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Hawkwind Church Of Hawkwind album cover
2.59 | 87 ratings | 9 reviews | 9% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1982

Songs / Tracks Listing

- Space:
1. Angel Voices (1:21)
2. Nuclear Drive (3:39)
3. Star Cannibal (5:31)
4. The Phenomenon of Luminosity (2:40)
5. Fall of Earth City (3:24)
6. The Church (1:32)
- Fate:
7. Identimate (3:45)
8. Some People Never Die (3:52)
9. Damage of Life (5:50)
10. Experiment With Destiny (2:31)
11. Mists of Meridin (5:13)
12. Looking in the Future (4:03)

Total time 43:21

Bonus tracks on 1994 CD reissue:
13. Joker at the Gate (1:51)
14. Light Specific Data (3:48)
15. The Last Messiah (1:27)

Total Time: 50:27

Bonus tracks on 2010 CD reissue:
13. Angel Voices (Extended Version) (2:21)
14. Harvey's Sequence (3:01)
15. Fall Of Earth City (Alternate Version With Harvey Bainbridge Vocal) (4:50)
16. Water Music (Light Specific Data) (Demo) (4:42)
17. Looking In The Future / Virgin Of The World (10:23)

Total time 68:38

Line-up / Musicians

- Dave Brock / vocals (2,3,5,9,12), synthesizers, keyboards, guitar (3,5,8,9,12), bass (3), producer
- Huw Lloyd-Langton / lead guitar (2,3,5,6,12)
- Harvey Bainbridge / bass (5,7,9,10,12), synths (5,9-11), vocals (1,7)
- Martin Griffin / drums

- Marc Sperhawk / bass (8)
- Captain Al Bodi / percussion (8)
- Kris Tait (Madame X) / crying voice (11)

Releases information

Artwork: Andrew Christian (art direction) with Partridge / Rushton

LP RCA ‎- PL 25421 (1982, UK)

CD Dojo Limited ‎- DOJO CD 86 (1994, UK) With 3 bonus tracks
CD Atomhenge ‎- ATOMCD 1021 (2010, UK) 24-bit remaster by Ben Wiseman with 5 bonus tracks, previously unreleased

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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HAWKWIND Church Of Hawkwind ratings distribution

(87 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(9%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(29%)
Good, but non-essential (26%)
Collectors/fans only (31%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)

HAWKWIND Church Of Hawkwind reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Altared images

Generally short tracks on this outing, with the heavy, driving "Damage of life" being the standout track by far.

A number of the "tracks" such as "Angel voices", "The Church", and "Joker at the gate", (which is at least melodic) are little more than ambient links. Of the other tracks, "Nuclear drive" is an inferior version of "Silver machine", "Looking at the future" is an alternative version of "Lives of Great men", and "Mist of Meridin" drifts off into ambient noises.

"Some people never die" has the live news broadcast of the death of JFK set to music (it does actually work).

Not Hawkwind's finest hour by any means, but some good moments nonetheless.

Review by ZowieZiggy
1 stars This Hawkwind period (82-83) is probably not the best one for the band.

"Church Of Hawkwind" is a collection of short songs dominated by electronic / computer and spacey background sounds. To make some illusion, I guess. Most of the songs are similar and there is not much to retain from such a work. This is by far the worst "Hawkwind" album so far.

Some lyrics are more spoken than sung, and this monotonous tone only adds to the boring feeling one gets while listening to the whole album in one session. Several short tracks are absolutely useless and excessively dull ("Angel Voices", "The Church").

I'm looking desperately for a decent song on this album. "Some People Never Die" has some flavour of "Suicide" at times. But this bizarre US band of the seventies was original in their times. "Hawkwind" is not here. And the voice-over on the "music" is quite indecent IMO (it was taped while JFK was shot).

"Damage Of Life" is bearable but the whole of this album is a very painful moment. Best avoided. One star.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
2 stars "The Church of Hawkwind" is another very mediocre album with a few shining lights scattered here and there. Too many of Hawkwind's 80s albums were like this; lots of instrumentals and effects but no real songs to speak of. Oh well, there are 15 tracks so surely something will be worth salvaging here. The songs worth hunting down are 'Nuclear Drive', 'Damage of Life' and 'Some People Never Die', but the rest unfortunately are rather dull and uninspiring instrumentals.

'Nuclear Drive' is a rocker with Brock in fine form on vocals and some soaring space lead guitar from Huw Lloyd-Langton. It begins proceedings well however, the album dives into some awful New Wave punkish chanting vocals unfortunately on tracks such as 'Star Cannibal'. The spacey electronics are annoying on this rather than an augmentation. The lyrics are downright idiotic, about dining on human flesh. Hopefully the rest of the album will be better I was thinking at this stage.

This is followed by spaciness and drones on 'The Phenomenon of Luminosity' and it has the intriguing futuristic voice over and sequenced synth lines. The synths sound a bit like the early Kraftwerk sound from "Autobahn". Okay a bit of a filler but not bad with repetitive trance phrases.

Next is 'Fall of Earth City', with layers of synth and Brock's distant vocal narration. Once again not really a song but an instrumental with a bit of a spoken poetry.

Next, is 'The Church', a short thing with sequenced synths and some crowd protest chanting. I have no idea what this is saying but it works as a transition. There is tons of filler on this album such as 'Joker at the gate' which is nothing but a synth instrumental, with voice overs, but hardly inventive. Of the better tracks one should mention 'Some People Never Die' that has heavy breathing and effects sounding like Pink Floyd's 'On The Run'. There is even a sequenced section. "Oswald has been shot" speaks an urgent voice and it is evident that the piece is in tribute to the events of the assassination attempt. It is interesting on this album that sounds like a pot pourri of ideas rather than a coherent whole. I liked hearing the news reports and reporters though on this. It is rather powerful to hear about Senator J. F. Kennedy's assassination too, the screams are here and the actual reports "get the gun, stay away from the gun, his hand is broken".

