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Glass Hammer - Discography (1993-2014)
Symphonic progressive rock from USA, full-length discography of fourteen albums released between 1993 and 2014.
Glass Hammer is an American progressive rock band from Chattanooga, Tennessee. They formed in 1992 when multi-instrumentalists Steve Babb and Fred Schendel began to write and record Journey of the Dunadan, a concept album based on the story of Aragorn from J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. To their surprise, the album sold several thousand units via the Internet, TV home shopping, and phone orders, and Babb and Schendel were convinced that the band was a project worth continuing.
While many musicians have appeared on Glass Hammer albums over the years, Babb and Schendel have remained the core of the band. Both men play a variety of instruments, but Babb mainly concentrates on bass guitar and keyboards while Schendel also plays keyboards as well as various guitars and drums (until the addition of live drummer Matt Mendians to the studio recording band in 2004). They also sing, although a number of other vocalists (most notably Michelle Young, Walter Moore, Susie Bogdanowicz and Jon Davison) have also handled lead vocal duties.
Lyrically, Glass Hammer is inspired mostly by their love of fantasy literature (most notably Tolkien and C. S. Lewis) and by their Christian faith. Although by their own admission they have tried to avoid becoming an overtly Christian band, their 2002 release Lex Rex was a concept album based on a Roman soldier's encounter with Jesus.
Musically, their most apparent influences are Yes, Kansas, Emerson, Lake & Palmer and, to a less noticeable extent, Genesis. While Glass Hammer has, for the most part, combined those influences into a characteristic style of their own, they made much more direct references to the aforementioned bands on their 2000 album Chronometree, which told the story of a drug-addled progressive rock fan who becomes convinced aliens are speaking to him through the music he listens to.
In 2012, Jon Davison was selected by Yes as their new lead singer, while remaining a member of Glass Hammer.
Glass Hammer At MySpace
1993 Journey Of The Dunadan
1998 On To Evermore
2001 The Middle Earth Album
2002 Lex Rex
2005 The Inconsolable Secret
2007 Culture Of Ascent
2009 Three Cheers For The Broken-Hearted
2011 Cor Cordium
2014 Ode To Echo
Ode to Echo finds Glass Hammer back in their stride. It harkens back to their pre-"IF" era but at the same time this release expands their sound while keeping it new and fresh. To me they've never sounded so tight. Ode to Echo is their best release to date which is saying a lot compared to what's come before it. This album is solid from beginning to end and for the first time in a long time on any album I'm not skipping tracks to get to the better song.
Glass Hammer took a lot of heat from prog fans over IF and then Cor Cordium as the band tipped their hat to Yes in admiration. (I personally love those two albums) It wasn't for lack of excellent musicianship but the debate revolved around originality and not being "progressive" enough as opposed to being more retro. Ode to Echo should silence the naysayers. This is Glass Hammer centering themselves on who they are as a band and creating some fantastic new prog music in the process.
As much of a fan of Jon Davison as I am, I love, and after listening to this release, prefer the blend of vocalists Ode to Echo uses. The band uses the strengths of each to paint their picture. Carl Groves takes the lead and has never sounded so good. Jon Davison adds his unique voice and style while Susie Bogdanowicz parts are perfectly placed as the voice of "Echo" in "I Am I" and the hauntingly beautiful "Panegyric". Add Fred, Steve, Kamran and Aaron's mastery of their instruments and you have a "must have" prog album.
I personally find a lot more direction and intentionality and less prog wandering for the sake of a longer song. Ode to Echo is a mix of shorter and longer tracks that are all strongly tied into the theme of Narcissus and Echo and their love for themselves. While not a pure concept album that tells a single story, every song speaks to the theme of the album.
Ode to Echo captures what this band is all about and I highly recommend it to any prog fan looking for some of the best new prog music being put out today.
As requested by a fellow member valkokoev from Bulgaria!
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