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Glass Hammer - 'If' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/a9/99/16/937_GlassHammerIf_1296256641.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     January 28, 2011    
 
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A return to form for the band and an album that will win back fans disappointed with its predecessor.

I was not alone amongst reviewers being less than impressed with Glass Hammer's previous album, 'Three Cheers For The Broken Hearted' (review Issue 40*), which saw them strip down their sound from the delightful Symphonic Prog of their history to something akin to retro Pop and edgy modern Rock. Whilst the band's leaders, Steve Babb (bass, keyboards) and Fred Schendel (keyboards) have steadfastly defended the album in interviews it seems far from coincidence that they have a new album out so soon and that they've made changes. 

Gone is vocalist Susie Bogdanowicz to be replaced by Jon Davison and they've added guitarist Alan Shikoh and drummer Randall Williams, with the upshot that they now sound spookily like Yes; not least because Davison has a remarkable similarity to Jon Anderson. Indeed, had Yes not discovered Benôit David as their replacement vocalist they could have done worse than check out Davison.

The Yes comparison has always been there but they've certainly taken it a step further with this album. Is this a good thing? In one way it is because it means that they have returned to the type of quality material we have come to expect. On the other hand it depends on your perspective as to whether being quite that close in sound to another band is acceptable or desirable. I suppose with Yes being in a new material hiatus it means that fans have a worthy surrogate to appease demand and from my own point of view it's about how good the songs are and whether they move me and in this case they do.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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There are six tracks on offer, four of which are bona fide epics with closing number 'If The Sun' that clocks in at twenty four minutes being the longest. Opening song, 'Beyond, Within' will have Yes fans purring with delight as it has all the hallmarks of that band, aside from a rather florid synthesiser solo in the middle. The archetypal Yes vocal arrangement, Steve Howe-like guitar, Hammond organ, Mellotron and Moog bursts are all in evidence and that pretty much encapsulates the album, albeit some ELP style piano and synth forays introduce the following song, 'Behold, The Ziddle'. This song does have my least favourite sections on the entire album with some rather discordant periods, which the band have become prone to injecting into their songs and it only serves to detract from the wonderful melody of this song. It seems to me that they feel they have to throw in these passages to be deliberately progressive and it would have to be a continuing criticism of them and why they've not broken through in Europe in the same way as bands like Spock's Beard.

That said, I see this as a return to form for the band and an album that will win back fans disappointed with its predecessor.

Gary Marshall

(* ... of Fireworks Magazine)

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  • johnmason : Hi. I paid for #88 and it doesn't show up in the licenses/Downloads and I never received any email telling me how to download it.
  • Rocktopia Te : Fireworks Magazine #88 is out now!

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