Do you long for the days when listening to FM rock radio meant hearing classic Todd Rundgren, early Chicago, ELO, ELP, Pink Floyd, and maybe a little Autobahn courtesy of Kraftwerk? Do you miss watching Rockford Files and Barney Miller on TV? If so, then you will love Glass Hammer’s new album, Chronomonaut. It is a trip back in time to those heady days of the 1970s when DJs thought nothing of playing an entire album side in the middle of an afternoon.
Brad Birzer has already written an impossible-to-improve-upon review of Glass Hammer’s latest, but I am so captivated by this album that I had to add my voice to the chorus of praise it is garnering. While Valkyrie was a beautiful and sympathetic examination of the horrors of WWI trench warfare and the toll it took on soldiers, Chronomonaut is a much lighter affair, at least in its brilliant mix of styles of music. Tongues are firmly in cheek throughout this update on the hapless protagonist, Tom Timely, whom we first met in 2000’s Chronometree.
Tom’s still convinced he’s receiving secret messages via prog music, and he is not a happy inhabitant of the 2010s. He is sure that he can travel back in time to the 1970s and fix whatever it was that made his life go off the rails. Where Chronometree was pretty much all in fun, though, this new chapter has some deeper messages lurking beneath the surface.
The music is all over the place, and I mean that in a good way. I hear snatches of early Chicago in the horns, some Houses of the Holy – era Led Zep, some early-80s new waviness, and a heavy dollop of Something/Anything? – era Todd Rundgren. Babb and Schendel put it all in a blender and it comes out sounding pretty glorious. Susie Bogdanowicz is still on board, thankfully, contributing her trademark angelic vocals. Aaron Raulston is solid as a rock throughout. He is the most adaptable drummer I’ve heard – regardless of the musical style, his percussion is a perfect fit. Steve Babb is now my favorite bassist – he is endlessly inventive and melodic without dominating the proceedings. And of course, Fred Schendel is marvelous on guitar and keyboards, pulling all kinds of vintage sounds out of his instrumental arsenal.
In the end though, amidst the sheer pleasure of listening to all of this ear candy, there is a sobering message: nostalgia for its own sake can be dangerous. As they sing in the album’s final and finest song, “Fade Away”,
“If you could truly travel back
You’d still not find the things you lack.
The glories you seem to recall
Were not glory after all.”
Tom, it turns out, is searching for Truth, and in the end he finds it. It’s a deeply moving moment in the arc of the album’s trajectory. There are not many bands who could pull off such a mix of engaging melodies with such a serious message. Glass Hammer, however, are not your typical band. They make it look easy, which is all the more impressive. Long may they run!
Full disclosure – even though I arrived late to the party, I am a big admirer of Glass Hammer’s music. So much so, that I have spent the past four years since Ode To Echo was released steadily acquiring their discography. While they continue to sell most of their titles at their official site, some of their earlier albums are hard to find (thanks, discogs!). It’s been a real delight tracking their development from hobbit-obsessed Celtic proggers to seasoned philosophers. Along the journey, through many personnel changes, a few things have remained constant: the outstanding musicianship of Steve Babb and Fred Schendel, the angelic vocals of Susie Bogdanowicz, and uniformly excellent songwriting. All of these qualities came to a head with 2016’s Valkyrie, a concept album set in World War I and its immediate aftermath.
So it was with great anticipation that I heard the band was going to record a live performance of Valkyrie in Veruno, Italy. (Quick aside – what’s it take to get you all to do a show in Nashville, just a couple of hours north of Chattanooga?). Pared down to a core group of Babb, Schendel, Bogdanowicz, and longtime drummer Aaron Raulston, this is a satisfying and invigorating performance on all counts. Maybe it’s the fact that they rehearsed Valkyrie for several weeks before recording that album, but in this Veruno show, Glass Hammer powers through even the most demanding musical passages with confidence and ease. Babb, Schendel, and Bogdanowicz all sing lead, and their voices blend beautifully throughout the show.
