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Hourglass Oblivious to the Obvious album cover
3.78 | 87 ratings | 11 reviews | 34% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2009

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1 (69:33)
1. On the Brink (12:39)
2. Homeward Bound (9:58)
3. Pawn II (13:41)
4. Faces (11:53)
5. 38th Floor (21:22)

CD 2 (69:46)
1. Facade (14:50)
2. Skeletons (6:58)
3. Estranged (7:05)
4. Delirium (10:20)
- Oblivious to the Obvious (30:33) :
5. Part 1 - No Chance (5:49)
6. Part 2 - Realization (6:18)
7. Part 3 - Remember Me (5:41)
8. Part 4 - In My Hands (3:27)
9. Part 5 - Redemption (9:18)

Total Time 139:19

Line-up / Musicians

- Brick Williams / guitars
- Michael Turner / lead vocals
- John Dunston / drums
- Jerry Stenquist / keyboards
- Eric Blood / bass, vocals

Releases information

Hourglass; Released February 19, 2009

Thanks to rushfan4 for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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HOURGLASS Oblivious to the Obvious ratings distribution

(87 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(34%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (14%)
Collectors/fans only (13%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

HOURGLASS Oblivious to the Obvious reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Hourglass's 2009 release is a mammoth album- two discs jam packed with heavy music totaling a massive two hours and twenty minutes. For those who like metal in doses, listening to this record can be a daunting task, but as someone who falls into that category, I have to say I hated this album upon the first hearing, but was very impressed, especially the second time around, when I realized I recognized several of the melodies and riffs. At times, the vocals range from exaggerated imitations of Layne Staley or Bon Jovi, which can be annoying at times. The bassist, however, seems to make this album- whenever he pops up by himself, I know I am in for a treat, and even in the background he tends to stand out. Despite the discouraging length, this powerful album will no doubt find its way out of my speakers on many more occasions.

"On The Brink" After a striking introduction, the guitarist chugs out some chords, while a thin organ sneaks over them. The whistling synthesizer is a grand touch, occurring right before an intense piano. The lead guitar makes use of both shred techniques and sustained notes, but in either case, it is very melodic. The vocal bridge toward the end is somewhat silly, but for the most part, this is a killer progressive metal track, and should gratify most.

"Homeward Bound" Dark piano and soft guitar comprise the beginning of this second track. Generally it is more pleasant than the first track, with better singing, great bass work, lovely piano, and tasteful guitar. There's a great bass solo midway through, that, while not exceptional in and of itself, is fabulous for setting up the next part of the piece, which includes a fiery guitar lead. However, the bass toward the end is nothing short of phenomenal.

"Pawn II" The band goes for a Hispanic/Near Eastern vice with the classical guitar juxtaposed with other exotic sounds. The piano comes in, and introduces a heavier sound, full of rapid rhythms. A short, exotic yet funky bass solo brings in the guitar shredding that is rather out of place. The vocal section begins rather abruptly. This part includes one of the most ingenious riffs I've ever heard in conjunction with a vocal melody. And once again, there's a gutsy bass solo right around the corner, this time giving way to some keyboard madness.

"Faces" Delicate piano and equally delicate vocals begin this piece, which sends the album in a lovely direction. The lyrics are a tad cliché, particularly in terms of rhyming, but that's all right- the music is beautiful and remains that way for quite a awhile, even when the bass finally comes around to usher in the next phase.

"38th Floor" Once again, the bassist shows what he's made of, kicking off the track with some fancy finger-picking. The vocals are solid, and the synthesizer adds a great dimension to the piece, but the guitar tone is thin and takes away from things I find remarkable. There's some great interplay between all the instruments as they rock out. An airy and almost tribal section arises in the middle, serving as the basis for a more melodic bass solo and vocals with a fresh and positively memorable vocal melody. Tasteful electric guitar comes back in, both as a rhythm and lead instrument, lending an almost bluesy feel to the segment. The bassist ultimately holds it together and keeps it interesting. Overall the arrangement is solid, and full of variety in terms of composition, but even then, this song just seems to be too long and overbearing. For a piece of such length, the ending is entirely lackluster and unsatisfying, sort of petering off with some jazzy meandering on the piano.

"Façade" Gentle electric piano begins the second disc. Initially the lead guitar sounds like a saxophone until the slides make it more clear that it is indeed a guitar. The bassist fades in out of nowhere, making this a less than subtle transition, and soon the chugging guitar and drums increase in intensity and begin the next phase of the piece. This main vocal section is closer to power pop rock, with a bouncy and catchy vocal part.

