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Hawkwind - The Chronicle Of The Black Sword CD (album) cover

THE CHRONICLE OF THE BLACK SWORD

Hawkwind

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.44 | 118 ratings

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Warthur
Prog Reviewer
4 stars After a tumultuous period of lineup changes, Hawkwind returned with another stab at a concept album based on the writing of Michael Moorcock, a long-time pal of the band who'd returned the favour by having them pop up in his stories from time to time. The band had tried such a thing before with Warrior On the Edge of Time, but whilst that album had focused more on exploring the general themes of Moorcock's work, this time around the band went with a more narrative route, telling the story of one of Moorcock's most famous characters - Elric of Melnibone.

The album offers a markedly different listen to the delivery of similar material on Live Chronicles, which documents the accompanying concert tour. On early CD versions, the songs are subjected to the cold space metal treatment which had hampered the band's sound on the preceding albums Sonic Attack and Choose Your Masques, whereas the live version presents warmer renditions of the songs and in general sees the band moving back to something closer to their classic sound than the comparatively more stable studio offering.

That said, the recent Atomhenge reissue has teased out the hidden depths of the studio renditions and revealed a clever neo-space rock sound which benefits from the extra focus afforded by the album concept. So I am inclined to see this as actually a mild return to form, but caution listeners to pay close heed to the respectful Atomhenge handling of the material.

Warthur | 4/5 |

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