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CHURCH OF HAWKWIND

Hawkwind

Psychedelic/Space Rock


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Hawkwind Church Of Hawkwind album cover
2.80 | 90 ratings | 12 reviews | 9% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Studio Album, released in 1982

Songs / Tracks Listing

- Space:
1. Angel Voices (1:21)
2. Nuclear Drive (3:39)
3. Star Cannibal (5:31)
4. The Phenomenon of Luminosity (2:40)
5. Fall of Earth City (3:24)
6. The Church (1:32)
- Fate:
7. Identimate (3:45)
8. Some People Never Die (3:52)
9. Damage of Life (5:50)
10. Experiment With Destiny (2:31)
11. Mists of Meridin (5:13)
12. Looking in the Future (4:03)

Total time 43:21

Bonus tracks on 1994 CD reissue:
13. Joker at the Gate (1:51)
14. Light Specific Data (3:48)
15. The Last Messiah (1:27)

Total Time: 50:27

Bonus tracks on 2010 CD reissue:
13. Angel Voices (Extended Version) (2:21)
14. Harvey's Sequence (3:01)
15. Fall Of Earth City (Alternate Version With Harvey Bainbridge Vocal) (4:50)
16. Water Music (Light Specific Data) (Demo) (4:42)
17. Looking In The Future / Virgin Of The World (10:23)

Total time 68:38

Line-up / Musicians

- Dave Brock / vocals (2,3,5,9,12), synthesizers, keyboards, guitar (3,5,8,9,12), bass (3), producer
- Huw Lloyd-Langton / lead guitar (2,3,5,6,12)
- Harvey Bainbridge / bass (5,7,9,10,12), synths (5,9-11), vocals (1,7)
- Martin Griffin / drums

With:
- Marc Sperhawk / bass (8)
- Captain Al Bodi / percussion (8)
- Kris Tait (Madame X) / crying voice (11)

Releases information

Artwork: Andrew Christian (art direction) with Partridge / Rushton

LP RCA ‎- PL 25421 (1982, UK)

CD Dojo Limited ‎- DOJO CD 86 (1994, UK) With 3 bonus tracks
CD Atomhenge ‎- ATOMCD 1021 (2010, UK) 24-bit remaster by Ben Wiseman with 5 bonus tracks, previously unreleased

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Griffin Records 1994
$121.52
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HAWKWIND Church Of Hawkwind ratings distribution


2.80
(90 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(9%)
9%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(30%)
30%
Good, but non-essential (25%)
25%
Collectors/fans only (31%)
31%
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)
4%

HAWKWIND Church Of Hawkwind reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Altared images

Generally short tracks on this outing, with the heavy, driving "Damage of life" being the standout track by far.

A number of the "tracks" such as "Angel voices", "The Church", and "Joker at the gate", (which is at least melodic) are little more than ambient links. Of the other tracks, "Nuclear drive" is an inferior version of "Silver machine", "Looking at the future" is an alternative version of "Lives of Great men", and "Mist of Meridin" drifts off into ambient noises.

"Some people never die" has the live news broadcast of the death of JFK set to music (it does actually work).

Not Hawkwind's finest hour by any means, but some good moments nonetheless.

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars This Hawkwind period (82-83) is probably not the best one for the band.

"Church Of Hawkwind" is a collection of short songs dominated by electronic / computer and spacey background sounds. To make some illusion, I guess. Most of the songs are similar and there is not much to retain from such a work. This is by far the worst "Hawkwind" album so far.

Some lyrics are more spoken than sung, and this monotonous tone only adds to the boring feeling one gets while listening to the whole album in one session. Several short tracks are absolutely useless and excessively dull ("Angel Voices", "The Church").

I'm looking desperately for a decent song on this album. "Some People Never Die" has some flavour of "Suicide" at times. But this bizarre US band of the seventies was original in their times. "Hawkwind" is not here. And the voice-over on the "music" is quite indecent IMO (it was taped while JFK was shot).

