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If Import

4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (16 Sept. 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Arion
  • ASIN: B00426M0EC
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 151,074 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description

Track Listing : 1.Beyond, Within (11:44) 2. Behold The Ziddle (9:11) 3. Grace The Sky (4:29) 4. At Last We Are (6:46) 5. If The Stars (10:25) 6. If The Sun (24:02) Total : 66:47

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Pitty on 7 Nov. 2011
Format: Audio CD
I wouldn't criticize any band for wanting to emulate the mighty Yes - unless they did it badly, which Glass Hammer do not. These are top quality musicians writing and playing good songs which, for me are better than those currently being turned out by the original band (or at least those original members who, without Anderson and Wakeman, are purporting to be Yes).
This album sits deservedly on my CD rack alongside Fragile, Close to the Edge and The Yes Album. I can't really pay it a higher compliment.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Beowulf on 21 Jan. 2011
Format: Audio CD
To put things in perspective, this one is slightly better than the absolutely boring Culture of Ascention, IMHO the worst work from GH (not counting Three Cheers For The Broken Hearted, which everybody agrees that was awful but I have not heard it). Nevertheless, I find each GH new album less exciting, less interesting and less apealing, and this is a shame because I really liked their early albums (On to Evermore, Perelandra, Chronometree, etc.) and even their occasional excentricities like the Middle Earth Album.

I am beginning to find really annoying their insistence in sounding more and more like Yes, and the voice of the lead singer in If is a new (and IMO not much welcome) step in that direction.

Having said this, you will still find here a great intrumental work, and some beautiful moments scattered across the album, and the overal result is better than their previous works for sure, but this is still a weak effort, maybe a bit more of creativity and imagination could be used in the future.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A. Jenkins on 13 Oct. 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Glass hammer have allways sounded like YES, and now they have a vocalist that is Jon Anderson's double. This albumn is brilliant especially after their last albumn,(Three cheers for the broken hearted)which was awfull. They are back to their progressive roots. If yes had produced this albumn back in the 70's it would be a classic. If you love 70' prog rock you'll love this. Even if it sounds like it's all been done before.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ben Bottle on 25 Nov. 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Following the weak and insipid "Three Cheers For The Broken Hearted" and the lack lustre "Culture of Ascent"; this picks things up a little. But it sounds like a Yes facsimile; as the previous reviewer quite rightly says - Glass Hammer sound like Yes. However, they were at one point developing their own identity which culminated in the wonderful, "Inconsolable Secret"; Glass Hammer's zenith, in my humble opinion.
Now, they carbon copy Yes, with an Anderson sound-a-like, (called Jon Davison), a guitarist who plays a la Howe and Steve Babb has gone all Chris Squire. Of course, Fred Schendel does Moraz, Wakeman and Kaye all in one.
This is NOT a bad album and leans heavily on the 70s prog sound, but it has little originality and I though GH amounted to more than that?
Wonderful weird titles like "Beyond Within" and "Behold, The Ziddle"; to end with "If The Stars" and "If The Sun" - mmmm?
There are 3 longish tracks, 2 shortish tracks and a 24 minute finale!
It's okay, but do not expect innovation or originality. It is well performed and sounds clean - but it sounds like Yes played by Glass Hammer.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 41 reviews
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
A must buy for all fans of excellent symphonic prog! 8 Oct. 2010
By shanocles - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Having had some 40 listens to this new album (many days to and from work in the car) I feel that I can now give an in-depth and honest review. To me, this album just keeps getting more rewarding with each listen. I guess the reason I wanted to post a review and to share my thoughts was that lately I've read reviews of new prog that seem to be too quick to judge, seemingly not having given the music a chance to speak (especially when a review is posted a day or two after the release - there's my two cents anyway). Granted, first impressions greatly influence how we think and feel about something, and musical tastes are subjective, but a quick critique can be unfair to both band and customer. This new Glass Hammer album is very deep both musically and lyrically. I've heard it said that prog is the `thinking-man's music' and this album is not unlike its predecessors (Shadowlands, Lex Rex) in that it asks those philosophical questions of, "What does dwell within me?" and "Who does my song call out to?". With that said ... permission to speak freely sir?

