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Glass Hammer - Shadowlands CD (album) cover


Glass Hammer


Symphonic Prog

3.71 | 215 ratings

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5 stars WOW! This is another modern progressive rock band using vintage keyboards: Hammond organ, mini moog, mellotron, church organ, clavinet, piano. Like Transatlantic, the overall sound is absolutely not outdated, never dark and never falling into the neo prog genre. The style involved makes me think about Yes and Camel. The band relies very much on OUTSTANDING female backing vocals, as good as the ones on the Mike Oldfield albums. The overall rhythm speed is relatively low, so that the accent is put on the melodies, not the technical performance, despite the drums are really complex, almost stealing the show!

The first track, "So close so far", is very progressive, rhythmic, having its electric guitar sounding like Steve Howe's; in the background, there is a subtle floating mellotron a la King Crimson. The female lead vocals are pure, tender, addictive and relaxing. The drums are elaborated and they are similar to the ones on the "In the Court of the Crimson King" album.

The second track, "Run Lisette", could easily be a bonus track on the Yes' "Going for the one" album! The permanent church organ, the electric guitar, the Rickenbacker-like bass make this track to sound almost the same as, say, the Parallel track! The track is very progressive and, again, there are some VERY beautiful & pleasant female lead & backing vocals. Some excellent mini moog complete this masterpiece.

The third track, "Farewell to Shadowlands", still sounds like Yes, as reveals the electric guitar and the omnipresent strong organ textures. The excellent mini moog notes remind me Camel circa Moonmadness. The girls sing very well here again.

"Longer", the fourth track, approaches the happy omnipresent lead & backing vocals and moods present on Transatlantic's "Bridge across forever", the track contains excellent clavinet, piano, Hammond organ and Camel-esque mini moog parts; there is an excellent expressive guitar solo and some volume pedal effects like Steve Howe used to play on the Relayer album.

The last track, "Behind The Great Beyond", lasting more than 20 minutes, is the best track of this album: WOW! it is VERY progressive and rythm changing: it starts with a very structured symphonic part, made of piano and string ensemble. A mix of melodic Camel- esque mini moogs, conversing rythmic organ & mellotron, tons of complex drums parts, Steve Howe's guitar sounds emulations, beautiful & catchy female & male vocals; the floating mellotron and clean guitars remind me the work of Yes. Past the 11th minute, a beautiful part of acoustic guitar sounding very medieval reminds me Jan Akkerman at his best! After the 13th minute, there is a rythmic violin part sounding like old Kansas, followed by ethereal electric guitar notes sounding, again, like Steve Howes' work.


greenback | 5/5 |


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