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Hawkwind

Blood of the Earth

Review by Gary Hill

First time around I wasn’t overly crazy about this album. It really grows on you, though. I hear a lot of vintage Hawkwind – from various eras here. It also moves the group in new directions. The music here is diverse, but recognizable as Hawkwind. I would say that the cover – which features variants of older Hawkwind album cover art – symbolizes the music contained here quite well. This isn’t my favorite Hawkwind album, but it is an excellent addition to their sizable catalog.


This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Seahawks

A voice in a sound clip announces “I will become master of the universe.” Then keyboards and sound effects rise up to create the initial sounds. Other sound effects and loops come in over the top and create a sound rather like something from Choose Your Masque. Drums enter and move this forward. It feels more like Electric Teepee to me from there. Keyboards create a wavering melody pattern over the top. There’s a slow spoken vocal later. As it modulates out later into a more sung/chanted movement there are some hints of melody from older Hawkwind songs. It eventually gets a bit noisy and then drops down to sea-like ambience, resembling whale song. Weird effects and processed vocals come over the top as this section makes me think of Space Bandits.

Blood Of The Earth
Effects and atmosphere carried over from the previous track serve as the backdrop here for a poetry reading type of bit. This is classic Hawk-space.
Wraith
They fire out into a hard rocker that calls to mind the Levitation era of the band at times and older periods at others. I can even make out some Hall of the Mountain Grill here. It drops back to more ambient space at times. I swear I hear a little of Rush’s “Bytor and the Snowdog” later in the piece. 
Green Machine
A guitar solo based introduction, it feels almost like Joe Satriani meets Hawkwind. Keyboards take a more dominant role later in this instrumental.
Inner Visions

There’s an almost evil texture to this cut, but it also has sort of a groove to it. Eastern tones flirt with the melody here and there. It rocks out pretty well and takes on some classic Hawkwind sounds. There are some cool new progressions and jams that come in later in the piece.

Sweet Obsession
To me, this cut feels like a cross between Levitation era Hawkwind and Big Generator Yes on the intro, anyway. The song proper is pretty heavily in a Levitation style. The vocal delivery, though, makes me think of “Mirror of Illusion” for some reason. The keyboards that bring that Yes sound to the table show up later in the track, too. 
Comfy Chair
A slow moving and mellow piece, this is an unusual number. It has sort of a modern element to it, but it’s also kind of trippy. It moves out later into territory that’s a bit more typical. 
Prometheus
On the one hand, this is more pure old school psychedelia than anything else I’ve ever heard from Hawkwind. On the other hand, it reminds me in some ways of the first album the band released. It’s an interesting track, but definitely a change from what you’d expect from Hawkwind. 
You'd Better Believe It
Here’s a recording of the current version of Hawkwind doing this old chestnut from Hall of the Mountain Grill. They put in a good performance and it rocks out pretty well. I have to say that I like the feel of the original better, but this is quite good. They introduce a weird little shuffle based jam mid-track that’s almost jazz. 
Sentinel
A cool atmospheric number, this really feels like something from the Levitation era.
Starshine
Another instrumental, this is slow moving and textural, very much in keeping with Hawkwind traditions.
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