Track 1.
`Beyond, Within'
Immediately the listener is struck by a full sounding band, an infectious riff and a 1:30min opening that sets up the album's main intent, and perhaps the direction the band wants to take those who have come to hear. Many layered keys and nice guitar work here. This is very Glass Hammer sounding, yet sounds new also. Of course those listening will quickly recognise some Yes influences, this not being new to their sound though, as both Fred & Steve I'm sure will unashamedly attest. The mighty Hammond (3:59), borrowed from prog of old, drives this and not long after (4:35) there is this fast and crazy moog-like key solo which is pulled off very nicely - immediately answered with a guitar solo of equal skill. Half way through the song now, calming back down (5:10) with subtle/minimal piano and synth, the question is put forward, "What does dwell within me? ... How does my song come to be? ... Am I the final meaning?". With just enough stillness to think, the music changes direction (7:06) into a string-like section with bass accompaniment; very King Crimson sounding. Then a 30 second medieval-sounding jig with guitar/drums/keys (7:48) which goes back to a KC-sounding flange-bass just by itself now (yeah bass solo!). Back to musical theme heard halfway through the song (8:27) that feels like it rises in intensity to the final section (as the lyric suggests "Each one a soul to rise up and take flight"). And take flight it does! (10:00). What sounds to me a very Spock's sounding tightness (drums are great here) as it winds up with some nice doowah's and aah's in the background with a very Tele-like sound ala Steve Howe on `Relayer'. The first riff brings this baby to an end.

Track 2.
`Behold, The Ziddle'
A favourite on the album (only a close 2nd to the last track). Eclectic piano, some rolling reverby synth, touches of mellotron with some light cymbal work and probing bass that feels like the beginning of a mysterious dream... you get the feeling that the instruments are not quite sure where they're headed either. Then all of a sudden you know you're somewhere else as the music erupts into a great moment (0:48) of what I think is a very Italian-prog sound here with bits of ELP coming through too. After you've been hit with that, a voice comes over with some kind of welcome or greeting ... what is this place? The next 2 minutes showcases some lovely Rhodes piano which always gives a certain dreamy feeling for me, a more fusiony side which is new to my GH ears. Some jazzy type drumming definitely helps this. Next (3:30) is a fun little bit, kinda Flower Kings I feel, as if to give the dreamer a 15 second sense that all is OK before a dark and jutted section (3:46) as the lyrics agree, very close sounding to VDGG. If you listen carefully, next you will hear the Ziddler (or is that Steve/Fred?) a Gollum-like sounding creature to whose hands is our fate in this strange nightmare. I think someone's trying to tell us that if we stay too long we're gonna turn out like this guy.

We're halfway through the song now and a change of direction. (5:30) Brilliant use of percussion along with the drums as they kick it up a gear - such a cool groove. Organ and bass join in and not long after, the guitar too. Some Yes-like doowah's and multi vocal parts ala Gentle Giant. The Rhodes makes a return (7:00) which sounds great turned up loud in the headphones by the way. Here the vocals penetrate deeply, sung quite beautifully, which speak of, `sad and lonely ways and how dearly the searcher would love to pray'. Very honest. The next line is, "Yet all is madness". Musically speaking (7:30-8:04) this section is madness, as both basses (bass drum & bass guitar) handle a very intricate passage. I don't know what timing it's in but as a drummer myself this is the stuff that makes prog very cool! Turns out Fred wrote it and Steve & Randall pull it off wonderfully! A very nice guitar solo, with strong bass underneath and beautiful mellotron bring this mammoth track to a finale. It ends abruptly but you kinda get the feeling that its gonna pick up where it left off later in the album. Is it just me, or does the way this song ends suddenly bring back memories of the ol' glory days of vinyl? It felt just like when you'd get to the end of Side A of a record, the needle's just lifted up, and you desperately get up to turn the record over and continue the journey...

