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Hawkwind - Sonic Attack CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.18 | 94 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Harmless Attack

The thundering "Levitation" opened the decade by showing great promises and offered HAWKWIND a new life. However, despite its shiny cover art, "Sonic Attack" is not as inspired and innovative as its predecessor. With space metal, the music incorporates more and more ambient electronic passages and a hard rock FM feel. The album is overall pleasant, but the tracks are not very memorable nor distinguishable either.

The line-up has also been victim of a few changes. Ex-"HAWKLORDS" drummer Martin Griffin replaces Ginger Baker, whereas no keyboardist was found to replace Tim Blake. "Sonic Attack" features also a guest participation of Michael Moorcock, the last one being six years ago, on "Warrior on the Edge of Time". You know what it means... interruptive spoken passages.

The title track is a reference from a Moorcock's poem. It reuses the transition piece interpreted live by Robert Calvert during the 1972 Space Ritual tour, with additional sound effects. This 80's reworked version does not bring much to the original and is rather lengthy. In conclusion, a quite useless opener. "Rocky Paths" is a hard FM space rock/metal piece sung by Huw Lloyd-Langton, with various synthesizer sonorities. Nice, but not on the same level as on "Levitation". "Psychosonia" is the continuation of the previous track and features rock-y bass and guitar, as well as Moorcock reciting his poems. The background sequence of the ambient "Virgin Of The World" reminds a little PINK FLOYD's "On the Run". Mainly synthetic, This track will be remixed in an even more electronic version as "Experiment with Destiny" in the "Church of Hawkwind" album, one year later. It contains a cool floating guitar solo.

Then comes "Angels Of Death" with its little repetitive space hard rock riff, and the punky "Living On A Knife Edge". This second song is more interesting as it also features synthesizer cosmic passages and very nice guitar playing. Again, "Coded Languages" is another poem recited by Michael Moorcock that serves as introduction for the punchy metal/punk "Disintegration". "Streets Of Fear" has far reminiscences from "Magnu" with its heavy distorted guitars. Not much to say about "Lost Chances". This ender is not bad, but not especially good either. It has a cool finale though. The bonus track "Trans-Dimensional Man" is rather anecdotal.

"Sonic Attack" has no really weak tracks, but not truly remarkable ones either. The music is overall enjoyable, but this album is a bit deceiving just one year after the great and bombastic "Levitation". The compositions are pleasant but do not feature many changes, as if they were drafts for something else. In act, they unveil glimpses of Dave Brock's growing interest for electronic technologies.

An enjoyable space rock/metal/punk/FM album. For the 80's, not the worst HAWKWIND opus but not the most interesting either...

Modrigue | 3/5 |


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