Rik Emmett (Triumph) And RESolution9 | RES9 (2016)


Rik Emmett (Triumph) & RESolution9 | RES9 (2016)

Label: Rockit Records/Mascot Label Group

Release Year: 2016

Country: Canada

Genre: Classic Rock/Blues/AOR


Band Members

Rik Emmet – Lead Guitars/Vocals

Dave Dunlop – Guitars

Paul Delong – Drums

Steve Stingley – Bass


Guest Musicians

James Labrie – Dream Theater – Vocals

Alex Lifeson RUSH – Guitars


Track Listing 

Stand Still

Human Race – (Alex Lifeson)

I Sing  – (James LaBrie)

My Cathedral

The Ghost of Shadow Town

When You Were My Baby

Sweet Tooth

Heads Up

Rest of My Life

End of the Line (Alex Lifeson & Jame LaBrie)

Grand Parade (Gil Moore & Mike Levine) (Bonus Track)


Contact Links

Rik Emmett Official Website

Rik Emmett Official Facebook Page

Rik Emmett Official Twitter

Rik Emmett Official YouTube Channel

Rik Emmett Official Mascot Group Label Profile

Mascot Label Group Official Website



I can still remember my first introduction to Triumph. It was at the US Festival at Devore California in 1983. My main listening at that time was the NWOBHM bands like Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, Saxon, Diamond Head and even some Ozzy Osbourne. So when I discovered I was going out to the US Festival with my parents to the Rock & Metal Day I had this preconceived idea that was going to watch and even listen to old geezer music. To my shock and surprise it was one of the very best concerts I have been to.

 This was Day #2 and the following played on the bill that day. Judas Priest , Mötley Crüe, Ozzy Osbourne , Quiet Riot, Scorpions, Triumph, Van Halen. The one  thing all this bands and artists had in common was in the vocals. The vocals on all this acts were up in the high rent district with towering soprano like styles. Besides Rob Halford in Judas Priest which was obvious of his insane range at the time, another one really stuck out at me. That being Triumph’s Rik Emmett. It was almost mandatory to have a vocal style like that in those days with this music.

Coming out of the same area about the same time as their contemporaries RUSH, Triumph would forge another path for Toronto, Ontario Canadian AOR/Arena Rock. What RUSH did to the progressive hard rock, Triumph would do for a new upcoming sub genre called Melodic Metal/AOR. Rik Emmett’s towering vocal style would also become both a mainstay on FM radio and the new medium of the day MTV. Like RUSH, Zebra and ZZ Top who were all three men outfits, Triumph would also find some satisfactory success on MTV. Songs like Lay It On The Line, Magic Power, Follow Your Heart and Fight The Good guaranteed that Triumph was much more than just the flavour of the month at the time. They were mainstays throughout the majority of the latter 1970’s through to the middle to latter part of the 1980’s.

Fast forward now to 2016. I am still discovering new depths and different sides to Rik Emmett. He returns with a powerful, knity grity style of stripped down almost blues hard rock AOR with Rik Emmett  & RESolution9 – RES9. If you think for a moment this is just another Triumph style big arena rock/AOR/Melodic Metal sound you are in for somewhat of a shock, but a good shock nevertheless. Rik Emmett explores many sounds and depths of guitar oriented rock with this new album.  Rik Emmett has also tapped into the rich Canadian rock pedigree to enlist the likes of Dream Theater’s James Labrie, RUSH’s Alex Lifeson, Dave Dunlop , etc … for Rik Emmett  & RESolution9 – RES9.

On Rik Emmett  & RESolution9 – RES9, we see Rik Emmett really strip down to bare bones straight up bluesy AOR rock. It is also amazing to see how he employed two people more known for their prog rock prowess in Alex Lifeson and James Labrie on a very fundamental straight away blues rock and how their individual talents totally fall in line with great precision on both time and range. Now a little breakdown of Rik Emmett  & RESolution9 – RES9.


Stand Still begins with a very straight forward stripped down blues chord progression.  It is almost that Texas southern fried rock made better known by ZZ Top. Lyrically it tells the story of all sorts of characters. The rhythm section is partially blues with light jazz elements you would find in a Zydeco joint in New Orleans. The guitar solo’s are nasty in nostalgia yet with a wonderful modern elemental sound. This track is the perfect setup for the bluesy buffet ahead.