Track 3.
`Grace The Skies'
A very Yes flavoured track that grooves in and out of 7, 5 and 6 at the start. Very tricky lyrics to sing (well they would be for me) in this first section and Jon does a great job with that (1:30). The organ and lap steel here (2:00) evocative of `Relayer' and `Going For The One' days and of course past GH albums, as is the little guitar run (2:20). The song becomes more mellow (2:40), acoustic guitar or is it mandolin does a lot to help this, bringing a bit of a folksy 7 groove with it. As fans would be aware, the lap steel is a distinctive part of the GH sound and plays a significant role in their previous work (think Farewell to Shadowlands). It definitely comes to the fore in this track, but seems to disappear from the rest of the album. There's a feeling that they've just been more selective with it - in any case you hope that thing is firmly fixed down because Fred goes to town on it around 3:30. Tinges of Camel and Genesis can be heard as this little gem comes to a close (3:50) with the guitar sounding a lot like Hackett's might. I love the bass and vocals here as they climb up and up towards the sky as the final line sings, "Fly, fly high, fly free ... Carry me on your wing ... Carry me home".

Track 4.
`At Last We Are'
We know that Fred loves the Beatles, and I think this may be his nod to them, but I'm hearing shades of Chronometree too. The intro is psychedelic and boppy, with multi-layered keys and sitar-like sounds in the background. Then some lovely duel acoustic guitar picking (0.46) that sounds a bit like Genesis' `Ripples', tied together with haunting vocal harmonies that give depth (1:20). The acoustic guitars come back and clavinet can be heard which may be the first time I've heard it on the album I think. Then (2:50) a moogy sound that has lovely tom rolls that leads into a very Gentle Giant interlude in a nice 5 groove (3:15). This is a wonderfully full-sounding section, every instrument demanding the listener's attention, with some lovely bells hidden there and multi vocal harmonies - wonderful stuff! It sounds like you're out in the garden with the instruments mimicking the sounds of nature or something, you know what I mean (hehe). This section of the song rides along quickly so one need's to keep an attentive ear. Followed by some Yes-like vocals (4:15) talking of "summer nights, lingering lights, chasing starlight and racing moonbeams" and still holding to that cool groove in 5 baby. The keys and guitar exchange phrases (4:50) giving that feeling of your attention being bounced from speaker to speaker - the music has a great hold of the listener here. The song then changes time and slows down a little as it heads towards the finish. Some more vocal harmonies, softer and delicate, together with the moog and sitar winding it up to a calm and peaceful end. Nice.

Track 5.
`If The Stars'
The song carries over from the peaceful ending of track 4, with chimes echoing and beautiful harpsichord-type keys. The drums are very controlled here on the toms (0:26) and all instruments are gently building the atmosphere up to a point, as though you were almost near the summit (2:09). Next penned are the insightful lyrics, "Man, just a grain of sand on an island ... In a sea of stars" which bursts into some lovely guitar soloing and epic choral-like synth that gives you that sense of wonder, that you've reached the pinnacle of a mountaintop (those goosebumps-on-the-arm moments that makes prog so darn excellent!!). The story is now unfolding, as if waking from the dream with the feeling that we're just starting to comprehend it - as the lyrics tell, "I heard the call to come home" (2:33). This next section is in true prog time, 7/8! It's a very cruisy section that I think is very GH. Then at (4:17) is goes into double-time which is very rocky, and the next minute or so makes me think of Nektar a bit here. We're exactly half way through the song now and a good change of direction is coming. The change is brought about by a very piercing mellotron (5:12), nice piano and a bit of classical guitar which will show up later too (5:28). Be prepared cause you'll need to crank up that sub very soon as the bass begins to penetrate the walls of the mind (5:42), soooooo prog! (Steve you're the master of that, and its so cool to see you doing those moments live cause you fully get into it). A very Yes-sounding section for the next two minutes or so, complete with chants, Alan White-esque drumming, tambourine, and wailing guitar. It comes to a complete halt and the listener is now met with a very beautiful piano piece (7:19). Chimes, pulsating tron, and a snippet of classical guitar (3:09) repeat an earlier section of the song (7:55) but with a sense of finality as we're being lead through the closing stages. Cool chunky guitar (9:05) and sci-fi sounding synth rock this number out with an ending (10:14) reminiscent of `Tales from Topographic Oceans'.

