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Progressive Rock CD Reviews


Angels of Death (vinyl)

Review by Gary Hill

Little by little, I've been making my way through these Hawkind compilation albums getting reviews up. I think that chronologically this is the next one. It captures an interesting period of the band's history (then again, what part of their history isn't interesting?). This collects songs from three albums, "Choose Your Masques," "Church of Hawkwind" and "Sonic Attack." Since I've reviewed all the songs here on their respective albums, the track reviews here are taken or modified from those other reviews for the sake of consistency.

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Track by Track Review
Side 1
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. Although it comes from Church of Hawkwind, it reminds me of something from Choose Your Masques.
Rocky Paths
This is a killer hard-edged Hawkwind jam. It’s not a huge departure from the rest of their material of the time, but it’s definitely a strong tune and has some scorching guitar soloing and tasty keyboard sounds. There’s also a cool fast paced bass-driven jam later that’s full of drama and power.
Solitary Mind Games
Based on chimey guitar harmonics, this is a strong space rock ballad. It has some wonderful textures to it, and the majority of that comes from the understated nature of the piece. They really got it right here by not overdoing it .
Living on a Knife Edge
This rises up with a classic hard rock jam, and it seems like the band have been playing for some time and we’ve just walked into the room to hear it. The chorus on this is catchy, and the track might be stereotypical of that era of the band, but it just plain works. They throw a couple changes our way before they bring this to a halt. It fades out much as it faded in to start.
Fahrenheit 451
This one is more high energy, and while I like the vocal delivery on the verses, it is really one of the weak points on the album from which it originally comes.
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.
Side 2
Choose Your Masques

A bouncy heavy texture makes up the bulk of this one. In typical Hawkwind tradition it doesn't really go anywhere (this band can take the simplest progression and through clever usage of overlayers turn it into something incredible), but there is some very tasty guitar work here, and this one is quite easy to sing along with.

The 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.
Waiting for Tomorrow
One of my all time favorite Hawkwind songs, this one has it all, killer spacey yet doom oriented lyrics, a bouncy crunchy main riff structure and Huw Lloyd Langton laying down meaty guitar work all over this. What more could you ask for?
The Last Messiah
A keyboard oriented instrumental there are sounds of a woman crying as the only “vocals” here.
Arrival in Utopia
This fast paced space rock jam is a killer. It features a lot of awesome jamming. This ramps up in intensity after a time.
Virgin of the World
The music that makes up the backdrop for this number is dramatic and pretty, but yet rather creepy. The poetic lyrical recitation is in much the same vein. It’s got a processed texture and feels decidedly non-human. Of course, since the most prominent line is “we are the un-dead” that’s appropriate. This is taken into some seriously strange musical textures after the voice goes away.
Angels of Death
Dark and powerful, this is a very strong Hawkwind number. It has a considerably potent instrumental break.
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