Babb and Schendel, who founded the band in 1992, are the only constant members in the lineup, having surrounded themselves by various guests performers. The different lineups included several lead vocalists, including Michelle Young and Jon Davison. Originally a studio project only, the band occasionally performs live, especially since the early 2010s, but never does large-scale tours.
|Origin||Chattanooga, Tennessee, United States|
|Genres||Progressive rock, symphonic rock|
|Labels||Arion Records/Audio Resources|
|Past members||Michelle Young|
Kamran Alan Shikoh
Schendel and Babb (then credited as "Stephen DeArqe") first met in 1986, and formed Glass Hammer in 1992 when they began to write and record Journey of the Dunadan, a concept album based on the story of Aragorn from J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings on which they performed most vocals and instruments. To their surprise, the album, released the following year, sold several thousand units via the Internet TV home shopping, and phone orders, convincing them that Glass Hammer was a project worth continuing.
Embarking on a small tour in the south-east of the US, the band was joined by singer Michelle Young (who had been featured as a guest on a single track of Journey of the Dunadan), and drummer Walter Moore. With this line-up, they released their second album Perelandra in 1995, with Moore performing guitars instead of drums (which were handled by Schendel), and all four members performing lead vocals. It is another concept album, this time inspired by C. S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia and Space Trilogy book series.
After a small tour to support the album, Young left the band in 1997 to pursue a solo career. The same year, the band released Live and Revived, a live/compilation album consisting of recorded live rehearsals from the previous tour and unreleased material written shortly after the release of Journey of the Dunadan. The album was originally limited to 1000 copies, but was later re-released. In parallel to Glass Hammer, Babb and Schendel created a techno/dance project, titled TMA-2, releasing two unsuccessful albums, Artifact One (1996) and Tick Tock Lilies (1998), before dropping the project.
In 1998, Glass Hammer released their third studio album, On to Evermore, which saw Moore acting as main lead vocalist. It was followed two years later by Chronometree, another concept album following a young man who becomes convinced that aliens are trying to communicate with him through his albums. Guest Brad Marler provided lead vocals for the album.
Susie Bogdanowicz, who had provided backing vocals on Chronometree, joined the band as a full-time member, while Moore stopped acting as drummer, acting solely as singer on studio works, and also as guitarist in concerts; this would go on to become Glass Hammer's longest and steadiest line-up, which would be featured on the next four albums, the first being The Middle-Earth Album in 2001, their second album based on Lord of the Rings after Journey of the Dunadan. Jokingly marketed as a live album recorded during a performance at The Prancing Pony, an inn in Lord of the Rings, the album's first half emulated the sound of a band actually performing at the inn, while the second half was recorded like a traditional studio album. The Middle-Earth Album was followed by Lex Rex the following year.
The band's seventh studio album Shadowlands was released in 2004. The following year, The Inconsolable Secret would mark the last album with the line-up effective since The Middle-Earth Album, as Moore would leave his role as full-time member following the release of the album. In parallel to these studio albums, this line-up had also recorded and released the live album Live at Nearfest and the live DVD Lex Live, both recorded in 2003 and released in 2004.
After the departure of Moore, Glass Hammer recruited Carl Groves as their new male lead vocalists, recording and releasing the live DVD Live at Belmont in 2006. After a compilation album of rare/previously unreleased tracks titled The Compilations, the band released their first studio album with Groves, Culture of Ascent, in 2007. In 2009, the band took a completely different musical direction for their tenth studio album, Three Cheers for the Broken-Hearted, a pop rock album without Groves with focus on Bogdanowicz's vocals. The album was received negatively by fans due to departing from the band's usual progressive sound; although Schendel and Babb defended the quality of the album, they later admitted that they should not have released it under the Glass Hammer moniker.