Track 6.
`If The Sun'
If you thought the last track was an epic the you'd better sit down and strap yourself in. This track has everything a prog fan will love. With the drums bringing it in, we're treated to some Hammond and mini-moog runs backed up nicely with some cool guitar runs before the tempo changes up a bit (0:37) into a swinging 6/8 groove. There is plenty going on here, guitars wailing - and a definite showcasing of Fred's amazing keyboard skills. He's pulling plenty of tricks out of his prog-bag baby! Lots of cool synthy sounds - very old school prog. The bass kinda has a Pink Floyd sense to it (1:09). This whole section could pass right over you if you're not careful cause it's pretty busy and there are many motifs vying for the listener's attention ... and its darn good! Very Glass Hammer! Silence for a milli-second as the bass by itself now continues to drive this song onward (2:05) and some nice jazzy guitar which has a very Canterbury feel to it. The timing is so spacey and gives you the feeling of being transported to another place. The pace slows just a bit (2:52) still in the same groove, before descending (3:04) into a heavier feel. Moog right in your face now. The next part of this song is lead by the piano (4:03) a touching piece that winds up later in the song (spoiler alert!). This section builds lovely a feels a bit Beatlesy, but I'm not quite sure where, maybe a bit of `Dear Prudence' or the latter part of Abbey Road - or maybe that's just me - or maybe it's the whole McCartney bass-thing Steve does at (5:12). In an epic song there are going to be many directions in which you are taken ... what better than 7/8 time with a bit of sitar and organ! (5:56) Gentle Giant bass lines (can you picture Steve doing his best Ray Shulman impersonation?).

Speaking of epic, is a 6:18min intro before the lyrics even begin prog-epic enough for you?!? Yeah that's right ... the lyrics are just starting man. If you listen carefully (7:52) Fred makes a lead vocal appearance, showing glimpses of past GH glory. Next is a very ethereal section (9:14) of floaty synth that reminds you of the start of `Fool on the Hill' or the middle of `Close to the Edge'. The sitar comes back (12:46) along with some really awesome organ (13:00), you know... the type of organ that transports you back to prog's heyday. And when it's backed with some funky bass and moog can it get any better? Jon holds his own here with some very superb singing (14:00) the type that sends a shiver. The song then shifts up again, with a bit of an ELP sound, mostly due to the bass and probably the organ that gives it this feel (15:05), as well as the ELP-like swinging section that follows (15:20) as guitar and keys trade solos again. Cool organ runs and some dual guitar harmonies (16:22) in there - nice! Then a lovely little acoustic guitar section in 3/4 that has some piercing organ, and when the bass comes in (16:44) this is very GH.

Only 7 minutes to go...

(17:38) Enter the classic triumphant prog section. Bass pedals! (although I see they weren't listed in the liner notes but I'm imagining its done on bass pedals). Is there anything better than bass pedals in that pivotal epic-part of an epic! Toms and organs fill out next little bit and you'd think this was the end, but we're not quite there yet folks. The lyric is repeated over, "If the sun could launch a thousand dreams and carry us away" (19:00) and if you don't have hairs raising up on the back of your neck then there's something wrong with you. I'll have to take my hat off to these boys, this is an emotional rollercoaster (think `Having Caught A Glimpse'). Piano all alone (20:47) starts drawing this epic to its end - Only a marathon like this can have a 4 min outro. Moog comes to join the closing party (21:30) and makes itself known, as do all the singers, as if saying a farewell to the listener. How could you wind an epic like this up? Well, you could do the fade out (Having Caught A Glimpse) which is nice, or the electronic sounding repeat into the ether (A Maker of Crowns, Revelation/Chronometree), or even let the whole band milk that final note for all its worth (Knight of the North, Long & Long Ago) ... or go out and buy it and find out for yourself.