From the moment Babb’s shivery bass notes boom out at the beginning of “The Fields We Know” to the impassioned closer, “Hyperbole”, Glass Hammer delivers a state-of-the-art progressive rock triumph. Along the way are many highlights – the swirling, kaleidoscopic “No Man’s Land”, where Bogdanowicz, Babb, and Schendel effortlessly harmonize while the music ping-pongs between frenetic riffs and ominous chords; “Fog of War” which, to my ears, is a wonderful tribute to Hemispheres-era Rush; “Dead and Gone”, which slowly builds from a tender Bogdanowicz vocal to a thunderous climax; and “Eucatastrophe”, which may be the most appealing melody the band has ever written. The pièce de résistance, though, is “Rapturo”. A delicate theme is played on piano, then Raulston enters on drums, and the music builds as Bogdanowicz sings of the sufferings of a veteran with a heartbreakingly beautiful performance.
Things lighten up with a nice medley of old favorites – “Chronos Deliverer” and a tremendous “If The Sun”. “Hyperbole” from the underrated Three Cheers for the Brokenhearted closes things out. This version made me rethink my initial impression of that song; it’s a monster of a rocker and a blast to listen to. And speaking of monsters of rock, Aaron Raulston’s work on drums deserves special praise. For the entire show, he lays down a solid foundation with impeccable timing that allows Babb and Schendel to work their instrumental magic on bass, keyboards, guitars, and synthesizers.
The bottom line: this is a performance that does full justice to one of Glass Hammer’s finest albums. Susie Bogdanowicz has never sounded better, Steve Babb remains one of the most inventive bassists in prog, Fred Schendel is simply amazing on keyboards, guitar, and vocals, and Aaron Raulston complements his bandmates perfectly. If you’ve never heard anything by Glass Hammer, Mostly Live In Italy is a perfect introduction, and you get to hear a progressive rock masterpiece from start to finish in an inspired performance. If you’re already a fan, Mostly Live In Italy is a must-own. ‘Nuff said!
In my not so always humble opinion, there is no greater or more fetching voice in the rock world than Susie Bogdanowicz’s. Here, you get a full seventy-plus minutes of her, Steve, Fred, and Aaron. It really doesn’t get much better than this.
Pensive, deep, and resonating strings eagerly invite listeners to immerse themselves utterly, fully, and completely in the album. From there, keyboards swirl in anthemic Emerson-esque majesty until the entire orchestra begins what is nothing less than an all-encompassing and fetching fanfare.
We the listener feel not the abstraction of the music, but its tangibility. We might very well be able to touch it. We are not “fans” witnessing a spectacle from afar, hoping to catch a mere glimpse from our balcony seats the smiles that pass between Susie and Fred, the nods between Aaron and Steve, or which guitar Alan is using on this or that tune. No, nothing like any of this. With UNTOLD TALES, we the listeners are members of the artistic endeavor as a whole, as much a part of the band as those on stage, and just as fundamental to the artistic success of it all.
From the beginning of this, let me [Brad] note that I think that VALKYRIE is not only Glass Hammer’s finest achievement, but it’s the best album of 2016, thus far.
PROGARCHY: Steve and Fred, after so many years of writing, recording, and producing, what motives you? I ask this, because most bands go the other direction. They start strong, and they lose it. You, however, do just the opposite. You started very strong, and you just keep getting better. Why, how? What’s your secret?
Fred: Luck, perhaps? It may have a little to do with the fact we’re easily distracted and move from one thing to the next like butterflies so we never have a chance to get too stale. We are always interested in trying something different. I think in this case we benefit from having little bits of stuff fly by on the wind and stick to us- post rock, ambient video game music; things we don’t necessarily know well enough to emulate too specifically, but that influence what we’re doing at any given time. The other thing is surrounding ourselves with the right people and I think that has a lot to do with the new album working out as well as it has.
Steve: We’re driven and we just don’t stop. Momentum is important. We have awesome bandmates who invest themselves into our vision and a support team that keeps everything behind the scenes running smoothly. I’m with Fred on the butterfly theory. There are a million things I’d like to try with Glass Hammer. We’ll never get to the end of my list or Fred’s.
PROGARCHY: What do you think Glass Hammer means as a band, a concept, a project? Where do you see Valkyrie in your personal history, and where do you see it in the long tradition of rock and prog?
Fred: I don’t know what it means. I feel like I have to leave those questions to the people on the outside looking in; people that have an objective view of it all. My perspective is kind of mundane. For me Glass Hammer is an outlet for the music I write and Valkyrie is the latest work we’ve done and that’s it. Time will tell us where Valkyrie fits in the history of the band and of prog in general. I have high hopes though that it will be remembered as an important album in our catalog but it’s not my call.
