Ashes for the Monarch – 2015

Release Date: 9th February 2015
Running Time – 55:07

John Youdale – 6, 12 & Nylon Guitars, Vocals and FX
Dave Birdsall – Vocals
Mike Winship – Vocals
Dave Kidson – Keyboards
Bob Mulvey – Bass, Bass Pedals, FX & Voices
Graeme Ash – Drums

Gemma Elysee – Violin (2, 4 & 6)
Dale Harbron – Narrative (7)


Monument concluded with the Whichone (Outro) and using the idea put forward on the first three Queen albums, a sort of ‘taster’ track to leave you with a hint of what’s to begin the next one. Musically Whichone is a slight departure in that it is basically a triplet feel minor blues, lyrically a satire based around the idea of endless choice, the idea being, that if you have too much choice, or too many possible things to choose from, the choice becomes more difficult and less convincing.

Hell And High Water has a strange link to the Ridley Scott film ‘Bladerunner’ in that it was inspired by the view from a window overlooking the industrial scene one clear and dark autumn night. Both this song and the cinematic feel of the film came from that striking imagery. Towers of steel; flames rising into the night; orange and cold blue light; steam rising into the darkness – both a hell on Earth and still the financial lifeblood of Teesside through the 20th century.

Projections was originally a twenty five minute piece, but eventually found to work better in a streamlined version. The middle dream section, From Ego To Id, is about our pleasures and our fears, our pleasurable slumbers are dashed as the dentist’s drill changes the mood. There’s some whacky ideas in there…

The inspiration behind Garden Of Evil came from John Wyndham’s ‘The Day of the Triffids’ – one of Glacier’s most compact songs and is a seven minute journey into the story of the book.

Lightwing was originally written by John as he recovered from a long illness combining a number doodles on the guitar. The main theme comes from a piece called Nightwing (to appear on the next album) and has been transposed from its original D harmonic minor key into an A melodic minor with some other themic elements hidden within the arrangement.

The centrepiece of Ashes is the twenty three minute epic One Man Alone, a sprawling meander through 37 years of Glacier music influenced by ELP, Yes, Genesis, Camel, Focus, King Crimson and more. It tells the story of Lawrence Talbot, the Wolf Man as inspired by the 1941 film, starring Lon Chaney Jr. The track has the opening section being played in the style of ELP’s ‘Tarkus’ and the song is meant to be an affectionate homage to all of the bands who raised the prog banner in the early 70’s. The final outro section Barkus Mad Mutation… was fleshed out as being the ‘next wolfman….’ Using the original theme in 7/8 converted to a theme played in 6/4 and given a Yes (Steve Howe) type octave feel.

The Isle Of Glass (Outro) once again returns to the formula of offering a taster for the next release. A dense orchestration of e-Bows fleshes out the strings and choirs as it tries to convey the imagery of a windswept wake across the moors to a place of rest…


What i find so enjoyable about One Man Alone is that Glacier draw upon their full arsenal of ideas and musical know how. Dave Kidson’s keyboards play a major part here and throughout the album yet in a strange way seem low key. Humour plays a large part in Glacier’s make up, evident in subtitles like Barkus a take on E.L.P’s album Tarkus whilst maintaining the werewolf reference also reflected in the riff being played. Yes like breaks are evident, though i am assured that whilst intentional are a play on the reoccurring theme of the album played in a different time signature, clever stuff. I could even hear influences like Barclay James Harvest towards the climax of the piece. (The Progmeister)

I can only be positive about Ashes For The Monarch. It’s an amazing album that brought me only happy moments while listening to it. (Background Magazine)

Glacier certainly knows how to compose great tunes and with high class delivery from all six members! (Prog Planet)

“One Man Alone rips the album out, shows what Glacier is made of – here all facets of neo-prog are presented at a high level: Fat choirs, rapid rhythm changes and driving violin parts ensure a lot of movement. In addition, there are quite unabashed sequences that could be found more or less identically in Yes (drama), ELP, IQ (late Orford phase), the early Steve Hackett or Genesis (cinema show).” (BabyBlaue-Seiten)

One Man Alone: ” Based on the horror classic ‘The Wolf Man’, it’s far more upbeat than the story would suggest, and at almost 23 minutes it allows Glacier ample scope to reference their prog influences. Driven by a bass line that echoes the main riff from Genesis’ Cinema Show, it opens with a sprightly synth theme and includes some very fine guitar moments which have echoes of Steve Howe, Steve Rothery and Andy Latimer.” (DPRP)

“Whichone opens, a real bridge with the past (Monument’s closing track was Whichone-outro) between a great work of bass pedals and forward fugues of the electric, catchy trend.” (Ages of Rock)

All instruments come out well. Bob Mulvey’s bass work and bass pedals in particular sound fabulous. Just listen to the awesome Garden Of Evil. (Progwereld)

“The eleven part One Man Alone, at just over 22 minutes, requires concentration, again drawing on multiple sources and giving Dave Kidson a chance to shine. Tonys Banks and Kaye, Rick Wakeman and Patrick Moraz seem to be represented here, but the passage that works best for me is that with the strings of Gemma Elysee.” (TPA)