It just boggles my mind as to where you would start to begin writing a monster like this!! Noticeable omissions this time around being the Adonia String Trio and female vocals that have been a staple of the GH sound for the last while. The double-kickers are absent (what you would hear with Mr. Mendians) but this album doesn't call for that heavier sound. As I mentioned above, there are parts that will remind you of Yes, but there are also parts that sound like other classic prog bands too - so I don't think some of the criticisms of it being a `Yes-copy' are justified.

This album still has the same GH individuality and quirkiness we all love and is a pure delight of grandiose symphonic prog that borrows from that marvellous period of classic old-school prog, yet is firmly footed in the present-day. This is bound to be a GH classic and is easily up there as best album for me for 2010 (and there have been some other excellent releases this year) - A must buy for all fans of excellent symphonic prog!
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Just Keep Getting Better... 28 Sept. 2010
By Tony Geron - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
How does one classify a new offering, such as Glass Hammer's IF? Let's start with this: Album of the Year! Yep, I kid you not. I'm a huge prog-rock fan, and love many other bands as well, so I would temper my comments by saying I also rave about Frost, Spock's Beard, Transatlantic, the Flower Kings, and many other fine bands as well.

This newest offering from GH is quite simply their best album yet. I say that with a huge smile on my face, because I've had the CD now for well over 3 weeks, and it has yet to leave my car's CD player. I've probably listened to the entire CD well over 40 plus times now, all the way through. Six songs total, the album is seamless in carrying the underlying theme throughout.... yes a concept album, but each song is strong enough to stand on it's own.

If you are familiar with GH, then you will love the return to their "signature" sound, lots of Hammond Organs, some slick slide guitar in parts, thunderous bass lines that have produced a few cracks in my dashboard, simply from me banging along with reckless abandon. I will admit now that I loved Suzie as the lead singer in the previous offering, and it did take me 4 or 5 listens to forget her and embrace Jon Davidson. But now, ah, but now, I can't imagine anyone else singing for this album. The music, the lyrics, all are a perfect stage for the new vocalist, and despite his similarity to Jon Anderson, Jon Davidson is a unique find and talent. I can't recall how many goose-bump moments I have gotten listening to this album, but it was more than a few!

Treat yourself, buy the album, you will not regret it! Steve and Fred, the two main composers and musicians that ARE Glass Hammer have truly out done themselves this time.

IF you wish to experience an unparalleled music experience, grab this CD quick.

IF you love symphonic progressive rock and have never heard this band before, treat yourself to possibly the very best progressive rock group on the planet.

And IF you find yourself, much as I have, unable to stop listening to this offering, over and over again, just tell yourself it's only a year before I get the next installment in the most fantastic series of epically crafted songs, from Glass Hammer!

Buy it, share it, and get ready to have a musical orgasmic experience.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Glass Hammer does it again 17 Sept. 2010
By What's in a name? - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
For those who enjoyed Shadowlands, Lex Rex, and Inconsolable Secret, you are in for a treat. Given the Roger Dean-esque cover, it should no surprise that their new vocalist sounds remarkably like Jon Anderson. In fact, I could easily confuse some of the passages with Yes. I even thought at one point that all that was missing was Steve Howe's guitar virtuosity, but later, I heard textures very similar to his.

The highlight for me is the epic "If the Sun." Lots of tempo changes, great vocal harmonies against the background of an almost gospel-like, punchy organ. It's the track I keep returning to.

Although I enjoyed their last effort, Three Cheers for the Broken-Hearted, this is certainly far better and I hope they continue this type of songwriting. If you've never heard GH before and love Yes, give this a whirl.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Enough of the Gushing from GH Fans 16 April 2011
By Warren E. Kramer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
How about a review from an outsider instead of die-hard Glass Hammer fans you know won't give a bad review. I am not a Glass Hammer fan. Well OK, I am now.

