After a string of rather electronic, experimental albums Hawkwind did in the early 1980s like Sonic Attack (1981), Church of Hawkwind (1982) and Choose Your Masque (1982), they decided to do a more straightforward approach for this 1985 album, The Chronicle of the Black Sword. They witnessed another lineup change. Dave Brock is here, as always. New members at that time included bassist Alan Davey and drummer Danny Thompson. As I just found out, Danny Thompson is none other than the son of the bassist for the folk band The Pentangle, who happened to also be named Danny Thompson. Nice to see father and son both get in to music even if they went totally different musical paths. The rest of Hawkwind in '85 consisted of Harvery Bainbridge who by this time ditched the bass altogether and stuck entirely to synths, and second guitarist Huw-Lloyd Langton. It's easy to see how some people might be a little disappointed with this album. They aren't trying to blow your mind with all sorts of electronic effects on this album, they more or less stick to music here. There are a couple of electronic pieces like "The Pulsing Cavern" in between regular songs like "The Sea King" or "Needle Gun". Although this came out in 1985 when just about every band out there that played with synths replaced their old analog synths with new digital synths, like the Yamaha DX-7, I was rather surprised to hear all analog synths on this album (although the band would quickly hop on the digital bandwagon after this like on The Xenon Codex, Space Bandits, and Palace Springs). Perhaps even more surprising was Hawkwind was one of the earliest bands to record digitally, their 1980 album Levitation was recorded digitally even though the synths used on that album was analog (of course, since digital synths did not exist in '80). Of all songs on Chronicle of the Black Sword, the only one I really didn't care for all that much is "Needle Gun". Aside from that, I really don't think this album is anything Hawkwind should be ashamed of, it's not their best album, but it's definately worth having if you're a fan. It's truly a lot better than many of those disasters of theirs released on small labels, which were usually unofficial releases, poorly recorded live albums, poorly arranged compilations, bootlegs, etc. If you're new to Hawkwind, Chronicle of the Black Sword might not be the best place to start with, try one of their 1970s efforts like Doremi Fasol Latido or Hall of the Mountain Grill first.