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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Hawkwind

Dust of Time - 1969-2021 (2 CD Edition)

Review by Gary Hill

Without question, Hawkwind is one of my all-time favorite bands. So, I can't possibly review any Hawkwind release without that bias coming into it. The thing is, reviews are opinions, and, as such bias is literally part of every review, whether we recognize it or not. Our opinions are based on our own experiences, likes and dislikes. With all that in mind, it should be no surprise that I love this set.

There are, I believe, three different configurations of the Dust of Time collection - a two-CD version (which is the one I've reviewed here), a three-CD edition and a six-disc set. Well, if this set is any indication of the quality of the other sets, they must be great. This comes in a digi-pack and features a great booklet to complete the package. The selection of songs is great, and I just generally love this thing. It should be noted that, other than a couple tracks here, I've previously reviewed all of these songs on other releases. For the sake of consistency, the track reviews for those songs are copied or adapted from those other reviews for use here.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 2. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2022.

Track by Track Review
CD One:
                
Hurry On Sundown (mono single version)

This is a classic. Pretty, progish acoustic guitar starts this cut. The track becomes more rock oriented, but still progish, although a bit simplistic in structure. Certainly the lyrics to this one are quite prog oriented. "Look into your mind's eye, See what you can see." When the guitar solo comes in, the cut takes on very psychedelic tones, quite reminiscent of The Doors. This is strong space rock with early prog and psychedelic leanings. It even includes some wailing, Hendrixish guitar.

