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Hawkwind - Space Ritual  CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.20 | 285 ratings

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4 stars The ultimate HAWKWIND live album!

4.5 stars

First live release of the space Hawks, "Space Ritual" was recorded from several London and Liverpool concerts during December 1972. These performances mark the first participation of Robert Calvert, who will become the band's lead singer in 1976. The set-list consists in tracks from their recent studio opuses "In Search of Space" and, in particular, "Doremi Fasol Latido", as well as some previously unreleased songs, interlaced with short ambient interludes. These small pieces sometimes feature Robert Calvert reciting poems written by author Michael Moorcock.

The music is even more stoner, aggressive and sci-fi than on the aforementioned studio albums. A heavy psychedelic soundtrack for galactic space warriors! This impression is reinforced by the high volume of Lemmy's bass and the speedy guitar riffing.

The previously unreleased tracks are all great. "Born To Go" is pure devastating stoner psychedelia, while "Upside Down" sounds like a cool heavy GONG-ish song. The nice "Seven By Seven" is a softer melancholic piece. However, the powerful and trippy "Orgone Accumulator" is the most interesting novelty here. Sung by Robert Calvert, this furious space-speed-metal tune with unreal progressions will make you fly into a cosmic wormhole. Ahead of its time, the highlight of the record!

Concerning the known songs, they are more enraged, boosted up and features additional sci-fi effects compared to their studio version. "Lord Of Light" has been enhanced with futuristic electronic sonorities, while "Space Is Deep" has been extended and "Brainstorm", shortened. The repetitive "Time We Left This World Today" contains a little more variations than the original version.

Not much to say about the short ambient interludes. The somber introduction "Earth Calling" and the experimental "Electronic No 1" are instrumental, whereas "The Awakening", "Black Corridor", "10 Seconds To Forever", "Sonic Attack" and "Welcome To The Future" are spoken poems with synthesizer sound effects. Without the stage visuals, these small pieces scattered over the two discs tend to break the listening experience.

This album is undoubtedly the most ferocious from the band's "golden"-era, in the first half of the seventies. The raw sound and speed were quite ferocious at this time. You can maybe perceive glimpses of pre-MOTÖRHEAD here. The set-list is rather good and audacious, with a few peaceful songs allowing the listener to breathe. The only reasons why I remove a half-star are the interruptive spoken passages and "Time We Left This World Today", that I don't really enjoy.

"Space Ritual" is simply one of the best space rock concerts of the 70's, with GROBSCHNITT's "Solar Music Live"! If you have to choose only one live HAWKWIND album, better go with this one.

Modrigue | 4/5 |


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