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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Hawkwind

Hall of The Mountain Grill

Review by Gary Hill

Hall of the Mountain Grill probably represents the apex of Hawkwind's popularity in the US, arguably being their best-known album in that country. Arguments can also be made that it is the most straight progressive rock release they have done. Truly it is one of the most consistently entertaining and listenable discs the band ever created, in this reviewer's opinion having few equals in the Hawk-catalog. It entertains over and over again, and really seems to flow together quite well. This one would certainly be a great first introduction to the band.

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Track by Track Review
The Psychedelic Warlords (Disappear in Smoke)
An electronic drone begins this, and a bouncy rhythm guitar line enters. The cut carries on with a soaring lead solo taking us into the verse. This runs through and eventually leads to a space prog jam with a cool sax solo. The band moves this through in raucous fashion to an eventual return to the verse. More spaciness takes over later and carries the cut to the outro. The guitar at times here feels a bit like Nektar. Bass takes over for a while on this segment. After a crescendo an explosion and (appropriately) wind move us into the next track.
Wind of Change
This cut is much slower and quite melodic, beginning just on keys. It is a fairly static, but pretty, instrumental.
D-Rider
This one comes in choppy, and oh so tasty. The sax wails a sad, but beautiful layer across the tune. The vocals have a spacey otherworldly texture. This is an incredibly strong space rock adventure.
Web Weaver
This acoustically driven number comes straight out of the previous piece. It is a fairly straightforward rocker. It wanders into more spacey territory in the bridge, but this one truly rocks out quite well.
You'd Better Believe It
Keys begin this, then percussion joins. Eventually a full on build up enters the fray with the whole band on board. This is another high-energy rocker.
Hall of the Mountain Grill
This is a short and poignantly beautiful instrumental based on layers of keys and violin.
Lost Johnny
Bassist Lemmy Kilminster penned this number, and later reworked it with his post-Hawkwind band Motorhead. This one comes across as a fairly straight-ahead rocker and one of the high points of the disc.
Goat Willow
Another short instrumental, this is a spacey effects laden number that seems to bend time and space.
Paradox
This faster paced Hawk-rocker is another strong cut and a great conclusion to the disc.
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