First, understand that, like all complex music - including classical, jazz, and progressive/symphonic rock - you need more than a few listens before you can fairly review it, good or bad. It's an investment of time of course, but often pays off big dividends. IF is a case in point. Didn't care for it? It would be hard to believe most would not glean at least moments of pleasure from even the first few listenings, but give this one a chance (9 to 12 spins at least), and you won't be sorry.

This is a Masterpiece.

IF is a concept album featuring the wayward journey of someone lost, seeking his way. Understanding that is a first step. Beginning his search with "Beyond Within," which starts with a heavy Emerson-esque organ and various, mostly aggressive passages, before a softer piano/synth accompanies our wayward son asking:

And what does dwell within me
And how does my song come to be
Am I the final meaning
A cosmos self-contained?

Immediately you will be struck by the similarity to Yes, in timbre, instrumentation, arrangements, and especially the voice of Jon Davison. This has been reviled with phrases like "shameless rip-off," but keep listening.

The similarities in style are impossible to ignore, but let's pretend for a moment that Yes was an entire Genre instead of a single band. Would other bands offer music within this genre and be free from criticism, as long as they didn't sound like the actual compositions, but only played in the same style?

That's what we have here, a contemporary progressive rock band playing in a similar, even retro-similar style, and yet managing to create new, original music, using past aural devices from bands of the Prog-Rock heyday - ELP/Keith Emerson, King Crimson, 70's Genesis, and especially Yes.

And of course, the bottom line is that this is good - no great - music.

Obviously, Glass Hammer's music could not exist in its present form if Yes had not come first. It's like Jimi Hendrix creating "Little Wing," and Stevie Ray Vaughn covering the piece years later, starting out sounding almost indistinguishable from Jimi's version, but then taking it beyond, morphing the tune into a Stevie Ray piece. Is it a cover? Of course. Is it original? Not really. Is it great guitar playing? No question about it. Is it pleasurable listening? If you liked the original, you should appreciate the new take. But Glass Hammer has actually taken the "Yes Genre" to new heights.

Having listened to most of GH's back catalog, I can tell you that they've always featured superior musicianship. They've usually offered tight arrangements. Most albums have at least some very strong compositions, with skillful tugs at the emotions from one extreme to the other. Recording quality has shown steady growth. But none of the past GH recordings have featured all these things at once, in abundance, from start to finish.

And the topper, not one of them has even come close to the strong lead vocal performance of Jon Davison, the missing piece in GH recordings, and if truth be told, in most NewProg.

As much as I admire some of their work, singers like Neal Morse, and vocalists featured in bands like Spock's Beard, Dream Theatre, Porcupine Tree, and others are simply no match for Greg Lake, Peter Gabriel, or of course, Jon Anderson.

Davison's problem is similar to the band's as a whole, he sounds so much like Anderson, comparisons are inevitable. But he's not Jon Anderson, he's Jon Davison, and he turns in a simply stunning vocal performance which, clone-like vocal timbre aside, should be judged on its own merits.

IF you choose to listen to IF with this in mind, you will hear an incredible musical achievement, and discover a first-rate listening experience.

Track 2, "Behold the Ziddle," leads us through a darker land, yet does so with upbeat rhythms and a touch of humor:

See the man with the grinning face that never smiles
He's been watching you back all the while
And thinking thoughts that are just a little sideways

Your conclusion may be that you make your own decision to wander into darkness.

Yet, with "Grace the Sky," you may suspect you've always had wings, you just need to be shown how to fly. This shortest of tracks may take a bit longer than other passages to reach you, but if you "let your colors grace the skies," you may find there are wings to carry you home.

"At Last We Are" is not an immediate hook either, full of characteristic tempo changes, fast runs and a wide range, but subsequent listenings will find you anticipating the "shining King, who, laughing welcomes us home at last, for at last we are."