Steve: For me, Glass Hammer satisfies the need to create and share the work. We’re a musical expression of a world-view as well, and I guess I’ve driven that idea. Valkyrie is or was quite personal. The story of the soldier and the girl started as a way for me to deal with trauma from my own experience. The hope being, that as I wrote it I could build the story toward a hopeful ending, and thus, find answers to my own dilemma. What happened was that I realized how insignificant my experience was when compared to others. It helped me mend. My Valkyrie has already arrived and guided me home so to speak. What happened to me was no battlefield experience and we need to confess that unless we’ve actually been in that situation there is no way we could possibly be able to relate to those who have, or even write music about it. I can’t reduce that sort of horror into music or lyrics. Still, trauma takes many forms in many lives. I just hope Valkyrie helps others, and especially encourages family and friends of trauma survivors. Survivors don’t make it home without help. As for Valkyrie’s place in history I can’t say. We just hope everyone enjoys it and that it has as much or more impact as other important albums in our back catalog.
An outstanding performance by the boys from Norway. Even through tricky time signatures that require lockstep coordination of playing, Gazpacho delivers an emotional and beautiful show. Jan Henrik Ohme’s vocals are spellbinding – delicate and tremulous one minute, powerful and commanding the next. While he’s caressing the microphone, his bandmates play their hearts out. Songs I thought I knew take on new meaning and accessibility. This set is a perfect introduction to someone curious about this somewhat enigmatic and definitely magical group.
As light as Gazpacho is dark, Glass Hammer has been riding a high for the past few years – Ode To Echo and The Breaking Of The World are both instant classics. Double Live features the best cuts from those albums, as well as a terrific rendition of the epic “The Knight Of The North”. Steve Babb and Fred Schendel have been together so long they are telepathic onstage. Aaron Raulston is excellent on drums while Kamran Alan Shikoh has matured into an astonishingly inventive guitarist. Carl Groves is the best male vocalist GH has ever had, and Susie Bogdanowicz steals the show with her performance. No fancy camera work here – the music and performance are strong enough to speak for themselves.
This is a fine collection of Spock’s Beard tracks. The first disc features the best of the “Neal Morse Years”, while disc two has six tracks from Beard versions 2 and 3 (featuring Nick D’Virgilio and Ted Leonard) and a new epic featuring a big reunion of everyone. You might think that losing your lead vocalist and sole songwriter would mean the end of a band, but the Beard is nothing if not resilient. The songs from the post-Morse era certainly hold their own against anything from the first six albums. I wish they had included “The Great Nothing”, but there’s only so much space on a compact disc! Of course, long-time Beard fans want to know how the new epic, “Falling Forever” stacks up. To my ears, it’s a pleasant listen, but not particularly memorable. It’s clear that Neal’s path has diverged from the Beard’s, and each camp has its own strengths that don’t necessarily mesh into a powerful whole anymore. The DVD features performances from 1997’s Progfest interspersed with contemporary interviews of the band. It’s illuminating for the hardcore fan, but not essential.
Phenomenal growth from this band. As mentioned in the interviews included in the Blu-ray, the first album had the members somewhat tentative about critiquing each other, while during the recording of Second Flight they were much more collaborative. This is set is a terrific performance that showcases the talents of each member. Casey McPherson is a very confident frontman, and an amazing vocalist. Steve Morse’s guitar work is jaw-dropping good, and Dave LaRue almost steals the show with his bass solos. Mike Portnoy is, as usual, controlled chaos on the drums. Neal Morse plays more of a supporting role in this group, keeping in the background for the most part. “Cosmic Symphony” and “Mask Machine” are highlights, while the segue from “Colder Months” into “Peaceful Harbor” is one of the most beautiful musical moments I’ve ever heard. The quality of the Blu-ray is top-notch, both in sound and video. An excellent choice for the prog fan who enjoys the likes of Boston, or even classic Journey.
Which brings us to the big release of the year: Rush’s R40 Live. I have every live DVD Rush has released, and this isn’t the best performance. But there is something so special about this show that it will probably be the one I return to most often. There were times I caught myself thinking, “Gosh. they are looking old!”, but then I had to remind myself they’ve given of themselves so generously for 40 years. 40 years! How many bands have kept the same lineup for that long, and are still talking to each other? ZZ Top is the only one that comes to mind. The fact that this show is from Toronto makes it even more moving.
This is a top of the line production, with every possible camera angle a fan could ask for. The sound on the Blu-ray edition is outstanding; there are two surround mixes to choose from: front of stage or center of hall. The show itself is masterful – it is a trip back in time from Clockwork Angels all the way to “Working Man”.
