GLASS HAMMER

(UNITED STATES)

ARISE

(2023)
LABEL:

ARION

GENRE:

PROGRESSIVE ROCK

/ HEAVY METAL
TAGS:
Concept-album, Female vocals, Old School
"By moving away from their original progressive sound and flirting with heavy metal, Glass Hammer took a risky gamble that they didn't quite manage to pull off."
CORTO1809 (05.01.2024)  
2/5
(0) opinions (0) comment(s)
Since their first album, Journey of the Dunadan (1993), Glass Hammer has always been the brainchild of two men, Fred Schendel and Steve Babb. Around this core group, various singers and musicians have gravitated towards the twenty-one studio albums in their discography, the line-up evolving according to the musical direction desired by the two partners.

But for the first time, the duo went solo: Fred Schendel only guest-starred on one track, with Steve Babb taking sole command of the spaceship to explore a new musical galaxy on this twenty-second album, 'Arise', whose the concept follows the journey of an android charged with exploring the universe. Schendel's keyboards have earned Glass Hammer many comparisons with Yes and ELP, their use recalling the playing of Rick Wakeman and Keith Emerson. I might as well say it straight away: 'Arise' evokes nothing of these two giants of progressive rock.

Although there are keyboards, they are essentially synthesizers whose futuristic sounds give the concept its spacey atmosphere, very seventies, sometimes a touch kitsch. But their presence is almost anecdotal compared to the imposing wall of sound formed by the guitar-bass-drums trio. The bass and drums in particular do a colossal job, aided by an advantageous mix, injecting a deliberate heaviness into tracks that are often much closer to a hard rock or heavy metal register than the progressive rock we're used to from the Americans.

This impression is reinforced by Hannah Pryor's vocals, which often come through loud and clear, rather like those of her colleagues from female metal bands. The listener who thought they'd find a Yes-like album finds themselves swayed by peppy tracks mixing the space metal prog of Ayreon with the doom of Black Sabbath... only not as good.

Not wanting to be associated with a label - which is only natural for a progressive rock band whose DNA encourages it to evolve its music - is a laudable intention. But you have to do it well! Here, between backward-looking atmospheres, banal melodies, soulless solos and navel-gazing jams (such as the very long 'The Return of Deadalus', on which the musicians take far more pleasure than the listener), it's not all there.

Admittedly, the huge, whirring bass is interesting and 'Arise' is a good track with its psychedelic, hypnotic melody, but it's not enough to save the album from mediocrity. By moving away from their original progressive sound and flirting with heavy metal, Glass Hammer risks losing fans of the former without being sure he has what it takes to seduce fans of the latter.
- Official website

TRACK LISTING:
01. Launch of the Deadalus (01:12)
02. Wolf 359 (05:38)
03. Arion (18 Delphini b) (05:14)
04. Mare Sirenum (02:57)
05. Lost (06:33)
06. Rift at WASP-12 (04:10)
07. Proxima Centauri B (05:19)
08. Arise (11:44)
09. The Return of Deadalus (16:51)

LINEUP:
Hannah Pryor: Chant
Randall Williams: Batterie
Reese Boyd: Guitares
Steve Babb: Guitares / Basse / Claviers / Chant (3,6) / Percussions
Fred Schendel: Invité / Guitare (6) / Batterie (6)
   
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READERS
4.5/5 (2 view(s))
STAFF:
2.7/5 (3 view(s))
MY RATING
 
LAST NEWS
GLASS HAMMER: Arise
 
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