on 29 September 2000
I think that it was Muzic magazine that had a top 100 influential bands type thing on modern dance music and hawkwind got in there somewhere. Listening to this album its really not surprising.
This is very much a love/hate recording to Hawkwind fans. It consists of a number of Demo's that Hawkwind leader Dave Brock had got together that some or all of the rest of the band played on (Huw Lloyd Langton, Harvey Bainbridge, Martin Griffin). So its really an electronic album with some occassional guitar, drums, bass etc rather than a rock album.
I think the album creates an aura of its own, again unlike any other Hawkwind album. There are some excellent real sound clips of sightings of luminous objects and the assassinations of Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald and some very strange synth/keyboard sound effects.
There's some very weird stuff on this but see if you can get a listen first before buying because it is very much a love / hate affair.
on 29 July 2007
... with a little charm (and quark) as well.
T A Vidamour's review of the music to be found inside the church is a fair indication of what to expect. If you're a Hawkwind fan then this is the early eighties line-up having fun with electronics. If you're new to the Hawks then I'd say stay away: go listen to "Levitation" or "Black Sword" instead. This album is enough to push some people over the edge. Come back later when you've served your apprenticeship...
With regard to the CD re-issue though, why have they mucked about with the track order? Adding bonus tracks to the end of a CD is all well and good, but when they get plonked in the middle of one of your all-time favourite albums - screwing up the running order (and therefore the musical flow) of the original piece - teeth start to grind. The fact that somebody has had to fade out the end of "Some People..." to make room for the Dave Brock solo track "Damage of Life" simply beggars belief. We then have to wait another 4 tracks before it fades back in again to continue with "Light Specific Data" (which is mis-named here). Of course, this is quickly remedied with the push of a few buttons on your player, but it does make me wonder what the hell they're up to in the office.
Gawd - listen to me moaning like an old git. I can remember when all this was fields!
on 11 August 2015
This has always been one of my favorite Hawkwind albums. I already have it on CD, but the earlier CD has some extra tracks mixed into the original tracklist, and although they were good, were not part of the original running order, and so detracted from the concept.
This album restores the original running order, and so, to my mind, adds to the experience.
The bonus tracks are all of good quality mastering, and, strangely, if played separately, give a different interpretation of the concept: The first 3 (Angel Voices (Extended Version, Harvey's Sequence, and Fall of Earth City (Alternative Version)) segue into each other and seem to make a completely new story. I have played them many times since the CD arrived, and I'm fascinated.
The remastering itself (on all of the tracks) gives a clearer soundscape than the previous CD, without following the current trend of adding huge amounts of extra bass, so is mostly good. On Angel Voices however, to me, the clarity is too much, as the voices, partly hidden behind curtains of electronic sound, were part of the idea, and added to the effect. Now you can hear them all quite clearly.
Anyway 5 stars: it's a great album, well remastered, with effective bonus tracks which add to the concept, and are not just filler.
on 26 April 2010
Some reviewers seem to have reviewed this prior to release so whether or not we agree with them they have only heard the original album. Thought I'd better wait for the whole album.
It sounds like a Dave Brock solo album with the rest of the band contributing various stuff to finish it off. I'm very fond of Mr Brock's early 1980s solo synth and guitar fiddling as exemplified on the Weird 7 album. It's perhaps a precursor to where Hawkwind went once they got out of the 1981-1985 malaise and certainly beats Sonic Attack by some distance, the album they had originally planned to record but did this instead (I think someone was ill at the time).
So we get synth and guitar workouts such as Nuclear Drive, Star Cannibal, Fall of Earth City, Light Specific Data and Looking in the Future (which was on the Weird 7 album). We get synth pieces such as Phenomenon of Luminosity, Joker at the Gate and The Last Messiah. I must admit this all sounds much better than I remember. Lyrics are bit weak in places but not so much as some other tracks of this period.
For the bonus tracks we get an extend version Angel Voices. It's the most pointless track on the album so extending adds nothing, Harveys Sequence which is a nicely atmospheric synth piece, Fall of Earth (alternative version) might be the better version, Water Music (Light Specific data) which is a messier version and a similar version of Looking in the Future which morphs via a synth section into an alternative version of the excellent Virgin of the World, one of the highlights of Sonic Attack.
Overall rather splendid stuff, though not classic stuff, and besides Choose Your Masques perhaps the best Hawkwind album of the time.
on 9 July 2006
The musicians on this unforgetable masterpiece are very great men indeed, and their footprints in the sands of time will remain forever significant. The length of time I've spent searching for this monumental piece of talent has been nothing short of phenomenal, but now the gem is in my possesion and that's where it shall remain until my dying day.
<br />I'm quite sure though, that if this was played to me in the morgue, I wouldn't have any trouble rising from the dead to repeat this review a hundred times more. It's definitely the best album of 1982, and probably the 'Hawk's' most keyboard riddled one of the era. After all, it was the age of synths for a lot of new bands back then, so these Godfathers decided to unintentionally show them how such skills are mastered to perfection.
