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Hawkwind - Blood Of The Earth CD (album) cover

BLOOD OF THE EARTH

Hawkwind

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.68 | 126 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Still masters of the universe

At time of writing, "Blood of the earth" is the latest studio album from Hawkwind. Released in 2010, the album sees the return of keyboard player Tim Blake to the line up, and the arrival of Niall Hone on guitar. Sadly, keyboardist Jason Stuart passed away between the previous album and this, but he does appear on one track recorded prior to his death.

The majority of the songs are new, but there are a few which are not. "You'd better believe it" is a revival of a song which first appeared way back in 1974 on "Hall of the mountain grill" and "Sweet obsession" was originally a Dave Brock solo number. On the bonus disc, "Long gone" is a cover of a Syd Barrett song recorded for Mojo magazine, and "Tide of the century" was the title track of a fine album by Tim Blake.

In terms of sound, we have all the usual Hawkwind characteristics (or clichés depending on your take). For example, although "Wraith" is one of the few tracks not written or co- written by Dave Brock, it could have been lifted straight from and album such as "Palace springs" or "Electric teepee".

The Niall Hone composed instrumental "Green machine" is one of those all too rare reflective Hawkwind instrumentals, clearly designed to display his credentials on lead guitar. Tim Blake adds some fine spacey keyboard effects to the track too. The influence of the band members other than Brock is further emphasised by the following Tim Blake composed "Inner Visions", which is very much in keeping with his solo material. The strong riff on which the track is based will surely make this a live favourite. The only disappointment with the track is the rather abrupt fade.

"Sweet obsession", feels like a remake of "Sadness runs deep", Brock's constantly repeating lyric being as close as Hawkwind get to a love song. The consistency of this album when compared with its illustrious peers from the band's early years is perhaps most apparent in the way the re-recording of "You'd Better Believe It" fits in so well with the tracks which surround it. The song has been spruced up for 2010, but it is instantly recognisable. The fine instrumental passage which is at the core of the track (is that a theramin?) reassures us that the band's prog credentials remain firmly intact too.

The standard album closes in surprisingly downbeat style, with what might be described as a space rock power ballad, "Sentinel". The vocals here are among the most refined to appear on a Hawkwind album. When combined with some sympathetic lead guitar and floating synth, it all adds up to a highly effective piece.

There are various editions of the album, each featuring different additional material. The single CD and vinyl versions contain a 7 minute Jason Stuart number called "Starshine". This is a dreamy, ambient instrumental which acts as a sort of coda to "Sentinel". The LP has a further brief bonus track called "Sunship".

The 2 CD version contains a second disc with live versions of songs old and new, plus that Syd Barrett cover. Tim Blake steps up to the mike for his "Tide of the century", a song which for me is the highlight of the live tracks here. The interview which appends the set is appropriately, zany/off-the-wall, with plenty of back chat and psychedelic noises.

Overall, a superb return of this legendary band. There is something reassuring about a band who can embrace their past, rather than disowning it.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |

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