'Damage of Life' is a better song as it at least feels like a song, running at a decent length and the musicianship is not just sequenced synths and voice overs. Brock's vocals are welcome after all the narrations previously, and the melody is quite pleasant. The musicianship is simple with crunching riffing guitars and spacey synths but this works well and is the definitive highlight amongst a sea of mediocre forgettable instrumentals.

'Mists of Meridan' is another instrumental based track, repeating the same droning sounds, but features some nice vocals from Madame X. She is not a space whisperer like Gilli Smyth but still nice to hear the feminine touch after all the raw vocals previous. It takes some patience to get through the track with ambiant layer upon layer of synth, and atmospherics pervading over all.

'Light Specific Data' is another instrumental based track, but has a cool guitar riff that locks in and I didn't mind all the spacey effects.

Overall the album suffers from being too focused on instrumentals and transitions rather than any decent memorable rock songs. There are only about 3 decent songs so this is a very disappointing affair. I can squeeze out 2 stars though as it still offers something for the Hawkwind collectors.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
2 stars Not my place of worship

I am not at all a fan of 70's Hawkwind, but in that decade they at least had a pretty clear conception of their own musical direction; Space Rock until 1977, and then New Wave-ish music for the rest of the decade. Even though the 80's started out very well indeed for Hawkwind with their best ever album in 1980's Levitation, this proved to be a one-off success and they quickly found themselves lost. 1981's Sonic Attack seemed to revert to an earlier stage in their evolution and as such explored no new ground but found them plodding along in the same established style. The present album, to the contrary, is rather different from anything they had ever done before. There are still traces of the Hawkwind we know, but this is much more electronic. Overall, I think that this album is pretty directionless and contains a bit of this and a bit of that without any overall musical or lyrical theme or concept to hold it together. Many of the pieces are best described as experimental. Still, despite all its flaws, I actually don't think that this album is any worse than most of their 70's works that fail to impress this reviewer.

If Sonic Attack radically failed to live up to the expectations set by the surprisingly excellent Levitation, Church Of Hawkwind does not help their cause one bit. They at least tried to expand their horizons somewhat here, but most of the time it comes across as a failed experiment.

Review by Modrigue
2 stars Electronic Hawkwind

2.5 stars

Strange cover art for a strange title. Initially released as a Dave Brock solo album, "Church of Hawkwind" is now considered as part of HAWKWIND's discography - like "25 Years On" - as it features most band members from the band's previous opus, "Sonic Attack". Nonetheless, this disc is not on the same level as the 1978 effort.

This particular opus mainly consists in electronic experimentations of the band's leader, showing his growing interest for the then nascent electronic music technologies of the eighties. The whole record is therefore dominated by short transitional synthesizer-driven pieces. There are only a few space rock songs here.

"Angel Voices" is just an electronic introduction, with alien voices, for "Nuclear Drive", which resembles some eighties version of a lost track from NEU!, with vocals. Average. The enjoyable "Star Cannibal" also has krautrock influences and could have well suited the ambiance of HAWKWIND's "PXR5" album. The best space rock song of the disc. The next seven tracks are just ambient / spacey / experimental electronic transitional compositions, more or less interesting.

"The Church" has a slight middle-eastern feel, whereas the TANGERINE DREAM-esque "Joker At The Gate" may be the best passage of the record, with "Experiment With Destiny", an electronic reworked version of "Virgin Of The World" from the previous studio album. The mysterious "The Last Messiah" contains sampled cries by "Madam X". More typical of the Hawks "Looking In The Future" is a space rock tune in the style of "Sonic Attack". Not bad, but not great either.

As a conclusion, the short tracks themselves works well as transitions, background music or drafts, but are not sufficient to create a convincing album. The three space rock songs are not very memorable either. You must take "Church of Hawkwind" for what it is, a play with exciting novel electronic technologies. However, this exercise may have opened new horizons for the band.

One of the two weak HAWKWIND studio albums of the 80's, with "Choose Your Masques".

Latest members reviews

4 stars 1982's Church of Hawkwind is a seriously underrated album if there ever is one. I realize how difficult the 1980s were for so many bands that made it this far. A band like Genesis had no problem making it through the '80s, but they altered their style and substance to do so, at the expense of man ... (read more)

Report this review (#1369589) | Posted by Progfan97402 | Tuesday, February 17, 2015 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Okay, USUALLY most of the PROG stuff I like has been the more esoteric, complex bands such as Crimson, Mahavishnu, etc., and I frigg'n LOVE 'OZRIC TENTACLES' and 'JETHRO TULL'! So, when I first stumbled on HAWKWIND a couple of years ago I wasn't really sure what to expect. Now, in all fairness ... (read more)

Report this review (#285942) | Posted by LatheOfHeaven | Friday, June 11, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars A Dave Brock led space freakout that makes one think that Hawkwind were starting to go in the more electronic/ambient direction albeit with a somewhat harder edge. It contains an unusual number of tracks for a Hawkwind album which sort of makes it interesting and nothing drags out for too long. ... (read more)

Report this review (#78711) | Posted by Vibrationbaby | Friday, May 19, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This is a fun album of ambient instrumental space rock, and some short 'songs' with lyrics also. It sounds somewhat like early Porcupine Tree stuff in places. Probably a Brock side project that got the Hawkwind name attached. Some pieces are audio samplings, chants, and or poems set to music a ... (read more)

Report this review (#25546) | Posted by | Thursday, March 3, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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