"Skeletons" This is probably the worst track on the album, particularly with those opening vocals. Nothing here is nearly as memorable as anything else, particularly on the first disc. The whistling keyboard solos are plusses, however.

"Estranged" Hourglass goes the acoustic route for this gorgeous second-person song. To me, this sounds a lot like the softer side of Enchant, both instrumentally and vocally. Not only is the vocal melody amazing, but the acoustic guitar solo represents a few moments of sheer brilliance.

"Delirium" With spunky bass and heavy guitar, this ten-and-a-half minute instrumental gets going, as subtle keyboard textures are introduced. I could have been fooled that Victor Wooten himself was sitting in with the band on this track, particularly with all those rapid bass notes. The second half is largely jazz-rock music, with a steady beat and continuously creative bass and guitar fretwork. When things return to the heavier side, each member takes turns with a quick cadenza between recitations of a common riff. Finally, the bassist just dominates with a speedy solo alongside hurried drumming.

"Oblivious to the Obvious: Part 1 - No Chance" An elegant twelve-string guitar begins this five-part, thirty-minute epic. Despite the bright backup vocals and instrumentation, the lyrics are thematically dark, apparently about the horrific cycle of atrocious parents inadvertently breeding atrocious parents. Finally, there's a proper piano solo, and shows what the keyboardist is able to do with another instrument besides a synthesizer.

"Oblivious to the Obvious: Part 2 ? Realization" Remarkably, the band resists the urge to plow ahead with metal and actually creates an even more depressing, sedated mood. The vocal melody is very good.

"Oblivious to the Obvious: Part 3 - Remember Me" Rightfully so, things pick up right in the middle, with a synthesizer lead and crunchy guitars. For once, the bass playing is restrained, almost pounding out the root notes of the chords. Not surprisingly, there's another bass solo at the end.

"Oblivious to the Obvious: Part 4 - In My Hands" This fourth part, which is surprisingly short, is based on a creative and heavy riff.

"Oblivious to the Obvious: Part 5 - Redemption" The finale features a chunky bass and haphazard keyboard runs. There's a slick guitar solo later on, but that's about it. While the previous track could have led to a suitable conclusion, this instrumental almost acts as disjointed filler, firstly since there are no lyrics to continue the quasi-narrative, and secondly because none of it really flows together. It was like the band wanted to "balance the weight" of the second disc with that of the first one. Whatever the case, there isn't much of interest going on here, especially since almost everything that preceded it was far superior.

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars My recent development in opinions (how I evaluate albums), especially about long albums, has recently increased their value. It's tiring, but honestly, who of us can stand listening music for so long. OK, I can. I've just listened it and am listening this again. It's helluva (terrible word, but it describes situation very well) album and I've been listening it for a third time in a row. Still can't get enough of these wonderful tunes. And I really mean it, I don't see this as cliché, more like the best of its genre. I don't see it as too long, I see it as a lot of great music in one package. I don't see half empty glass, but half full instead. I would like to describe this music, but it's too eclectic (most of styles I know/like are switching here), together with melody. Yes, everything is nice here (sometimes it's even like symphonic prog, sometimes like Symphony X), singer reminds me James LaBrie, but why not. Only thing that you won't find here is extreme pitch black dark atmosphere, extreme fast metal and death meal (hehe, I mean metal) elements.

5(+), Hell, it even has damn jazz elements. I simply love this album, as it offers everything I want, with basis of prog metal. That's fine recipe if you ask me. Prog is here, every part of this record is soaked in it.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars I still remember the first time I heard HOURGLASS' "Subconcious" album a few years ago. That first track blew me away, but with that album clocking in at almost 80 minutes in length it lost most of it's steam well before it ended. On their latest recording which took 4 1/2 years for them to complete, they bury us with almost 140 minutes of music over two discs. And while I could condense this to 50 minutes and say it's a solid 4 stars, the reality is what it is. Way too much music here that is good but nothing more. It brings this down to a 3 star rating. Many Prog-Metal fans have hailed this as one of the years best but in my opinion REDEMPTION's "Snowfall On Judgment Day" is the years best Metal album with this one quite a ways back.

