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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Gunslinger

Earthquake in E Minor

Review by Gary Hill

This nearly went into heavy metal. Certainly it could. There are two reasons it didn’t. The first is that Alan Davey is the main guy behind this band and he’s best known for his work in Hawkwind. That makes him a prog guy and generally we put all releases from “prog guys” under progressive rock. The second is that while there’s a lot of Motorhead like heavy metal on this album there is also a lot of Hawkwind in the mix, too – again landing it more into progressive rock.

I mentioned to Davey that I thought this CD really represents a merging of Hawkwind and Motorhead sounds and his response was, “I am Motorhawk!” Well, that pretty well sums it up. Many people know that Davey and Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilminster are two guys who have both held the spot of Hawkwind bassist. Less know that Davey is a big Motorhead fan. So, the connection is obvious.

Honestly, had I gotten this disc last year – it was released in 2008 – it would have made my top discs of 2008 list. It’s that good. If you like Motorhead or Hawkwind you’ll like this album. If you like them both (as I do), you’ll love it.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Night Song
Sound effects start things off, but they pound out from there in a raw Hawkwind meets Motorhead approach. As the vocals enter this really feels a lot like Lemmy era Hawkwind. I particularly like the screaming, frantic, early Hawkwind styled bass solo.
If The Bombs Don't Get Ya, The Bullets Will
This scorcher really feels like it could have come from one of Motorhead’s early discs. It’s another strong cut, but more firmly in the purely metal neighborhood.
Shellshocked
This might be my favorite cut on show here. It’s got plenty of that metallic intensity, but the overall song structure and keyboard elements land it more fully in the territory of Hawkwind of anything here. I love this track.
Savage Love
Hard edged rock and roll brings us back into something along the lines of early Motorhead. 
Cyanide
Here’s another with an extremely healthy dosage of Hawkwind. It feels to me like it would have fit quite nicely on Chronicle of the Black Sword
Blitzkrieg Baby
Perhaps more than anything else on the disc, this combines the Motorhead and Hawkwind sounds most effectively. It feels in many ways like it could have come from Hawkwind’s Doremi Fasol Latido album, but yet there’s a major chunk of metal in its mix. It’s definitely one of the highlights of the CD. 
Going In For The Kill
Now here Gunslinger find themselves in very major Motorhead territory. Tell me you couldn’t hear Lemmy and company throwing this one down on stage. 
Hymn Of The Wild
Here’s another cut very much from the Motorhead song book, but there’s a lot more pure Hawkwind in this one, too. I wouldn’t consider it to be a highlight of the disc, but it’s a heck of a rocker nonetheless. 
Don't Need You
Raw and fierce this is lyrically quite punk rock in nature. It’s very much old school Motorhead and there is pretty much no Hawkwind in this mix. 
Warhorse
This one has a lot of Hawkwind in the mix. It’s another highlight of the disc and brings a major metal element to an early Hawk sound. I like this a lot. The extended jam later even has some moments that call to mind early Rush.
Gunslinger
Here’s another highlight of the disc. In many ways this is purely Motorhead-like metal. It launches out later into an expansive Doremi…-like Hawk-styled jam, though. This is a screamer however you slice it a great way to close off the disc in style.
 
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