"Damage Of Life" is bearable but the whole of this album is a very painful moment. Best avoided. One star.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
2 stars "The Church of Hawkwind" is another very mediocre album with a few shining lights scattered here and there. Too many of Hawkwind's 80s albums were like this; lots of instrumentals and effects but no real songs to speak of. Oh well, there are 15 tracks so surely something will be worth salvaging here. The songs worth hunting down are 'Nuclear Drive', 'Damage of Life' and 'Some People Never Die', but the rest unfortunately are rather dull and uninspiring instrumentals.

'Nuclear Drive' is a rocker with Brock in fine form on vocals and some soaring space lead guitar from Huw Lloyd-Langton. It begins proceedings well however, the album dives into some awful New Wave punkish chanting vocals unfortunately on tracks such as 'Star Cannibal'. The spacey electronics are annoying on this rather than an augmentation. The lyrics are downright idiotic, about dining on human flesh. Hopefully the rest of the album will be better I was thinking at this stage.

This is followed by spaciness and drones on 'The Phenomenon of Luminosity' and it has the intriguing futuristic voice over and sequenced synth lines. The synths sound a bit like the early Kraftwerk sound from "Autobahn". Okay a bit of a filler but not bad with repetitive trance phrases.

Next is 'Fall of Earth City', with layers of synth and Brock's distant vocal narration. Once again not really a song but an instrumental with a bit of a spoken poetry.

Next, is 'The Church', a short thing with sequenced synths and some crowd protest chanting. I have no idea what this is saying but it works as a transition. There is tons of filler on this album such as 'Joker at the gate' which is nothing but a synth instrumental, with voice overs, but hardly inventive. Of the better tracks one should mention 'Some People Never Die' that has heavy breathing and effects sounding like Pink Floyd's 'On The Run'. There is even a sequenced section. "Oswald has been shot" speaks an urgent voice and it is evident that the piece is in tribute to the events of the assassination attempt. It is interesting on this album that sounds like a pot pourri of ideas rather than a coherent whole. I liked hearing the news reports and reporters though on this. It is rather powerful to hear about Senator J. F. Kennedy's assassination too, the screams are here and the actual reports "get the gun, stay away from the gun, his hand is broken".

'Damage of Life' is a better song as it at least feels like a song, running at a decent length and the musicianship is not just sequenced synths and voice overs. Brock's vocals are welcome after all the narrations previously, and the melody is quite pleasant. The musicianship is simple with crunching riffing guitars and spacey synths but this works well and is the definitive highlight amongst a sea of mediocre forgettable instrumentals.

'Mists of Meridan' is another instrumental based track, repeating the same droning sounds, but features some nice vocals from Madame X. She is not a space whisperer like Gilli Smyth but still nice to hear the feminine touch after all the raw vocals previous. It takes some patience to get through the track with ambiant layer upon layer of synth, and atmospherics pervading over all.

'Light Specific Data' is another instrumental based track, but has a cool guitar riff that locks in and I didn't mind all the spacey effects.

Overall the album suffers from being too focused on instrumentals and transitions rather than any decent memorable rock songs. There are only about 3 decent songs so this is a very disappointing affair. I can squeeze out 2 stars though as it still offers something for the Hawkwind collectors.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
2 stars Not my place of worship

I am not at all a fan of 70's Hawkwind, but in that decade they at least had a pretty clear conception of their own musical direction; Space Rock until 1977, and then New Wave-ish music for the rest of the decade. Even though the 80's started out very well indeed for Hawkwind with their best ever album in 1980's Levitation, this proved to be a one-off success and they quickly found themselves lost. 1981's Sonic Attack seemed to revert to an earlier stage in their evolution and as such explored no new ground but found them plodding along in the same established style. The present album, to the contrary, is rather different from anything they had ever done before. There are still traces of the Hawkwind we know, but this is much more electronic. Overall, I think that this album is pretty directionless and contains a bit of this and a bit of that without any overall musical or lyrical theme or concept to hold it together. Many of the pieces are best described as experimental. Still, despite all its flaws, I actually don't think that this album is any worse than most of their 70's works that fail to impress this reviewer.

If Sonic Attack radically failed to live up to the expectations set by the surprisingly excellent Levitation, Church Of Hawkwind does not help their cause one bit. They at least tried to expand their horizons somewhat here, but most of the time it comes across as a failed experiment.

