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Glass Hammer - Cor Cordium CD (album) cover


Glass Hammer


Symphonic Prog

3.71 | 216 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars The new album from Yes...sorry, I mean Glass Hammer, finds this inconsistent American outfit indulging their taste for classic symphonic prog to the absolute max. Everything here, from the attractive faux-Roger Dean artwork to the bright, keyboard-drenched music, smacks of both Yes-and-Genesis(and many more) circa their classic, early-seventies incarnations - plus the likes of England, Druid and Starcastle - leaving little room for originality. However, despite the derivative nature of much of the material on offer, most of 'Cor Cordium' is actually pretty decent, serving up over an hour of lushly-produced and carefully-orchestrated progressive rock with a capital 'P'. For those not in the know, Glass Hammer started life in prog-rock's darkest hour, 1987 no less, emerging from Tennessee with their Lord Of The Rings-inspired debut(and ridiculously titled) 'Journey Of The Dunaden'. Despite no label support and little enthusiasm for their sound from the music press, the group's debut surprised virtually everyone by selling a few thousand copies in it's first year. Since then, the group, which was founded by long-term members Fred Schendel(keyboards, guitar) and Steve Babb(bass, vocals), have released a series of classically-inspired albums and built up a loyal fanbase both in the United States and across Europe. Some of the music is informed by the duo's Christian faith, which leads some to bracket them in the Christian prog sub-genre, though by their own account attempts are made to separate their musical and theological beliefs. This mixture of disparate influences has lead to an unusually uneven output over the years - just check out the range of ratings on this very website that run the gamut from awful to awesome - yet 'Cor Cordium', which itself is a follow-up to the album 'If' of two years ago, DOES rank among their stronger efforts. Highlights include the lengthier pieces, with 'Nothing Box' and the eighteen-minute 'To Someone' perfectly illustrating their creative instincts, with intricate guitar-and-keyboard interplay, mystical lyrics and an ever-so-slight soft-rock veneer colouring the group's emotive sound. An enjoyable effort then, this should more than please die-hard symphonic-prog lovers, though don't be surprised if you get the nagging feeling you've heard it all before... STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012
stefro | 3/5 |


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