Glass Hammer - The Inconsolable Secret
After listening to this Glass Hammer’s “"The Inconsolable Secret” for the first ten minutes one can tell the caliber of band that we have here. This demands to be placed on the shelf as many great recordings like YES “Fragile”, Kansas “Left Overture” and Manfred Mann’s Earth Band “Solar Fire”. This project comes as a two CD set with artwork by Roger Dean (mostly known for the art appearing on the covers of many YES albums).
This CD has got to be one of the most eclectic recordings I have ever heard, yet holds a solid continuity. “The Lady” disc starts out with a brief classical piano prelude reminiscent of Franz Liszt. Then it breaks into almost a classic 70’s YES sound, with the use of heavy keyboards, thick guitars, melodic vocals and complex song structure. The second song “The Morning She Woke” is the first we hear the beautiful and sometimes haunting voice of Susie Bogdanowics. The drums on both of the songs are extremely impressive, especially the cymbal work. “Lazarel” kicks out a medieval, Celtic influenced tune featuring Susie. “The High Place” then opens as a traditional Choral piece accompanied by a string orchestra. Midway through the song we get a very odd electronically enhanced solo male vocal, then back to the Chorale with Susie’s voice taking the lead. Track five is a more traditional flute piece with Celtic influenced melodies but then comes this quite odd dark keyboard layer. This is a foreshadow of the next almost disturbing romantic orchestration track. “Morrigan’s Song” is kind of an epic tune that would fit well within the Lord of the Rings soundtrack. Track seven, “Mog Ruith” is a fast paced classic heavy keyboard Glass Hammer prog instrumental. By now I think you’ve gotten the idea: classic prog rock, Celtic influenced acoustic tunes, classically influenced pieces, chorales, with an overall romantic feel. This is a well-tied flawless smorgasbord for any lover of real music.
The second CD, “The Knights”, has two impressive songs coming in at over 15 and almost 25 minutes long. This portion is the more commercially accessible bit except for the lengths. Once again the CD starts with a piano prelude then goes into a heavy jazz-fusion ordeal with solid bass playing and hypnotic keyboard arpeggios, then progresses into a more standard melodic prog rock tune. The second track starts off with a string prelude lead by a cello, then into a classically oriented prog rock section.
Both of these CDs are epic poems set to music. “The Knight” is a story about a glorious knight who comes so consumed by power he decides to overthrow his King. “"The Lady” is about a King and his daughter. The daughter longs for a romance and walks out on the King. She begins to see things as they really are and not the romantic dream she thought her life would be without his protection and care.
Overall this is a very impressive piece of musical art. Glass Hammer brings hope to this world focused on shallow art and glorified karaoke singers. The only thing I find lacking is a radio accessible single. I highly recommend it for the musical connoisseur.