Review by Progfan97402
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 1982's Church of Hawkwind is a seriously underrated album if there ever is one. I realize how difficult the 1980s were for so many bands that made it this far. A band like Genesis had no problem making it through the '80s, but they altered their style and substance to do so, at the expense of many of their older fans. Hawkwind never needed to do that, certainly they might adapt to some of the technology of the day, but even in the early '80s, they NEVER went all Duran Duran on us, which we can all be thankful.

Hawkwind takes a more electronic move here, thanks to Harvey Bainbridge doubling up on keyboards (which he first did on their previous outing, Sonic Attack). I really like the electronic approach they do, and several songs do nothing but amaze me. I really love "Star Cannibal", with the semi-spoken dialog. "The Phenomenon of Luminosity" is an all-electronic piece with lots of EMS Synthi effects and synth leads. "The Joker at the Gate" is an electronic piece with spoken dialog, "The Last Messiah" another strange electronic piece, while "Some People Never Die" features audio excerpts of the shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald. "Looking into the Future" is more typical Hawkwind that fans are more used to. I really say there's nothing I dislike about this album. I felt the next album Choose Your Masques was more mediocre (it sounded like the band going through the motions to get finished with their contract with RCA), even there it has some fine moments, so I even can't totally slag that album.

For years I shied away from Church of Hawkwind because of the cover. Sonic Attack and Choose Your Masques certainly feature MUCH better covers. I'm happy to say the music is much better than the cover. I have the original LP that came with a fantastic lyric booklet, which has MUCH better artwork than the cover.

Review by Modrigue
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Electronic Hawkwind

2.5 stars

Strange cover art for a strange title. Initially released as a Dave Brock solo album, "Church of Hawkwind" is now considered as part of HAWKWIND's discography - like "25 Years On" - as it features most band members from the band's previous opus, "Sonic Attack". Nonetheless, this disc is not on the same level as the 1978 effort.

This particular opus mainly consists in electronic experimentations of the band's leader, showing his growing interest for the then nascent electronic music technologies of the eighties. The whole record is therefore dominated by short transitional synthesizer-driven pieces. There are only a few space rock songs here.

"Angel Voices" is just an electronic introduction, with alien voices, for "Nuclear Drive", which resembles some eighties version of a lost track from NEU!, with vocals. Average. The enjoyable "Star Cannibal" also has krautrock influences and could have well suited the ambiance of HAWKWIND's "PXR5" album. The best space rock song of the disc. The next seven tracks are just ambient / spacey / experimental electronic transitional compositions, more or less interesting.

"The Church" has a slight middle-eastern feel, whereas the TANGERINE DREAM-esque "Joker At The Gate" may be the best passage of the record, with "Experiment With Destiny", an electronic reworked version of "Virgin Of The World" from the previous studio album. The mysterious "The Last Messiah" contains sampled cries by "Madam X". More typical of the Hawks "Looking In The Future" is a space rock tune in the style of "Sonic Attack". Not bad, but not great either.

As a conclusion, the short tracks themselves works well as transitions, background music or drafts, but are not sufficient to create a convincing album. The three space rock songs are not very memorable either. You must take "Church of Hawkwind" for what it is, a play with exciting novel electronic technologies. However, this exercise may have opened new horizons for the band.

One of the two weak HAWKWIND studio albums of the 80's, with "Choose Your Masques".

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Hawkwind's years on RCA Active were characterised by wild shifts in their musical style. After exploring the space metal styles of Sonic Attack, Church of Hawkwind finds them slamming to the other extreme of their musical universe, dialling back the rock elements substantially and turning up the electronics dial to maximum. The end result is an intriguing musical trip that offers extensive early examples of the use of sampling and other synthesiser techniques in a rock context, and is perhaps the most progressively-minded of all of Hawkwind's studio albums on the RCA Active label. It might not be what we expect from Hawkwind, but the sheer fact of its unusualness in itself makes it stand out in their discography.
Review by GruvanDahlman
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog Team
4 stars Hawkwind has become a matter of the heart for me. I have come to love them. Well, maybe not all of it but that's hardly to expect since their existence stretches over of half a century. Their output is on top of that vary varied in terms of musical direction. As most people I came in by way of "Space ritual" and proceded exploring their albums of the first half of the 70's. Eventually I ventured into the latter half and found alot to cherish, more so than I found on the records made between 1970-1975. My favorite era of the mighty Hawkwind is the 80's. This is such a vibrant and exciting part of their career. Opening the new decade with "Levitation" (a 5-star album in my book) they proceded to explore and really pull it off big time throughout the decade. To me this was Hawkwind in their most exciting and fulfilling era. The six albums made, from "Levitation" in 1980 to "Xenon Codex" in 1988, are all very magnificent, though they all come in somewhat different flavors.

