GLASS HAMMER – Arise (2023)
In music, most albums contain individual stories, the songs, and then some albums have a thematic link: concept albums. So, when one of our favorite bands announce they are releasing a space-based concept album, trust us, we are going to be hooked…
Legendary American proggers GLASS HAMMER return with deep space exploration concept album ‘Arise’, this new release follows the extraordinary journey of an android dispatched by overzealous scientists to uncover the galaxy’s hidden wonders.
A.R.I.S.E. (Android Research Initiative for Space Exploration) is a terrific amalgamation of prog-rock, 70s hard rock, pop-rock and even a definite ’80s vibe – it’s an album that will at times leave you slack jawed and open mouthed at its audacity and in-your-face brilliance and, while definitively a Glass Hammer album, there’s new found confidence in every note.
The story, which is told in the lyrics and in other notes in the booklet, involves an android as the operator of a deep space exploration craft named Deadalus. Along the way, the android senses a presence that seems to be calling to it as it explores consciousness.
Glass Hammer’s style has adapted to this story, taking a step away from the metal of past album but heading into new territory for the band, with expansive use of synths evoking the vastness of space and the internal questions of the existence of an independent self for the android protagonist and narrator.
Like a majestic slice of hard rock infused electronica, ARION (18 delphini b) fires a warning shot with Steve Babb’s effects laden voice leading us into the track. It’s a wonderful thrill ride of galactic proportions and the funky keyboards add a touch of 70’s cool to the song.
The music shifts from hard rock as the android launches into space to contemplative as it finds itself at “Mare Sirenum” in which the android gets lost in reveries and experiences another presence. This is followed by “Lost,” the ballad on the album with a very strong melody which lets us hear Hannah Pyror’s versatility and range as a vocalist. It is one of the highlights.
Along the way, the android experiences an awakening as it begins to explore personal fulfillment. This all leads to a one-two punch finale. In the 12-minute title track, the android says, “and have you ever felt the hand of God upon you / It’ll change you brother” and “look to the heavens, look all around / Cause He’s not hard to find, never was.”
This Is followed by the “The Return of Deadalus,” a bass-heavy jam that takes a few nice turns along the way leaving us wondering exactly what happened to the android.
Arise is a fine next step in the evolution of GLASS HAMMER that continues to grow, change, and adapt. After all, isn’t that kind of what prog is all about?
1 – Launch Of The Daedalus
2 – Wolf 359
3 – Arion (18 Delphini b)
4 – Mare Sirenum
5 – Lost
6 – Rift At Wasp-12
7 – Proxima Centauri B
8 – Arise
9 – The Return Of Daedalus
Steve Babb: Keyboards, guitars, bass, percussion, vocals
Hannah Pyror: vocals
Reese Boyd: guitars
Randall Williams: drums
With Fred Schendel: guitars, Drums on WASP-12