Human Race (feat. Alex Lifeson) begins with a very familiar opening passage on guitar by Alex Lifeson. This is the very sound a riff playing we have come to know Alex in RUSH. This time it is acclimated more towards a bluesy passage more than a progressive one. Rik has totally built a Toronto Ontario, bloodline throughout this album and it starts on this track.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gT1_GyBoBkc]

Video Courtesy of (Mascot Label Group Official YouTube Channel)

I Sing (feat: James Labrie) Lyrically this is a classic tale of the life of a working musician going in and out of the trials and tribulations of life. James Labrie comes in quite subtly on vocals and takes over in certain parts. Both Rik and James do a great job playing of the rhythm section. Particularly the drum/bass rhythm section. This track also features another side to James Labrie many do not see in Dream Theater, that being a ‘Classic Rock Vocalist’.

My Cathedral is a very introspective track of people making proclamations of what faith and life mean. Is it God, music, whatever people find peace of mind and spirit in. This is really has some American southern fried roots in the chord progressions. Rik allows both the lyrical and instrumental narrative to carry this track into the middle and more experimental tracks of the album.

The Ghost Of Shadow Town starts off with thunderous drums to set the rhythmic tone with a almost steel guitar vibe.  The guitar solos throughout this track add more of a accent to the rhythm section narrative. Rik also employs more of a semi spoken word semi melodic vocal to tell the story.

When You Were My Baby starts out much in a Southern Texas Stevie Ray Vaughn style guitar passage. There are some nice isolated elements throughout to showcase both the instrumental and lyrical portions of the song. This is almost sounds like he and his band did this one live in studio and went back and did vocals later. The guitar solos are organically nasty and fluently blues.

Sweet Tooth is a little love ballad that is done in a 2:12 time frame. Kind of short and sweet , no pun intended. It is almost has a later 1960’s blues soul vibe about it.  The lyrical content is how the individual listener receives it.

Heads Up starts out with with a straight away rock passage. This track is probably the closest the traditional Triumph fan will enjoy. This is probably the most AOR track on the album in its anthemic nature.

Rest Of My Life begins with a smooth acoustic guitar passage along with a very harmonic vocal melody. Rik cuts in with a solo vocal isolation in the middle of the beautiful vocal harmony. This track has very rolling guitar oriented rock chord progressions. A lot of Rik Emmett’s vocal register over the last 40 years really flourishes in this one.

End Of The Line (feat: Alex Lifeson & James Labrie) displays the full Canadian rock element over the last half a century.  Rik has written towards the strengths of both Alex Lifeson & James Labrie while maintaining the original blues objective he has for the album.  This track is very heavy on the Classic Rock and AOR elements. This is the essential song that is very appropriate for both sub genres. There is a beautiful nastiness in the guitar passages throughout the track. The solos are big and so are the rhythmic elements. The solo’s are huge and you can hear both Rik Emmett’s signature style and Alex Lifeson’s signature style within the context of the main narrative.


[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NJUS7737GM]

Video Courtesy of (Mascot Label Group Official YouTube Channel)

Grand Parade (feat: Gil Moore & Mike Levine) {Bonus Track} sees Rik Emmett reunited with his Triumph band mates. This is a very subtle track. The guitars and vocal harmonies progress towards an apex where the the track takes some subtle drops and begins to build in between passages. It also does not depend on the verse/bridge/chorus format in the lyrical narrative.

I will say this  about Rik Emmett  & RESolution9  RES9, this was a very unexpected gift to music in 2016. In a year plagued by many losses in the music world this is one of those albums that brings home what traditional ‘classic rock’ and AOR are about. It also continues to solidify Rik Emmett’s legacy as one of the best Canadian songwriters and musicians of our time.This album also has confirmed in me the maturity and appreciation for music outside my heavy metal and folk rock and progressive rock/metal roots.  Rik Emmett  & RESolution9  RES9 gets a 4.75/5 .

