Glass Hammer - Chronometree


Year of Release: 2000
Label: Sound Resource
Catalog Number: SR9000
Format: CD
Total Time: 45:35:00

Tom is a man who got a little too far into his prog music, reading messages between the lines that weren't there - messages from what he believed were aliens. Thus forms the concept behind Glass Hammer's latest release Chronometree, which is based on a true story (or, at least, a story presented as truth). In the course of the album we see Tom find these messages, work out their meaning, wait for the aliens' arrival, only to have the truth revealed.

The music on Chronometree harks back to classic prog, the strongest reference being to Emerson Lake and Palmer, due mainly to Fred Schendel's Emerson-like use of Hammond, mellotron, and mini-moog. But there are also references to Yes - the lyrical imagery mainly, though there are small lyrical bits of "Watching The Sky" that reference Jethro Tull ("Cross Eyed-Mary") in their phrasing. Strangely though, and perhaps it is because of the Hammond, Glass Hammer also made me think of Spock's Beard - meaning they've dipped from the same well, not that one is influenced by the other. The closing passage of the album reminds me of Nude-era Camel with its martial rhythm.

Now, in any other context, one might suggest that these homages to past prog giants were because the band are mere copyists. But this is no mere rehashing or repurposing of old licks; instead the music is fresh and vibrant, serving as a tribute to the music that inspired Tom so, and the power that it had/has over all prog fans (or, at least, fans of the bands being paid tribute). Progressive music, at least of this variety, isn't music you just listen to, but music you experience, you think about, lose yourself in (without losing your sense of self). As on the classics, here too you can revel in the rich symphonic atmosphere: the lyrical guitars, swirling keys, driving percussion - truly this is great stuff - it is an absolute pleasure to listen to. I'm not overly fond of Brad Marler's singing voice, however, though there are some beautiful harmonies on "A Perfect Carousel." Marler's vocals don't detract from the music in anyway, however, and aren't bad or anything, I'm just not fond of his tone. His delivery is another matter, and I find that there some quite nice phrasings that just add to the whole atmosphere. As on "An Eldritch Wind" and "Revelation," "Carousel" has a dreamy feel to it, further underscoring the idea of getting lost in the music. It begins with a acoustic guitars and subtle keyboards (actually I thought a bit of Marillion's "Made Again" and of a airy Styx).

Glass Hammer are, as mentioned, Schendel on various keyboards, plus guitars, auto harp, recorders, and drums; Steve Babb on bass, keys, mellotron, and synths; the already mentioned Marler on vocals and acoustic guitar; Walter Moore, drums and guitar; and both Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon) and Terry Clouse (Somnambulist) on guitars.

I don't often talk about the album artwork, but I must in this review, because it is simply stunning. The artist is Bruce Huffman (www.citynet.net/personal/dragonworks/). The small canvas that a CD sleeve allows doesn't do this piece justice - the even smaller scan above reveals nothing. Oddly - appropriately? - it is a piece you'd be willing to get lost in, examining the details.


Tracklisting:
All In Good Time - Part One: a) Empty Space b) Revealer (6:45) / c) An Eldritch Wind (3:26) / d) Revelation e) Chronometry (8:07) / f) Chronotheme (4:41) [end part one] / A Perfect Carousel (5:17) / Chronos Deliver (5:47) / All In Good Time - Part Two: g) Shapes Of The Morning / h) Chronoverture (5:59) / i) The Waiting j) Watching The Sky (5:38)

Musicians:
Fred Schendel - Hammond organ, mellotron, mini-moog, synths, keyboards, acoustic, electric and slide guitar (lead and rhythm), auto harp, recorders, drums, and backing vocals
Steve Babb - bass, keys, mellotron, assorted analog synths, and backing vocals
Brad Marler - lead and backing vocals and acoustic guitar
Walter Moore - drums (6) and electric and acoustic guitar
Arjen Lucassen - additional lead guitar
Terry Clouse lead guitars

Discography:
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)

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

Genre: Symphonic Prog

Origin US

Added: May 1st 2000
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Score:
Artist website: www.glasshammer.com
Hits: 1349
Language: english

  

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