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Hawkwind - Choose Your Masques CD (album) cover



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3 stars Despite the typical 80's production and Langton's melodic metal influences, this album has topnotch Hawkclassics such as Utopia and Fahrenheit. Also love Void City, an unusually electronic dancey tune.
Report this review (#25549)
Posted Monday, February 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
mystic fred
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars a popular album on its release, though not as startling as "sonic attack", it is very similar in style to "levitation" (though not quite as good in my opinion), "choose your masques" contained clues to the ambient shape of things to come, demonstrated to a degree in the excellent "dream worker". the album also includes my favourite tracks on the album the "arrival in utopia/utopia" suite, ("if you wanna get into gotta get out of it.." ) and on side two a reworking of "silver machine", strange they included this as it's not vastly different to the original, though rather overproduced. layers of soaring synths and deep bass on "void city" , though overall some parts of the production of this album seem rather thin. "solitary mind games", "farenheit 451" (contains a great guitar solo), "the ascan" (interesting short piece) and "waiting for tomorrow" are fairly average hawkwind tracks, and overall the album is a very good, though not outstanding, addition to any hawkwind /spacerock prog collection.
Report this review (#73441)
Posted Wednesday, March 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Classical thing for every hawk-cadet.

Dave Brock & Co. continued their musical way from 1981's "Sonic Attack" album. Maybe it's too much infuented by new wave sound but "Choose Your Masques" is valuable postscriptum to greatest Hawkwind productions.

"CYM" as many classic Hawkind album includes many electronic impressions ("Utopia", "Dream Worker") but some tracks are filled with new 80's powerful sound ("Fahrenheit 451", "Arrival In Utopia"). The only thing which I cannot understand is the meaning of re-recording of "Silver Machine". This new version is totaly dissapionting and "Silver Machine A.D. 1982" had totally lost the spirit of the orginal 70's hit.

Report this review (#99858)
Posted Tuesday, November 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars HAWKWIND are a band I really like and I'm always ready to condone them even if they don't meet the Hawk-standard I praise too much. This is the case of "Choose Your Masques", a release some points below their fine output of the 70s - this album barely touches the pattern we're used to hear from them.

One will hear many sounds and effects that carry the HAWKWIND label but it's only a trick to keep the space-psych atmosphere, but among a bunch of weary tracks, 'Fahrenheit 451' and 'Arrival in Utopia' hover easily over others 'cause they are great rocks, full of energy and color, even dansant. The addition of classics like 'Silver machine' and 'Psychedelic warlords' may be of interest mainly if you are a beginner within the band's stuff.

Not too much to add but anyway if you're a Hawk-fan be sure this album was aimed for you. Collectors might appreciate "Choose Your Masques" too.

Report this review (#159512)
Posted Tuesday, January 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars I fully agree with Atkingani's review. The band over-uses the spacey sounds in several tracks like the long opener and title song. This track is actually a dual one : half hard-rocking, half psychedelic/experimental.

Almost the same structure for "Arrival In Utopia" which is one of the best original songs here (they will repeat this again with ""Fahrenheit 451" a little later in the album, the structure, I mean) . The contrary of the dull "Utopia". Press nextT.

The annoying part of the game being that several numbers are of the same mould. Average to even poor : "Void City" as well as the insipid and uninspired "Solitary Mind Games". Gosh!

And god knows why they inserted both "Silver Machine" (even twice here!) from "In Search Of Space" which is one their oldest albums (I confess that this song was only available on the remastered CD version, not on the original album) and "Psychedelic Warlords" from "Hall Of The Mountain Grill " for a total of a mere seventeen minutes. Did they really need to release a one hour long album and didn't have the creative spirit for it?

To be honest, these three tracks are amongst the best of this album, which is consequently one of the weakest of the band so far. An average "Hawkwind" album which is not often the case I must say, since the band managed to be rather on the good edge so far.

Two stars.

Report this review (#166457)
Posted Saturday, April 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars On the basis of the not-quite-title track (the song is "Choose Your Masks", the album is "Choose Your Masques"), one could mistake Choose Your Masques for a continuation of the "space metal" approach of the preceding Sonic Attack - Church of Hawkwind being more of a Dave Brock side project than an official Hawkwind album. As it unfolds, the album actually seems to be a melding of the guitar-led sound of Space Ritual with the electronic explorations of Church of Hawkwind - guitars and synths having always had something of an uneasy alliance within Hawkwind's ranks - in order to form a new and better balance between the two.