Making Of Rik Emmett  & RESolution9  RES9 Video

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rkwInU5HPc]

Video Courtesy of (Mascot Label Group Official YouTube Channel)

Melodic Revolution Records Double Feature Album October 2016 {Part 2} | Petri Lindstrom Project | Hail To Sabbath



Petri Lindstrom Project | Hail To Sabbath

Label: Melodic Revolution Records

Release Year : 2016

Country: International

Genre: Doom Metal


Band Members

Petri ‘Lemmy’ Lindström – Guitars, Bass & Keyboards

Special Guests:

Blake Carpenter – (The Minstrel’s Ghost, Voice of The Enslaved, Corvus Stone) Vocals

Juha-Matti Koppelomäki – (Wolfhorde) Solo Guitar

Janne Ahonen – Drums

Track List:

My Time Is Now

Fall Into Hands of Reality

Lost Children

Get Away

Keeper of the Gates



Contact Links 

Petri Lindstrom Official Website

Petri Lindstrom Official Melodic Revolution Records Profile

Petri Lindstrom Project Official Facebook Page

Melodic Revolution Records Official Website

Melodic Revolution Records Official YouTube Channel


When it comes to Black Sabbath tributes you always hear about a multi band and multi song album full of Black Sabbath covers. Most notably the albums Nativity In Black 1&2 or NIB A Cover To Black Sabbath have really been the major Black Sabbath cover albums. While cover albums like those certainly help the posterity of both the band and the music they created,  they have not really addressed the very essence of the music. Most of those cover albums we see the band taking the Black Sabbath track and making it their own with their own signature sounds uniquely.

I have always asked myself what if a band or artist were to write and record an entire album of originals with the very tuned down doom sound Black Sabbath basically created Heavy Metal with. After almost 27 years since this thought first hit me there is now a album that now has done that very thing. Petri Lindstrom Project  Hail To Sabbath is a album of six original songs written by Petri  Lindstrom himself that really dive into the very essence of the sound of Black Sabbath. Thus making Hail To Sabbath a very appropriate title to this new release on Melodic Revolution Records.

It is albums such as this as to why I do special features on Melodic Revolution Records artists. Nick Katona and staff never fail to impress or amaze the listener with unconventional find and sign acts such as Petri Lindstrom Project. It is albums like this and the first half of this monthly feature from NeverWake that display originality and the fact that Melodic Revolution Records refuses to be pigeonholed or typecast to who or what genre they sign and present to the world. This is what makes a record label a quality buffet of various sounds and flavours throughout the world.

Petri Lindstrom Project’s new doom laden Hail To Sabbath is the ultimate irony as it contains Blake Carpenter – Vocals – The Minstrel’s Ghost, Voice of The Enslaved, Corvus Stone  Juha-Matti Koppelomäki – Solo Guitar – Wolfhorde , Janne Ahonen – Drums . This is also a testament to both label and artists that there is a melodic family atmosphere. There seems to be a tight knit community within Melodic Revolution Records where its individual artists continue to work with one another much like a fraternity or sorority. They are not just so called “side projects” these are whole other bands with whole other combination of artists about them.

As for Hail To Sabbath, this album stays very true to the origins of not only just Black Sabbath but the very spirit that gave metal its birth, ‘Doom Metal’.  To my surprise Blake Carpenter does a fine job transitioning his vocals with great versatility between various genres, sounds and band participation he has been involved with vocally. This project is no exception to that rule either. Petri does a wonderful job channeling both his inner Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler transitioning in and out between guitars and bass. The way this whole project has been written, recorded and produced show the listener the clear vision all participants have paying such original homage to Black Sabbath.

Petri Lindstrom has managed to bring together four world class musicians that clearly looked at his vision and to see it through. I hope Petri Lindstrom’s Hail To Sabbath will inspire future projects to pay very unconventional tributes with original standards and songs to bands they were influenced by and loved. Petri Lindstrom’s Hail To Sabbath takes tribute albums into uncharted territory I hope is explored more in the future. Petri Lindstrom’s Hail To Sabbath gets a 4.5/5 for very original content and courage to carry it out.  


