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  1. #1
    Suspended 3-LockBox's Avatar
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    Glass Hammer // Culture Of Ascent

    This thread is just for what few proggers are left so you may want to move along....

    still here? ok



    I've never been a fan of this prog band from Tennessee, but they sure are popular. I've always critisized them for being milktoast - not ballsy enough, too artsy-fartsy, poor writing - steller musicianship though, at least one good song per album anyway. Kind of a souped-up Manheim Steamroller.

    This new one is different. They have a new member, Carl Groves of the band Salem Hill, who in my opinion is a much, much better writer of music and lyrics. He provides a much more cohesive effort in the way of interesting music as well as a much needed kick in their ass. The songs on this new GH album, Culture Of Ascent, have bite, but still retain the air of symphonic prog. Not to say that GH sucked before, but they were a band patterned after the ELP side of prog (and I have little use for ELP). With this new album they have a more modern sound...well...as modern as this style of music gets anyway.

    A few caveats - they touted this new one for months saying Jon Anderson was appearing on it...and he does, except he only provides "vocalizations" , not real vocals, so in my estimation, its like getting to second base on a date, over top of the winter coat. So anyone buying this CD thinking Anderson plays a major role on it will be disappointed. If you forget Anderson has anything to do with it, then it could be a pleasant surprise.

    So fans of Salem Hill might want to take note of this new GH album, as its the prog album everyone always wanted Carl Groves to make. BarryL might even enjoy this one.

  2. #2
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Hmmm....interesting - never paid much attention to these guys, though they're on a lot of prog comps people give me.

    Souped-up Manheim Steamroller... lol..time bring out the Christmas CD's yet?

  3. #3
    Forum Regular BarryL's Avatar
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    Hmmmm....

    Quote Originally Posted by 3-LockBox
    This thread is just for what few proggers are left so you may want to move along....

    Kind of a souped-up Manheim Steamroller.

    This new one is different.

    These guys sound nothing like ELP, well, nothing like ELP of the 1970s. I even find Love Beach more dynamic than most of the stuff I've heard from Glass Hammer. I do have three GH CDs.

    My complaint about GH is that for a band, they sound a lot like a one-man band multi-tracking in the studio. Actually, to me they sound like a dumbed down Starcastle, which was a kind-of dumbed-down Yes.

    This band has no bite, a rather blase vocalist. It's good to hear that the new one has more bite, but what about the vocalist?

    I'll seek out some other reviews, but it's going to be difficult for me to give these guys another chance.

  4. #4
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    I have a couple GH albums and like them pretty well. I could tell way back when I posted for suggestions of titles that they were not a favorite here. Thanks for the heads up, I didn't realize they had a new album.
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  5. #5
    Close 'n PlayŽ user Troy's Avatar
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    A dumbed down Starcastle is not exactly a ringing endorsement, now is it?

  6. #6
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    I bought thic cd because of P.E. website comments and it's a turd. Boring as hell. Wish I had my 16 bucks back.

    Dave

  7. #7
    Suspended 3-LockBox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BarryL
    My complaint about GH is that for a band, they sound a lot like a one-man band multi-tracking in the studio. This band has no bite, a rather blase vocalist. It's good to hear that the new one has more bite, but what about the vocalist?
    This one won't bowl you over either, though its a good album, much better than the two CDs I've heard (Shadowlands and Lex Rex). Carl Groves is from the other Tennessee prog band, Salem Hill. I've heard a couple of SH's album and thought they were very good. The album 'Be' is a good concept album, though it wasn't prog enough for their fans, so the follow-up to that was a very boring affair called Mimi's Magic Moment (and no, I do not know what that means and I'm not sure I want to know).

    I like that the guitar is ballsier on Culture Of Ascent, but make no mistake, its still a keyboard affair. Carl Groves is the featured vocalist and while he has an ok voice, he doesn't have a dynamic range. He's still a better vocalists than the sap they usually have. And the female vocal is reduced, on this effort anyway, to mostly backup, though the lead vocal on their Yes cover of South Side Of The Sky, is female. No, you read that right, they do a cover of SSotS, and a rather pedestrian cover at that. Not that it sucked, but it isn't going to make you forget about the original. Oh, it was a good idea I think, considering the concept, correlating mountain climbing to soul-searching (christian themes are less obvious than in the past). But if you're going to do a cover of a well-known tune by a legendary band, then you better hit it out of the park - they don't.

    If you're really put off from the GH experience then this prolly won't win you over. For me, its a nice sounding album, but I can think of five prog releases this year that are better. I do like this one better than Sum Of No Evil.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave_G
    I bought thic cd because of P.E. website comments and it's a turd. Boring as hell. Wish I had my 16 bucks back.
    Gotta be careful of those fanboys over there. I envy their enthusiasm at times, but wished they'd cut back their prozac dosage.

    I bought Flower Kings' Sum Of No Evil based on all those gushing reviews (I'll wind up selling it I'm sure).

    Every time their favorite group puts out an album, some of those guys piss down both legs. And boy do they come unglued if you disagree with them...well, I don't have to tell you anything

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