If there were not a sixth track to go, you might think of the fifth, "If the Stars" as a climactic ending. A beautiful 10-plus minute song, this one has a wonderful hook in the catchy chorus:

If the stars should then appear
One night in a thousand years
How would man believe and adore
If the light of the city of God was shown there
Would they believe?

This chorus is utterly sing-along-able, unlike most of the vocal portions, which are rendered in a free-verse style with grace, beauty and artistry. Again, this style can be an acquired taste, but I can promise you will be happy you acquired it.

Realizing that our wayward's journey is not over, yet wondering how the band could possibly top "If the Stars," you're in for quite a treat, and an emotional roller coaster.

"If the Sun" is a phenomenon. Starting with a long instrumental prelude, featuring interplay between organ and guitar parts, adding some vocalese and other layers which come and go, you may enjoy the tight musicianship, but you will not have a clue what the band is about to put you through.

As the vocal section begins with piano, adding subtle acoustic and electric guitar, percussion, then continuing to build, finally the question is asked, "Where does this road lead..." in a tight, melodic series of verses, sensing our journey's end, giving us the song's first of several recurrences of the line, "If I thought I heard your name upon the wind I could aspire"

Then begins the soft middle portion, often compared to the mellow center section of "Close to the Edge" from Yes, yet having its own charm and emotional content, as we find our wanderer awakening high on a mountaintop, not knowing who led him there, who carried him. This soft, gorgeous passage is accompanied first by organ alone, then adding brilliantly improvised bass lines, and building layers until he hears the growing voice of the one who will sing him home, and realize he's been found.

Now a joyful piano, synth, bass and drum introduces a whisper on the wind, but the music takes yet another twist as a more aggressive passage shows us our traveler is unable to answer the call, brilliantly rendered with deft acoustic guitar lines weaving, until the majestic crescendo:

You can call it anything that you desire,
but I can't ignore,
I am gonna make a run for it
Or with broken wings I'll fly

But wait, it's not a crescendo yet. You can't imagine how this peak could escalate even further, but Davison's soaring voice continues to ascend, and if the hairs on the back of your neck are not standing up by now, check your pulse, you're probably dead:

Hoping he'll see, hoping he'll see
This damaged fragment of life
Is struggling homeward at last...

WOW! After journeys and trials told and untold, we've finally returned home. Okay, now it's surely over. But no, he continues to soar ever higher:

I can see it
And it's beautiful
So at last I return home!


The climactic feel is maintained for a while, then - like a movie that's touched you so deeply, you don't yet want it to end, you don't want to leave this world, but you know it's not quite over - the band eases you out with a rhythmic, flowing section.

It's just as well because you're emotionally spent by this time. Even this final section alone would make a great song, with more emotional appeal than most entire albums, but after what you just heard, it's just the ticket to ease you home.

My advice, take this journey.

-Warren Kramer
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Buy it. BEST record in decades, no lie. 14 Jan. 2011
By Pancake Eater Saint Alphonso - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
First the bad news: It is crime against humanity that this band is not a household name. I just stumbled on this band on the internet by chance,
nobody I know has heard of them. Too bad because...

Good News: "If" is the BEST record I have heard in decades and one of the best ever!


"If" is over 66 minutes of perfection. Not one dull moment. All the classics, Pink Floyd or YES or Zeppeplin were
all around ONLY 40 minutes. More recent albums may be over 60 minutes but always had weak moments and "filler" songs.

"If" is the only 66 plus minute record I have ever heard to deliver a perfect record from start to finish.

I could ramble on like others about how great this record is, but I have a better idea...

Just go buy the record and play it in your stereo!

You will not regret it.

The only thing you will regret is the feeling you will get that most other music out there is sadly not of the calibre of Glass Hammer - If.

One strong opinion I do have: Stop all the comparisons to YES/ELP. Glass Hammer is unique and stands on their own.
I think all the comparisons may scare people from buying "If" thinking it is derrivative. It is not.


I wish I knew of more music of this quality.

Thank You Glass Hammer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

P.S. I do not work for or have any connection to Glass Hammer. I am just a guy who has been blown away by this record.
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