VALKYRIE is an astounding achievement by any measure. It’s not only the best album of 2016, but it’s one of the best albums of the rock era, a relentless drive toward poetic and tonal excellence. Glass Hammer is a band that never stops challenging itself, and it never fails to succeed.
This is, by far, Glass Hammer’s best album. Amazingly so! In fact, it’s the perfect, but more intense, sibling of LEX REX, INCONSOLABLE SECRET, and PERILOUS.
As I’ve been steadily and rather ceaselessly listening to it (being rather blown away with each listen), I’ve been thinking, “this is the most cinematic album I’ve ever heard.” Then, I thought, “this is the most novelistic album I’ve heard.” And, then, it hit me—Glass Hammer has now produced the V FOR VENDETTA or DARK KNIGHT RETURNS or THE WATCHMEN of the rock world.
VALKYRIE, as it happily turns out, is a very graphic novel. The best.
Throughout my many listens to Valkyrie, I’ve heard a nod to RELAYER and a nod to BRAIN SALAD SURGERY, but the album is pure Glass Hammer. This is no—as some critics have ridiculously argued of other GH albums—tribute to Yes or Genesis. This is absolutely its own thing, and it’s a rather glorious and beautiful thing.
For what it’s worth, I think this is not only the best album of 2016, it’s one of the two or three best albums of the last 40-plus years. My favorite songs are “No Mans Land,” “Nexus Girl,” and “Fog of War,” though I liked everything. There’s not a dud track on the album. The male voices, mixed with instruments, mixed with Susie’s ethereal vocals are just astounding. And, it all wraps up so perfectly in the appropriately titled final track,“Rapturo.”
This is such an important release that it should be featured fully in such outlets as PROG, CLASSIC ROCK, and UNCUT. Frankly, this deserves a full hour or more on NPR. Just as Babb wrote that powerful Lay a few years ago, Glass Hammer should be producing a companion novel or graphic novel to go with VALKYRIE. If Glass Hammer toured with this story, they could really, really hit it big. As big as Hamilton, to be sure.
I love the theme of the new album as well—we are men of the West, we might very well die, but we’ll not go out with a whimper. VALKYRIE is the perfect response to the horrors of this extremely chaotic and violent summer. Also, as it turns out, the album is also a beautiful memorial of the 100th anniversary of WWI.
This album is the best thing I’ve heard this year and in a long, long time. Thank you, Steve, Fred, Susie, and Co. This album fills me with hope—for the future of art and for the future of human dignity.
Pre-order links are now up and running. Order early and often! http://glasshammer.com/official-store/