Mirror Of Illusion
Shakers start this up. Then we get a jam that reminds me of the music to “Hurry on Sundown.” In fact, I’d say that this is really a different version of the same song. This track was the one that closed off the original version of Hawkwind's debut album. There are spacey bits running around here and there. We gets some tasty guitar soloing as this carries on.
Master Of The Universe
This is one of early Hawkwind’s heaviest numbers and was also a trademark piece in many ways. Maybe the guys who did the "He-Man" cartoon were influenced by it? Probably not, but you never know. What a different show that would have been if they’d used this as the theme song. A whining sound, much like a weapon powering up to fire starts this off and keeps climbing towards overload. Eventually a guitar segment comes in, and the whole band slowly rise to meet it. The vocal line is mostly spoken over this backdrop with a great echoey texture to it. Space rock squeals and squawks rise and fall during the course. They turn a corner after the verse, seeming to be ready to launch into a new movement. Instead, though, they seemingly end the piece, but it is reborn in the earlier modes from this false ending. This time they launch into an instrumental space rock journey on the themes. This gets quite powerful and waves of sound continue to sweep over the top of the mix. The same hint of a new journey about to unfold gives way to another false ending and the bass restarts the jam. Clipped echoey guitar, common throughout the disc, joins the fray and then the track is rejoined by the rest. The final verse of vocals come in here and take it to the closing changeover segment. After what we’ve heard to this point, when the thunder-type sounds in the background take it, you really expect the melody to rise up one more time.
Silver Machine
Here we get the original single mix of “Silver Machine.” There might be more versions of this cut out there than of any other Hawkwind track. No matter how you slice it, it’s a hard rocking jam that’s part punk rock, part space rock and all Hawkwind. This was their biggest hit worldwide, and that explains all the versions. For my money there are better Hawkwind songs, but this grows on you – and does have a very classic Hawk sound.
Brainstorm
They opened the Doremi Fasol Latido disc with this. The longest track on that set, this is an eleven plus minute jam. It’s one of the hardest rocking (and most trademarked) of Hawkwind’s early repertoire. A pulsing crunch makes up the early segments here. Lemmy’s bass drives the cut as Nik Turner half sneers, half sings the number. Waves of keys wash over throughout. The track moves through a couple verses and choruses, then moves out into an expansive space rock jam that only Hawkwind could have done. This extended instrumental passage swirls and pulsates. Varying instruments weave their lines across the top in this nearly out of control journey. A tribal chant (Hawkwind loved these in the day) takes it around the four-minute mark with other lines of vocals and instrumentation accenting it across the top. Eventually the guitar takes control in a wah-fest motif. The group work their magic on this jam creating something that feels like it would have been quite at home on their Hall of the Mountain Grill album. Noise and beauty merge in a psychedelic, hypnotic powerhouse. One could possibly draw links from this cut to early Pink Floyd or even Deep Purple’s “Child In Time,” but, while I like both of those a lot, I definitely prefer the Hawk’s take. Still, I should be honest and say that I’m biased as one of the biggest Hawkwind fans in the States (at least I’m pretty sure that title applies – tough to say without meeting the rest of the Hawkfanatics). Eventually this pounds back out into the song proper with Lemmy’s bass guitar once again propelling it. One more verse and chorus are issued before the band take this into a noisy outro – over which Turner lays a few more vocal lines. Keys take it after the crescendo, but then Lemmy delivers a feedback laden bass line (at least it sure sounds like it to me) for a time. The group seem to be about to rise back up on the fadeout.
Space Is Deep
Pretty acoustic guitar leads this one off, and as it builds keys shimmer across the top. The track launches out into a balladic sort of texture with a more sung vocal line. All the while the keyboards chirp and twitter across the sky of the piece. This track is a classic “text book” example of “space rock.” This doesn’t move far, instead (like most great space rock) it gains its power from reworkings of the central themes in varying formats and subtle transitions. They do power this one out for good effect later into a more hard rocking version of itself, though. It also drops back to acoustic guitar modes as Dave Brock coaxes all kinds of explorations from his strings. Eventually keys and sound effects take the lead from him, though – coming up gradually at first. Still Brock gets the last word.
Orgone Accumulator
Coming from Space Ritual, this hard rocking number is strong space rock with good hypnotic jamming.
Urban Guerilla
At the time the Spacehawks album (which included this) was originally released , this was a real rarity. It had been released as a single, but quickly pulled as bombings in London were ramping up, and the BBC didn't feel it was appropriate to have the song out. I originally reviewed this on Epoch Eclipse, and here's what I said about it.  This is a hard rocking, almost punky cut. It really seemed to foresee the unfortunate future of our society. "I'm an urban guerilla, I make bombs in my cellar." "So, let's not talk of love and flowers, and things that don't explode, you know we've used up all of our magic powers trying to do it in the road." This one features a definitive Hawkjam.
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 move 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 it into the next track on the original album (Hall of the Mountain Grill).
Paradox (single version)
The album version of this comes from the same disc as “Psychedelic Warlords.” It’s another that’s more purely progressive rock. I don’t really hear any huge difference between this and the album rendition, and it’s another soaring jam that’s dynamic and powerful. I think that as much as I enjoy “Psychedelic Warlords” this track is better. Perhaps the keyboards are a bit more prominent on this track than on the album version. The soaring space jam on this is just plain incredible.
Assault And Battery/The Golden Void
These are listed as two separate, but connected, tracks on their original album (Warrior on the Edge of Time). Here they are included as one track. I'm including both of my individual track reviews here. Beginning with a building segment in the mode of both Genesis and Yes, the "Assault and Battery" part of this cut takes on the more solid Hawkwind trademarks, but is very progish. The lyrics are quite fantasy oriented. It breaks into a classic space jam with prog leanings that is almost Traffic influenced at times. This cut was originally presented on the album. It drops directly into the "Golden Void" part of the cut. Very dramatic and very prog, this is Hawkwind at their best. "Down the corridor of flame, Will I ever fly so high again?" The imagery on this one is only topped by the progish wonderment of the music. Anyone who says that Hawkwind is not progressive rock probably has never heard this powerful composition.
Back on the Streets
This is simply a straightforward Hawkwind rocker. It was released as a single, and I've reviewed it in that format previously.
CD Two:
                  
Steppenwolf

Starting in a mode a bit like Hawkwind does Santana (and those Santana elements exist off and on throughout the cut), this werewolf-oriented number is very strong. The lyrics detail the state of being a werewolf and the dual nature of the beast. "I am a wolfman, The man in me would kill the wolf, I am a man wolf, The wolf in me would eat the man." The track features a haunting violin dominated segment that is very progish. It is an awesome number that features many prog rock oriented instrumental moments.

