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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Glass Hammer

Shadowlands

Review by Steve Alspach

If you like your music with lots of keyboards and anywhere from 8 to twenty-some minutes long, Glass Hammer is the band for you. Led by multi-instrumentalists Fred Schendel and Steve Babb, Glass Hammer has released its eighth album.

Track by Track Review
So Close, So Far
This song is three smaller pieces in one. The first movement is Kansas-like in both opening passages and its vocal arrangements. The second section is slower and features female vocals. The third movement has some multi-layered vocal tracks and a Steve Howe-like steel guitar lead before reaching a short coda.
Run Lisette
A pipe organ holds down the main riff on this song, and when the guitar solo kicks in the piece becomes a bit reminiscent of Yes' "Parallels." The lyrics deal with the French-Russian war in the early 1800s and our heroine - who, by the way, is a horse.
Farewell to Shadowlands
This is a bit of a hard-rocker with rather emphatic power chords, and the Howe-like steel guitar gets prominence here. The lyrics almost read as a hymn.
Longer
Arguably the 2004 winner of Most Unlikely Song to be Given a Prog Treatment, Dan Fogelberg's 1979 saccharine-laden ballad is given a little muscle and actually sounds all the better for it.
Behind the Great Beyond
A baroque movement makes for a curious opener to this 20:27 closer. The piece then goes through several movements and different styles. At the 9:55 mark a beautiful nylon-string guitar passage leads to the second half of the song, and a six-minute coda, again Kansas-influenced with its violin lead, closes out this piece.
 
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