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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Glass Hammer is back with a brand new lineup and an album of epic-length prog tracks. The 2010 release IF marks the band's return to classic symphonic-progressive rock; an album sure to please fans of the group's earlier releases Chronometree, Lex Rex and The Inconsolable Secret. Pipe organs, Hammond solos, Moogs, Mellotrons - all the trademark sounds are back in place. But IF is no simple rehashing of previous Glass Hammer efforts. With the addition of vocalist Jon Davison, jazz-rock guitarist Alan Shikoh and session drummer Randall Williams, Glass Hammer co-founders Steve Babb and Fred Schendel have hit the reset button and taken their music to an entirely new level. The sixty-six minute opus features six tracks, culminating in the twenty-four minute long If The Sun, mastering by the legendary Bob Katz of Digital Domain, and stunning art-work by German designer Tom Kuhn.

Review

...can only be described as an unbridled progressive masterwork. If you think they don't make albums like this any more, you're wrong. --Fred Tafton - Gibraltar Encyclopedia of Progressive Rock

America's leading progressive rock band Glass Hammer are back on track with another masterpiece! IF is most certainly the prog highlight of 2010! --Henri Strik - Background Magazine

Overall this album is highly recommended for fans old and new, and I can say with ease that IF is in my top favorite releases for 2010. --Nick Katona - Power of Prog

1. Beyond, Within
2. Behold, The Ziddle
3. Grace The Sky
4. At Last We Are
5. If The Stars
6. If The Sun

Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 14, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sound Resources / Arion Records
  • ASIN: B00426M0EC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,320 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By shanocles on October 7, 2010
Format: Audio CD
Having had some 40 listens to this new album (many days to and from work in the car) I feel that I can now give an in-depth and honest review. To me, this album just keeps getting more rewarding with each listen. I guess the reason I wanted to post a review and to share my thoughts was that lately I've read reviews of new prog that seem to be too quick to judge, seemingly not having given the music a chance to speak (especially when a review is posted a day or two after the release - there's my two cents anyway). Granted, first impressions greatly influence how we think and feel about something, and musical tastes are subjective, but a quick critique can be unfair to both band and customer. This new Glass Hammer album is very deep both musically and lyrically. I've heard it said that prog is the `thinking-man's music' and this album is not unlike its predecessors (Shadowlands, Lex Rex) in that it asks those philosophical questions of, "What does dwell within me?" and "Who does my song call out to?". With that said ... permission to speak freely sir?

Track 1.
`Beyond, Within'
Immediately the listener is struck by a full sounding band, an infectious riff and a 1:30min opening that sets up the album's main intent, and perhaps the direction the band wants to take those who have come to hear. Many layered keys and nice guitar work here. This is very Glass Hammer sounding, yet sounds new also. Of course those listening will quickly recognise some Yes influences, this not being new to their sound though, as both Fred & Steve I'm sure will unashamedly attest. The mighty Hammond (3:59), borrowed from prog of old, drives this and not long after (4:35) there is this fast and crazy moog-like key solo which is pulled off very nicely - immediately answered with a guitar solo of equal skill.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Tony Geron on September 28, 2010
Format: Audio CD
How does one classify a new offering, such as Glass Hammer's IF? Let's start with this: Album of the Year! Yep, I kid you not. I'm a huge prog-rock fan, and love many other bands as well, so I would temper my comments by saying I also rave about Frost, Spock's Beard, Transatlantic, the Flower Kings, and many other fine bands as well.

This newest offering from GH is quite simply their best album yet. I say that with a huge smile on my face, because I've had the CD now for well over 3 weeks, and it has yet to leave my car's CD player. I've probably listened to the entire CD well over 40 plus times now, all the way through. Six songs total, the album is seamless in carrying the underlying theme throughout.... yes a concept album, but each song is strong enough to stand on it's own.

If you are familiar with GH, then you will love the return to their "signature" sound, lots of Hammond Organs, some slick slide guitar in parts, thunderous bass lines that have produced a few cracks in my dashboard, simply from me banging along with reckless abandon. I will admit now that I loved Suzie as the lead singer in the previous offering, and it did take me 4 or 5 listens to forget her and embrace Jon Davidson. But now, ah, but now, I can't imagine anyone else singing for this album. The music, the lyrics, all are a perfect stage for the new vocalist, and despite his similarity to Jon Anderson, Jon Davidson is a unique find and talent. I can't recall how many goose-bump moments I have gotten listening to this album, but it was more than a few!

Treat yourself, buy the album, you will not regret it! Steve and Fred, the two main composers and musicians that ARE Glass Hammer have truly out done themselves this time.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By What's in a name? on September 16, 2010
Format: Audio CD
For those who enjoyed Shadowlands, Lex Rex, and Inconsolable Secret, you are in for a treat. Given the Roger Dean-esque cover, it should no surprise that their new vocalist sounds remarkably like Jon Anderson. In fact, I could easily confuse some of the passages with Yes. I even thought at one point that all that was missing was Steve Howe's guitar virtuosity, but later, I heard textures very similar to his.

The highlight for me is the epic "If the Sun." Lots of tempo changes, great vocal harmonies against the background of an almost gospel-like, punchy organ. It's the track I keep returning to.

Although I enjoyed their last effort, Three Cheers for the Broken-Hearted, this is certainly far better and I hope they continue this type of songwriting. If you've never heard GH before and love Yes, give this a whirl.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Warren E. Kramer on April 16, 2011
Format: Audio CD
How about a review from an outsider instead of die-hard Glass Hammer fans you know won't give a bad review. I am not a Glass Hammer fan. Well OK, I am now.

First, understand that, like all complex music - including classical, jazz, and progressive/symphonic rock - you need more than a few listens before you can fairly review it, good or bad. It's an investment of time of course, but often pays off big dividends. IF is a case in point. Didn't care for it? It would be hard to believe most would not glean at least moments of pleasure from even the first few listenings, but give this one a chance (9 to 12 spins at least), and you won't be sorry.

This is a Masterpiece.

IF is a concept album featuring the wayward journey of someone lost, seeking his way. Understanding that is a first step. Beginning his search with "Beyond Within," which starts with a heavy Emerson-esque organ and various, mostly aggressive passages, before a softer piano/synth accompanies our wayward son asking:

And what does dwell within me
And how does my song come to be
Am I the final meaning
A cosmos self-contained?

Immediately you will be struck by the similarity to Yes, in timbre, instrumentation, arrangements, and especially the voice of Jon Davison. This has been reviled with phrases like "shameless rip-off," but keep listening.

The similarities in style are impossible to ignore, but let's pretend for a moment that Yes was an entire Genre instead of a single band. Would other bands offer music within this genre and be free from criticism, as long as they didn't sound like the actual compositions, but only played in the same style?
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