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HAWKWIND Blood Of the Earth (2010)


Blood of the Earth is the latest chapter in the 40 year old Hawkwind story. Their touring counterparts, Space Ritual claim to have more Hawkwind members but will the true Hawkwind please stand up?

The chapter begins with a thundering bass and sequential synth work from Tim Blake in 'Seahawks' with its inaudible chant leading to the title track and the 'vocals' of Matthew Wright. Yes 'tis he. Traditionalist warriors from the edge of time would have preferred the poetic stanza of a Michael Moorcock than a mid morning gossip show host. The delivery works nevertheless.

Next up is Wraith and we're into a more familiar orbit with the driving repetitive rhythm interlaced with synthetic whizzes that made 'Silver Machine' so iconic. There is no mistake that we are listening to Hawkwind. But wait. A pleasing and unexpected change of pace half way through.

In Green Machine (no relation) and Inner Visions, we're back to Blake's sound canvas again and it is clear that he is going to feature heavily on this album. Inner Visions also has that trademark Masters of the Universe style pace, but it is tempered by a more measured approach from the key tapper . That theme continues into Comfy Chair with Mr Dibs' thoughtful musings.

Featured on my Get Ready to ROCK! Radio 'space rock' Rockwaves show, the selections stood up well to the more dated yet much loved classics of stable folk like Gong. So is this progress?

Yes and no. Hawkwind have not broken any barriers with this album. The approach at the beginning was a statement about the condition of Earth, yet the later songs seem to drift into vague references to someone's cosmos thingy somewhere out there. I doubt if it will be discussed as a topical issue on the Wright Stuff. And yet it does hang together as a listenable album.

There are some meandering interchanges from Blake, original stalwart, Dave Brock and Niall Hone in Sentinel and Starshine with some memorable additions by the late and sadly missed, Jason Stuart . These have the desired effect of relaxing the demeanour. This album has sat in my car's CD drive for a week now and it can stay on auto for a good while yet!

A word for the packaging which has come to the fore in the light of illegal downloading. If you were a Hawkwind fan you'd want the album for the booklet that comes with it which is thematic with characteristic artwork which adds value. I believe there is a bonus disc in some versions that included live songs, but I can't comment as this was not in the edition that landed on my doormat.

For my own ears a success then. Although it won't recruit any fresh throngs from the younger metal fraternity who will wonder when the riffing begins. The live shows in December will provide more clues as to whether this Hawkwind season is vintage.


Review by Keith Thompson

GRTR! Recommended

Keith Thompson presents "Rockwaves" on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sunday 21:00, Saturday 17:00


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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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