Glass Hammer officially began in 1992 when longtime friends Steve Babb and Fred Schendel began writing and recording the Tolkienesque concept album "Journey of the Dunadan." They released the album independently in 1993 and were amazed when several thousand copies were purchased through the internet, The QVC Shop At Home Network, several international distributors, and their own toll-free order number. The stage was set for a successful career that now includes numerous albums and an enthusiastic, world-wide fan base that continues to grow at a steady rate.
"Journey of the Dunadan" featured performances by David Carter (Wyzards), Terry Clouse (Somnambulist), and solo-artist Michelle Young. Its success led to the construction of Sound Resources, a state-of-the-art recording studio where Glass Hammer albums (as well as albums by Somnambulist, Volare and others) are written and produced to this day.
In 1994 Babb and Schendel began working on their second album "Perelandra," which was released in 1995. The album was an immediate success. Continued musical growth, a cooler tone, epic tracks and mind-blowingly complex passages were the hallmarks of this album as Glass Hammer began building its own mythos centered around a world called "Evermore." David Carter returned to perform on one track, as did Michelle Young. Tracy Cloud made her first appearance on Perelandra, as did Walter Moore who contributed vocals and twelve-string guitar.
Steve Babb and Fred Schendel, circa. 1993.
In 1997 the band began working on its next epic. To tide fans over, they released "Live and Revived," a limited-edition collection of live rehearsal recordings and unreleased material written just after "Journey" was released. This featured the 'live' group which was then made up of Steve, Fred, David Carter, Walter Moore, and Michelle Young.
In March 1998 "On To Evermore" came out to a flood of anticipation. Continuing the story of "Perelandra," it added more guitar crunch to the atmospheric keyboard-rock that had become GH's trademark. "On To Evermore" also showcased the considerable vocal talents of Walter Moore, who sang lead on several tracks. Furthermore, the entire band branched out, Fred and Walter in particular playing a bewildering array of instruments. "On To Evermore" would receive critical acclaim and go on to be recognized as one of the best progressive albums of 1998.
The On To Evermore line-up:
Walter Moore, Steve Babb, Fred Schendel, David Carter, circa. 1998.
Glass Hammer released the retro-prog masterpiece "Chronometree" in April 2000. Fans quickly leaped at the chance to pick up this album full of vintage keyboards and blazing instrumental prowess. Guest stars Arjen A. Lucassen and Terry Clouse, as well as new vocalist Brad Marler, helped expand the GH sound even further. "Chronometree" quickly matched "Journey of the Dunadan" in its popularity, and became the most successful Glass Hammer album to date.
2001 saw the release of "The Middle-earth Album," a collection of songs based on Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. This 'special edition' album was the result of numerous fan-requests for Glass Hammer's return to Middle Earth. Steve and Fred took those requests to heart, and literally returned to the world of halflings, elves, and trolls, recording their live performance (through means both magical and mysterious) at The Prancing Pony Inn in Bree. The group's interest in Middle Earth has made them a huge hit with fans of Tolkien, who are already requesting future additions.
Released in 2002, "LEX REX" firmly established Glass Hammer as one of the most beloved and successful progressive rock groups in the world. A concept album of grand proportions, "LEX REX" seemed to combine all the best elements of the GH style: vintage synths, epic songs, complex vocal layering, and virtuoso performances. "LEX REX" quickly became the group's biggest "hit" with their established audience, and earned them countless new fans around the globe.
The Chronometree line-up: Clockwise from top left,
Terry Clouse, Fred Schendel, Brad Marler, and Steve Babb, circa. 2000.
GH performed "LEX REX" live at NEARfest 2003 with the now "classic" GH lineup of Fred Schendel, Steve Babb, Walter Moore, Susie Bogdanowicz, and Matt Mendians, along with additional backup singers Bethany Warren and Flo Paris. Recording artist Eric Parker joined the group on acoustic guitar, as did a twenty member choir to fill out the vocal sections of songs from "LEX REX", "Chronometree" and "Perelandra." GH performed several concerts during 2003, and filmed the acclaimed DVD, "LEX Live."
2003 also saw production of the eighth GH album, "Shadowlands," which combines the legendary talents of Steve Babb and Fred Schendel, the incredible vocals of Walter Moore and Susie Bogdanowicz, a half-million dollar pipe organ, a string section, an arsenal of analog gear, and all the magic that modern recording technology has to offer. According to the group’s website, "Glass Hammer's Shadowlands delivers everything that modern progressive rock should: the vintage sounds, the contemporary production, the epic style." The album was released in January 2004 and quickly became a favorite among fans as well as a magnet for masses of new fans.
The "classic" Glass Hammer line-up performing live at NEARfest 2003.
Glass Hammer’s musical output continues to grow in popularity around the world. The name "Glass Hammer" has become synonymous with high production standards, and epic storytelling realized through a bewildering array of musical styles, dominated by complex melodic progressive rock. Without a doubt, GH remain one of the world's most popular and respected groups in the progressive rock genre.