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Hawkwind

Space Ritual Volume II

Review by Gary Hill

Originally when this was released on vinyl, Space Ritual Volume I and II didn't exist, only one multi disc set "Space Ritual". When released on CD it was culled into two separate albums. This represents a great live recording of this band in its form with Lemmy, Bob Calvert, Michael Moorcock and Nik Turner all playing their roles here - along with Captain Dave Brock and other Hawkwind regulars. As was the case with Hawkwind live shows of the time there is no banter or breaks between songs, the band playing them straight from one to the next as one long song. There are arguably better Hawkwind live discs out there, but this one is quite cool nonetheless.

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Track by Track Review
Space
Total ambient weirdness begins this. It moves through various spacey themes. This segues straight into the next cut.
Orgone Accumulator
This bouncy, punky number is a cool rocker. It doesn't wander much, but is a great jam with noisy sax. The extended instrumental break is a typical early Hawkwind space jam. A bass guitar and sax dominated segment later serves to pull the band directly into the next song.
Upside Down
With a killer bass driven riff, this is a very strong early Hawk cut. This one gets quite weird, but also very tasty with its sci-fi-sounding bridge. Again this moves straight into the next piece.
Sonic Attack
This is a space age, noisy poetry reading, more theater than music. It again moves without pause into "Time We Left".
Time We Left
One of the greatest older Hawkwind songs, this one rocks out quite hard. It is one of the cooler live recordings of the number to be found. This definitely rocks out, but still finds the opportunity to dissolve out into pure weirdness. The chant segment is one of the better of these that Hawkwind used to be quite fond of doing. They resolve out into a segment of "Paranoia", although not credited here. This one just scorches and once again transitions straight into the next composition.
Ten Seconds of Forever
This is another poetry reading with a backdrop of spaced out, ambient sounds. Once again, they jump straight into the next piece.
Brainstorm
This is another early Hawkwind classic. The cut rocks out hard and fast, nearly accessible, but with just enough Hawkwind spacey weirdness to make it decidedly them. This is another scorcher. The instrumental segments here are awesome. Once again, the take it straight into the next one.
Seven By Seven
This is an awesome space rock number that is a highlight of the disc, and one of the coolest jams on show here. A lot of this is poetry reading, but there is a definite "regular" song section, too. In fact, it's one of the few Hawkwind pieces that does a nice job of combining both.
Master of the Universe
This fast paced Hawk rocker is always a welcome inclusion, but not especially a standout here. Still a strong rocker, there are better renditions.
Welcome to the Future
They end the disc with this weird poetry reading. It gets noisy and cacophonic in the end segments, but somehow I think "Master…" would have been a stronger closer. From the foot stompings and clapping of the crowd at the end, I would guess that the audience thought so, too.
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