"Church of Hawkwind" was released in 1982 and was a very ambient affair. There are tons of synthesized sounds, blips and boinks throughout. One could argue that it sounds dated or that the sound effects are designed to disguise the lack of proper material but that is not the case. One could also argue that some of the tracks (like "Angel voices") really aren't songs but you have to listen to the album as a whole to get the picture. These are not simply sound effects created by some guy that just bought the latest synthesizer and played around with it. This is serious music with a concept. The album is at it's best when digested as a whole. The ambiance and moods are perfectly augmented by the sounds. Ominous, spacey and out of this world. It forms a whole that is thrilling, exciting and not to be taken lightly.

Now, it might sound as though Hawkwind had dropped all metallic punch from "Levitation" but they hadn't. There are several pieces of evidence of this not being so. "Nuclear drive" is a typical hard edged Hawkwind tune from the 80's. It packs quite a punch. The same could be said of "Looking in the future" or "Fall of Earth city", songs that include quite a bit af the hard rock of "Levitation" but with a very ambient atmosphere. Another one of these songs are one of my real favorites, "Star cannibal". Brocks narrative vocals over a hypnotic and spacey groove is just an amazing listen. Totally brilliant.

Whilst every track is good or brilliant there are those that stand out more than others. As I said "Star cannibal" is one of those brilliant compositions but another is the magnificent "Some people never die" which has a real hard rock attack but augmented by ambient sound effects and holds the actual sounds from the killing of Lee Harvey Oswald and Robert Kennedy. This is dramatic music that sucks me in every time. Words cannot truly say what I am feeling when listening to this track. Brutal intensity and drama.

Another one of these brilliant songs are tucked away at the very end of the album. Preceded by a sombre and spacey prelude (of sorts) "Looking in the future" unleashes a great guitar and one of the highlights have begun. To end an album with one of its finest compositions is genius.

I find "Church of Hawkwind" to be an album of absolute cohesiveness. Everything is held together in a glorious fashion. From the opening effects of "Angel voices" to the last distorted chord of "Looking in the future" you're in for a ride. The music is very intense, emotive, ambient, harsh, aggressive, soothing and enthralling in a way that only Hawkwind manages to pull off. Not all their albums are as cohesive and entertaining affairs as "Levitation" or "Church of Hawkwind" but both of these are perfectly shaped pieces of art that really are worth a listen. This is dazzling, mindblowing music perfect for any and all situation.

Review by TCat
COLLABORATOR Eclectic Team
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.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Okay, USUALLY most of the PROG stuff I like has been the more esoteric, complex bands such as Crimson, Mahavishnu, etc., and I frigg'n LOVE 'OZRIC TENTACLES' and 'JETHRO TULL'! So, when I first stumbled on HAWKWIND a couple of years ago I wasn't really sure what to expect. Now, in all fairness ... (read more)

Report this review (#285942) | Posted by LatheOfHeaven | Friday, June 11, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars A Dave Brock led space freakout that makes one think that Hawkwind were starting to go in the more electronic/ambient direction albeit with a somewhat harder edge. It contains an unusual number of tracks for a Hawkwind album which sort of makes it interesting and nothing drags out for too long. ... (read more)

Report this review (#78711) | Posted by Vibrationbaby | Friday, May 19, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This is a fun album of ambient instrumental space rock, and some short 'songs' with lyrics also. It sounds somewhat like early Porcupine Tree stuff in places. Probably a Brock side project that got the Hawkwind name attached. Some pieces are audio samplings, chants, and or poems set to music a ... (read more)

Report this review (#25546) | Posted by | Thursday, March 3, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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