Hawkwind – Warrior On The Edge Of Time: Album Review

Classic mid-Seventies Hawkwind gets a Steven Wilson remix on vinyl.

Release Date: 16th June 2023

Label: Atomhenge / Cherry Red Records

Format: vinyl LP

Wilson’s been at it again. The Devil clearly making work for idle hands – only wish he’d do Going For The One… Meanwhile, those Space Rock warriors from the edge of time now get his attention again on a new vinyl presentation of their 1975 album. Available in the recent past on a nice 3-disc set that included a 5.1 surround and new stereo mix, the new LP pressing is the first time the Wilson mix has appeared on vinyl and also remains faithful to the original with the packaging reproducing the original fold out ‘shield’ design and running to the saturated deep red inner bag. It also has the ‘From the original master tapes – Abbey Road cut’ trademark of quality. All in all, it feels an indulgence to unwrap a lovely, hermetically sealed, cryogenically preserved aretfact. A proper job and the sort of reissue that even has those whose ‘my original copy sits on the shelf, why do I need another one?’ sit up and take note.

Suitably revved up, we head down the corridor of time to 1975 to hook up again with line up that alongside the stalwart Dave Brock combines Nik Turner, Simon House, Simon King, Allan Powel and Lemmy – for some, possibly the best Hawkwind lineup (now, there’s a thought…); all busy creating an album that many if not most Hawkwind aficionados rank reasonably, if not particularly, high. One that the folks at Loudersound even called “the pinnacle.” Even Dave Brock has been quoted as to the period being a peak, although Lemmy contrarily called the record “a fuck up from start to finish.

With Longfellow and Shelley tapped for some inspiration, Sci-Fi/fantasy author and collaborator Michael Moorcock also makes a grand appearance on a couple of tracks while being a major lyrical contributor. A couple of his dramatic monologues punctuate proceedings – The Wizard Blew His Horn and Warriors are given some tootling background noise while he intones away – while Nik Turner does likewise with a stuttering-laden effect on Standing At The Edge. Old habits die hard though – how many are with me with the original thought from the era, that some Daleks might have had their arms twisted to show up for a guest vocal?

Forty-something years on, classic material abounds, with the opening wash that evolves into Assault And Battery / The Golden Void, retained in the live set to this day. We don’t need another detailed track-by-track analysis of an album that’s been lived with, read, learned, marked and inwardly digested for decades. Naturally, a clutch of full-on Space Rock belters provide the stock in trade – personal pick on rebooting the album on the old turntable, being the fantastically intense Magnu, where the electronic sounds coaxed to accompany the relentless riffage casts an eastern glow – “swift as the arrow from the bow, come to me so that no-one can know” is a seductive spell. Perfect Hawkwind fare. Factor in the pounding Neu-isms of Opa-Loka, Dying Sea and the missing link that’s just one reason behind Hawkwind being embraced by all from Rock And Roll, Punk to Psychedelic Space Rock, Kings Of Speed and the standing of the album is confirmed.

In between, the chilled-out pastoral wash and picking on The Demented Man is embellished with sound effects that invoke a coastal/seagull vision, plus a retro-sounding Spiral Galaxy 28948. The latter could be straight from a mind-altering episode of The Prisoner or the sort of sound used to break Michael Caine’s Harry Palmer in The Ipcress File.

A classic album rebooted in an authentic release. Cherry Red has continued to serve Hawkwind well, bestowing them with the reverence they deserve. Although…in this case, the effect may be more of an exciting amuse-bouche to the imminent mammoth reissue of Space Ritual, the legendary live album from 1973, that Cherry Red has planned for September – watch this space.

Here’s a taste of Warriors….:

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