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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 23 January 2009
The Hawklords's "25 Years On" represents a key moment in the history of Hawkwind and as such is a "must have" for keen fans of the band.

The Hawklords were formed in 1978 by Dave Brock joining what remained of Hawkwind after a series of departures from the band with musicians from the west country band Ark, amongst them Harvey Bainbridge.

"25 Years On" was to be their only album before Hawkwind once again took flight but many fans of the band,including me, see this as a Hawkwind album in itself.

My feelings about the album itself are the same as they were when I bought the original LP all those years ago: it's not a bad album, but it's not brilliant. Certainly the music by itself does not justify the 5-stars that fans, including myself, have been allocating (it's a 4-star album). The soundscape is lighter than that of most incarnations of Hawkwind but does have the band's recognisable trademark sound colours. It's nearer the "Amazing Sounds" and "Quark, Strangeness and Charm" soundscapes than it is the hard driving, thunping basss space-rock of Lemmy's period.

The 5-stars are justified on the basis of the joy that the music is available again, that the remastering work has been carried out well and the sound is first-class and, perhaps more importantly, that Esoteric have added huge amounts of historical bonus material, including both live performances and different studio versions of the songs, so much so that what was a fortyish minute LP has now become a 2-CD set!

In terms of the original album itself my favourite tracks haven't changed over the years: he opener "PSI Power" edges it as my absolute favourite, with "Freefall", "25 Years On" and "The Age of the Micro Man" not far behind.

Of the bonus material, the pick goes to the first five tracks of the second disc which are a recording of the band appearing under the name of the Sonic Assassins in 1977.

This is a key purchase for all Hawkwind fans!
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I come to this disc from a slightly different perspective from the reviewers before me,i have never heard this disc before,it kind of slipped by me ,in fact this was the only hawkwind vinyl from the debut thru chronicles live,that i never purchased for some long forgotten reason,so i approach not with adoring love and reverance as the earlier reviewers but with a curious interest,why is it held so high,certainly psi power and 25 years are well known from various compilations and are both superb,indeed the latter encapsulates everything punk tried and failed to communicate thru its short history ,freefall on initial hearing is class as is the only ones with some atmospheric playing - i've said it before if floyd had created some of this it would be legend,but thats it for me the rest leaves me cold,neither bored nor excited just not interesting,for me this a 3 star disc,special mention for the bonus disc,nice to have the live tracks,i can now archive the sonic assassins 12' single now,the demos are ok,but i still give 3 stars,the live tracks for me although decent show why this line up would not survive long,just not exciting enough,certainly no doubt some will be offended as i tread over a hallowed album but my reviews are an honest opinion and i hope they can be respected.
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on 1 March 2009
In recent years the phrase "digital remastering" has all too often become associated with the excessive and egregious use of artificial loudness. Taken to its most extreme, this leads to brickwall compression, where every single soundwave above a certain level is boosted to maximum volume. While there's no doubt that this makes the music stand out against background noise when heard on iPods and the like, it completely destroys the original dynamic range and can cause listener fatigue.

Fortunately I'm happy to report that the Hawklords reissue does not use brickwalling. Although there's undoubtedly a certain amount of bass boost and compression, the overall sound quality brings out the music rather than distorting it.

According to an interview in Record Collector magazine this is the first CD release of the album to be taken directly from the original master tapes. If all of Atomhenge's subsequent Hawkwind releases are as good as this one then (to quote Robert Calvert) the universe is in for a treat.
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on 18 March 2009
For a short while Hawkwind looked like they might make the jump into another league. The key albums were 'Quark Strangeness and Charm' and this one. The difference in direction was startling and well timed. Along with it's extraordinary sleeve and the tour programme the music seemed much more focussed and direct.

The bonkers concept behind this album was so well written that it seemed like a communication from some ruthless global corporation. The tour itself was also something different from the usual Hawkwind offering. Unlike previous shows where we got the band in usual rock formation these gigs were very disciplined performances with dancers wrapped in bandages manipulating large illuminated symbols. At one point the audience was showered with circular stickers with a flaming hand symbol bearing the words 'Reality You Can Rely On'. A classic imaginary strapline perhaps for a commercial trip into the mind of Philip K Dick.

The music too was clean, precise and beautifully written. The production still sounds great today and as a whole the music flows beautifully from track to track. From the wondrous opener 'Psi Power' onwards we get a series of excellent set pieces. 'The Only Ones' still makes my hair stand on end and the fabulous '25 Years' reveals just how good a combination Calvert and Brock could be.

This release will be welcomed by many as both the original album and the 'Hawklords Live' CD have been long deleted. The inclusion of demos from this period make this an essential purchase.

