6 Songs, 1 Hour 6 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Many 21st-century prog rock bands downplay their '70s roots, preferring to create an identity uncolored by close associations with Yes, Genesis, and the like. And while Glass Hammer have experimented with touches of everything from pop to metal since starting out in 1993, the arrival of singer Jon Davison and guitarist Alan Shikoh on 2010's If put the band definitively on an old-school symphonic rock course. Keyboardist Fred Schendel and bass/keyboard man Steve Babb had been the core of the band from the start. Davison and Shikoh not only helped solidify Glass Hammer's lineup; they enabled a full-scale embrace of the band's roots. On If's five tracks—mostly epic-length excursions—tricky time signatures, complex counterpoints, and dizzying polyrhythms are delivered, along with plenty of analog-sounding synth lines, airy vocals, and deftly melodic guitar riffs. If that sounds like a trip back to the glory days of prog, well, why not? And if any further proof of Glass Hammer's mastery of the form is required, consider the fact that Yes themselves tapped Davison as their new frontman in 2012.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Many 21st-century prog rock bands downplay their '70s roots, preferring to create an identity uncolored by close associations with Yes, Genesis, and the like. And while Glass Hammer have experimented with touches of everything from pop to metal since starting out in 1993, the arrival of singer Jon Davison and guitarist Alan Shikoh on 2010's If put the band definitively on an old-school symphonic rock course. Keyboardist Fred Schendel and bass/keyboard man Steve Babb had been the core of the band from the start. Davison and Shikoh not only helped solidify Glass Hammer's lineup; they enabled a full-scale embrace of the band's roots. On If's five tracks—mostly epic-length excursions—tricky time signatures, complex counterpoints, and dizzying polyrhythms are delivered, along with plenty of analog-sounding synth lines, airy vocals, and deftly melodic guitar riffs. If that sounds like a trip back to the glory days of prog, well, why not? And if any further proof of Glass Hammer's mastery of the form is required, consider the fact that Yes themselves tapped Davison as their new frontman in 2012.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.5 out of 5
39 Ratings

39 Ratings

Praguerock ,

Four cheers and five stars

Imagine if you will, Jon Anderson and Keith Emerson jamming with PFM. The obvious comparisons to Yes with Jon Davison's voice coming closer to the edge than the Imp himself notwithstanding, there is much more here than tribute. The GH epics are here in full force, but this time the band seem much more relaxed and willing to let the songs stretch out without being in a hurry to get there. And that's the beauty of IF for me; each song has its own life and it's a true pleasure to listen to them without their handlers feeling like they have something to prove. Sure, Glass Hammer wears their influences on their sleeves but that's part of their charm. The giants of 70's progressive rock raised the bar high, and seeing as those giants are no longer willing or able to meet their own standard, it's a good thing for the fans that we have bands like Glass Hammer to keep that sound alive. Highly recommended - IF is a goodern.

Steve Kautz ,

Love it!

Guys, continue with this lineup! IF you want (need) some Glass Hammer this album sets a new standard of Greatness!!

cwroundabout7 ,

Grace the Skies

I suppose GlassHammer's South Side of the Skies is by now a solid staple among Yes fans, but I've found Grace the Skies to be a worthy bit of craftsmanship as well. There are organ riffs straight out of Awaken in this one, and some vocals that sound more like Jon than Jon, but it's a wonderfully condensed bit of non-Yes Yes music. If you like 70s era Yes you'll probably go for this one as an intro to the band's original works.

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