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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Hawkwind

Church of Hawkwind

Review by Gary Hill

This is a good disc, but not a great one. Of course, when you know that it started off as a Dave Brock solo release you can cut it a little slack as Hawkwind. The main issue is that while nothing here is weak there aren’t a lot of standout tracks and it seems a bit too weighted toward ambient instrumental type tracks.

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
Angel Voices
This is much like the introductory segment to “Ejection.” It’s based on keyboard sound effects with a checklist for some sort of space launch.
Nuclear Drive
Coming straight out of the previous piece, this rises up with a guitar dominated jam. It’s tasty and spacey and cool. It reminds me of something from Choose Your Masques.
Star Cannibal
This one is more melodic and laced with lots of keyboards. It feels a lot like something you'd expect from Robert Calvert. It gets dropped way back later in the track and then we get a rather metallic grind for a while.
Phenomenon of Luminosity
Spacey keyboards lead us off here and we get a sound bite from one of the space missions. Then other keys bring in melody and this is a very melodic and fairly sedate interlude. 
Fall of Earth City
Here’s another that makes me think of Robert Calvert. A droning, but quite melodic guitar segment that seems to remind me of “Sonic Attack” holds down the bottom while Dave Brock tells and epic tale with his spoken reading. This is one of my favorite cuts on show here. 
Church
This is just a short piece that consists of what sounds like a live recording of keyboards with an audience, stomping, clapping and making general “audience” noises. 
Identimate
Here’s another instrumental, this has saxophone, therefore calling to mind the Nik Turner era of the group.
Some People Never Die
This is an ambient, techno sort of number that includes news type coverage of the Kennedy assassinations. It starts getting more and more frantic in musical modes, then drops back down. The cut ends with the sounds of someone fleeing through water.
Damage of Life
This one’s not very special. It’s OK, but just a typical Hawk-rocker for the time. 
Experiment With Destiny
Here’s a melodic keyboard oriented interlude that sounds a lot like “Virgin of the World” from Sonic Attack at first. It turns into a bit of a rocker later.
Mists of Meridin
Another instrumental this is far more purely keyboard oriented. It’s pretty but doesn’t really go far. 
Looking in the Future
This reminds me a lot of “Running Through the Back Brain” from Zones. This rocks out pretty well and has a cool keyboard build up later. 
Joker at the Gate
Based on an atypical (but quite cool) keyboard layout, this track features spoken vocals and other elements to dramatic (and rather creepy) effect.
Light Specific Data
We get another instrumental (well there are some vocals but more as instrumentation than anything else) here that feels like it could have fit on Zones or Choose Your Masques.
The Last Messiah
Another keyboard oriented instrumental there are sounds of a woman crying as the only “vocals” here.
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