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Hawkwind - Live Chronicles CD (album) cover



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Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Did they need to conjugate Mangu

A good live summary of the band's work around the time of the "Chronicle of the Black Sword".

The version of "Needlegun" here is probably the best of the bunch, a typical burst of all-guns-blazing Hawkwind. The frantic pace and infectious chorus make this a crowd favourite, despite the fact that for Hawkwind it is remarkably pop orientated.

"Dust of time" from "Levitation" also sounds good and, like the version of the ubiquitous "Master of the Universe", ups the pace from the original version. There are some duff tracks, "Conjugation of Magnu" for example is a waste of space in music terms, and "Lords of chaos" is even worse. Thankfully, such tracks are kept brief, and there is plenty here to enjoy.

With so many live Hawkwind albums to choose from, this one is worth considering.

Report this review (#25574)
Posted Friday, April 30, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars When I first got this album(the CD release with bonus disk) it was really for the live version of Golden Void(the ultimate Hawkwind song!) on the bonus disk but in the end I found myself listening more to the first CD. I am a big fan of Michael Moorcock's Elric series, and indeed his other books, and this live show really encapsulated the whole thing well. Some great guitar work is present in this excellent album. I enjoyed really all of the tracks on this album a lot and the narration was very good and captured the mood of it all. Listening to it makes me wish I could have only seen this show live; for it must have been a truly awesome experience. I might even go so far as to say this album for me eclipses even the brilliant Space Ritual, although it would depend on my mood at the time! But for fantasy/space rock you cannot go wrong with Live Chronicles.
Report this review (#25575)
Posted Monday, April 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I have Live Chronicles with the bonus CD. The live CD is very good but the only thing that screws it up is the two live narrations. Fortunately they are very short and can be quickly forgotten. The bonus CD has some excellent songs on it but Techno Tropic Zone Exists is not very good at all and Gimme Shelter is a cover of the Stones song which I consider is certainly not a Hawkwind song. Some covers work well but I personally don't like Hawkwind covering another band's music as they have plenty of good songs to chose from. Overall, not perfect but very good.
Report this review (#78904)
Posted Sunday, May 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars When this album was released on vinyl the concert had been condensed down to fit on two LPs. This was also partly due to the fact that Michael Moorcock had retracted his permission to include his poems. If you're going to buy this album (which I highly recommend) I suggest you seek out the American CD version which restored the whole concert into its original order, including the encores and also included all of the lyrics and a small Elric short story. It's a brilliant Hawkwind concert, right up there with Space Ritual for many people, but try and hear it in its entirety. The Griffin Music 2CD American version was GCDHA-136.
Report this review (#96004)
Posted Friday, October 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I have to admit a bit of bias here, this was my first Hawkwind album and the one that introduced me to their huge body of work. I'm also partial to the Elric saga which is the basis of the many of the songs included. This is in my opinion the finest Hawkwind lineup and especially the presence of guitarist Huw Lloyd-Langton defines the sound of this album. His solo style is a bluesy pentatonic blend that truly accentuates each song. There's a lot of factors that just come together to make a great album here - excellent production (for Hawkwind :), strong musicianship and excellent material. There is very little filler here, and many, many standout tunes (Assault & Battery, Moonglum, Dust of Time, Needlegun, and IMO the definitive version of Masters of the Universe). Very hard-rocking with sweeping keyboards and driving bass courtesy of newcomer (at the time) Alan Davey keeps it strong through the 2-disc set. This type of space rock may not be to everyone's liking but if you are partial at all to Hawkwind's sound it is one of their best works.
Report this review (#161808)
Posted Friday, February 15, 2008 | Review Permalink

I am not really enthusiast about this « Hawkwind » live album.

This is an average hard-rock live album combined, here and there, with some prog moments. « Shade Gate » is the first one of those an it is already the sixth track. Another MAJOR preoccupation are the weak vocal parts. Monochord, expressionless, dull.

Some (very) short spacey tune ("The Pulsing Cavern") immerged in a ocean of hard to heavy music. An anthem as "Master Of The Universe" is of course a highlight and confirms (if needed) the strong rocking ability of the band.

At times, the frenzy decreases a bit and opens the way to some pleasant rock song. No less, no more than "Dreaming City". But overall, this album is rather superfluous. Too much of the same sound kills the music.

