Image © 2000
(29 May 2000) The latest album from progressive rock band Glass Hammer
is entitled Chronometree (Arion Records (USA) SR-9000, 2000); it
should delight fans of Yes and Emerson, Lake and Palmer as well as
other bands of that genre. A concept album like the group's former
releases—Journey of the Dunaden, Perelandra
and On To Evermore—the album is comprised of one multi-part epic
yet it has two smaller pieces embedded within it. There are actually
two numbering sequences for the album's tracks which, with a little bit
of studying, can be easily interpreted. The two major parts of
"All In Good Time" consist of album tracks "a" through "j."
The fifth and six tracks of the album, "A Perfect Carosel" and
"Chronos Deliverer," are the middle songs. A short instrumental
bonus track is also included at the end of the album.
The album was written and recorded by Fred Schendel (Hammond organ,
Mellotron, mini-Moog, keyboards, acoustic, electric and slide guitar,
autoharp, drums and backing vocals) and Steve Babb (bass guitar,
keyboards, Mellotron, synths and backing vocals). To round out the
lineup for the album, Fred and Steve brought in Brad Marler (lead
vocals and writer of "Perfect Carosel"), Walter Moore (drums,
guitars), Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon; also Lana Lane's latest album
(review)) and Terry Clouse
(additional guitar work). This is the first Glass Hammer album
to be produced without explicit female vocal parts; there is,
however, a choir passage with guest performances Susie Warren,
Jamie Watkins and Sarah Snyder on "Chronos Deliverer." Enthusiasts
will be interested to know that Glass Hammer also released a limited
edition album of rare live performances and remixes from their work
prior to On To Evermore entitled Live and Revived
(Arion Records (USA) SR-5710, 1997).
The storyline of Chronometree revolves around Tom, a
progressive rock fan from the 1970s who heard voices from
outer space within the music he listened to. The aliens instructed
him in the science of Chronometree. Tom captured the fundamentals
in a series of drawings and esoteric manuscripts ultimately
revealing directions to construct a time machine. A series of
graphics from the project are available at Glass Hammer's
"All In Good Time" is primarily an instrumental number,
laced with layers of keyboards drawing a strong resemblence
to ELP's Tarkus in many places. Arrangements blend
Glass Hammer's style from former albums with this very 1970s
Keith Emerson-style keyboard work and the metal edged guitar
work of Arjen Lucassen. The album requires several devoted
listens to appreciate the details of the music and the
instrumental themes evident within it. It is a very well
written, performed and recorded album, and will appeal to
symphonic and orchestral progressive rock enthusiasts.
"A Perfect Carosel" and "Chronos Deliverer" contrast
the balance of the album both in their style and delivery.
"A Perfect Carosel" is an acoustic guitar- and light
synthesizer-based ballad. Wakeman-style keyboard
excursions contribute to Yes similarities within the
track and compliment the lyrical theme of the tune.
A highlight of the album is "Chronos Deliverer," a
very Yes-like track with soaring electric guitars and
keyboard parts similar to Howe and Wakeman respectively.
We especially enjoyed the vocal parts and the supporting
orchestral keyboards. The later tracks on the album
include both Wakeman- and Emerson-style keyboard
The first album to emerge from the band since 1998's
On To Evermore, Glass Hammer's Chronometree
effectively blends elements of their earlier styles with those
of classic ELP and Yes. The group's website is a resource
for further information; there you can
find further reviews, soundbites and ordering information.
Chronometree is also available from good online and
mail order progressive rock retailers including
(Dundee, Scotland) and
ZNR (Louisville, KY
USA). The band's earlier albums are available at amazon.com.
You can order
Journey Of The Dunadan
On To Evermore
here. A progressive album worth extensive exploration and
certainly a long distance journey, this latest Glass Hammer
release is a must listen!