[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8Gso9bVFw4]

Video Courtesy of  (Melodic Revolution Records Official YouTube Channel )

Melodic Revolution Records Double Feature Album October 2016 {Part 1} NeverWake | Incinerate



NeverWake | Incinerate

Label: Melodic Revolution Records

Release Year: 2016

Country: USA

Genre: Modern Alternative Metal/New Wave Of American Heavy Metal 

Band Members

Johnny DiCarlo – Lead Vocals/Guitar

Justin Sanford – Guitar/Vocals

Marcus Giannamore – Drums

George Scott – Bass


Track Listing





Thriller – Michael Jackson Cover 

Incinerate – Radio Edit


Contact Links

NeverWake Official Website

NeverWake Official Melodic Revolution Records Profile

NeverWake Official Facebook Page

NeverWake Official Twitter

NeverWake Official YouTube Channel

NeverWake Official Soundcloud Profile

Melodic Revolution Records Official Website




I can remember a time when heavy metal music in America seemed to have reached its zenith and was about ready to be a null and potentially void genre of music here in America. This all happened around the latter part of the 1970’s. Disco and Punk had somehow served as a 1-2 punch for hard rock and heavy metal. Some hard rock bands even conformed to the sound of the time and alienated many of its original core of fans. Then something happened. There was a wave of heavy metal out of Great Britain about to become a melodic tsunami and crash upon the shores of America. This would be the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. Bands like Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, Diamondhead, Quartz, Tygers Of Pan Tang , etc …would give heavy a shot in the arm in both America and on a worldwide global scale The NWOBHM not only altered the landscape for metal at the time but it also helped the bands that it was supposedly trying to replace.

In the early 1990’s metal would face another threat of extinction within heavy metal out of the Pacific Northwest of Seattle with the Grunge movement. It seems like American metal has always faced some threat to its vitality every 10 to 15 years. However not this time. In the early 2000’s a new crop of bands would enter the fray. Bands such as Disturbed,Killswitch Engage, Shadows Fall, Lamb Of God, Black Dahlia Murder, Godsmack,  etc… . These bands would be called the New Wave Of American Heavy Metal.

With this major resurgence of modern heavy metal within America for the last 15 years or so, it has certainly inspired many more NWOAHM bands to form and grow. One of them is Melodic Revolution Records own NeverWake. Hailing out of the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area, the guys at NeverWake have certainly carved out their own path in the NWOAHM. This is very evident with their new release Incinerate. Produced by Disturbed’s own John Moyer, NeverWake’s Incinerate carries all the dark, symphonic thrash signatures produced by the NWOAHM.

On Incinerate you have a very in your face smash mouth style of metal that is very heavy from the first note to closing note of the album. Hallmarks such as tuned down guitars and bass alongside the deep brutal double blast beats of the drums allow this band to experiment with both levels of heavy melody with heavy clean and grunting vocal harmony. Even with John Moyer as the producer NeverWake has its own distinct sound, if you are expecting a Disturbed clone of a band this album is NOT for you. If you are objective and judge a band on its own presentation and merits than NeverWake’s Incinerate is a album you should invest in. With only 6 tracks on the album I am not doing a track by track analysis on this review. There is something about the album you must hear for yourself to make your own conclusion on in which a track by track analysis would not do this justice. I do however give NeverWake’s Incinerate a 4/5 only because I felt the band could of made a little longer album. Outside that their sound and hooks are spot on.


[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WIf7qeGszU]

Video Courtesy of  (NeverWake Official YouTube Channel)

Poor Genetic Material | Absence | Album Review 2016


Label: QuiXote-Music

Release Year: 2016

Country: Germany

Genre: Progressive Rock


Band Members

Phil Griffiths – Vocals

Martin Griffiths – Vocals

Stefan Glomb – Guitars

Philipp Jaehne – Keyboards

Dennis Sturm – Bass

Dominik Steinbacher – Drums

Pia Darmstaedter – Flutes 

Contact Links 

Poor Genetic Material Official Website

Poor Genetic Material Official Facebook Page

Quixote Records Official Website

Poor Genetic Material At CDBaby

Poor Genetic Material Official Soundcloud




It is no secret that Germany have had a significant hand in the progressive rock and progressive metal for the last 45+ years. Starting with the early Krautrock bands like Amon Dull ii, Can, Popol Vuhl, Sun Ra,  Klause Schultz and Kraftwerk, Germany have certainly left their lasting legacy in the world of progressive rock which influence is still felt and handed down to this day. In recent years bands like Vanden Plas, Sieges Even, Subsignal and now Poor Genetic Material have continue the German progressive rock legacy.

Poor Genetic Material are no strangers to the world of progressive rock. Founded in 2000 and with eight prior releases under their belt, Poor Genetic Material continue to add their own flavour and blend of quality well crafted progressive rock to the progressive rock community. I suppose if one had to make comparisons, Poor Genetic Material’s sound is a mixture of Yes meets Caravan meets Subsignal. This is also very evident with their current 2016 offering Poor Genetic Material Absence.

