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Progressive Rock DVD/Video Reviews

Glass Hammer

Live Lex: Special Edition DVD

Review by Ron Fuchs

Glass Hammer brings forth the spirit of the 70's giants such as Kansas, Yes and ELP, to name a few. However, never do they copy those bands. Glass Hammer use them as reference points to bring forth their own brand of progressive rock. I have been honored that Steve Babb has sent me each of their releases since Lex Rex to review and with each release, they have solidified (to me at least) their place in modern prog history. When I heard of the DVD release, I was excited to get to see Glass Hammer in action.

Upon getting the DVD, I went straight for the bonus features to see the “Behind the Sceens” of this magnificent band. The bonus features alone are worth the admission with a private SRO performance at NEARfest back in 2003, this was done in a hotel room and luckily for us, it was filmed. It shows another side of the band, where they can play in even the smallest of places and yet sound so big. Also in the bonus section is the release party where each member of the band gets a short interview segment. The highlight of the bonus section to me is the music video of “Tales of the Great Wars.” You get to see the wizardry of Babb and Fred Schendel along with others, giving us a view into the studio via music video.

The main part of the DVD, Lex Live, was recorded at a place called “Rhythm and Brews” in front of what appears to be a select lucky audience. The band launches into their set with an amazing rendition of “Chronotheme.” To my ears it’s almost like hearing the songs for the first time and I’m very happily amazed that I can hear every instrument. I think Babb and Schendel are among the few musicians that don’t hog the spotlight. Most of Lex Rex is performed and Chronometree is revisited with “Chronos Deliverer.” Here the band (with the exception of drummer Matt Mendians) change instruments. Schendel goes to a steel guitar, with Babb and Walter Moore at the keyboards, accompanied by the angelic vocals of Susie Bogdanowicz, Sarah Snyder, Flo Parris and Bethany Warren. This version sends shivers down my spine. We’re brought back to Lex Rex, then the final track. We get a special treat: an amazing live rendition of “Heaven,” from an earlier release.

For most of us, this will be our only exposure to Glass Hammer live. I certainly hope that won’t be a forever wait to see them here on the west coast of the USA. Maybe some prog promoter that has a festival here in the Southern California area would be so kind and bringing Glass Hammer out here. One can dream, right?

So all prog fans, especially those of Glass Hammer, go order yourself a copy of Lex Live now! Upon its delivery, plan a nice evening in front of your TV screen with your favorite beverage and/or snacks and enjoy the splendor that is Glass Hammer!

This review originally appeared at Prognaut.com

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.
 
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