Review in Classic Rock (UK)

The eighth album

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Review in Classic Rock (UK)

Post by SuperTed » Tue Jun 08, 2004 3:49 pm

Hi guys.

I subscribe to a magazine called "Classic Rock" over here and they've got a review of Shadowlands in their "New Releases" (!) section. Here it is;

Had Glass Hammer been around in the 70's they would either have been huge or disparaged as Yes copyists. Instead they're currently a welcome and increasingly well-established part of the current US progressive scene.

'Shadowlands' is the eighth album from the Tennessee-based band who seldom venture beyond the studio and whose core is multi-instrumentalists Fred Schendel and Steve Babb. Both are accomplished musicians with unremarkable voices, but had the good sense to employ vocalists Susie Bogdanowicz and Walter Moore, the latter shining in particular on 'Longer'. Schendel and Babb are also savvy enough to know that, even in prog, less can sometimes be more, and use a string trio to great effect in places rather than succumbing to the temptation of a full orchestra.

Musically the only negative is what sounds like a drum machine. With no song shorter than seven minutes, and 'Behind The Great Beyond' racing by despite being 20 minutes long, 'Shadowlands' may not be genuinely progressive but it is hugely enjoyable

3 stars out of 5

Nick Shilton


Classic Rock is a mainstream music mag that sits on the shelf over here with the likes of Q, Mojo, Rolling Stone et al so all in all it's a fairly good review although obviously I've got a few areas of disagreement! In any case, I just thought I'd pop it on here for y'all.

Ed
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Re: Review in Classic Rock (UK)

Post by Sam Gamgee » Tue Jun 08, 2004 4:09 pm

SuperTed wrote:With no song shorter than seven minutes, and 'Behind The Great Beyond' racing by despite being 20 minutes long, 'Shadowlands' may not be genuinely progressive...
Uh... isn't that a main factor in the DEFINITION of progressive??? Yeah, Ted, I got my issues too.

But so cool that GH gets reviewed by a magazine of that profile! Whoohoo!
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Re: Review in Classic Rock (UK)

Post by MayorOfLongview » Tue Jun 08, 2004 4:21 pm

SuperTed wrote:Hi guys.


Classic Rock is a mainstream music mag that sits on the shelf over here with the likes of Q, Mojo, Rolling Stone et al so all in all it's a fairly good review although obviously I've got a few areas of disagreement! In any case, I just thought I'd pop it on here for y'all.

Ed
We've been friends with one of those guys for years. He used to come to see us perform in Atlanta. I email the rest every now and then. Of course no one sent me this particular review and I'm sure I know why. It isn't a really bad one though. But it brings up a point.
Do we really sound like Yes? Sometimes I think we do, then I listen to Yes and think we sound nothing at all like them. I think maybe a lot of 'prog' isn't really pretty or beautiful. But I do think some of what we do is, and I think the same can be said of Yes. Of course we use a pipe organ and they did that on at least one album. But so did Bach!
Thoughts???
Steve
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Post by Bnielsen » Tue Jun 08, 2004 5:00 pm

Steve, I like what a few reviewers of Lex Rex said of your musical style.

You guys are infulenced by prog, but refine it and take it to a completely new level. The incredible detail you guys put into your production is what gives it that edge.
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Post by MayorOfLongview » Tue Jun 08, 2004 5:07 pm

Bnielsen wrote:Steve, I like what a few reviewers of Lex Rex said of your musical style.

You guys are infulenced by prog, but refine it and take it to a completely new level. The incredible detail you guys put into your production is what gives it that edge.
Thanks for the post. Fred and I are most definatley inspired by the 70's bands like Yes, ELP, Rush, Tull and others. I certainly think that we perform in their style, but I don't think we sound much like any of them.
Steve
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Post by Sam Gamgee » Tue Jun 08, 2004 5:35 pm

You don't sound like Yes. You're way better than Yes. I can take a lot of Yes when I'm in a really mellow or reflective mood, but it isn't as... intense as GH. GH is more bright, energetic, variable, and creative, I think. Yeah. So I get bored of Yes easily, whereas GH I can digest more and more every listen and never get tired of it. I mean, I do hear hints of Camel (Run Lisette's last 30 seconds), Kansas (this one part of BTGB could very well be a Kansas clip for all I could tell), and probably Yes as well (but I don't know them well enough to judge)... But GH is so different. I like other prog bands, but I don't go crazy about them. GH is on a whole different level.

