Glass Hammer –Skallagrim: Into The Breach

Posted: 271021

Review Erik Neuteboom

This USA formation was founded in 1992 by the two multi-instrumentalists Steve Babb and Fred Schendel, now anno 2021 Glass Hammer release their 20th studio-album, in almost 30 years. To be honest, it’s more than 10 years ago that I listened to a new Glass Hammer album so I was very curious to this latest effort.

Well, I am stunned, Glass Hammer goes heavy, what a cascades of smoking guitars and sumptuous Hammond layers, and what a strong female voice, wow! Anthem To Andorath (from fat guitar riffs to spacey synthesizers, topped with powerful duo vocals) reminds me of Metallica. Sellsword (embellished with Mellotron choirs and a waw-wah drenched guitar solo) evokes Led Zeppelin to me. And Hyperborea (strong work on guitar and keyboards) is obviously inspired by Rush. More Heavy Prog in Steel (heavy guitars and powerful Hammond), The Dark (swirling Hammond and rocking guitars), The Ogre Of Archon (biting wah-wah guitar and another powerful Hammond solo) and Into The Breach (blistering guitar runs).

But Glass Hammer also delivers more mellow tracks, and more variety. Like a dreamy sound with celestial female vocals in the short opener He's Got a Girl. Spacey synthesizers and tasteful sequencing in A Spell Upon His Mind. An atmospheric climate with percussion and guitar in Moon Pool. And In The Forlorn Hope the heavy and bombastic sound turns halfway into a mellow folky atmosphere featuring dreamy female vocals, guitar and keyboards, a nice musical twist.

What a strong, dynamic and varied album, I am pleasantly surprised by this new Glass Hammer sound, and I love that distinctive Hammond-heavy guitar combo, reminding me of Vanilla Fudge, Atomic Rooster, Deep Purple and Uriah Heep.