Later in 2009, both Bogdanowicz and Groves left Glass Hammer, and Schendel and Babb recruited new singer Jon Davison and new guitarist Kamran Alan Shikoh. Together, this new line-up released three studio albums: If in 2010, Cor Cordium in 2011, and Perilous in 2012. The albums saw a return to progressive rock, with a shift towards a symphonic rock-oriented sound compared to previous albums. All three albums were very positively received, and resulted in a notable gain in popularity for the band.
In 2013, the band re-releasedThe Inconsolable Secret, with several tracks re-recorded with Davison and Shikoh and included in a third disc.
In 2013, Bogdanowicz and Groves re-joined Glass Hammer, while Aaron Raulston joined as full-time drummer on January 17. With this seven-members line-up, the band released Ode to Echo in 2014, featuring all current and former full-time lead vocalists in the band's history, with current members Babb, Schendel, Bogdanowicz, Groves and Davison, and contributions by former vocalists Walter Moore and Michelle Young. After the release, Davison would quit working with the band due to his work with Yes, although he would only be officially removed from the line-up years later.
In 2016, Carl Groves left the band once again, with the band choosing to focus on Bogdanowicz as vocalist. With this line-up, they released Valkyrie, a concept album following "a soldier’s struggle to return home from the horrors of war, to the girl who loves him and must ultimately find her way to him"; the album's vocals were focused on Bogdanowicz, although Schendel and Babb also performed secondary lead vocals for the first time in years. In a shift from their usual recording methods, the band rehearsed the album for several weeks, in order to record the album as if it were an actual live performance.
In 2017, the band released Untold Tales, a compilation album of unreleased or hard to find Glass Hammer recordings originating from the early 90s to 2017, and as such featured both current and former members of Glass Hammer. On the 2018 Cruise to the Edge festival, on which he was also performing with Yes, Davison performed with Glass Hammer as a guest, marking the first time he performed live with the band. In April 18, 2018, Glass Hammer announced their upcoming live album Mostly Live, which does not feature Kamran Alan Shikoh; they also removed Shikoh from the band's lineup on their official Facebook, stating in a post "And then there were four."
On August 13, 2018, after several weeks of teasing via videos featuring the character of Tom from their fourth album Chronometree released in 2000, the band announced their seventeenth studio album, Chronomonaut for an October 12, 2018 release. A a sequel to Chronometree, the album follows Tom "in the modern day though his mid-life crisis", as "the voices have returned and have been urging Tom to time-travel back to the glory days of the early prog scene." The release coincided with a remastered re-release of Chronometree with a bonus track.
While many musicians have appeared on Glass Hammer albums over the years, Babb and Schendel have remained the core of the band. Both men play a variety of instruments, but Babb mainly concentrates on bass guitar and keyboards while Schendel also plays keyboards as well as various guitars and drums (until the addition of live drummer Matt Mendians to the studio recording band in 2004). They also sing, although a number of other vocalists (most notably Michelle Young, Walter Moore, Susie Bogdanowicz, Carl Groves, and Jon Davison) have also handled lead vocal duties.
Lyrically, Glass Hammer is inspired mostly by their love of fantasy literature (most notably Tolkien and C. S. Lewis) and by their Christian faith. Although by their own admission they have tried to avoid becoming an overtly Christian band, their 2002 release Lex Rex was a concept album based on a Roman soldier's encounter with Jesus.
Musically, their most apparent influences are Yes, Kansas, Emerson, Lake & Palmer and, to a less noticeable extent, Genesis. While Glass Hammer has, for the most part, combined those influences into a characteristic style of their own, they made much more direct references to the aforementioned bands on their 2000 album Chronometree, which told the story of a drug-addled progressive rock fan who becomes convinced aliens are speaking to him through the music he listens to.
Former session/guest musicians
Chronometree is the fourth studio album by American progressive rock band Glass Hammer, released on May 1, 2000.It is the first album to feature Susie Bogdanowicz (then named Susie Warren), who is featured as guest backing vocalist in the album and would later join the band as lead singer for subsequent releases. Session member Brad Marler provided all lead vocals for the album.
