GLASS HAMMER – Ode To Echo (2014)
With the highly anticipated new studio album (the 14th) “Ode To Echo” released today, Prog legends GLASS HAMMER are celebrating their twentieth anniversary
An institution in the USA progressive scene, this record finds Glass Hammer with one of the strongest line-up ever featuring co-founders Steve Babb and Fred Schendel joined by guitarist Kamran Shikoh, drummer Aaron Raulston, and present YES singer – the delicate Jon Davison – sharing lead vocals alongside returned live singer Carl Groves and former member Susie Bogdanowicz.
But there’s more: on the track “Crowbone”, for instance, includes an invigorating guest turn by violinist David Ragsdale of Kansas fame. Also we can hear guest appearances by Rob Reed of Magenta, and Randy Jackson of Zebra.
Former Glass Hammer vocalists Walter Moore and Michelle Young also took part in the sessions for “Ode To Echo”. Groves last sang with Glass Hammer on 2007′s Culture of Ascent; Davison has taken lead vocals on the group’s last trio of albums.
So this is a joy for any fan of the band, but also for a wide range of music aficionados, as Glass Hammer, who always boldly expands its musical and lyrical vocabulary, explores new melodic territories on this new record.
There’s the classic, elaborated passages and instrumentation combined wit striking, thunderous shifts, but also tons of uplifting, refreshing melodic waves very ear friendly for the casual listener.
Much of it is owed to Jon Davison velvety vocals, who shine on every appearance at the mic.
Lyrically it’s a very interesting record as well, with mythology as theme using it to call attention to some very dark ideas. Narcissus is seen on the cover; fans can expect to hear the band members thoughts on narcissism. “Ozymandias”, “I Am I” and the oddly-titled “Misantrog” are three tracks that deal with narcissism specifically, while musically are varied with awesome time signatures.
“Ode To Echo” is yet another great album from these American progsters. They’re fabulous musicians, the line-up and guests contribute their best, and production is impeccable.
Glass Hammer are a top progressive rock band, quite ignored in Europe, and they deserve to be listened widely.
“Ode To Echo” is a really good start point for newcomers, and a must for trained Prog ears.
01 – Garden of Hedon
02 – Misantrog
03 – Crowbone
04 – I Am I
05 – The Grey Hills
06 – Porpoise Song
07 – Panegyric
08 – Ozymandias
Jon Davison – lead vocals
Carl Groves – lead vocals
Susie Bogdanowicz – lead vocals
Walter Moore – lead vocals
Kamran Alan Shikoh – electric and acoustic guitars
Steve Babb – bass, keyboards, backing vocals
Fred Schendel – keyboards, steel guitar, backing vocals
Aaron Raulston – drums
Michelle Young – backing vocals
David Ragsdale – guest violin
Rob Reed – guest keyboards
Randy Jackson – guest guitar
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