Absence has a little bit of every element of progressive rock. It contains longer compositions, great atmospheric chord progressions and even some light off rhythmic sections that still remain within the main time signature focus and objective. Poor Genetic Material’s Absence also has a warmth and maturity about it that is appealing to both a mature seasoned progressive audio pallet and a fun appeal that even draws in a younger more curious audience to their music. With only six tracks, some that range from 3+ minutes to 18+ minutes Poor Genetic Material’s Absence provides a quality hour of progressive bliss that is certainly to continue the band’s own legacy.  Within the duration of the hour plus, Poor Genetic Material examine the void, emptiness brought by the absence of a person through death or a break up of a friendship, a lifestyle change,,or even a change in circumstances.The band has also taken brilliant creative license by book ending the 30+ minute epic Absence. That is the immediate indicator that this is a concept album and that the band is about to take you the listener on a cerebral journey stimulated by music through the audio senses. Now let’s look at few highlights from Absence.

Absence Part 1  starts out with a nice keyboard driven atmospheric passage in the intro.  It continues layers upon layers of various keyboard effects as it builds towards the inside of the track itself. It is like a film soundtrack opening with soft warm and subtle vocals gingerly in step with the atmospheres. The lyrical content speaks of loss and loneliness that anyone can identify with. It also speaks of those who may mean well about talking to these people in the afterlife however the person in question who experienced loss of a friend wants no part of it. The instrumental atmospheres and melodies are spot on point with the emotion conveyed by the character in the story. Instrumentally the band build these symphonic style passages with smooth rhythm sections.

What If …?  Lyrically picks up where Absence Part 1 leaves off except this time it has a thunderous rhythm section with very abstract guitar passages. Lyrically the character starts to question the very definition of the topic of Absence. The vocal presentation and delivery is both soulful and has a powerful level of conviction to perfectly accompany the powerful rhythm based section. The harmonies between father and son duo of Phillip and Martin Griffiths are both powerful and filled of soul. The guitar work is like another vocal transcribed on the fretboard.  Although they sound slightly neo progressive, the keyboards provide a darker side to the song.

Lost In Translation begins with a lush keyboard that is layered with a very dark symphonic bass line. The synth guitars continue to add to the dark atmosphere to this one. The lyrical matter explores what all humans question while in this life still, that being where do we go once our body takes its last breath and we enter the afterlife. With the dark brooding instrumental in harmony with the warm vocals this makes for a emotional 4+ minutes. A lot of this composition reminds me of IQ’s Dark Matter.

Chalkhill Blues opens up with a far more upbeat and lighter instrumental chord progressions. The lyrical matter is even a lot lighter on this track. However make no mistake the band remains on point with the concept of Absence on this one.

Absconded  is a story of absence due to the break up of a friendship or relationship whether it be a personal or professional relationship.It is also the absence of influence as well. This track is very heavy on percussive rhythm with the drums matched by the deep textures in the guitars and synth guitars. The backing vocals perfectly echo compliment the lead vocals. The harmonies have a little more muscle on them throughout this track. The unsung hero of this track are both the Hammond style organ and the beautiful flute done wonderfully by Pia Darmstaedter. The flute seems to also take on another level of emotion to match the mental content lyrically.

Absence Part 2  opens with a very wonderful atmosphere of both keyboard and brilliant percussion work adding layers to textures. This has some serious special effects of vast open atmospheres like those heard in space rock. It is as if the music is calling and beckoning the listener from deep interstellar space. Lyrically the character is forced to mature or perish under the weight of his own loneliness and grief This is a heavily atmospheric track from the first to final note. It would make sense that the band book ended the 30+ minute epic of Absence. The book ending of the epic with the shorter tracks in the middle serve as the various forms absence takes within the human psyche. The band throughout the 6 tracks beautifully paint a dark, melancholic yet beautiful story on the theater of the mind of the listener.

Poor Genetic Material’s Absence is not just another piece of album work as far as the writing, recording, mixing and mastering. It goes way beyond that. This is music that is more crafted than the typical process. The band really pays attention greatly to detail. I will admit this was my first introduction to Poor Genetic Material. Now to get started financially on their library of the previous eight releases. Poor Genetic Material’s Absence gets a 4.75/5 .