The animated intro is hilarious – I had to go through it practically frame-by-frame to catch all of the visual puns. Every album and tour is name-checked somewhere in it. The initial stage set is very elaborate, but as the band goes back into their history, you can see workers slowly dismantle it. At the start of the second set, Alex is front of a huge stack of Marshall amps, and we’re transported to the 1970’s. By the time of the encores, Alex and Geddy are down to single amps on chairs in a high school auditorium.
My only quibbles are selfish – I wish there was at least one track from Power Windows/Hold Your Fire, and I don’t know why the bonus tracks at the end couldn’t have been inserted into their proper places in the concert video. Other than that, it’s a very good setlist.
What comes through most clearly as the concert progresses is the love and respect Alex, Geddy, and Neil have for each other. They look like they’re having the time of their lives, and they’re so glad to have several thousand fans along with them. Thanks for the ride, boys. It’s been a great one.
Glass Hammer, CHRONOMETREE (Sound Resources, 2000). Artists: Steve Babb and Fred Schendel with Brad Marler; Walter Moore; Arjen Lucaseen; Terry Clouse; Susie Warren Bogdanowicz; Sarah Snydor; and Jamie Watkins.
“All in Good Time/Part One”—Empty Space & Revealer; An Eldritch Wind; Revelation/Chronometry; Chronotheme; A Perfect Carousel; Chronos Deliverer.
“All in Good Time/Part Two”—Shapes of the Morning; Chronoverture; The Waiting; Watching the Sky.
Fifteen years ago, Glass Hammer released a masterpiece: CHRONOMETREE.
I almost modified “masterpiece” with bizarre and unexpected, but masterpiece probably doesn’t need exaggerations or qualifications. All masterpieces are bizarre and unexpected. They don’t fit the norm. Neither does CHRONOMETREE.
Originally, Fred Schendel had written the music to be a part of a solo instrumental release. Steve Babb liked the music so much, he asked Schendel to make it a GH album, a concept about concepts. Schendel happily agreed.
I remember my wife and I left town for a week’s vacation and when we returned a lot of Chronometree’s music had already been written by Fred. He wanted it to be an instrumental solo project, but the sound of that Hammond organ and the retro style of the music was such that I insisted we make it a full blown Glass Hammer project with a storyline. We never imagined it would be such a turning point for us. That’s the moment we embraced our roots and we have never truly repented of it. Prog fans couldn’t resist the storyline, as everyone could relate to our character “Tom” and his slacker friends. Chronometree was a prog album about taking prog albums too seriously. We’re all guilty of it. Leave it to Glass Hammer to call attention to that.—Steve Babb, July 28, 2015
It’s worth remembering at this point that GH had not fully established itself as a major and globally-known progressive rock act when CHROMONETREE first appeared. While Babb and Schendel had been friends since the 1980s, they had been releasing Glass Hammer albums only since 1993. Though they loved progressive rock, they had no idea where the genre existed in the early 1990s. Many now label them—in hindsight—as “neo prog,” a part of the second wave of progressive rock. They are really, however, pioneers of 3rd-Wave Prog and have maintained their status as one of the two or three premier bands of 3rd Wave over the past fifteen years. Their music, always deep and often overblown (when necessary), really defines the American aspect of 3rd-Wave Prog. They are, to put it bluntly, quintessential to 3rd-Wave Prog. They define it, they embody it, and they progress it.
In the early 1990s, however, Babb and Schendel labeled themselves “fantasy rock,” blending the imaginary worlds of the Inklings (C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien) with the musical talents and stylings of Kansas and Yes. To their surprise, they sold well, supported by their own successful recording studio, SOUND RESOURCES, which had recorded everything from country music to audio books. Indeed, they have never lost money on any Glass Hammer releases, and their popularity and profitability has grown at the same pace as their artistic innovation and confidence.
Let me admit a personal bias here. I know Steve Babb, and I consider him a very good friend. He is, from my perspective, a man of immense talent as well as as integrity. Every dollar he and Schendel have earned is much more than justly earned. They appeal to the soul and the mind, not the emotions or the pocketbook. Yet, they have done well where so many others have failed. Indeed, the less commercially viable and artistic their art has become, the more successful they have been. A beautiful paradox.