It is a tongue-in-cheek concept album concerning a young man called Tom, who becomes convinced that aliens are trying to communicate with him through his albums. It is a celebration of the excesses of seventies progressive rock, and uses many of the traditional keyboard sounds of the era in order to strengthen this connection. The band's 2018 seventeenth studio album, Chronomonaut, is a follow-up to Chronometree.Chronomonaut
Chronomonaut is the seventeenth studio album by American progressive rock band Glass Hammer, released on October 12, 2018.
A concept album, it is a sequel to the band's 2000's fourth album Chronometree, and features the same character, Tom, now struggling to reach success in the 1980s with his progressive rock band The Elf King; however, it was conceived as a stand-alone story rather than a direct continuation.Cor Cordium
Cor Cordium (Latin: "Heart of Hearts") is the twelfth studio album by American progressive rock band Glass Hammer. The name of the album is taken from the poem of the same name by Algernon Charles Swinburne.The album follows the symphonic-progressive musical direction of the previous album If after the arrival of singer Jon Davison and guitarist Alan Shikoh.Culture of Ascent
Culture of Ascent is the tenth studio album by American progressive rock band Glass Hammer, released on October 23, 2007. It is a concept album based on Jon Krakauer's novel Into Thin Air.
It was the last album with singer Carl Groves before his departure from the band; he later returned for 2014's Ode to Echo. The album also features Jon Anderson of Yes as a guest vocalist.If (Glass Hammer album)
If is the eleventh studio album by American progressive rock band Glass Hammer. It is the first album to feature singer Jon Davison and guitarist Alan Shikoh.
The album marks a transition to a more "symphonic-progressive rock" sound, accorded to the band. The cover art was made by artist Tom Kuhn and all drums were provided by session member Randall Williams.If Tomorrow Comes (film)
If Tomorrow Comes is a 1971 American TV film. It was originally entitled The Glass Hammer then My Husband, the Enemy but was retitled after protests.Jon Davison
Jon Davison (born January 16, 1971) is an American singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist musician, who has been the lead vocalist of progressive rock band Yes since 2012. He is also known as the former lead singer of progressive rock band Glass Hammer from 2009 to 2014, and the former bass guitarist of Sky Cries Mary from 1993 to 2016, in which he was credited under his nickname of "Juano" Davison.
He has, since childhood, been a friend of Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins.Journey of the Dunadan
Journey of the Dunadan is the debut studio album by American progressive rock band Glass Hammer, released on August 3, 1993. It is a concept album based on the story of Aragorn from J.R.R. Tolkien's novel The Lord of the Rings.
Steve Babb is credited under the name Stephen DeArqe on the album. Singer Michelle Young is featured on the album, but would only become a band member for their next release, Perelandra.K. W. Jeter
Kevin Wayne Jeter (born March 26, 1950), known both personally and professionally as K. W. Jeter, is an American science fiction and horror author known for his literary writing style, dark themes, and paranoid, unsympathetic characters. He has written novels set in the Star Trek and Star Wars universes, and has written three sequels to Blade Runner.Lex Rex (album)
Lex Rex is the sixth studio album by American progressive rock band Glass Hammer, released on September 1, 2002.
It is the first album of the band to be released with the same line-up at his predecessor. This line-up, consisting of Fred Schendel, Steve Babb, Susie Bogdanowicz and Walter Moore, would last until their tenth studio album, 2007's Culture of Ascent.Michelle Young
Michelle Young is an American musician known for her work with the progressive rock group Glass Hammer. Citing Kate Bush as an influence, Young was professionally trained in classical voice at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. She left her job as a legal secretary and receptionist in 1996 to pursue her professional career as a female vocalist in progressive rock. A review of her album and a biography was published in the Fall 1996 issue of Progression magazine.In 2013, she collaborated with Glass Hammer once again, performing backing vocals for their 2014 album Ode to Echo.Ode to Echo
Ode to Echo is the fourteenth studio album by American progressive rock band Glass Hammer, released on March 11, 2014.
