Glass Hammer - The Inconsolable Secret
Those compelling progressive minstrels, Glass Hammer, have yet to disappoint us here at HHH. Possibly the band's biggest project to date, the double CD (enhanced) album, The Inconsolable Secret, was released worldwide on 12th July 2005 and we have spent the last few days joyously acquainting ourselves with this epic work.
The Digipacked double album of almost 100 minutes of delicious prog is based on a poem by Steve Babb, The Lay Of Lirazel, which is included in the data section of disc 1 in PDF format. Like Steve, many of us males were enchanted (and often besotted) with the painting that became many a poster, adorning the walls of student bedrooms, The Lady of Shallot. That and many literary references inspired Steve to write the epic poem and the lyrics to the album. Whilst talk of Knights, King and the Lady may immediately conjure up visions of King Arthur, Guinevere and crew, this fantasy is a different story.
The first CD comes under the banner, The Knights, the two tracks (15mins and 25 mins) filled with the magic of GH - hooks, fills, twiddley bits, melodies galore and all that the anti-prog brigade hates. The usual strong and purposeful bass plays as prominent a part as the spine tingling guitar work and together with all those classic keyboard sounds culminated in a lengthy telephone conversation between myself and HHH colleague, Danny Mayo about the album. And the string arrangement on the second track is enough to stop one breathing for fear of disturbing the flow of music. If this album was a woman, she would be the one for me. And Danny apparently!
The second disc falls to The Lady, the eleven tracks of which show GH in a new-ish light. Unmistakably Glass Hammer, the music takes on a kind of 'next stage' in their musical ascent with a slightly more 'serious approach'. Opening in the style and theme established with the first CD, the music progresses into different areas touching on choral, medieval, Celtic, classical and pastoral symphonic prog. The superb Morrigan's Song has both a hint of Gryphon and Clannad and I can't help seeing images of Robin Of Sherwood TV series which is currently being re-run on one of the channels. If you want to test or perhaps risk your loudspeakers, crank up the volume before the track Mog Ruith, but don't blame me if one or more cones pop out too far. As with their music, Glass Hammer's reputation for vocals remains top notch.
Along with the poem on disc 1, other extras in the data section include a PDF lyric file, JPG of the album artwork by the one and only Roger Dean and a Quicktime video of the 'Inconsolable Sessions'.
From my conversation with Danny Mayo, it was clear that he
too was bubbling over with enthusiasm for this album, so I asked him to share
his views... "Once again Glass Hammer have amazed me with
a stunning album, this time, a double. The two epics on The Knights disc,
A Maker Of Crowns and The Knight Of The North are two of the best
songs the band have ever recorded. Then to close it all, on the The Lady
disc, Having Caught A Glimpse will go down as a future classic. Clearly,
Glass Hammer are one of the best 'prog' bands on this planet!" And
you know what? He is absolutely right!
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