After the final departure of Calvert the Hawks returned to their original style (although with much higher production values). This album represents the pinnacle of that brief phase with Calvert and although many may prefer the stunning 'Quark Strangeness and Charm' this is nevertheless a class album.
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on 22 July 2014
I went to see Hawkwind supported by Motorhead at St George's Hall in Bradford in 1977 but only purchased the Quark Strangeness & Charm LP then and the single; Psi Power / Death Trap. This album and PXR5 I seemed to have overlooked - or weren't widely stocked at the time. Surprising, as I also saw them at the Futurama gig in Leeds in 1979. The original album stands up to the two tracks I knew - and my 14 year-old really rates Psi-Power! The live tracks on disc 2 aren't as focussed, but then again it was one of the first shows they played. Obviously the gig was longer and the tracks selected as they are unreleased/different. Would have been good to hear the whole concert, especially to see what other songs they played (but they may be on one of those Collector Series of CDs) but adding those would have meant losing the other mixes/tracks on CD2 - which are excellent! So this is the Hawkwind that have lost the shackles that the 'great coats' enjoyed and brought them before a new teenage audience, before, somehow baffling, seemed to get lumped in with Heavy Metal - which they've never been. Loads more of their music to explore... The sound is really punchy - miles better than the lame sound on any of the previous releases (the compendium Epoch Release on EMI).
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on 9 April 2013
Listening to this again after a long break from it, I have been blown away. Calvert's surreal, chiselled poetry - the hypnotic drive and variety of Brock's guitar - the surreal humour combined with an ever-present scent of threat and impending madness. In some ways the production is understated. It is certainly not as lush as on many Hawkwind albums but it is very clean and focussed, and when you listen to "25 Years On" you can hear it has huge impact at moments when it is really needed.

I feel a real sense of loss, actually, that this marked the end of Bob Calvert's career with Hawkwind. Who knows what this combination might have gone on to achieve?

It is fantastic that Atomhenge have now re-released this great album in such an attractive package.
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VINE VOICEon 21 January 2009
Part of the first batch of re-releases for Hawkwinds back catalogue dating from 1976 to the early 90's. Having left United Artists after "Warrior on the Edge of Time", Hawkwind went through a sort of renaissance when signed with Charisma who they recorded four studio albums for. This, the forth was recorded under the banner Hawklords as there was a dispute at the time over ownership of the Hawkwind name. The resulting album was still typical Hawkwind though, maybe with less of a space rock bent and more new wave as evidenced by the Barney Bubbles black and white cover art.

Leading the band through the Charisma years was vocalist/lyricist Robert Calvert who was at the peak of his creativity co-writing such great songs such as "Psi Power", "Free Fall" and "The Only Ones".

This re-issue, released on the new label imprint Atomhenge, is a 2CD deluxe edition. There are 3 bonus tracks on the first CD,which includes the original album, with the second CD featuring 5 live tracks recorded by The Sonic Assassins and 10 demo tracks and album outtakes. Everything has been remastered and sounds clean and sharp. The booklet has notes by Mark Powell and a reproduction of the Hawklords tour programme. The whole package is housed in a cardboard slip-case making this a truly deluxe edition.

This is an impressive start to the re-issue of Hawkwinds back catalogue and full marks to the Esoteric Label team for their work in restoring these recordings and producing such a high quality archival release.
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on 14 April 2009
Like everyone else here I bought this when it came out and it's remained a favourite; more consistent than most Hawkwind albums (and it is, despite the name, a proper HW record) and muiscally amd lyrically more deft than usual. The demos in particular are a treat, with the early version of Cold War Kid having disturbing synth or treated guitar comments that didn't make the final cut, and the Only Ones acoustic version showing just how thoroughly and inventively Brock had arranged it even before Simon House added his flying violin to the coda. The key song on the album is 25 Years itself, a pounding, tugging exercise in musical repitition and - from Calvert - anomie and despair. Brock's riff is a work of genius and the song's circle of never-ending ascents and declines is a wonder. It's also now more than eight minutes long - thank you Atomhenge. I've always been mystified why this song isn't more popular in their repertoire. It's interesting as well to note Steve Swindell's input here, as he's much less inventive than House but instead has a straight pop sensibility that nicely offsets Brock's affection for brutal, almost atonal, loops.
If you've not heard this before then it's a great, accesible Hawkwind album, and if you're a fan then the live tracks and demos fully entitle you to buy it all over again.
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on 22 April 2005
this fantastic album, along with quark strangeness and charm (hawkwinds finest album) and astounding sounds, astonishing music remains unavailable on cd. Somebody messed up big time. Dave Brock and Robert Calvert were one of the finest double acts in history and this album is testament to this. Seek this out on vinyl or bootleg cd until the record companies see sense and reissue it...the cabinet key! the cabinet key! the drug cabinet key!!
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on 1 January 2014
These days there's so much imitation Hawkwind around that it can be confusing. My simple rules of thumb are 1) ignore the band politics 2) if there's no Dave Brock there's no Hawkwind 3) It isn't the Hawklords without both Brock and Bob Calvert.
25 Years On is decidedly the real thing: the only studio album the Hawklords ever made and in my opinion it is the second best studio album Hawkwind ever made, after Quark. 25 Years and Psi Power are absolute classics and The Age of the Micro Man is my nomination for most under-rated HW track ever. The first CD of this Atomhenge re-release finishes with the singles from the time of the original release, the highlight being a different version of 25 Years.
The second disc kicks off with the Sonic Assassins tracks from Barnstable in 1977. These have been released ad infinitum over the years and, frankly, aren't all that good.Of more interest are the demos and alternative versions of songs on the main album. These are very much works in progress and show how the final album evolved rather than being stand-outs in their own right as some of the extra tracks on Atomhenge's Quark and PXR5 are. The highlight here is a spirited version of Flying Doctor, and there's a nice acoustic demo of The Only Ones.
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