It is the first album with drummer Aaron Raulston, and marks the return of former vocalists Carl Groves and Susie Bogdanowicz. Groves wasn't featured in a Glass Hammer album since Culture of Ascent in 2007, and Bogdanowicz's last album with the band was Three Cheers for the Broken-Hearted in 2009; in the three previous albums, all lead vocals were sung by new singer Jon Davison.Ode to Echo is also notable for featuring all the full-time vocalists in Glass Hammer history with Groves, Davison, Bogdanowicz, session member (and former full-time vocalist) Walter Moore sharing lead vocals, while band leaders Steve Babb and Fred Schendel (who sang lead vocals in some of the band's works) and original Glass Hammer singer Michelle Young provided backing vocals.On to Evermore
On to Evermore is the third studio album by American progressive rock band Glass Hammer, released on February 18, 1998.Perelandra (album)
Perelandra is the second studio album by American progressive rock band Glass Hammer, released on November 1, 1995.
A concept album, it was inspired by C. S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia and Space Trilogy book series. It is the only album to feature singer Michelle Young as band member, although she had appeared on their first album Journey of the Dunadan and would later appear on their fourteenth Ode to Echo in 2014, both as a guest.Shadowlands (Glass Hammer album)
Shadowlands is the seventh studio album by American progressive rock band Glass Hammer, released on January 14, 2004 by Arion Records/Sound Resources.
It is the last album with band founders Fred Schendel and Steve Babb acting as lead vocalists until Valkyrie, and the last album with Schendel acting as drummer.The Breaking of the World
The Breaking of the World is the fifteenth studio album by American progressive rock band Glass Hammer, released on March 31, 2015.The Inconsolable Secret
The Inconsolable Secret is the eighth studio album by American progressive rock band Glass Hammer, released on July 12, 2005, by Arion Records/Sound Resources.
It is the last album with singer Walter Moore as band member (though he would continue to collaborate with the band, including on 2014's Ode to Echo), and also the first whitout band leader Fred Schendel acting as drummer.
A special edition of the album was released on June 25, 2013, with an additional third disc featuring five songs entirely re-recorded by the band, with new members Jon Davison and Kamran Alan Shikoh on vocals and guitar respectively.The Middle-Earth Album
The Middle-Earth Album is the fifth studio album by American progressive rock band Glass Hammer, released on June 15, 2001. It is the band's second album based on J.R.R. Tolkien's novel The Lord of the Rings, after their 1993 debut album Journey of the Dunadan, and their second release not to be concept album, after 1998's On to Evermore. It is the first album to feature singer Susie Bogdanowicz after she joined as band member, and as such the first album to feature the band's longest and steadiest line-up, which would last until their tenth studio album, 2007's Culture of Ascent.The Middle-Earth Album was jokingly marketed as a live album recorded during a performance at The Prancing Pony, a fictional inn in Bree in Lord of the Rings. The first half of the album (up to "The Man in the Wood") emulates the sound of an actual live performance at the inn, with an audience cheering and singing along as the band performs songs about the lore of Middle-earth; to capture the spirit of an actual band performing in Lord of the Rings, the album is much more folk and acoustic-oriented than other works of the band, and heavily features traditional instruments such as harpsichord, fiddle and recorder. The second half retains the same lyrical orientation, but is recorded as a more traditional studio album, and features more progressive elements and electric instruments.Untold Tales
Untold Tales (full title: Untold Tales - Rare and Previously Unreleased Studio and Live Recordings from 1993-2017) is a compilation album by American progressive rock band Glass Hammer, released on October 20, 2017 to celebrate the band's 25th anniversary. It features previously unreleased or hard to find recordings originating from the early 90s to 2017, and as such features both current and former members of Glass Hammer. It is also the last release of the band with guitarist Kamran Alan Shikoh as band member.
The album features six original songs which had never been released or performed before, a re-recording of a previous Glass Hammer song, three covers, two tracks previously released as part of little-known collaborative albums, and the recording of a live performance. All thirteen tracks are listed based on the year of their original recording.