And that's my attempt to put it into words...
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Post by SuperTed » Tue Jun 08, 2004 6:34 pm

Generally, the guy who wrote this review for Classic Rock is fairly clued up about the prog scene but I found this particular review to be somewhat puzzling, as if he couldn't make up his mind whether to praise or criticise. He may of course say he was being objective but each to their own I suppose. I like the fact that exposure in a magazine with CRs circulation may well bring in some new Hammerheads though!
MayorOfLongview wrote:Do we really sound like Yes? Sometimes I think we do, then I listen to Yes and think we sound nothing at all like them. I think maybe a lot of 'prog' isn't really pretty or beautiful. But I do think some of what we do is, and I think the same can be said of Yes. Of course we use a pipe organ and they did that on at least one album. But so did Bach!
Thoughts???
I find the whole "Band X sounds like band Y" very frustrating and very prevalent in the Prog scene unfortunately. As a rule, I would only use comparisons of this sort as an extremely rough guide. For example, if I said that GH sounded like Magma I would be completely off the mark but if I said GH had something in common with, say, Yes then someone hopefully would recognise commonalities between the two groups' approach to music and leave it at that i.e. its an invitation to listen to more great music!

For me, GH sound like GH and that's more than enough! Of course everyone has influences but that's how music has been formed since Time Immemorial.

At the end of the day, Mellotrons, Moogs, Hammonds and Rhodes will always sound the same and there are only so many notes and chords in existence but, for me, the beauty of music is that those notes and chords can be combined in almost infinite ways with differing emphases and nuances and the ability to recognise and exploit that fact is what separates the "ordinary" band from the "great" one.

GH is just such a band. Nuff said 8)

P.S. Sam, just out of curiosity, have you heard the Yes album "Going For The One"? I wore that one out on cassette about 20 (arrgh) years ago and, if CDs can wear out, then Shadowlands is going the same way :D

Here endeth the latest rambling...

Ed
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Post by Bnielsen » Tue Jun 08, 2004 9:18 pm

Sam Gamgee wrote:...Kansas (this one part of BTGB could very well be a Kansas clip for all I could tell)
Definately! Especially with the violin all rocking Steinhardt-esque =)
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Post by Sam Gamgee » Tue Jun 08, 2004 9:41 pm

Ah yes. "And You and I" is my favorite Yes song of all time, but "Awaken" is very close. I don't think I've heard the rest of it though. Maybe once, but I don't remember. See, I have this big "Yes" playlist, and I just listen to it on shuffle or select a particular song that I want to listen to. Very Un-Proglike, but whatever.
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Post by Theremin » Tue Jun 08, 2004 11:35 pm

People keep saying you sound like yes, but I don't really see the comparison. So Yes used a slide guitar and you did also, big deal. Whatever... :lol:
I gotta admit that I'm a little bit confused
Sometimes it seems to me as if I'm just being used
Gotta stay awake, gotta try and shake off this creeping malaise
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Post by MayorOfLongview » Wed Jun 09, 2004 8:06 am

Truthfully, when someone that has no idea at all what prog is, asks me what kind of music we do - I ask them if they've heard Yes. So there !
Steve
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Post by Sam Gamgee » Wed Jun 09, 2004 5:49 pm

Yes, but I also say that Yellowcard, Blink 182, Good Charlotte, etc. sounds like Jimmy Eat World to people who don't know what punk is. And they sound very different in many places. But same genre, though some swing way far on the pop-punk side rather than just regular punk.
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Post by Alatar » Sat Jun 19, 2004 10:50 am

Glass Hammer do sound like Yes. Occasionally. Sometimes Glass Hammer sounds like Gensis too, and occasionally ELP. The group that Shadowlands reminded me of most though was Glass Hammer.

Nobody creates in a vacuum, and all groups are derivative to some extent. GH are neither the most original nor derivative band playing today, it's just that they are so far from todays mainstream and close enough to 70's prog to make comparisons inevitable.

Now, if on the end of Lex Rex GH had sung about a "sad preacher nailed up to the coloured door of time", that would have been derivative.
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Post by CanarioAB » Sat Jun 19, 2004 3:48 pm

You're absolutely right that everything out there is derivative to some extent. I mean, unless you're playing instruments that you've invented yourself, or have come up with notes that haven't been invented yet ... sooner or later, what someone writes/plays is going to remind someone else of a different band or artist. I get nuts when the tired old threads come up on PE that band-bash because someone is 'derivative'. Yawn. That's like saying Haydn is worthless because his style and sound is similar to Handel's. Write what you feel led to write.

That's right up there with trying to define what 'prog' is ... in fact, it's become a joke on PE. No two prog fans will define it in the same way.

Bottom line? If you like it, buy it, listen to it, support it, tell your friends. If not, don't. Labels, beyond a little bit of introductory descriptive help, are pretty worthless.


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Post by Theremin » Sat Jun 19, 2004 5:04 pm

Agreed...
I gotta admit that I'm a little bit confused
Sometimes it seems to me as if I'm just being used
Gotta stay awake, gotta try and shake off this creeping malaise
If I don't stand my own ground, how can I find my way out of this maze?

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