If ever you are thrilled by the idea of listening to almost eighty minutes of the same beat, this live set might be for you. But not for me. Two stars.

Report this review (#170352)
Posted Friday, May 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
4 stars All Hail, Mighty Hawklords of Chaos, this is a wonderful surprise!

Where do they hide these master tapes? A reissue of the 1986 live album with extra concert tracks and some bonus material, plus a 20 page booklet. This is irresistible for any Hawkwind Addict. The highly revered 'Chronicle of the Black Sword' material is featured plus other treasures such as 'Magnu' and a new version of 'Masters of the Universe'. Its all here, 'Sea King', 'Angels of Death', the space swooshes of 'Rocky Paths', The Sigue Sigue Sputnik feel of 'Fight Sequence', manic laughter in 'Wizards of Pan Tang', the hard driving 'Needle Gun' and the space poetry of Moorcock.

The incredible narrative of Elric the Enchanter is captured live to a captive audience, harking back to the wonderful, weird lunacy of 'Space Ritual'. The bizarre concept concerns a wild array of characters such as Elric, Zarozinia, wizards with black swords, dragons, soul drinkers, Arioch, Lord of the 7 Darks; it's all Hawkwind. "Rise to defend the Dragon Throne," echoes the poet of 'Dragon's Song', and then the new song is unleashed, 'Dreaming City'. It is a competent enough track, chugging along nicely. The concert hangs together well, with melodic clarity, Brock's echoing vocal style and those excellent guitar riffs.

The 20 page booklet features some lyrics with psychedelic illustrations, plus 10 pictures of the band including a fold out pic of the group in those days. 30 tracks, 2 CDs, this is a must have for all serious heavy proggers.

A sonic attack on the senses, astounding sounds, amazing music; Hawkwind fanatics rejoice! 4 stars

Report this review (#265256)
Posted Wednesday, February 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Hawkwind live is what makes this band so special, having banged out a career where studio recordings are frequently uneven but live documents habitually stellar , or in this case, interstellar! Seeing this legendary group in concert is a moving, hypnotic and disturbing affair, leaving the jet-lagged fan in a cosmic daze for days and days. Not the most complex or varied of styles, the Hawkwind experience is loud, hard and visual , often relentless, brooding and monolithic, interspersed with ambient synthscapes, sci-fi narration and galactic rifferama , all propelled by a binary and hammering rhythm section that has only submission on its astral agenda. Lead guitarist Huw Lloyd-Langton weaves loopy electric solos throughout (but particularly on "Moonglum"), leaving Hawkman Dave Brock to man both the keyboard arsenal as well as the rhythm guitar chores, while Harvey Bainbridge synths his way through the stars. Bassist Alan Davey rumbles on his Rickenbacker and drummer Danny Thompson bashes energetically. There are some necessary Hawk standards such as the punkoid "the Sea King", the coarse "Angels of Death", the monstrous "Magnu" and the classic "Masters of the Universe", as well as a few lesser know space debris that tantalize and elicit orbiting applause. Ambient sonic floaters like "Shade Gate", "Dreaming City", "the Pulsing Cavern" and the amazing "Zarozinia" provide tempo changes that contrast well with the harder edged material like the ransacking "Rocky Paths", the playful "Needle Gun" and the breezy "Wizards of Pan Tang". "Dust of Time" is a hugely convincing piece, loaded with all the bravura and simplicity of carnal space-rock. Some tracks are a tad overblown like the vocally poor "Choose Your Masques" and companion piece "Fight Sequence" as well as the cumbersome "the Dark Lords", full of sardonic laughter and schizoid insanity. The closer "Horn of Fate " is a slight letdown, a bit too obvious and lacking the necessary showstopping attributes one would expect from the Hawkers. While no where near the majestic "Space Ritual" (a hard to beat masterpiece), the wispy "Business Trip" or even "Palace Springs", this remains an enjoyable voyage. Certainly worthy of any Space/Psychedelia collection but its not getting 5 asteroids from this sonic cosmonaut!

