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Glass Hammer

Symphonic Prog

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5 stars An excellent introduction to Glass Hammer.

Although too short (only an hour long), this DVD will plunge you front row of a show filmed in a humble pub. Yeah, I know, not the coolest place to hang out but still very enjoyable. Don't let the low budget special effects (in fact, there's none) discourage you. Behind a clumsy approach hides a tremendous effort to put on a good show. Because it is a true gem to find such a high level of skills. Oh yeah, these guys show what they are capable of! Close your eyes and you'd swear on your cat's head that's play-back. Only the minor differences from the album could testify this is not a recording.

Oh! I get it! The whole budget went into the sound and the recording system!! The WHOLE budget, you'll see. This is a DVD for technical fans who wants to get better by looking how the band plays. The drummer Matt is especially good, wherever he comes from. Steve Babb is true to himself, concentrating on his bass parts and providing most of the vocal parts. Schendel does a very, very, very, very nice job on keyboards, switching from one to another to another. Walter Moore is in my humble opinion the best jack-of-all- trades in modern prog. And to see it is believing it. This guys plays drums, keyboards, guitar (quite well by the way) and has the most gripping, intense and poweful voice. Oh wow, when he and the girls sing Heaven, it's like a whirlwind.

Cute girls with fairy voices give a solid support throughout the whole show. Honestly, I couldn't figure the band without that female presence. Glass Hammer is no longer Babb and Schendel but also the girls with them.

Once again, I strongly suggest Glass Hammer for best progressive rock underdog!

Report this review (#34327)
Posted Monday, April 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I highly anticipated GLASS HAMMER'S "Lex Live" DVD, having viewed a clip ("One King") from the official Band site. What I saw and experienced then, was carried over to the entire DVD and I was not disappointed.

"Lex Live" is 122 minute DVD in which the first hour is devoted to the concert featuring favourite tracks from "Perelandra", "Chronometree" and "Lex Rex". The second hour is devoted to rehearsals, group interviews and a fine accoustic performance of "Lex Rex" in a motel room.The first noticeable thing is the "no-frills" approach to the stage setting. Just the basic lighting set-up and enough room for the three supporting girl singers, including Susie Bogdanowicz, to be seated. Steve Babb and Walter Moore were the frontmen on guitars and vocals, Matt Mendians on Percussion and Fred Schendel on Keyboards and vocals to all fit in.

The concert begins with an intro that is similar in content to that of "Lex Rex" but with added humour. Then it is straight in with "Chronotheme" noted for tight muscianship particularly from Fred on keyboards and Walter, who takes up lead guitar for this track. A nice lead in to the concert, with equal amount of footage shared between group members.

"Tales of Great Wars" is the first track played from "Lex Rex" and is again a tribute to Fred Schendels outstanding keyboard performance and Steve Babbs ability to write great lyrics. The vocals are great with some excellent harmonising.

"One King" is the stand out track musically, that is better live. Walter Moore playing lead guitar is quite outstanding. If you are new to Glass Hammer this will hook you into them as it is a melodic and memorable piece, reminiscent of YES with a dash of PINK FLOYD.

"Further Up and Further In" sees some nifty camera work and editing that enhances the overall performance from all musicians. It is here that we get our first glimpse of Eric Parker on accoustic guitar.

The following three tracks "Cup of Trembling", "Chronos Deliverer" and "When We Were Young" are seamless in delivery and performance. The vocal backup from the three girls and guest Sarah Snyder are outstanding. It is here that we see the versatility in musicianship of Fred, Walter and Steve - with Fred taking on the slide guitare, Walter taking over on keyboards with Steve and Eric taking on bass guitar. Their comfortableness with these instruments is evident in the tightness of playing. Matt gets to perform a small solo - a great way to introduce a hitherto unknown drumming talent.

"Heaven" completes the performance. A true symphonic rock piece with lush keyboards, vocals and a crescendo ending.

I would give this DVD a 4.5 rating if possible. However I will settle for 4 - my slight niggle being that sometimes the vocals are drowned out by the instruments, requiring some alteration to sound levels on my sound system and, group interaction with the audience is non-evident. Overall, a magnificent live performance, which outshines the studio version of "Lex Rex"in production quality particularly with sound. The big difference is having a drummer performing as opposed to drum machine sampling. Matt Mendians is a rare find and fits in perfectly with the rest of the group and the group show they are enjoying playing together.

Report this review (#40890)
Posted Saturday, July 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Their best live act on stage, witnessing both the "golden period" regarding "Chronometree" and "Lex Rex" (above all this latter for its importance as a personal "emulation of their own" concerning the music of ELP and Yes)- which is well worth checking out after all!! Certainly We are just a little bit disappointed after the controversial album "Three Cheers For The Broken-Hearted", whose music and ensemble as well (apart from the good vocalist Susan) could be their definitive choice for the future and I don't know whether it's satisfying or less, talking about the preferences of the old fans...well I hope that They will be able to produce such a good stuff like that unique of the early period (even though you could prefer the old stuff live by the original Yes, but nevermind...). However the present performance within an interesting DVD such as "Lex Live", is an important example of their skill live. Unfortunately their technique has been forgotten in the recent times, but probably the new ensemble of G.H. is looking for a personal music path and a new place too, within the modern progressive world (for me too it's the same, cause I know- as a musician and symphonic composer- how difficult it is, nowadays!!)...

Moreover I like to make a special mention both for the beautiful album cover and the good video and sound master as well...anyway, perhaps the new ensemble will decide to come back to their roots and the present "Lex Live" won't be an episode apart concerning their career! So you can buy it, at the end!

Report this review (#282585)
Posted Wednesday, May 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars It is hard not to love this great piece of live footage, as "Lex Rex" is one of my all time favourite albums. "Lex Live" has solidified my love for "Lex Rex", as not only does it help connect with the music, it is also evident from the footage that the band know what they are doing, and more importantly, enjoy it.

Their are two downsides to this concert. The first is that I personally would have preferred for the band to have played the full album in it's entirety, and the second is that the picture quality is poor (though this does add charm to the recording). But while the picture quality of the footage is poor, but the sound quality isn't bad. The angles of the footage are good as they give a good idea of the musicianship of the band. What makes this piece of footage so unique and watchable, is how relaxed and happy the band members are playing their music. It makes you feel like you are part of the band.

This performance gets 4 stars. A great companion to the studio album.

Report this review (#918310)
Posted Saturday, February 23, 2013 | Review Permalink

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