Glass Hammer - Perelandra

Year of Release: 1995
Label: Arion Records
Catalog Number:
Format: CD
Total Time: 61:53:00

Maybe it's just me, but Glass Hammer seems to sound different on every release -- yet they consistently draw inspiration from one or more of the classic prog groups. On Perelandra, the band's second album (out of six, including the brand new Live From Middle Earth), Yes provides huge helpings of inspiration; although, if their playing is any indication, keyboard players Stephen DeArqe and Fred Schendel surely have soft spots in their hearts for Keith Emerson. Still, the Yes influence comes through loud and clear on many tracks, not only in the vocals, which feature Yes-like melodies and harmonies, but also in the very Squire-ish bass sound and, in between the Emerson keyboard bits, in the hints of Wakeman.

Although the arrangements aren't, in general, as complex as a lot of classic Yes, Glass Hammer often lets loose with excellent complicated symphonic prog. They can also lay back with folky fare that brings to mind Crosby, Stills, and Nash. In fact, one of the things that makes this album so appealing is the many musical landscapes Glass Hammer manages to visit. Nailing Glass Hammer's sound down requires combining Yes, EL&P, and Pink Floyd into a hybrid progressive unit that's capable of playing not only great songs, but also more than competent instrumental bombast.

On this album, Glass Hammer is a large combo, boasting eight members who play everything from the usual bass, drums, keyboard, and guitar to saxophone and zoomitar. (All right, I admit that I have no idea what a zoomitar is.) The large group notwithstanding, the core of the band (at least on this album) is Stephen DeArqe and Fred Schendel, who play the majority of the instruments, as well as write, arrange, engineer, and produce all the tracks. Get much sleep, guys?

Four of the tracks on this album are -- in the classic prog tradition -- on the long side, averaging between eight to ten minutes and offering Glass Hammer plenty of room to explore disparate musical themes, tying them all together with pleasant, though sometimes understated, vocals. The vocal arrangements notwithstanding, several of the tracks are instrumental, varying in style from Floyd-like spaciness to Yes-like symphonic fare. The musicianship shows that these folks know how to play well without becoming a showcase for virtuoso playing. That is, songs are the focus here, rather than instrumental prowess. And within that compositional philosophy, they succeed wonderfully.

Now Arriving (2:00) / Time Marches On (10:36) / Lliusion (9:05) / The Way to Her Heart (4:43) / Felix the Cat (2:31) / Now Departing (1:05) / Perelandra (8:07) / Le Danse Final (5:18) / That Hideous Strength (3:54) / Enda the Lion (1:02) / Into the Night (4:40) / Heaven (8:37)

Stephen DeArqe - vocals, keyboards, bass, Taurus pedals, zoomitar
Fred Schendel - vocals, keyboards, guitar, drums
Walter Moore - vocals, guitar
Michelle Young - vocals
Milton Hamerick - steel guitar
Randy Burt - saxophone
Tracy Cloud - vocals
David Carter - acoustic guitar

Journey To The Dunadan (1994)
Perelandra (1996)
Live And Revived (1997)
On To Evermore (1997)
Chronometree (2000)
The Middle Earth Album (2001)
Lex Rex (2002)
Shadowlands (2004)
Live At NEARFest (2004)
The Inconsolable Secret (2005)
Culture Of Ascent (2007)
Three Cheers For The Broken-hearted (2009)
If (2010)
One (via GH only) (2010)
Cor Cordium (2011)
Perilous (2012)
The Inconsolable Secret (Deluxe Edition) (2013)
Ode To Echo (2014)
Breaking Of The World (2015)
Double Live (2015)
Valkyrie (2016)
Untold Tales (2017)
Mostly Live In Italy (2018)
Chronomonaut (2018)

Lex Live (DVD) (2004)
Live At Belmont (DVD) (2006)
Live At The Tivoli (DVD) (2008)

Genre: Symphonic Prog

Origin US

Added: July 8th 2001
Reviewer: Clayton Walnum

Artist website:
Hits: 2461
Language: english


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