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Hawkwind - Church Of Hawkwind CD (album) cover

CHURCH OF HAWKWIND

Hawkwind

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

2.80 | 92 ratings

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TCat
2 stars 'Church of Hawkwind' was the 12th studio album released by Hawkwind. Being released in 1982, it was influenced by the sounds of the time and was centered around being a bit more experimental and more electronic. In actuality, the original intent was that the band name was to be 'Church of Hawkwind' because of the differing sound on the album, and also because it was more of a Dave Brock centered album, and could almost be considered a solo album. Most of Hawkwind's other albums featured contributions from all of the band, but this time, Brock was the main songwritier. Everyone of the tracks are attributed, or co-attributed to Brock.

There are 3 different versions of the album. The original was divided into two sides, with the 1st side being called 'Space' and the 2nd side called 'Fate'. There were 12 tracks total on the album. In 1994, Greffin released the CD reissue which contained 15 tracks. The first 6 tracks followed the same order, but then some bonus tracks were added in disrupting the flow of the album, especially since the bonus tracks were not similar to the others. All of the tracks were taken out of sequence with bonus tracks popping up between original tracks. In 2010, Atomhenge released a new CD with the 12 original tracks restored to their proper sequence and then 6 more bonus tracks added to the end.

'Angel Voices' acts as a short introduction to the album and features processed vocal effects with low spoken vocals and fast spoken vocals in a call and answer style with spacey sounds building to the next track 'Nuclear Drive'. The full band fades in playing a fast paced space rock style track. The guitars are pretty much taking a back seat to the new wave sounding synths. Otherwise, the same basic Hawkwind formula is there, but in a more condensed, shorter form, and it ends just as things get interesting. 'Star Cannibal' is the longest track on here at just over 5 minutes. The synth is noticeably more prominent here, and the vocals are in a spoken and rhythmic style. The whole thing comes off sounding cheap and outdated, and they even sounded like that back when this was released. The layers of synths bury everything that should have made this track interesting. The band was definitely out of their element here. Things to get intense at the end, but it fades out just as it seems to be ready for it's payoff.

'The Phenomenon of Luminosity' returns to the short tracks which take up the rest of the original album. This track is a series of spacey effects with a sample of John Glenn transmitting from the Friendship Seven spacecraft. Electronic effects and synths play loops and sound effects. 'Fall of Earth City' has more annoying, spoken vocals and electronic and guitar loops. There is some guitar improvisation mixed low underneath the vocals and synths. 'The Church' ends the less than mediocre first half with another short track with more boring synth loops and stuff.

Another short track starts up the second part of the alum with 'Joker at the Gate'. More synths bore into your soul, but at least this time there is some semblance of a melody. Echoing vocals sound out but don't add anything. 'Some People Never Die' was attributed to Brock, but in reality it takes a lot of material from another band called On the Seventh Day'. Even the field recordings from Robert F. Kennedy's and Lee Harvey Oswald's shootings were in the original recording and are retained on this track. All this track consists of are these copied field recordings and drone-like synthesizers. Alternate versions of this same track are on Brock's solo album also. 'Light Specific Data' has a looped riff from the guitar and more synth layers. Not much happens here except for some free flowing improvisation and repetitive loops.

'Experiment with Destiny' is only an alternate version of a previously released track with a different title, 'Virgin of the World' from the album 'Sonic Attack'. It's a more atmospheric track that breaks away from the rhythm loops for a short while. 'The Last Messiah' is yet again another short track of electronic loops and textures. 'Looking in the Future' end the original album at least with a longer 4 minute track, but by this time most listeners have probably given up on this album. The copying of the new wave style continues here, so nothing is really gained from this track either.

This is one of Hawkwind's most embarrassing albums, but unfortunately they got caught up in trying to make their sound relevant for the time. This would go on for the most part, for the next few albums. After that, the band would have a hard time returning to the sound of their glory days in the 70s. But at least they would keep trying.

TCat | 2/5 |

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