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Embed Courtesy Of  (Poor Genetic Material Official SoundCloud)

Glass Hammer | Valkyrie | Album Review 2016



Glass Hammer |Valkyrie


Label: Arion Records/Sound Resources

Release Year: 2016

Country: USA

Genre: Symphonic Progressive Rock


Band Members

Susie Bogdanowicz – Lead & Backing Vocals

Fred Schendel – Keyboards/Guitars & Backing Vocals

Steve Babb – Bass Guitar/Keyboards & Backing Vocals

Kamran Alan Shikoh – Electric, Acoustic & Classical Guitars/Electric Sitar

Aaron Raulston – Drums


Contact Links 

Glass Hammer Official Website

Glass Hammer Official Facebook Page

Glass Hammer Official Twitter

Glass Hammer Official YouTube Channel

Glass Hammer Official Store


Glass Hammer is perhaps one of the most consistent progressive rock bands over the last 50 years. With nearly 17 albums since 1993, Glass Hammer has managed to maintain their cult like status while adding new members to their fan base. Glass Hammer were formed by Steve Babb and Fred Schendel and have grown since then. Many of Glass Hammer’s albums are conceptual pieces rooted and inspired by the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, or the works of C.S Lewis. Glass Hammer’s concepts are meant to be listened to in one sitting for the desired effect that band intends on accomplishing with the listener. This is very evident with their new 2016 offering Glass Hammer Valkyrie.

Glass Hammer’s Valkyrie is rooted within the latter 1960’s to 1970’s style of progressive rock notable influences being ELP, Yes, Genesis, Amon Dull ii and Renaissance.  With the exit of Carl Groves on vocals and Susie Bogdanowicz stepping up to the forefront, Glass Hammer now joins the ranks of their contemporaries such as Joann Hogg IONA, Christina Booth Magenta, Olivia Spamenn Mostly Autumn and even a twist of Candice Night with Blackmore’s Night and Liselotte Hegt of DIAL. And join company with legends as Annie Halsam of Renaissance and Renata Knaupf of Amon Dull ii.

Glass Hammer’s Valkyrie according to their press release, tells the story of a soldier trapped in an endless war, and of the girl he left behind. As with most GH albums, deeper meanings abound for those who take the time to digest the lyrics which are, according to the liner notes, “dedicated to those who battle the effects of trauma, and to those who love and support them.” It is a very compelling story that requires the listener to set aside just over one hour of their time to get immersed in the journey of Valkyrie.  Musically the band takes a very vintage and traditional progressive rock approach with heavy Hammond organ style synths, beautiful straight away rhythm sections with gentle lead vocals now done by Susie Bogdanowicz  that are supported and sung with great conviction.

If you decide to follow the story through the CD booklet you will find Susie Bogdanowicz, Steve Babb and Fred Schendel uniquely and subtly interchange the vocals from narrator to character in the story and still maintain a harmonious balance with interchanging between the lead and backing vocals.It is a love story between a very spiritually damaged war veteran and the woman at home waiting to love him again. Valkyrie certainly solidifies this with great accuracy and timing. Meanwhile Fred Schendel – Keyboards/Guitars & Backing Vocals, Steve Babb – Bass Guitar/Keyboards & Backing Vocals , Kamran Alan Shikoh – Electric, Acoustic & Classical Guitars/Electric Sitar , Aaron Raulston – Drums all execute great instrumental chord progressions instrumentally and alongside the vocal narratives in balanced harmony.

There are some highlights from every track I would want to explore at this time.

The Fields We Know sees us introduced to the loving couple of the war soldier and his sweetheart waiting back home for him to return. This opens with very traditional progressive rock elements with Hammond style synths meeting a tight layered lush rhythm bass/drum section. The big rhythm section reminds me of the heavily bass induced classic by Yes called Roundabout. Steve Babb reminds me a lot of the late Chris Squire with his spot on timing. The female vocal of Susie enters in in a very angelic ethereal delivery. This is the start of this love story and with great consideration  the band delivers the emotional and spiritual narrative instrumentally. The keyboards provide for appropriate breaks so the song can be digested within the concept.