There's some issues here and there with the production sounding a little muzzy - I wonder whether there was budgetary constraints this time around which forced them to record this one on the cheap. At first I questioned the point of including yet another rendition of Silver Machine on here - especially since Dave Brock had tried to kill the song off by blowing it up at the end of Live Seventy Nine - but it fits into the particular groove of this album rather well. If Sonic Attack was Space Metal, Choose Your Masques is space pop-metal with the occasional progressive foray - a strange mix which it took me a while to get my head around, but which is rather engaging now I know my way around it a bit better.

Report this review (#572369)
Posted Monday, November 21, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Hawkwind's 80s albums are certainly a different approach to the 70s but there are still some great moments on these releases as is the case with "Choose Your Masques". The album features some wonderful compositions with excellent lead guitar breaks such as 'Arrival in Utopia' and 'Utopia'. Dave Brock and Harvey Bainbridge on vocals are effective. Bainbridge's bass and keyboard work is well executed here. Huw Lloyd-Langton is a fine lead guitarist as is evident on tracks such as 'Solitary Mind Games'.

'Choose Your Masques' is another great song with a driving rhythm and hypnotic melody. This sounds more like the old Hawkwind when they locked into one riff and sung variations of a simple melody. At over 10 minutes in length it overstays its welcome but is still a decent start to the album with some trademark spacey effects by Dik Mik and tons of lead guitar. It was also a treat to hear Ian Holm's narration, sounding like his "Alien" character Ash. This segues into 'Dream Worker' that has some nice weirdness to open it, a swathe of synth layers and dreamy ambience. It does not go anywhere but still somehow works as a transition into the Utopia tracks.

Unfortunately the band are prone to diverge into the new wave punk territory such as on 'Farenheit 451', and I am turned off by this approach. The band should stick to the spacey vocals of Brock. Nik Turner is the culprit again on this release and is a real nutter live and comes across as such on vocals, though there is no replacing his wild sax embellishments. It is nice to hear Brock's wife here too, Pascoe, singing occasionally. The album cover is not that good either looking like a dead Jawa.

There is as usual a lot of instrumental filler here such as 'The Scan' that is just a keyboard solo, and this leads to 'Waiting For Tomorrow' with a nice drone intro, spacey lead guitar and some interesting softer vocals. There is an over abundance of space effects as if the band are trying to revisit the good old days. 'Void City' is an interesting take on "The Outer Limits" TV show; "there is nothing wrong with your television set, we will control the horizontal, we will control the vertical". The track is basically another instrumental with repeated synth motifs and some space squirls and kanoodling. It goes for too long and is rather dull after a while, sounding like Sigue Sigue Sputnik's style.

To cap things off on revisiting old territory, there is a version of 'Silver Machine' that sounds really desperate to recapture that magical track. It does not work though with Brock's vocals sounding a bit forced. The lead guitar intro is unwelcome, and it has a different feel in the chorus. Admittedly it is one of the better tracks due to the fact that I always liked the melody but it still felt very unnecessary. On here there are two versions, a short and longer version. I recommend the longer version simply to hear the instrumental section. Overall the album is okay but once again Hawkwind are not the powerhouse of space rock that they once were. Grab this though as an example of the new Hawkwind sound, and it is better than a lot of their other 80s releases and for that matter better than most of the 90s output.

Report this review (#646043)
Posted Sunday, March 4, 2012 | Review Permalink
2 stars For Hawkwind, do not choose this year

2.5 stars

1982 was definitely not a good period for the Hawks. After the electronic parenthesis of "Church of Hawkwind" the same year, this album showed great promises with its space heavy metal cover art and font though. It even features the participation of former member Nik Turner on a track. Furthermore, the title comes from a Moorcock's poem. However, listening to the whole disc gives the slight feeling that Captain Brock took a nap and set the HAWKWIND spaceship in cruise control.