3.5 Dragons and Fables

Report this review (#277225)
Posted Saturday, April 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Hawkwind's Live Chronicles is a good but not exceptional live album, notable for providing a warmer rendition of songs drawn mainly from the "space metal" era of Hawkwind from Sonic Attack through to Chronicle of the Black Sword. Though the album is a very different prospect to the classic space rock albums of Hawkwind's most creatively successful period, it goes a long way towards rehabilitating the band's sound from the rut it had got into in the mid-1980s. If you're interested, I highly recommend going for the Atomhenge reissue which gives the complete concert, including Michael Moorcock's narration from between the songs. It won't ever displace Space Ritual in my estimation, but it's a worthy neo-space rock 1980s revival of the old "concept concert" approach that that album took and has grown on me over the years despite my initial disappointment that the sound wasn't as meaty as Space Ritual's.
Report this review (#584922)
Posted Thursday, December 8, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Best 80's Hawkwind live album

Let's make it simple: "Live Chronicles" is to the eighties what "Space Ritual" is to the seventies: HAWKWIND's best live release of the decade. Whereas the 70's performance is mainly stoner, this one is mainly space metal. The set-list features tracks from "In Search of Space", "Warrior on the Edge of Time" and their 80's albums, especially - as the title suggests - their last opus at this time, "The Chronicle Of The Black Sword". Furthermore, like "Space Ritual" and other concerts, it also contains a few previously unreleased compositions, as well as - unfortunately - spoken ambient transitions, however shorter than usual, so it does not matter much.

The live versions of the studio songs are all good: space metal oriented and often with additional sci-fi sonorities. In particular, "Dragons And Fables" is better than the original studio version, with a more epic melody variation and spacey keyboards. The renditions of the 70's iconic tracks "Master Of The Universe" and "Conjuration Of Magnu / Magnu" are heavier, especially "Magnu" which is shortened and whose middle-eastern arrangements are replaced by distorted guitars. This is the eighties now... The peaceful "Zarozinia" is enhanced by a dreamy synthesizer solo. Instead of the original song, "Dust of Time" is in fact a nice short metal-ized instrumental reinterpretation of the studio version.

Concerning the previously unreleased tracks, they're overall quite interesting. The soft space ballad "Dreaming City" is not great, but enjoyable. "Wizards Of Pan Tang" is an epic piece in a style similar to "Dragons And Fables", while the cool space metal song "The Dark Lords" displays a dark electronic ambiance.

This double live album is a good rendition of the band's best passages of the 1981-1985 period. Furthermore, it's nice to hear the 70's classics reinterpreted the heavy metal way. Although different from "Space Ritual", attending the live performance with Elric brandishing his swords should have been also great.

Essential for all 80's HAWKWIND fans, "Live Chronicles" is simply one of their best releases from this decade!

Report this review (#1560650)
Posted Tuesday, May 10, 2016 | Review Permalink
5 stars Hawkwind - Live Chronicles (1986)

I have yet to find an eighties studio album by Hawkwind that I like, after being disappointed by the Chronicles of the Black Sword album. Luckily there is this double live album of eighties Hawkwind that saves the decade for me.

With a great slightly electronic twin guitar metal sound - reminding me a bit of Somewhere in Time - era Iron Maiden - the band succeeds to greatly improve on their eighties repertoire. Furthermore, guitarist Huw Lloyd- Langton stands out as the best solist the band has ever had. I just wonder why he sounds so different in the studio. I already loved the sound of band live, but he really brings the music to another level with fast en melodic solo's. The rest of the band plays the songs well and the vocals are simple, punk-like and enthusiastic. Not pitch perfect, but legit when cruising in this spacey environment. The synths are great. No ugly eighties synths, just legit uplifting space bathing material. Nothing too intelligent, just great sounding and an enrichment of the songs and overall live feel.

The song selection is interesting because of its selection of eighties tracks, mostly from their then latest Black Sword album. Some good riffs and catchy refrains. My favorite trait of a Hawkwind live album is continuity of the music. Between the songs we hear electronic interludes and 'narrations' and it really creates opportunity to just dream off into space. On the second disc the song selection is a bit weaker, but I would have given the first disc alone five stars.

I would warmly recommend this record to listeners of space rock, eighties metal, jam bands and symphonic rock. One of my favorite Hawkwind live albums. Also check out Love in Space!

Report this review (#1647279)
Posted Monday, November 21, 2016 | Review Permalink

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