Every time when band members from Glass Hammer, my favourite progressive rock band, contribute on someone elseís album it gets my interest. Iím curious to check out whether their contribution has lifted the music to a higher level. Therefore, it was obvious that I wanted to review the latest effort Signpost of progressive rock band and recording project Vertical Alignment. Founding member and multi-instrumentalist Pete Jorgensen (keyboards, guitars, vocals) asked keyboard player Fred Schendel and bassist Steve Babb, both members of Glass Hammer, to contribute on the bandís debut album.
Along with them a number of musicians who had performed with Glass Hammer on their latest DVD, joined. That means that people like David Walliman (guitars), Eric Parker (lead vocals) and Carl Groves (lead vocals) from Salem Hill were also invited to contribute. Together with core members Monty Pierce (guitars), Mike Adams (drums), Jim Braunreuther (lead vocals), Terri Jorgensen (bass) and several other guest musicians such as Randy George (bass/guitars) they delivered an outstanding album that certainly sounds like a Glass Hammer-release. Above all the keyboard parts strongly reminded me of one of Americaís leading progressive rock bands. However, we can also hear influences from bands like Yes, Kansas or Genesis. Anyway, the nine tracks on Signposts all have a very high quality level. I didnít hear any weak track on this album, so listening to it is a real treat for my ears. Not only the music, but also the lyrics are important and have something to say. Many lyrics deal with God and The Holy Spirit besides subjects like the attack on the Twin Towers, the sinking of the Titanic and Romaniaís history.
Anyone who enjoyed the eighty minutes of music on Signposts must keep an eye for their next releases, because they planned two more projects. The concept album The Trial Of Tears Suite will deal with the story of the native Cherokee Indians and Josephís Dream will be released as an ambitious double album telling a fantasy and science fiction story written by Pete Jorgensen. This is certainly something to look out for. Hopefully the upcoming releases contain the same high level of progressive rock music as their debut.
**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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All Rights Reserved Background Magazine 2013