Prior to CHRONOMETREE, Glass Hammer had written and produced three of their fantasy rock albums: JOURNEY OF THE DUNADAN (1993); PERELANDRA (1995); and ON TO EVERMORE (1998). In almost every way, CHRONOMETREE signaled a new era for Glass Hammer. Though still rooted in fantasy, the story of CHRONOMETREE is as much science fiction and psychological study as it is fantasy. While it is only a notch below LEX REX in terms of artistic expression, it was a necessary precursor to LEX REX and to all of the albums that have followed.
Star voice changing feel call it out
sounding round the bright sized time
We never saw again
Forgot between the real pulse
The breath of life attain
Let play the sonic wind revealing
Not turning form loose tale
Of awesome thunder turn around the scene
To passion shall not surely fail
–From the opening of CHRONOMETREE. Tom, it seems, is getting word from 1972’s CLOSE TO THE EDGE.
As mentioned above, every single Glass Hammer album has been better than the previous one. And, yet, there’s not a dud anywhere in GH’s discography. GH really do define excellence at every level: song-writing; lyrics; production; and packaging. One consistent criticism of GH has been that they are “retro-prog.” Forgive me a pet-peeve, but this is total nonsense. There is no doubt that Babb and Schendel possess a healthy piety toward those who come before them. But, so does any great artist. Art cannot be so radical that it is not recognized by the larger community. It also is never totally derivative unless it is an obvious mockery.
Do Babb and Schendel love Yes and Kansas and Genesis? Of course. So does probably everyone reading this article. Yet, Babb and Schendel move well beyond their inspirations.
If nothing else, Glass Hammer should be praised not only for their very healthy innovation (Have you ever heard an album like LEX REX? No, it’s unique.), but especially for their never-ending pursuit of excellence. I offer the following two pieces of evidence out of a hundred such: 1) Susie Warren Bogdanowicz as singer. This woman is a goddess of song and voice. Outside of David Landon and Leah McHenry, she is the single best voice in rock right now. 2) Aaron Raulston, drummer. This guy could easily hold his own against Peart, NDV, and Portnoy.
Lesser men than Babb and Schendel might be intimidated at having such talent in their band. But, NOT Babb and Schendel. They seek the excellent and incorporate it whenever they can. They’re leaders, not cowards. And, they wisely realize, adding the extraordinary talents of a Bogdanowicz or Raulston only serves to make them all better.
CHRONOMETREE is the last of the somewhat original lineup, though it should properly be considered a nexus for the band as well as for 3rd-Wave Prog. Brad Marler provides lead vocals, and even the brilliant Dutch prog master Arjen Lucassen plays on the album.
As most describe the album, CHRONOMETREE is as a “tongue-in-check” concept album about being too obsessed with concept albums. Having spent many hours of my pre-marriage days wearing headphones and listening intently to progressive rock over and over again in the dark of my bedroom, analyzing every lyric to the point of absurdity, I very well understand the obsessive element.
And eldritch wind howls and moans
Through the space that I was shown
Can you hear their urgent call
Hidden in the sound
As this smoky room begins to fade
And eldritch wind howls and moans
Through the space that I was shown
I’ve been called to other stars
(and the heavens know my name)
I’ve been shown another world
As the vinyl turns
As the vinyl turns
–An Eldritch Wind
Perhaps by grace alone, I have turned this teenage obsession into a healthy hobby as an adult. Regardless, I can relate to the protagonist of the album, though I can also assure the reader that I have never believed that the albums or bands were sending me gnostic messages.
I have always, however, looked for the symbolism and deeper meanings in progressive rock albums. Obviously, Babb and Schendel have as well. For me, the lyrics are the biggest draw to prog. But, equally important is how artists mingle and match the word and the note.
With just the moon
To light our way
We headed back to Tom’s house
To wait for the day
The voices in his head
Had told him wrong
Science reduced to the musings of a song
All mixed up with the essence of his bong
–Watching the Sky
If you know Glass Hammer, nothing in this article has been a revelation to you. You know very well that Glass Hammer should be the proper synonym for beauty, truth, goodness, and excellence. You also know that Babb and Schendel would NEVER release anything that is less than perfect. And, you know that as natural leaders and artists, Babb and Schendel readily and properly form community around them and their art.
If you don’t know Glass Hammer, I envy you. I would give so much to listen to GH for the first time. . . again.
