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Hawkwind - Epocheclipse: The Ultimate Best Of CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

2.86 | 18 ratings

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2 stars This is a compilation of Hawkwind the singles band. Now that in itself is unlikely to appeal to the average progressive rock fan, but to be fair, unlike most prog bands, Hawkwind did have the ability to adapt their brand of music to the format of a radio friendly single. This skill was best exemplified of course by Silver Machine which sailed close to the top of the pop charts in 1972. Unfortunately, this collection, which is distilled from a 3 CD Box set also confusingly called Epoch-eclipse, suffers from a number of glaring omissions.

For example the first album's Hurry On Sundown would have been a perfect early single. And why are the only tracks off the group's two best albums (Hall Of The Mountain Grill and Warrior On The Edge Of Time) a severely truncated Psychedelic Warlords and Assault & Battery (Part 1)? There's also nothing here from either the third album Doremi Fasol Latido or the sixth one Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music. Perhaps worst of all are the late 70s efforts Back On The Streets and Quark Strangeness And Charm (which seem to be attempts to ingratiate the band with the punk audience) whereas I'd much rather have seen the excellent High Rise (off the PXR5 album), or Spirit Of The Age (off Quark Strangeness And Charm) included. The final insult occurs when one realises that (and remember this occured after Hawkwind's mid 80s flirtation with the metal scene!), the last few singles here are all aimed at the late 90s dance audience!

Still despite the gripes there are a number of great moments here, not least of which is the triple opening salvo of Silver Machine, Master Of The Universe (thankfully an unedited version) and Urban Guerilla. The militant Urban Guerilla in particular is deserving of attention, as it is a hypnotic thrusting tune that suffered a ban in the wake of terrorist bombings back in 1973.

Also, another benefit this collection does have to offer is a glimpse of unusual latter day incarnations of Hawkwind, beyond the classic line-up of Dave Brock, Nik Turner, Simon House, Del Dettmar, Lemmy Kilminster and Simon King. Some of the band additions seem like great ideas like that of Gong's Tim Blake while other are rather less obvious like the signing of Cream/Blind Faith legend Ginger Baker! Having said that, Motorway City (which is from Levitation, the album on which both Blake and Baker make their entrance) is among my favourite tracks on here.

Still my abiding memory of the latter half of this collection is of my trying to decide which was worse ... hearing Hawkwind do 80s metal-by-the-numbers on Night Of The Hawks and Needle Gun, the techno beat that underpinned Right To Decide (Radio Edit Mix) or the incongrous dub sounds of Love In Space!

As an introduction to the progressive side of Hawkwind this fails miserably. At least three longer songs would have been necessary to convey a bit of the essence of this space-rock band (as such an expanded version of the first Hawkwind compilation Masters Of The Universe would have been preferable). Hawkwind were also one of those bands that put out a lot of crucial music on singles without sticking them on the nearest LP (Silver Machine and Urban Guerilla, and if you don't have the new CD versions with the bonus tracks, that could be another reason for a casual fan to check this out. I still say, go to Hall Of The Mountain Grill or Warrior On The Edge Of Time. ... 43% on the MPV scale

Trotsky | 2/5 |


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