Glass Hammer, based in Tennessee, officially began in 1992 when longtime friends Steve Babb and Fred Schendel began writing and recording their first album. Steve Babb and Dave Carter's partnership began in the winter of 1980 when they were in their teens- their band was called Wizards and was influenced by Rush Black Sabbath, Ted Nugent and Kiss. Besides being a fan of heavy metal, Steve Babb liked the sounds of Yes and ELP, which began to influence the Wizards sound. Though unknown, Wizards' performances gave them a solid following in the southeastern part of the US and though Wizards disbanded in 1983, David and Steve continued in various traveling groups like Angel's Flight and Band of Angels up until the formation of Glass Hammer in 1993. In 1984, Fred Schendel and Walter Moore meet in the small Tennessee town of Oak Ridge were they started play in several local cover bands and eventually formed The Obvious in 1985, (Moore on vocals and guitar, and Schendel on keys). The covers varied from Genesis, to Rush, to ELP, to Pat Travers. They were chosen to be a house band at Six Flags in Atlanta, GA in the summer of 1986. During the same time, they were Moore and Schendel were part of a three piece original Prog band on the side, called- Just Add Water. Some of this music reappears- slightly reworked, on several Glass Hammer songs. When The Obvious broke up in 1986, Schendel moved to Chattanooga and met Babb. Fred and Steve worked together for several years before forming Glass Hammer, and began working on their first opus, `Journey of the Dunadan,' a concept album based on J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, finished in 1992, the band released it the following year. The album was well-received and mixed complex compositions and epic grandeur with intimate acoustic work. A narrative was used to add atmosphere and familiarity with the story.
Though Schendel and Babb played almost every instrument on their debut album, they recruited Moore to play drums live. Michelle Young added her angel-like voice (heard on one track of `Journey'), and additional keyboard talents.
Glass Hammer toured around the southeast with the line-up of Babb (bass/lead vocals), Schendel (synths/piano/organ/lead vocals), Moore (drums) and Young (on keys/vocals).
In 1994 `Perelandra,' their second album was created, with David Carter guesting on several tracks and joined Glass Hammer as a permanent member. `Perelandra,' was released in 1995 with solid success, was based loosely on the works of C.S. Lewis. The style of the album was a bit cooler in tone, but the band kept their familiar epic/complex arrangements.
After a tour to support the album, Michelle Young left to pursue a solo career. During a hiatus, Babb and Schendel released an album of fantasy-themed electro-ambient music under the project name- TMA-2. The album,- `Artifact One,' released in 1996 was more of a techno/dance album than true Prog.
In 1997 the band began working in the recording studio again. In the meanwhile, they released `Live and Revived', a limited-edition collection of live rehearsal recordings and unreleased material written just after `Journey' was released. The band Wyzards (Wizards changed their name to Wyzards)- which was not dead, released- `The Final Catastrophe'. Babb and Schendel joined by their former band mate Bill McKinney, recorded several songs from Wyzards' history as well as a new 18-minute epic written just for the album. Schendel guested on Hammond organ and keyboards. With the new Glass Hammer album not yet finished, Moore and Babb, released a second TMA-2 album,- entitled `Tick Tock Lilies.'
In March 1998, `On To Evermore,' was released, to solid reviews, showcasing a slightly heavier guitar sound.
Glass Hammer released `Chronometree, in April 2000. Guest stars Arjen Lucassen and Terry Clouse, as well as new vocalist Brad Marler, helped expand the Glass Hammer sound.
In the fall of 2001, Glass Hammer released- `Live from Middle-Earth' a return to the land of JRR Tolkien and has received good reviews from Tolkien aficionados and Prog fans.
Not to be idle, Babb and Schendel have created "a musical called `David and Goliath,' which includes `74 minutes of new music and drama written by Steve and Fred, and featuring GH alumni Susie Warren, Dr. David Luther, and Sarah Snyder. This is a "family" musical which will most likely be distributed through Christian bookstore chains in 2002, but no contracts have been signed yet. Steve and Fred are currently working on a new musical called "Songs From the Garden - The Story of Adam and Eve", for the same market.'
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.
Meanwhile, Davison was selected by Yes as their new lead singer, which resulted in him having a reduced role in Glass Hammer.
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.
Recent years (2015-present)
With the line-up now consisting of Schendel, Babb, Bogdanowicz, Groves, Shikoh, and Raulston, the band released their fifteenth studio album The Breaking of the World in 2015.
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."
Updates courtesy of the GH Wiki page.
Journey of the Dunadan (1993)
On to Evermore (1998)
The Middle-Earth Album (2001)
Lex Rex (2002)
The Inconsolable Secret (2005, re-recorded in 2013)
Culture of Ascent (2007)
Three Cheers for the Broken-Hearted (2009)
Cor Cordium (2011)
Ode to Echo (2014)
The Breaking of the World (2015)