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Glass Hammer - If CD (album) cover


Glass Hammer


Symphonic Prog

3.89 | 304 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Glass Hammer's If is to Yes what Citizen Cain's Somewhere But Yesterday was to Gabriel's Genesis: so dangerously close that many will too quickly dismiss it as just a clone, but so good that I don't care. Same as with CC's masterpiece album, the clone feeling comes mainly from the vocal department, but if you overcome the prejudices of the vocals first impression and listen carefully and for enough spins, you realise that the music itself is different and personal enough to deserve full credit in its own right.

The addition of vocalist Jon Davison is a double-edge sword for the band, he shares with the Yes classic frontman not only the name similarity but also his vocal timbre is a carbon copy (coming from Yes tribute bands Roundabout and YesStory), causing this dangerous risk for the guys of being tagged as a clone band and not appreciated for the great music they make. On the other hand he sings wonderfully and if the great vocal melodies are in any part his own contribution, the choice for Jon is more than welcome.

The music is pure symphonic, certainly inspired in the 70's but with a modern twist in the vein of Neal Morse, Spock's Beard, Simon Says etc, and when it resembles Yes it does so mainly in their modern era like Magnification or the best material from The Ladder, and only occasionally to earlier periods. Very strong melodies throughout the whole album, but with more than enough twists and turns, time signature changes etc to delight any classic symphonic lover.

The musical weight falls mainly on the outstanding keyboard work of Fred Schendel with Steve Babb providing strong support as usual, but guitarist Alan Shikoh and guest drummer Randall Williams shine as well. The work on backing vocals is also thorough and adorns the overall sound with a deep richness, and the production is simply excellent.

Difficult to pick best tracks as they are all brilliant and similar in style, but my favourites are the three around-10-min tracks Beyond, Within, Behold The Ziddle and If The Stars plus the 24- min epic If The Sun. The relative lack of originality and the lack of diversity may be considered as a weak point for those seeking for these attributes in their prog quest, but for me they are not, after many spins I can still listen to this album from beginning to end without a single moment of boredom.

Nice artwork too by the way. Highly recommended to symphonic fans, 4 to 4,5 stars.

Gerinski | 4/5 |


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