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The Xenon Codex

Review by Gary Hill

I’ve seen some less than stellar reviews of this disc, but for my money it’s a great album and well in the upper percentile of Hawkwind releases. It’s got both a modern and classic Hawkwind sound – or at least a great middle ground between them. It similarly does a nice balancing of harder rocking and more melodic music. A couple of notes should be brought up on the track by track, though. For one thing I reviewed the first song in my track by track of Epoch Eclipse. For the sake of consistency I’ve modified that review to use here. Secondly, there are ten songs listed on the cover and even on the label to my CD – yet there are only nine tracks on the disc. I’ve always thought that either “Heads” doesn’t exist or it’s merged with “Mutation Zone” here. I’ve listed it as a combination of the two track titles for reference.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 5 at
Track by Track Review
The War I Survived
Starting with ticking clocks, keyboards join in and song eventually becomes a fast paced rocker that really pleases. This tune is a favorite of this reviewer. It drops into a nice keyboard dominated break for a time, then builds and screams out from there. This song features some exceptionally tasty guitar work.
Wastelands of Sleep
More ambient in nature, this is just plain cool. There are some vocals early, but most of this is instrumental and there’s some great guitar soloing that reminds me of birds.
Neon Skyline
Keys and percussion start this off and they launch out into a killer rocking groove. Around the two minute mark this drops way down and we get an incredibly pretty keyboard dominated instrumental motif – with lots of piano. This reminds me a bit of the Hall of the Mountain Grill era of the band. That section holds the cut for a couple minutes, but they eventually fire out into a reprise of the song proper. 
Lost Chronicles
This instrumental reminds me a lot of the song that would later appear on Space Bandits called “Wings.” It’s gentle, keyboard oriented and very pretty. 
A harder rocking number, this is strong. It’s very much classic Hawkwind and has both a killer rock mode and some great space elements. 
Heads / Mutation Zone
Percussion and spoken processed vocals and all kinds of effects and bits of music make up this track. It includes the line “Mutation Zone” as the chorus of the track. It’s a little weird, but also very cool.
Sound effects and keyboards and all kinds of things make up this rather ambient – yet driving in terms of percussion – track. It feels like an extension of the previous number in many ways but also incorporates some elements from other parts of the disc.
Sword of the East
I’ve always loved this piece of music. It’s hard rocking and dramatic and yet it manages to drop back for some mellow music, too. It’s one of my favorite Hawkwind songs.
Good Evening
A radio tuner being scanned followed by a phone ringing starts this off. Then someone answers the phone saying, “Good Evening”. The band launch out into a raw rocker with the lyrics “Mom and Daddy said to me / Mom and Daddy said to me / Get a job / Get a job”. They move into some different territory for a short time until a false ending gives us a new jam. There’s lot of strangeness (but entertaining strangeness) over the top of a killer instrumental jam.
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