is increasing through guitar rhythm interjected with great keyboard work.

"Run Lisette" continues my journey with this album through a medium tempo opening with solid basslines and drumming followed with organ sounds. Guitar enters the scene at very right time and provides a musical enjoyment especially when it is followed with a roaring keyboard sounds and floating male voice line. I don't know whether this was done intentionally or a technical problems that according to my ears the mixing of organ sound is too loud here and it makes the voice line is not clear. I would say this track is overdosed with the sounds of keyboard / synthesizer / organ. Don't get me wrong, the composition is really excellent for this track. The music flows smoothly and dynamically with organ as dominant factor augmented by guitar works. Yeah, guitar has its own space demonstrating its awesome solo even though it's not that long compared to organ.

"Farewell To Shadowlands" opens with a harmony produced by keyboard and guitar sounds. The opening is relatively long enough so it's gonna entertain those who love guitar and keyboard ventures. It's probably close to Tony Banks solo album A Curious Feeling, I would say. The female voice lines enter at the ending part of the song with floating keyboard coloring at the background augmented with nice organ punches. Howling guitar augmented by keyboard is a nice segment at the ending part. It's really an excellent track.

"Longer" starts off differently as it has a classical outfit using piano touch followed with nice entrance of keyboard sounds. Ok, this part reminds me to Magenta's music, really. The music moves smoothly into a medium keyboard-based style. The ending part resembles a style of neo progressive rock with keyboard-based rhythm and duo vocals - female and male.

The concluding track is a twenty-minute epic "Behind the Great Beyond" which starts off with nice classical outfit combining piano and violin in relatively long duration followed with the entrance of drums that remarks the start of the music. Keyboard still dominates the music. Female vocal enters in relatively quiet passage - a bit spacey - followed with male vocal at the back. The music then turns into an acoustic guitar solo in a sudden way - I feel like it's a bit disjointed here as it does not flow smoothly from previous part. Right after the acoustic guitar, the music and vocals enter again with augmentation of electric guitar in long sustain style. Very nice. The tempo changes faster with rapid-fire violin characterizes the melody combined with keyboard. Despite nice composition for each part that constitute the epic, I feel that most parts are like disjointed material.

Overall, this is an excellent album. Recommended - especially to those who like neo progressive rock vein which typically melodic and nice. This album fits the criteria well. Keep on proggin' ..!

Progressively yours,

GW - Review #317

Gatot | 4/5 |


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