Glass Hammer’s 17th studio album, “The Breaking Of The World” to be released March 31st 2015 with pre-ordering of autographed copies starting March 1st. Featuring Babb, Schendel, Groves, Shikoh, Bogdanowicz and Raulston. Nine new tracks with audiophile mastering by Bob Katz of Digital Domain and art by Michal Xaay Loranc.
[A review of Glass Hammer, ODE TO ECHO (Sound Resources, 2014). Please excuse any typos. I composed this on my ipad while waiting for a very, very delayed flight at the Detroit airport.]
For Glass Hammer, ODE TO ECHO means two things. First, and vitally, it’s a reference to a story of antiquity by Heroicus and dealing with the greatest of warriors, Achilles. Second, it’s a tribute to two decades of success as a band.
In every way, this album is packed with brilliance, beauty, and treats around every corner.
One of the most noticeable features of Glass Hammer’s latest, ODE TO ECHO, is its sheer diversity of styles and moods. Having four lead vocalists and three backup ones adds significantly to this, and it provides a wonderful listening experience. Over the course of eight songs, Babb and Schendel provide a journey into the fantastic and mythic. One could never find a dull moment here, even if one tried.
The second most noticeable aspect of the album is its self-assuredness. Progging since the early 1990s and rocking since the early 1980s, Babb and Schendel have every right to be confident. Creating Glass Hammer, a project that has always been self supporting, self sustaining, and impressively profitable, has proven significant not only for the history of American rock but, critically, for third-wave prog overall. These two geniuses emerged on the prog scene at the moment the genre was, almost certainly, at its nadir of popularity and influence. Through immense and never faltering talent, entrepreneurial initiative, and intense tenacity, Glass Hammer has reshaped much of the genre over the past two decades.
In almost every way, ODE TO ECHO, is a tribute and—musically—an autobiographical statement.
A third aspect of the album, and intimately connected to the second aspect, is Glass Hammer’s willingness to innovate as well as to borrow. Many reviewers have criticized the band for being too Yes-like. Babb and Schendel are nothing if not feisty, and such criticisms only fuel their desire to do whatever they want. If they want to reference Yes, they do so. If they want to reference Genesis, they do this as well. If they simply want to try something new, they do this, too! It’s endearing, frankly, contrarian, and very American. Hence, at a few points, this album references Yes from Going for the One as well as Yes from Magnification. At other points, it references Kansas (having David Ragsdale as a guest musician doesn’t hurt!). The Beatles creep in at points, too. Mostly, though, the album reveals the love Babb and Schendel bring to the art of music.
Frankly, I’m relieved Glass Hammer followed up their masterpiece, PERILOUS, with ODE TO ECHO. PERILOUS was so good and so mysterious as well as so profoundly moving that it would be most difficult for any band to follow. By moving away from a single story and embracing diversity of vocals and music styles, Babb and Schendel very successfully create a totally different kind of masterpiece.
While this is probably heresy in some circles, I find Jon Davison’s vocals fine but not glorious. I much prefer, for example, the vocals of a David Longdon, a Leah McHenry, a Sam Healy, a Jan-Henrik Ohme, or a Andy Tillison. Davison’s voice just comes across a little too fey at times. But, Susie Bogdanowicz? Be still my beating heart. She can sing, and she can sing with the absolute best of them. Indeed (and again I’m on possibly heretical ground), her version of Yes’s “South Side of the Sky” is better than the original. That she’s as gorgeous on the outside as she is in her vocals, of course, doesn’t hurt. But, once you’ve heard her vocals, you can’t imagine her as anything other than a truly beautiful person, nearly angelic.
Carl Groves and Walter Moore have much to offer as well, as do the backing vocalists.
No review of this album would be even close to complete without a reference to the actual playing. Babb and Schendel are certainly at their best. Indeed, their vast experience lends itself not to complacency but to the drive to perform better than ever. I have a feeling, these two do nothing half way. If a thing is to be done, it is to be done well. And, indeed, very, very well. I must also note the sonic excellence of the new drummer, Aaron Raulston. Sheesh, I’ve not heard anyone this good since Neil Peart and Nick D’Virgilio. Wow is all I can write. This guy will make his mark in the rock world, to be sure.
2014 has already proven to be a year every bit as good as 2012 and 2013, though we’re only in the fourth month. Whatever you do, do NOT bypass this album. ODE TO ECHO is not just great prog, it’s brilliant and shimmering Glass Hammer. Considering Glass Hammer never does anything that is not at the highest of standards, this is saying something.