These days every fan of progressive and symphonic rock knows the name Glass Hammer. For years now, they belong to the “creme de la creme” of symphonic rock. In the year 2010 the founders Steve Babb and Fred Schendel made a new start with Glass Hammer. Together with singer Jon Davison and guitarist Alan Shikoh they made the highly acclaimed album “IF”. Because of the resemblance of Jon Davison’s voice with that of a young Jon Anderson (ex Yes) the music on that album had a high Yes factor. After an album with a more commercial character, “IF” was embraced by the Glass Hammer fans. “Cor Cordium” is Glass Hammer’s 2011 follow-up to last year’s highly acclaimed “IF”.
Jon Davison - lead vocals, acoustic guitars; Steve Babb - bass guitar, keyboards, backing vocals; Fred Schendel - keyboards, steel and acoustic guitar, backing vocals; Alan Shikoh - acoustic, electric and classical guitars, electric sitar.
On the new Glass Hammer album you can find the following tracks; “Nothing Box” (10:53), “One Heart” (6:20), “Salvation Station” (5:08), “Dear Daddy” (10:30), “To Someone” (18:15) and “She, a lonely Tower”.
When you listen to the first song “Nothing Box” you notice that Glass Hammer with “Cor Cordium” is heading in the same musical direction as the songs that you can find on it's predecessor “IF”. Progressive rock with a high symphonic character. Diverse songs with a lot of rhythm changes, beautiful vocal melodies and great instrumental parts. The slow song “One Heart” has beautiful melodies and vocal refrains. And you will think that you are listening to the voice of Jon Anderson. The similarity between both voices remains remarkable. “Salvation Station”, the shortest track of the album, has jazzy synth, piano and guitar solos in the middle section. The song has at one point some Gentle Giant influences. After these two shorter tracks you are treated to three long tracks. The first one entitled “Dear Daddy, has a beautiful melodic guitar solo, great vocal parts, beautiful keyboard strings and a lot of acoustic/classical guitar work. It is a warm-up to the epic of this album. “To Someone” (18:15) is for me the highlight of this wonderful album. After an opening with a lot of Yes influences the song slows down with classical guitars and a beautiful vocal part with some amazing melodies. In the second part you can enjoy a long Hammond solo. This is a great symphonic track with besides the already mentioned Yes influences also some references to ELP (because of the Hammond sounds). The album closes with the track “She, A Lonely Tower” that opens with a melodic electric guitar part. Again you hear those wonderful (Anderson like) vocal parts of Jon Davison ... I wonder if he deliberately sings in the same style as Jon Anderson did. So also in this track you have to think about Yes several times. And not only because of the vocals but also because of the sound of the guitars. Fred Schendel is playing all kinds of keyboard solo's in this track which ends with a climax in “Awaken” (Yes) style.
“Cor Cordium”, the successor of the album “IF”, can be seen as a further development of the new Glass Hammer formation. It is not “IF” part two but the music develops into the same musical direction. So you can still hear a lot of Yes references. These Yes influences are chasing the band a little bit. But I know that the band has a lot of respect for the music that Yes was making ... and they just love that kind of symphonic prog. You can also see this as a success formula that works for all those fans of symphonic rock. I hope that the band can develop a more own sound out of this basis. “Cor Cordium” is the first step in this process ... because it is not “IF” part two. But on the other hand, if you like the album “IF” you probably also will like “Cor Cordium”. Personally I find the melodies on “IF” a little bit stronger than on the new album. But it is still a fantastic symphonic prog album!