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Space Ritual - Live At The Venusian Electric Ballroom In The Cygnus 5 Galaxy CD (album) cover


Space Ritual


Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.95 | 2 ratings

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5 stars Until, or unless, the band get their collective heads into gear and release an album of new material [one has been recorded, but ... ], this will remain as Space Ritual's flagship CD. Recorded live, with production work carried out in Dave Anderson's Foel Studio, it is an awesome snapshot of the band's live set in 2004, and a brilliant example of classic blanga. This album can be considered almost definitive, right up there with the genre-defining album from which this band takes its name. There is no hint of dead weight or flaws - just 100% pure gold. Nobody puts a foot wrong, but I do miss Jackie Windmill's vocals!

The whole band is alive and cooking here, from the Ollis's thrashing the skin off their drum kits, John Greves' superb atmospherics and frills on assorted synths, and Crimble and Anderson's authoritative powerhouse rhythm section. Up front, Turner is in fine voice and his sax and flute playing add an essential element to the mix as always, but it is Slattery's lead guitar that grabs the attention. He really is playing a blinder here, his lead runs being both melodic and aggressive and as good as I have ever heard him.

Only a couple of songs may be unfamiliar to fans of Hawkwind's back catalogue - hypnotic opening jam 'Cosmic Chant' is a brilliant way to get things going, followed by Turner's spunky 'Watching The Grass Grow'. From there onwards its classics all the way, taken at average pace in standard Space Ritual arrangements with extensive jams: 'Born To Go' is a thundering powerhouse; a stately 'Dragon Rider' slows the pace with Turner's flute and another superb Slattery solo; 'Brainstorm' kicks up a storm as always, with that instantly recognisable riff; the jaunty, adrenalin fuelled 'Ejection', with its rolling bassline and chugging drums, is dominated by Slattery; the mesmerising 'Sonic Attack' gets the full Greves treatment, turning it into an intense and scary psychedelic trip; the band rip through 'Master Of The Universe' with Turner's sax taking the soloing honours this time; finally, the inevitable 'Silver Machine' opens with Turner's 'Thunder Rider Rap' vocal before the band rock out in fine style with Slattery doing the wah wah guitar.

As a modern update on classic early 70s spacerock material, this CD can hardly be faulted and is highly recommended as a viable and superior alternative to practically anything else out there at the moment, with a tracklist reading almost like a Hawkwind 'Best Of'. Production is excellent too, with a clean, punchy sound letting the detail breathe while simultaneously adding power and weight. The only way forward from here is a set of new songs because this is as good as these old songs will get. Overall, one of the best spacerock albums, and highly recommended.

Joolz | 5/5 |


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