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




Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.44 | 116 ratings

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3 stars Although not as profound, Chronicle Of The Black Sword echoes Hawkwind`s 1975 tour de force Warrior On The Edge Of Time a decade later and brings scifi / fantasy master Michael Moorcock back into the fold.

Based largely on the exploits of anti hero Elric of Melniboné on an alternate Earth who first appeared in the 1961 Moorcock novella " Dreaming City ", Chronicle of the Black Sword is harder driving and really rocks it out for the most part but nonetheless nods back to Hawkwind formulas of the past. Don`t expect anything as compelling as Magnu or Assault & Battery / The Golden Void but it contains many Hawkwind hallmarks. There are spacey interludes ( The Pusling Caverns, Chaos Army, The Demise ), a cool ballad as only hawkwind could conjure ( Zarozinia, who becomes Elric`s wife ), a short but compelling atmospheric ambient / electronic mind trip ( Shade Gate ) and some reminders of the Quark Strangeness And Charm era ( Elric The Enchanter ).

Sevral CD re-issues have appeared with live bonus tracks but I would recommend the most recent June 2009 Atomhenge release which includes the EP Earth Ritual Review as a bonus which was originally released in `83 and has been long since deleted and contains four tracks, Night Of The Hawks ( with Lemmy ) Green Finned Demon, Dream Dancers and the catchy Dragons And Fables, which were only available on anthologies such as Ambient Anarchists and others.

My biggest dissappointment when the album was released back in `85 was that, given the depth of the Elric character and the number of Elric adventures that Moorcock had penned up to that point I thought there was more potential and possibilities for a 3 album epic blowout. One track, Needle Gun doesn`t even really have anything to do with the Elric sagas. Needle gun refers to another Moorcock character, an anarchistic secret agent, Jerry Cornelius who has no respect for authority and gets into jams. Nonetheless a great harder edged Hawkwind track. In fact this whole quasi-concept album is arguably Hawkwind`s finest recording of the eighties despite not exploiting the full potential of the subject matter , although it was expanded on in the tour and subsequent live album, Live Chronicles.

With an unstable lineup in the early eighties and no studio album for almost 3 years it seemed that the Hawks were heading for a monumental catastrophe. But it seemed that the addition of bassist / vocalist Alan Davey ( who had sent a tape to Dave Brock and hired almost on the spot ) and the appearance of this remarkable album seemed to save the day turning back the clock to the classic years of albums such as the already metioned Warrior On The Edge Of Time and The Hall Of The Mountain Grill.

Highly recommended Hawkwind album with alternate cover art, the original having more to do with the subject matter than the one pictured here. Go Nuts freak out. This IS Hawkwind.

Vibrationbaby | 3/5 |


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