Too much music here to really go over it all, but the first album starts with "On The Brink", and this is the highlight of this whole recording. It has this nice heavy intro with lots of bottom end. Synths join in then the tempo picks up around 1 1/2 minutes. It settles with piano before 3 minutes but not for long. Vocals after 4 minutes. A great throaty scream as well. I like the guitar before 8 1/2 minutes. It sounds like a mosquito. The bass is fat in the excellent instrumental section that follows. Vocals return before 11 minutes. Fantastic start.

One thing that bothers me about this album is the same thing that brought down "Subconcious" later on, and that's where the lyrics seem to become more important than the music.The only problem here is that THAT happens a lot more on this recording because it's so long. Anyway lots to like here but there are too many passages that seem to coast musically as the focus is put on the vocalist. Just my taste in music and distaste for double albums I suppose.

Review by Second Life Syndrome
5 stars There is so much that can be said about this album, but I will try to keep this review short. The album, quite frankly, blew me away. The amazing vocal harmonies that are achieved, the extremely well-done guitar work, the technical drums, and the fantastic piano all suck the listener into a journey inside the head of a depressed man. The depression is based on a dissatisfaction with life that seems to stem from his parents, and this man's life gets worse and worse until he has some rather startling realizations. I found that I can identify with the lyrics on an extremely personal basis---I have had many of the same feelings and emotions in some of the same situations. Overall,the lyrics and the lyrical content are some of the best I have heard in a while. With all of that said, these musicians excel in the music itself with some extremely well-done technical portions, pleasant softer parts, and some of the best bass guitar I have ever heard (no joke)---he really is the star of this album. However, the album's greatest strength is still in the lyrical quality. So, while this album is around 2 hours and 30 minutes in length and includes some rather long tracks (the longest is around 20 minutes), it really never feels that long. The groove that is set, the engrossing lyrical content, and the fresh sound all combine to make this album something special. I would recommend this band to fans of Riverside, Haken, or Redemption. These fans will find some of the same themes, as well as the same technical expertise, excellent atmosphere, and vocal quality. I am really looking forward to this band's next effort.

Latest members reviews

4 stars I wrote a review for Hourglass' second album, The Journey Into, in July as it was sufficiently convincing to do so. That album had a lot of qualities that I like to see in my progressive metal: cohesive songs, healthy balance between heavy and softer music, well-played and prominent bass, and more. ... (read more)

Report this review (#2442179) | Posted by foregonillusions | Friday, August 28, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This band really surprised me. Based on other reviews I was expecting basic vanilla prog metal, in some cases there's truth behind that, but I believe that this is some solid progressive metal music. It took a few listens for the album to sink in, once it did I appreciated the album a lot more. ... (read more)

Report this review (#1049023) | Posted by SevDawg | Monday, September 30, 2013 | Review Permanlink

2 stars By hearing this album, I recognize how far a music which main idea is a cliché can go. I can't deny the progressive personality, but, behind this orthodoxes forms, the hard rock riffs, the guttural screaming, and the hard punch rhythm section tells me nothing but commercial music is invading the ... (read more)

Report this review (#243842) | Posted by manticornio | Friday, October 9, 2009 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Oh my god... I despise a lot of prog metal because too much of it is just really cliche, boring and entirely too predictable, but this album has got to be one of the worst. This has been the most difficult album for me to listen to throughout 2009. It was absolutely terrible. It sounded like a fa ... (read more)

Report this review (#240861) | Posted by jpgarcia7787 | Tuesday, September 22, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Hourglass is a new band to me. They are based out of Utah, which happens to be where I live. I discovered them on one of my favorite prog sites where there was a very positive review of this album. From there I went to Hourglass' website and listened to samples from their latest a ... (read more)

Report this review (#225147) | Posted by natewait | Wednesday, July 8, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I did not know hourglass till now,but as it proved, it was a huge mistake. In this epic(both CD's contain music almost 140 minutes) we hear an excellent lyrical progressive metal with fully respect to progressive rock. Fortunately, the voice is pretty good(many prog bands suffer in this sector ... (read more)

Report this review (#221754) | Posted by mel from hell | Friday, June 19, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars In a short space of time Hourglass have become one of my favourite modern prog bands. Oblivious to the Obvious is the first album I had heard from this band and I got one hell of a surprise. The band can be best described as a mix of Fates Warning, Power of Omens and Enchant. They have a refre ... (read more)

Report this review (#220233) | Posted by Hrvat | Monday, June 8, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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