Glass Hammer -
Live At The Tivoli

(DVD 2008, 100:00, Sound Resources SR2327)

The tracks:
  1- Eiger Dreams
  2- Run Lisette
  3- The Morning She Woke
  4- A Cup Of Trembling
  5- Lirazel
  6- Heroes And Dragons
  7- Longer
  8- Knight Of The North
  9- Beati Quorum Via
10- Having Caught A Glimpse
11- South Of The Sky

Glass Hammer Website       

Multi-instrumentalist Fred Schendel, is a genuine prog rock veteran. He already participated in the first line-up of Glass Hammer in 1993, when the band released their first album Journey Of The Dunadan and nowadays, after many albums, he still is a member of this USA prog rock formation. The acclaimed Culture Of Ascent from 2007 was their latest studio effort and this DVD is already their third one, after Lex Live (2004) and Live At Belmont (2006).
Recently I watched those two previous live DVD's and if I compare them to Live At The Tivoli - ten songs, running time hundred minutes -. I have to conclude that their latest effort is superior. The performance varies more. The band invited The Adonia String Trio, the massive Lee University Choral Union and The GPS Girls Choir. Glass Hammer really has matured over the years. Their very melodic sound is drenched into the symphonic rock tradition of the seventies, especially bands like Yes, Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Kansas. However, Glass Hammer's music is more accessible with an important role for the vocals, as usual in USA prog rock. Along a male singer, also three female vocalists are present. Fred Schendel delivers lots of strong keyboard work: dazzling synthesizer flights, powerful Hammond organ runs, some majestic church organ and lush mellotron waves. Another high light we can mention, is the guitar work featuring many powerful and fiery solos and exciting interplay with the keyboards. The atmospheres in the ten compositions are sometimes dreamy with violins and acoustic guitar as in Longer done by The Adonia String Trio. On the other hand, we hear bombastic and up-tempo compositions with splendid work on guitar and keyboards, especially in the tracks Knight Of The North and Having Caught A Glimpse. This is Glass Hammer at their best: exciting shifting moods with swirling Emersonian Hammond organ, swirling synthesizer and guitar flights, powerful interplay between the musicians and compelling final parts with a huge choir and church organ in the true Anglo-Saxon-Protestant church tradition! The final song is the Yes cover South Side Of The Sky (the studio version featured Jon Anderson). Glass Hammer does a decent job here with good female vocals and a strong fiery guitar solo. In my opinion, this DVD shows Glass Hammer at their best. Recommended!

**** Erik Neuteboom (edited by Peter Willemsen)

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