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Hawkwind - Warrior On The Edge Of Time (Review)
on 19 April 2005
My brothers introduced me to this album within a year or two of its release, when I was about six or seven: seeing it now on CD available on Amazon brings back very fond memories of the original vinyl.
The original album cover - with its gate fold shield on one side and the warrior on horseback poised above a precipitous drop on the other - was second only in distinctiveness to ELP's scary Geiger cover to Brain Salad Surgery.
The music itself also made a big impact - I can still recall the hooks vividly 20 years or so after last hearing the tunes: Kings of Speed sums up hard, simple 70s rock with that classic thick sound. Magnu has the terrific ambience, driving riff, delayed vox, and eastern-tinged electric fiddle melodies that make it so memorable. Spiral Galaxy has that ultra fat synth sound and drive, I would still play it at the right kind of disco. The spoken bits were...weird and met with a certain amount of derision at the time, but added a certain drama to proceedings!
When I was able to buy my own records (in the mid 80s), it was the quality of this album sent me to explore Hawkwind's back catalogue and contemporary releases. I found some interesting material on most of the albums, but the earlier stuff seemed too weird and the later material was prone to inconsistency, so my tastes evolved. On a camping trip with my two brothers quoted a Hawkwind roadie who ventured "Hey man, that was one of the best albums they ever made" - I would more than agree.
The instrumentation and production on this album sounded exquisite played back on the modest record players at our disposal (we were too poor and ignorant to go in for 'hi-fi separates'). I would second (third?) those calling for a remastered version: the Strawbs discs on A&M from the same era have translated extremely well to CD and imho sound every bit as full as my memory of the originals, so a similar quality remastered issue of Warrior would be most welcome.
If you are interested in the heavier side of 70s rock music, and are not prejudiced against electronica, and don't mind the odd bit of leftfield weirdness, then this should make an interesting addition to your collection - highly recommended.