Golden Days begins with a total percussive clinic with the drum work Aaron Raulston. Soon the female vocal of Susie takes this track to the depths of the soul of the listener. Not only is she on time but she has such a grace behind her voice in both the female narrator and female lover waiting for her soldier. At times the entire band who is playing most of the instrumental portions live in studio take this to a more progressive hard rock edge much like King Crimson or ELP. The keyboards are a constant flow of layers upon layers that help the other instruments transition from passage to passage easier. At times the female vocal takes on beautiful chant like effects.

No Man’s Land begins in a very haunting style between the keyboards and synth guitars. Soon the drums enter in but more as a percussion instrument. The whole instrumental narrative gives the listener the total illusion of something building , something coming. The percussion continues to add layers and flavors with the chimes meanwhile the semi acoustic guitars are right in harmony with the percussive portion. This track is almost like a film track or film score with the band transcribing foely style effects on to actual instruments. Susie’s vocals are like none before her or currently out there. She certainly has her own unique register and signature where you know it is her when she is singing. The same goes for Steve Babb and the rest of the band instrumentally. Lyrically the soldier is thinking heavily about the woman at home who he loves. At the 7:15 mark the track really takes on some progressive hard rock passages. You can tell the band are playing live in the studio and there is not much overdubbing going on. It is organic that requires talent and Glass Hammer have that. Towards the 9:50 mark the song takes a darker sound both instrumentally and vocally. This perhaps to show the result of the soldier’s experience. A great underlying spoken word line gives this a distinct sound.

Nexus Girl is the only instrumental on Valkyrie. This starts out very heavily with a electronica sense in the vein of Kraftwerk. The minimalist approach of less is more really dominates the landscape of this track quite nicely. This track builds layer upon layer in real time as the band really had a live in studio approach on this album.

Valkyrie this is both a tender story of the woman who loves and misses her soldier. Her emotional nuances to comfort and protect her soldier is some of the most compelling and breathtaking story lyrically. The soldier likewise yearns for her embrace. The band really does a great job emulating this melodic love letter back and forth. The Hammond synth is very vintage yet modern sounding. By this point the band should have the full attention of the objective listener of traditional progressive rock both new and old.

Fog of War begins with such density and intensity with a heavy thunderous rhythm section. The bass/drum rhythm section relentless. The guitar comes in like a fuzzy distorted progressive space rock chord progression to probably give the listener the effect of a fog around the soldier. This comes about the time his woman back home is starting to observe a change in both behaviour and mood as a result of the war. The rhythm section is really tight about this time. The band also has more complex time signatures and changes in this one. It is is really loaded with these signature changes throughout the duration of Fog Of War. The emotion and concern in the woman is so powerful both lyrically and instrumentally.

Dead And Gone begins with a beautiful piano that doubles both as a piano and violin. The woman character has great concern for her soldier. At some point she develops a reservation about him bringing home the wounds of war where she may not recognise him. This is the true ballad of Valkyrie. About this time it seems that there are melodic letter exchanges between the two. The bass plays very well off the lead of the Hammond style synth on this one. There are typical questions of life through this one.

Eucatastrophe means happy ending. The track starts as a ballad type track . The woman is ready to be united together with her soldier and begin to build a life with him. She is ready to help him with the wounds and scars of war. Soon the track takes on a very heavy disposition with hard rock guitars that accompany big bass/drum rhythm sections. Glass Hammer display that they can be a little aggressive when the situation is right to be.

Rapturo the final track on Valkyrie ends the album with what I would call a part love letter part prayer for both the soldier and his sweetheart. It is a very haunting song with deeper piano passages that are almost in the style of Mozart or Bach playing in a live acoustic hall. The vocals seem to take on a very heavy ambient atmosphere. Sometimes a little psychedelic however the band remains on point. The band through the filter of the female character seem to make the case that no matter how much baggage or wounds a person incurs during a lifetime there is still hope, faith and love.


This is a true love story for the ages set to melody. Glass Hammer have managed to make a motion picture film and show it on the screen within the theater of the mind.With 23 years and now 18 albums to their credit, Glass Hammer still proves they are a relevant force in the progressive rock world. I give Glass Hammer’s Valkyrie a 5/5 .


[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWEGdhJ9OQQ]

Video Courtesy of  (Glass Hammer Official YouTube Channel )

Written By:  (Robert “Uncle Prog’ Brady)