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Hawkwind - Warrior On The Edge Of Time CD (album) cover

WARRIOR ON THE EDGE OF TIME

Hawkwind

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.09 | 646 ratings

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Vibrationbaby
5 stars The lonely silouhette of a warrior on horseback gazing out into a foreboding chasm on the cover of Hawkwind`s 5th studio album foretells the imagery and legend which inhabit the grooves on this psychedelic sci fi / fantasy freakout. Loosely based on Michael Moorcock`s 1970 fantasy novel, The Eternal Champion, themes are also borrowed from American Fireside poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and English romantic Percy Shelley to convey the fantastic . Warrior On The Edge Of Time is heavy, atmospheric and dark, drawing it`s energy from a maelstrom of synths, mellotrons, woodwinds and power chords. While the themes follow an implied chronological sequence each song represents an individual porthole to specific events which occur along the way on this eternal cosmic experience. Science fiction themes intertwine with fantasy elements and an air of continuity is achieved by the short pauses between songs along with solioqies spoken by an unseen higher power which cautiously guide the listener throughout this most treacherous journey.

The record conjures so many vivid images both instrumentally and lyrically that it gives the impression of a double album which belies it`s original 43 minute running time. Blasting off appropriately with the guitar led Hawkwind classic, Assault & Battery, based on the Longfellow poem Psalm Of Life , synth orchestrations, harmony vocals and surreal electronic effects then start to breathe life into the journey the on The Golden Void as if one were living amidst the vast imagery they conjure which makes it a superb headphone album. References to Moorcock`s novel appear both in the music and the soliloqies throughout the work, two of which are voiced by Moorcock himself despite not even having recieved a studio fee! Even the instrumental Opa Loka, which takes after the sound experiments of German avant garde duo Neu!, describes the city, Loos Ptakai, that is the setting for a pivotal battle in the book. Early on in the first soliloqy a champion is declared by the unseen power and the plight of this champion will be followed throughout his time-quest. The space ballad, Demented Man almost positively references this character, Erekose, who is torn between loyalty and betrayal. Swathed in synths, mellotrons, violins, flutes and effects Spiral Galaxy 28948 ( which corresponds to Violin/keyboardist Simon House`s birthdate ) is one of the spaciest instrumentals ever recorded by Hawkwind and adds an abstact futuristic aspect to the whole adventure. Nik Turner`s The Dying Seas complete the work appropriately but the odd track out is the more straightforward rock song, Kings of Speed, which may be referring to the drug or blasting off into the future but does sound notoriously like another attempt at charts in whatever context one percieves it. On CD releases the Lemmy composition, Motorhead appears which has absolutely nothing to do with anything here.

It`s difficult to avoid mentioning the album`s stunning cover and it`s mystical artwork. When it was originally released in vinyl format on United Artists Records in mid `75 it featured a cover which folded out to form an eight pointed shield from the inside, which made further references to The Eternal Champion. On the inside a Rubin vase-like visual illusion was created from the cover painting by Compte Pierre D`Aubergne which forms the impression of the face of The Champion along with some sexual references if one wants to read more into it. This would make more sense to one who has read THe Eternal Champion which wasn`t one of Moorcock`s most popular works as a result of it`s ominous conclusion. Even though the album is not a recreation of the story per say reading the novel itself does explain some of the concepts which make up the album. On early Canadian Dojo CD releases of the album the complete 160 page novel was included with the package along with an attempt at recreating the effect of the original record jacket with the shield being reproduced in black & white only. Long live vinyl !

Certainly Hawkwind`s most ambitious recording up to `75 which many consider to be the band`s masterwork and turning point including guitarist Dave Brock himself. Many changes within the band coincided with the release of Warrior On The Edge Of Time including a switch to Charisma Records and the notorious sacking of founding member Lemmy for alleged drug possession in the middle of the supporting North American tour. Fittingly, Longfellow`s introductory lines from the opening track, And departing leave behind us footprints in the sands of time bear testimony to albums the greatness. Of course Hawkwind endures to this day but this remains their piece de resistance, and the ULTIMATE sonic Scifi / fantasy trip. A true seventies classic.

Vibrationbaby | 5/5 |

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