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Glass Hammer - Perilous CD (album) cover


Glass Hammer


Symphonic Prog

3.83 | 201 ratings

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kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars This is the third album from the same GH line-up with Steve Babb (bass/ keys/backing vocals) and Fred Schendel (keys/guitars/backing vocals) with Kamran Alan Shikoh (guitars) and Jon Davidson (vocals) along with Randall Williams sessioning on drums plus assorted guests. This settled line-up has assisted the band in quality while the borrowing of Jon for some other group has obviously aided the profile (I note that Glass Hammer are on the same cruise ship tour as Yes). GH have always put a lot of thought and care into their releases, so that the purchaser is already engaged before hearing a single note and the same is here again with great artwork and of course the booklet also contains all of the lyrics.

Here we have a concept album (not unfamiliar territory for GH) which is based on what happens when we walk through the gates into the cemetery beyond, and start a journey which can be 'Perilous'. The album kicks off with a string section, that leads into a fairly length instrumental introduction to "The Sunset Gate". This shows to me that Steve and Fred really know who their listeners are, and that they will be ready to spend the time and invest in what is going to be a great listening experience instead of looking for a quick fix hook or bridge. Long before the vocals started, the guitars and keyboards have struck an intense relationship with influences from classic prog bands abounding. An important thing to mention here is that while Glass Hammer have been influenced by the classic groups of the seventies, they are not just plain plagiarists but instead are doing something new while also casting a look back to what has gone before.

There is no doubt that Jon Davidson has a very similar vocal style to Jon Anderson, that is why he has been chosen to replace him after all is said and done, but these guys are not Yes clones. One of the most effective songs on the album is "In That Lonely Place" which starts with classical guitar and vocals from Amber Fults which takes the music in a totally different direction and even when Jon joins in the duet he sings in a different way to normal. Yes, the mellotrons come in to add backing but this is all about simplicity and context; prog doesn't need to be bombastic and multi-layered to be incredibly effective. Maybe now that Glass Hammer are gaining more recognition thanks to the Yes connection they will become well known to a much wider audience. This album certainly provides the basis for being able to do that.

kev rowland | 4/5 |


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