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Glass Hammer "The Inconsolable Secret"
[SR1320]
$19.99
by Brian Nielsen Date Added: Wednesday 13 July, 2005
Glass Hammer's latest offering, The Inconsolable Secret, is a 2-CD Progressive Rock album that eclipses their previous concept album masterpiece Lex Rex in nearly every aspect.

Musically, the sound of both Lex Rex and Shadowlands are represented and built upon exponentially, and the addition of Matt Mendians (Live at Nearfest and Lex Live) as GH's studio drummer will simply shut up the long time grumblings of fans and reviewers alike. The band experiments with styles never heard before on pervious albums, and the wide range of sound benefits the overall feel of both discs and highlights Babb and Schendel's growing maturity in songwriting that comes with their eighth major release. The production work is crisp and pristine, with a balanced sound. No instrument is ever too loud for need of overpowering the others, and having heard the album on a variety of systems, it seems to play well without much tweaking.

Lyrically the album centers around a 60+ page epic poem by Steve Babb entitled "The Lay of Lirazel" which in its own right is an incredible work, and is included with other goodies on the digipack-enhanced first CD.

Disc One, entitled "The Knight" contains two songs that are very much done in the fantastic "stripped down" sound of lush vocal harmonies, organ, mellotron, synth, bass, and guitar that made Glass Hammer famous. It opens with ‘A Maker of Crowns’ a powerful song that has a piano, organ, and a synth riff running throughout that harkens back to Camel’s work. The 25+ minute epic ‘The Knight of The North’ has many sections and moods that work together as a whole- you never realize that you listened to near a half-hour of one song. At 7:50 into this track, there is a blaze of inspired synth and Hammond work, but there are simply too many highlights to mention; the piece closes strongly with warm choir and orchestra.

Disc Two, or “The Lady,” is a cohesive set of songs that tell a story just as Lex Rex had, book ended by two tracks over 10 minutes in length. The beautiful female vocals get to take center stage multiple times, showing the incredible talents of both old and new girls. ‘Lirazel’ remains a favorite of mine; although I wish it was longer! Many of the instrumental and symphonic pieces in the middle of CD two evoke a very “movie score” feel to them- you are taken along for the ride, like something out of The Lord of The Rings. ‘Mog Ruith’ is an explosion of drums and keyboards fit for a battle scene. The soft ballad ‘Through a Glass Darkly’ evokes emotions that run deep, and fits nicely within the set. ‘Having Caught a Glimpse’ has soaring vocals and melody, and culminates in an incredible way, bringing themes and cues from other songs on the album to bring disc two to a close, which sent shivers through my whole body.

All this incredible orchestration, especially at the end of ‘Having Caught a Glimpse’ almost worries the keyboard fan in me slightly. Fans need to make sure GH never forgets the sound that Lex Rex and Chronometree made famous.

That small reservation aside, which in no way detracts from this work as a whole, this is a must buy for any fan of Yes, Kansas, Echolyn, or keyboard-driven symphonic prog as a whole. Special mention must be made of the wonderful cover art and new logo created by famed artist Roger Dean.

One wonders how they might top this album, for Glass Hammer once again has taken a myriad of musical influences and made it completely their own: 5/5.

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars! [5 of 5 Stars!]
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Glass Hammer "The Inconsolable Secret"
Glass Hammer's latest offering, The Inconsolable Secret, is ..
5 of 5 Stars!

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