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Hawkwind - Warrior On The Edge Of Time

Review: 118
Date: 7 Mar 03

 


Rating: 5 Stars

Musicians:
Dave Brock – Guitar, Synthesizer, Bass on track 4, Vocals on tracks 1, 2, 5, 6 and 11
Nik Turner – Tenor and Soprano Sax, Flute, Vocals on tracks 7 and 10
Lemmy – Bass Guitar
Simon King – Drums and Percussion
Allan Powell – Drums and Percussion
Mike Moorcock – Vocal on tracks 3 and 9

Tracks Listing:
1. Assult And Battery Part I
2. The Golden Void Part II
3. The Wizard Blew His Horn
4. Opa-Loka
5. The Demented Man
6. Magnu
7. Standing At The Edge
8. Spiral Galaxy 28948
9. Warriors
10. Dying Seas
11. Kings Of Speed
12. Motorhead


‘Warrior On The Edge Of Time’ is Hawkwind’s sixth album, and fifth to consecutively hit the British charts, following ‘In Search Of Space’ (no. 18 1971), ‘Doremi Fasol Latido’ (no. 14 1972), the double live album ‘Space Ritual Alive’ (no. 9 1973) and ‘Hall Of The Mountain Grill’ (no. 16 1974). Add to this the incredible and unexpected success of the single ‘Silver Machine’ (no. 3 1972). It was O.K. for underground/cult bands to have albums in the charts, but a hit single was quite extraordinary. I mean, a video of Hawkwind being played alongside performances by David Essex and The Bay City Rollers on ‘Top of the Pops’ - unbelievable!

You will understand they were one of Britain’s top road bands with a fanatical following, who crammed their nationwide concerts and talked knowledgeably about the contents of each album. By this time they had all but guaranteed their places in the annals of Rock ‘n’ Roll history. Along the way creating space/rock, which was to become the cornerstone of later genres such as ambient music and house music. (Ah, Kiddies, got your interest now?)

To many this seventies lineup of Hawkwind will always be the classic lineup and, having been together for almost 5 years, one of the most stable, too. True, Poets, Dancers, Dik Miks, and Del Dettmars came and went, but the nucleus of the band was for Hawkwind very stable. Of course, Simon House joined as well, but nobody was fired, left behind, or spontaneously combusted.

Due to this remarkably uniformed period, and having spent most of the time on the road, including two ground breaking tours of the United States of America and three of Europe, with ‘Warrior On The Edge Of Time’ Hawkwind managed to lay down their magnum opus…..if you like Space Rock’s ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’. Everything felt right. The title alone left you in no mind what to expect. The artwork was simply stunning, standing out in all its glory amongst the other vinyl recordings in your local record store, featuring a single futuristic warrior on horseback gazing into the mists of time. Stirring stuff indeed.

The album roared into the British charts reaching No. 13 and remained in the charts for 3 months with all the songs being incorporated into the live show. Some of them cropping up now and again in Hawkwind’s ever changing stage show today.

Bandleader Dave Brock was at the very height of his creative abilities. The album starts off with a two part epic recently voted Hawkwind’s most popular song ever by the band’s fanzines readers of Hawkfan.

The music starts off with a memorable bass line from Lemmy before the rest of the band break in with both drummers laying down a complex drum pattern. Dave Brock’s chugging riff, Nik Turner’s flute fluttering over the top, and Simon House holding the sound together with a wall of keyboard sound. Instead of it being a weakness by not having a lead vocalist, they turn it into a strength by using to good effect harmony vocals that add to the spacey effect and, of course, behind it all is the wonderful Hawkwind giving it lots of atmosphere.

After this opening volley lasting over ten minutes, (a wonderful live version of this song can be heard on the 1991 live album ‘California Brainstorming’), the famous American Sc-fi writer, Michael Moorcock, makes his first appearance, narrating the words to his own poem, very echoey with sonic keyboard and drum backing.

Next up is a very unusual feat as the two drummers in the band take sole song writing credit for the hard driving instrumental ‘Opa-Loka’, which leads us nicely into another pair of Dave Brock songs. Of the two ‘Magnu’ really stands out, which was to be one of the mainstays of the Hawkwind live set for many years, featuring an upbeat tempo that swirls and swirls round your speakers until Simon House comes in with one of the most exhilarating electric violin solo’s ever laid down in an earth bound recording studio, ‘The Demented Man’ reminds you of Dave Brock’s early days bunking with his acoustic guitar on the streets of London. Even Spacenauts have humble beginnings.

Leading us into the second half of the Warrior adventure is Nik Turner’s nicely over the top reading of Michael Moorcock’s poem ‘Standing at the Edge’.. Next, is the most amazing piece of music on the album: ‘Spiral Galaxy 28949’, written by Simon House, simply years ahead of its time. It is no wonder that three years later David Bowie head-hunted Simon to play keyboards and violin and be musical director of his road band for several years. After another Moorcock spoken poem, the album comes to a conclusion with Nik Turner’s only composition on the album, a typical Hawkwind jaunt through ‘Dying Seas’.

Tagged onto the C.D release is the A & B sides of the current single ‘Kings of Speed’. Not much more than a sub Status Quo 12 bar bash at the charts, but the interesting thing here is the version of the last song Lemmy ever wrote for Hawkwind, ‘Motorhead’. By the time of the album’s release, Lemmy had been kicked out of Hawkwind, going on to form his own band and taking the name for the band from this song; as is well documented and becoming the leading band in Heavy Metal. Far more famous then Hawkwind would ever aspire to.

As for Hawkwind themselves, although they were never really reviled by the new wave of punk rock that hit in mid 77, they never did recover. Within three years David Brock was the only remaining member. Although still going today in one form or another (there are actually two bands, Hawkwind with Dave Brock, and The Hawkwind Experience led by Nik Turner), they have never troubled the top twenty in the charts again.

But, to hear Hawkwind at their finest, sweep back the mists of time, put ‘Warrior On The Edge of Time’ in your player, and enjoy the journey.

 

Pawed by Mott The Dog
Remastered by Ella Crew

E-mail: review@mott-the-dog.com


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