GLASS HAMMER – Perilous (2012)
GLASS HAMMER is good ol’ American prog at its finest. They’ve been making albums for well nigh forever, but if you don’t know them, they’re kind of a large bit of Yes with a healthy dose of Gentle Giant thrown in as well, not to mention their own selves in there too.
“Perilous” is the band’s new CD, and the level of musicianship, composition and production value far surpasses their per se very good previous efforts.
Glass Hammer is Progressive in all the meaning of the word.
Some knock them as a ’70s Yes clone, and in some ways that has some validity. On the other hand though, with careful listening they shine through as their own thing, and on this new recording, more than ever.
“Perilous” is a concept album: 13 songs that blend into one long tale. It has gothic gates, bravery, a spell, dreams, Time, Death and Hell. And, in the end, Redemption.
A really well told story with huge, beautiful symphonic intrumental passages, enriched by great vocal arrangements including choirs and layers of multi-track harmonies.
Every so often you would get the feeling of being lifted, only to realize that the keyboards are winding around the melody, supporting it perfectly and making it stand out, even against the active background they create above the nuancing rhythm section.
Starting with the album opener, “The Sunset Gate”, through the ethereal, “We Slept, We Dreamed” to the heavier vibes of the superb “Our Foe Revealed”, the listener is taken on a diverse musical journey.
There is no letting off the complex musical brilliance as “Toward Home We Fled” takes up the story, a fantastic piece of music, lilting and soaring then we come slowly down in “As The Sun Dipped Low” with the guitar taking prominence as we move into an excellent instrumental interlude.
The magic continues with “The Wolf Gave Chase” and slows right down with “We Fell At Last” featuring layers of guitars taking on a classical overtone.
Close to the end, in “In That Lonely Place” the delightful voice of Amber Fults joins Jon Davison on leading us towards the final part of the journey which concludes with the shiny Prog piece “Where Sorrows Died And Came No More”.
“Perilous” sounds more ‘Glass Hammer’ than never before. They have found their style, their own sound, one of these you cite to mention other band’s influences.
Jon Davison’s delightful voice soars and hits all the right notes, the bass guitar of Steve Babb gives the whole album its solid background whilst the keyboards of Fred Schendel evoke memories of classic ’70s prog, all while the guitar of Alan Shikoh is there waiting to take us on a different, articulated musical direction.
To really appreciate this piece of prog brilliance you need to stop the world, get off and find a corner somewhere quiet where you can take an hour out of your troubles and just enjoy it.
A definitive contender for ‘Progressive album of the year’.
01 – The Sunset Gate
02 – Beyond They Dwell
03 – The Restless Ones
04 – They Cast Their Spell
05 – We Slept, We Dreamed
06 – The Years Were Sped
07 – Our Foe Revealed
08 – Toward Home We Fled
09 – As The Sun Dipped Low
10 – The Wolf Gave Chase
11 – We Fell At Last
12 – In That Lonely Place
13 – Where Sorrows Died and Came No More
Jon Davison – lead vocals
Fred Schendel – keyboards, guitars, backing vocals
Steve Babb – bass, keyboards, backing vocals
Kamran Alan Shikoh – guitars
Randall Williams – drums
Amber Fults – lead vocals (In That Lonely Place)
Tim Wardle – additional backing vocals
The Adonia String Trio
The McCallie School Guitar Choir
The Chattanooga Girls Choir
BUY IT !