Not much to say about the title song, repetitive and flat. "Dream Worker" is a five minutes experimental electronic track, whereas the space metal "Arrival In Utopia" is more typical of the Hawks, however average. "Utopia" is another strange dark ambient passage, introducing an eighties remix of the single hit pre-punk "Silver Machine". Compared to the original version, several sonorities and effects have been added, the guitar is heavier and the production sounds more 80's.

The second half of the record is more interesting. The nice robotic KRAFTWERK-ian "Void City" is the track where ex-member Nik Turner is invited. Then comes the melancholic "Solitary Mind Games", quite new-wave oriented. Although rather unusual for HAWKWIND, this song is rather enjoyable. The science fiction theme remains present with "Fahrenheit 451", which continues the space punk approach developed in "25 Years On" and "Sonic Attack". Clearly the best track of the album, featuring a powerful guitar solo. The sequenced "The Scan" serves as an introduction for "Waiting For Tomorrow". Sung by Huw Lloyd-Langton, this ender is a pleasant floating blues-rock that could have been composed by Lemmy. Original.

As a bonus track, the eighties revisitation of the "Psychedelic Warlords" is surprisingly good and different from the original version.

Nevertheless, this opus is rather deceiving. The composition quality is not on par with the cool cover art, nearly half of the tracks are ambient transitions, while the space rock songs are less remarkable than on the previous albums, just two years after the thundering "Levitation". At the time, a new generation of metal musicians were emerging with exciting refreshing ideas.

With "Church of Hawkwind", "Choose Your Masques" is one of the weakest HAWKWIND studio albums of the eighties. Fortunately, Captain Brock will soon wake up and redress his spaceship just one year later...

Report this review (#1559734)
Posted Saturday, May 7, 2016 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Hawkwind's 13th studio album "Choose Your Masques" was released in 1982, and unfortunately saw the use of drum loops and drum machines growing, which was not the direction that drummer Martin Griffen wanted to go in. Griffen was reduced to a non-live drummer and his participation in this album was only some half hearted attempts to make the drums electronic, which is the direction that Dave Brock wanted to go in at the time. Griffen stayed on for the tour to support the album, but left the band afterwards.

Immediately in the first track "Choose Your Masks", we can hear the difference that is made with the increased used of drum loops. The track seems like it should be a great space rock sound that Hawkwind was famous for, but instead we get a flat sounding and almost lifeless track, with the electronic drums sound off-beat, the timing isn't quite as crisp as it should be, and the space effects are overused and sounding quite tiresome. This first track slides right into "Dream Worker" which is a psychedelic and somewhat experimental track with some spoken vocals from Ian Holm taken from a BBC serial broadcast of Lord of the Rings. It's okay, but almost seems like filler. Following this is "Arrival in Utopia" which is a bit better, but still lacks that dynamic that gets lost in the electronic sound. "Utopia" follows, and is just a throw away track that repeats itself ad nauseum.

The 2nd half of the album starts with "Silver Machine" which continues with the forced and washed out feel of the album, again you get the annoying drum machine and space effects galore. The instrumental break would have been promising, but it ends up coming off canned. "Void City" sounds like someone playing one of those Wurlitzer organs with automatic rhythm, again with an over-abundance of space effects and a boring synth melody that is hard to pick out amongst the hazy feeling. Later, robotic vocals come in sounding like a bad impression of Devo. "Solitary Mind Games" is a nice track, but again it loses its dynamic in the automatic percussion which is poorly done. "Fahrenheit 451" is probably the strongest track on the album, but even then, it sounds like a foray into the new wave movement that was going on at the time. Fortunately, they at least managed to sneak in a decent guitar solo. "The Scan" is a short electronic track. "Waiting for Tomorrow" ends with a heavier sound with a great hook, and strong vocals, but it's too short and doesn't develop into a space jam like you would like it to.

This is mostly a flat sounding album by Hawkwind that feels like it was done in a hurry. The songs seem to be thrown together quickly and the members of the band are just going through the motions. This is easily one of the albums that should be missed, or at least left for the fans that have to have all of the albums. Whatever you do, don't start with this one, as it is mostly embarrassing.

Report this review (#2183811)
Posted Wednesday, April 17, 2019 | Review Permalink

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