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Hawkwind - Space Ritual  CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.20 | 285 ratings

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2 stars It's amazing how people come to such differing conclusions on this one. The average Hawkwind fan speaks of Space Ritual as a near religious experience, but I felt this album to be closer to a bum trip. As with afficionados of the much better known Grateful Dead, Hawkwind fans will always tell you that the band was best experienced live and (let's be honest here) stoned. Most of them will also assure you that Space Ritual is the ultimate Hawkwind album (no mean feat considering this band has scores of albums out), but I vehemently disagree.

I have no doubt that my expectations were too high when I came to this one, and I should have factored in that my favourite Hawkwind member Simon House only joined after it came out (in time to star on Hawkwind's masterpiece Hall Of The Mountain Grill). As it is, I think the album is seriously overrated.

I've often felt that Hawkwind's studio albums have threatened to get one-dimensional, as the same relentless riff comes at you, with washes of sound for minute after minute. Well it's much worse on Space Ritual. The bulk of the tracks are culled from the second album In Search Of Space and the third album Doremi Fasol Latido, which are not dis- similar albums to begin with (shockingly none of the 18 tracks here are from the first album) and perhaps it's all too much of a good thing.

Born To Go and Time We Left This World Today are livelier pieces with shades of Black Sabbath in the riffing, and Space Is Deep, Down Through The Night and 7 By 7 are probably the standout ones here, but in truth most tracks like Lord Of Light, Brainstorm, You Shouldn't Do That, Orgone Accumulator and Masters Of the Universe just chug along based on the same chords for many many minutes. There's not much variety in terms of layering and solos, and this stuff compares poorly to studio versions that I've heard. In fact, the Hawkwind individuals seem like a bunch of uncreative musicians on this one (and I know that they are not).

All too often this album sees like one rambling song, punctuated only by Robert Calvert's harsh poetry readings (which account for the shorter cuts like Black Corridor, 10 Seconds Of Forever and Earth Calling). It's half-decent stoner music yes, but I've heard lots better and I think this is vastly inferior to Hall Of The Mountain Grill and Warrior On The Edge Of Time. ... 42% on the MPV scale

Trotsky | 2/5 |


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