Martin Kielty at 03:13pm January 20 2014
Glass Hammer are preparing to release their 14th studio album Ode To Echo – and leading light Steve Babb has told Prog the material focuses on “some very dark ideas.” View a teaser trailer below.
Jon Davison, who also fronts Yes,
has laid down vocal tracks alongside returned live singer Carl Groves
and former member Susie Bogdanowicz. Guest musician include Rob Reed of
Magenta, David Ragsdale of Kansas and Randy Jackson of Zebra.
And the album marks Glass Hammer’s first-ever collaboration with an outside lyricist in the track Crowbone, penned by British historical fiction novelist Robert Low.
Babb tells Prog: “We turned a corner last year when Carl
rejoined to fill in for Jon, who was touring with what we call ‘the
other band.’ We knew it wasn’t a good thing to have Carl only front us
on stage, but we’d always said how much we would love to have him in the
studio, as well as Susie – so, back she came as well In our minds,
they’d never really left.
“Jon hasn’t quit just because he’s working with Yes, so Ode To Echo features all three of these singers, and even a couple of others from years gone by.
“Lyrically we’re dealing with mythology, using it to call attention
to some very dark ideas. Narcissus is seen on the cover; fans can expect
to hear our thoughts on narcissism. Ozymandias, I Am I and the oddly-titled Misantrog are three tracks that deal with narcissism specifically.”
Babb became a fan of Low’s books after reading his Oathsworn
series, which deals with a group of Vikings as they battle their way
across Europe in the tenth century. He explains: “Rob’s work is very
gritty and down to earth, but he doesn’t shy away from the supernatural;
and he does an outstanding job of putting you into the action. You can
smell the fear, the sweat and blood of battle.
“With Rob I did something I very rarely do: I emailed him as a fan.
To my surprise he replied and confessed to being a Glass Hammer fan. He
sent me a poem he’d written for his novel Crowbone that he hadn’t used.
He recently heard a rough mix of the track, and seems genuinely thrilled
with the direction it has taken.”
And the experience has been a positive one for Babb: “Rob and other
authors are absolutely welcome to send me verses or poems. There’s a
very good chance we would do this again. Hawkwind had Michael Moorcock –
Glass Hammer could have Rob Low. But anyone who has a spare bit of
poetry lying around that wouldn’t mind having it ‘progged up’ should
send me something soon!”
A firm release date hasn’t been set for Ode To Echo, but
it’s due in the coming weeks. Babb reports: “Expect an album that sounds
nothing like the last three or four, and yet sounds precisely like
Glass Hammer. That seems like a contradiction, but will make much more
sense to fans once they’ve heard the album.”