<br />There were also two other tracks about the demise of Kennedy: 'Dallas 1pm' by 'Saxon' from 1980 and 'Seconds' by 'The Human League' from 1981. But 'Some people never die' from 'The Church' is still the most intriguing and mesmerizing by far; it even has some original news-reel footage from the fateful day in question. 'The fall of earth city' seems as though Dave Brock wrote a load of nonsense when he was off his face again, but it's still an interesting piece of literature to say the least - his words always make one frown with sheer bewilderment. The haunting 'Last Messiah' boasts swirling and pulsating keyboards. However, the track is given an even more sinister touch by the sobbing of Madam X throughout.
<br />'Star cannibal' for me is the highlight of this milestone in musical genius...such simple, but also impressionable lyrics.
<br />I won't bore you on any more track descriptions, instead I'll leave YOU the lucky purchaser to decide!! Released between December 1981 and February 1982...it's one of their finest, believe me. Huw Lloyd Langton is the axeman yet again. Although his style is slightly more techinical on here compared to the 'Hawk's' previous album from a few months earlier: 'Sonic Attack'
<br />Remember one thing...don't look for the Joker, because it may be too late!!
on 18 September 2010
Hardly a classic at the time of its original release - and just as ordinary now, even with a few added tracks. It's all little bits and pieces, and bulk of the credit is handed over to some character calling himself Doctor Technical - probably just Dave Brock inhabiting someone else's identity for tax reasons. Definitely has the feel that it was pieced together from stuff swept up from the cutting room floor. Nuclear Drive stands out as insanely brilliant amidst this heap of debris. Nice to have it in the collection as this particular album has always been hard to get in CD, but everybody please stop calling these old Hawkwind albums "classics" every time they get dusted off and re-released.
on 28 April 2010
With regards to a previous review claiming it's a dud, I couldn't disagree more. I've got a fairly extensive hawkwind collection, with the help of those great people at Atomhenge I'm filling one or two of the gaps. Didn't own Church of Hawkwind and had never heard it until it arrived yesterday. I have to say I wasn't particularly impressed with Sonic Attack - the previous offering - so wasn't expecting too much from this album, However I was more than pleasantly surprised. It would appear that during Martin Griffins illness during recording that the great Harvey Bainbridge seized the opportunity to influence the direction of the album with regards to some of the effects and use of synthesizers. I love it and if you haven't got - get it!!
on 6 July 2015
Whilst a 3 star rating for this album may seem harsh, it's rated according to Hawkwind standards and we all know Hawkwind garbage is still superior to other bands gold!
I hadn't heard this for a while and only have now as I finally got around to acquiring the cd reissue, what I'm trying to say is that I find this a bit of a forgettable Hawkwind album. It really does sound like Dave Brock was pressured into delivering an album and being short of material went into the studio with a bunch of rough demos and bathed them in the electronics and synth effects that he was becoming rather accomplished at producing. There really isn't much to latch on to and many 'tracks' are around a short 3 minute mark. The 2 standout tracks that hint at what the album could have been are Nuclear drive and Looking in the Future, these 2 tracks almost bookend the album and tend to get picked for compilations of this era of the band. The bonus bits and bobs tacked on at the end do little to make this more desirable in my eyes which is a shame as Atomhenge reissues usually find something to tempt you to part with your cash and rebuy an album you already own! There are definitely better Hawkwind albums out there but if you are interested in this era when the techno-rock sound was being developed, go for Sonic Attack or Choose Your Masques instead.
on 14 February 2009
I'm an old git, so I bought this on vinyl when it came out. This is the most amazing synth space rock album. Yet it seems almost unheard of. Maybe because its only just been reissued on cd ? I don't know if it came out on cd at the time. The earlier Levitation and QS&C are good, but these are a warm up for "The Church".
on 23 April 2010
Atomhenge's excellent series of Hawkwind and Hawkwind-related releases continues with this remastered, expanded version of 1982's "Church of Hawkwind". The band for this album comprised Dave Brock (guitar, keyboards, vocals), Harvey Bainbridge (bass, keyboards, synthesizer, vocals), Huw Lloyd-Langton (lead guitar on about half of the tracks only) and Martin Griffin (drums, again on about half of the tracks).
The album was released during a turbulent time for the band, and it is perhaps doesn't rank amongst Hawkwind's best albums, but its mix of rockers, synthesizer-driven numbers, sung and spoken vocals is nevertheless typical of the band, although more weighted towards the synthesizer end of things than previous works, and is extremely pleasant when measured against many other bands' output. The slightly whacky "Some People Never Die", very theatrical and tension-building, is the highlight of the album for me.
The sound on this remastered version is first class, as are the essay and artwork in the excellent CD booklet produced by Atomhenge. All five bonus tracks are interesting too, making this package a must for all Hawkwind collectors, as well as for any fans who might have missed the album the first time round.