Kerb Crawler (single version)
Raw edged, this is an odd sounding but entertaining cut. It features R & B oriented backing vocals on the chorus. The arrangement gets a bit soulful at the end.
Spirit of the Age
Beginning with white noise oriented sound effects that lead into other sound effects; it is nearly two minutes into the cut before actual music emerges. As it does, the sound is almost Smithsish at first (although this predates that band's appearance). The volume gradually rises on the music and the effects start to fall away. The cut becomes a nice rock oriented mid tempo number. Some of the lyrics are sort of a space age/sci-fi love lost ode. The entire song is essentially a commentary on some of the problems of modern society. It just so happens that it is set in a time well beyond our current time. "I would have liked you to have been deep frozen, too, And waiting still as fresh in your flesh for my return, but your father refused to sign the forms to freeze you, Let's see you'd be about 60 now, and long dead by the time I return to Earth, But my time held dreams were full of you as you were when I left, still underage." Other topics covered include android replicas and cloning issues, but all in that entertaining, somewhat humorous vein. Put all this within a proggy, sci-fi oriented mid-tempo ballad musical format, and you wind up with a stand out cut.
Quark Strangeness and Charm
The title track on the album from which it comes, this one is bouncy, fun and classic Hawkwind.
PSI Power (single version)

Another with a sci-fi theme, this one is a dynamic and powerful `70s progish rocker. It chronicles the adventures of someone with psychic abilities. "I can read your mind like a magazine." The chorus is quite catchy. This one features a great prog oriented instrumental break. We find that this power that the narrator has have a dark side. "It's like a radio you can't switch off, There's no way to get piece of mind, I'd like to live in a lead lined room, And leave all the Psi Power behind." "Circle, square, triangle, waves, It's a gift that seems to have gone sour, Why don't they let me get some rest, It's too much to understand, to digest."

High Rise
This is a progish, fairly hard-edged song that is dramatic and powerful.
Shot Down In The Night (single version)
This live version of “Shot Down in the Night” has tons of energy. It’s fun and originally comes from Live Seventy Nine, but I’m guessing since it’s a “single version” it’s edited from that version. This really pounds and drives as it continues.
Motorway Cit

"Motorway City" is a track which is driven primarily by the rhythm section, this one more in a progressive rock sort of vein.

Angels Of Death (single version)
Dark and powerful, this is a very strong Hawkwind number. It has a considerably potent instrumental break.
Heads
This is a driving rocker that has some infectious vocal lines and cool keyboard overlays. The driving rhythm section is a big part of the charm of this.
Right To Decide
With an introduction from Dave Brock, this is a frantic hard edged jam. They move this out through a number of variants and alterations.
Alien I Am (Roswell edit)
This version of the Hawkwind tune skips some of the weirdness that started the take I previously reviewed. They launch out into a hard rocking jam that is classic and so tasty. There is a jam mid-track that has some more spoken vocals later. From there, they turn it out into a mellower keyboard based arrangement for a short time before driving back into the song proper. There is a sped up vocal movement later on here.
Love In Space (studio version)
Starting with keys and space effects, this is a spacey, balladic sort of number. It has some very strong classic Hawk elements and moves into a reggaeish sort of mode after a time.
Strange Encounters
Hard rocking Hawk music fires in to start this off. This is more the kind of hard rocker one expects from the band. It's driving, trademark hard-edged space rock. It's also on fire. This gets into more smoking hot jamming later. This is the newest song here coming from 2021's Somnia album.
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