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Hawkwind - Warrior on the Edge of Time CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.10 | 729 ratings

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4 stars "Warrior on the Edge of Time" is an interesting album. It was made in the middle of Hawkwind's peak of consistently good albums, but it was also the end of Lemmy on bass and occasional vocals as he went on to form Motorhead. He felt that the band was becoming too strange and the band felt that he was wanting to be too much of a "motorcycle man" with his heavier style. Of course, Hawkwind was space rock at it's best and wasn't about to move away from that. So, this album sees the exit of Lemmy who was replaced by Paul Rudolph after the album was recorded.

The album is loosely based on a concept by Michael Moorcock, who the lyrics for 4 of the songs in this album. It is based on a character from his book "The Eternal Champion" and he provides additional vocals for "The Wizard Blew His Horn" and "Warriors". Dave Brock, the lead singer, would write 4 more songs, and the rest were written by other band members.

The album starts off wonderfully with 2 songs by Brock that continue to follow the familiar style of the band. The 2 songs are actually 2 parts, the first called "Assault and Battery" and the 2nd part is "The Golden Void". They flow into each other, as pretty much the entire album flows from one track to another. They are the typical space rock sound that the band was famous for with a lot of surprises and textural sounds.

Next, things change up a bit with a reading of Moorcock's lyrics on "The Wizard Blew His Horn". This one immediately weakens the album, even though the vocals are quite dramatic and expressive, they seem slightly corny now. The music behind the vocals is minimal and not very interesting. This is blessedly short as it flows into an excellent Krautrock style instrumental "Opa-Loka". This is based on the 4 / 4 meter known as the "motorick" rhythm named and made famous by Krautrock band "Neu!". The song itself is your typical krautrock tune with improvised atmospheric instrumentals based around only one chord throughout. It is well placed on the album and is a natural follow up for the previous track which ends up supporting it well. Lemmy hated this track and called it "rubbish". Brock actually ended up playing bass for the track.

"Demented Man" follows this with an acoustic based track that fits well as the end to this side of the album. This is a surprisingly beautiful track that features acoustic guitar, mellotron and Brock's vocals.

"Magnu" opens up the next side with the longest single track (not counting the 2 part, 2 track opening) at over 8 minutes. The lyrics are built off of the poem "Hymn of Apollo" by Percy Shelly. It is built off of a driving riff and Brock's vocals are processed creating an echo effect. Instrumental jamming starts at the halfway mark. Again, this is another signature Hawkwind space rock tune where layered synths, guitars, violin and sax provide the psychedelic texture.

"Standing at the Edge" features spoken vocals of more of Moorcock's lyrics from the band's sax and flautist Nik Turner. The vocals are again processed with delayed echoes. This is supported by minimal instrumentation and occasional percussion. Again, I feel the readings weaken the album just because they seem corny now.

"Spiral Galaxy 28948" is a heavier and darker instrumental credited to the band's violinist and keyboardist Simon House. This is an excellent space rock jam track with everyone providing texture, but it's too short. This flows into another of Moorcock's readings "Warriors" with the author providing dramatic, processed vocals backed up by percussion.

"Dying Seas" features Nik on vocals again, this time singing, but containing that weird echo again. The track is more interesting than his previous one and has some great synthesizer/sax work at the end. The shorter tracks on this side of the album, up to this point, actually work better as being related, or considered as subsections of a single composition. Maybe they were intended that way originally, because it seems to be the case, but afterall, it was intended to be a concept album

The previous track fades out completely before the last track on this side "Kings of Speed". This is a straight ahead rocker co- written by Brock and Moorcock. This sounds like, and was a single, but it's still a good closer for the original album. The CD edition has a bonus track after this which was the b-side to "Kings of Speed". It was written and sung by Lemmy and naturally called "Motorhead". It is a hard rocker of a song with a cool violin solo in the middle.

Overall, this is another great album by Hawkwind, which is somewhat weakened by the corny spoken word tracks, but it is still good enough to be considered an excellent addition to my music library. I still consider it one of their best, and usually just ignore the corny parts. Besides, back in the day, they didn't sound so bad, it's just that they didn't age so well.

TCat | 4/5 |


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