Hawkwind - Warriors On The Edge Of Time [ Atomhenge/ Cherry Red - 2013]Originally released in May 1975, “Warriors On The Edge Of Time” is seen as not only one of Hawkwinds most balanced & consistent albums, but also a space/ psychedelic rock classic. And it’s easy to see why, as even from the first track, there’s a wonderfully feeling of focus, epic yet approachable composition, and imaginative musical texture layering. The rest of albums original nine tracks follow a similar inspired, head expanding & consistent path; making this one of those rare beast, the perfect album.
This 2013 reissue is a wonder in it’s self, with Atomhenge really going to town on bringing this masterpiece back into print. The albums available in three editions: a single disc standard edition(which I’m reviewing). A three CD disc edition- that takes in eight bonus tracks on the first disc, a new stereo remastering by Steve Wilson on the second disk/ plus another five bonus tracks on disc two, and disc three is a DVD that features a 5.1 surround & stereo mixers of the album. A super deluxe box set that takes in: the three CD/DVD disc edition of the album, a 180g Vinyl LP facsimile edition of the album with ‘shield’ gate fold sleeve & inner bag (cut from the original analogue cutting master tapes), a deluxe 48 page book, Reproduction of the amercian in-store promotion poster, a Replica concert ticket from Detroit 1975, and three promotional postcards.
The album was recorded in March 1975, with a line-up of: Dave Brock- guitar, keyboards, & bass. Nik Turner- Saxophone, Flute, & Vocals. Lemmy(Ian Kilmister)- bass & vocals. Simon House- violin, Mellotron, VCS3 & keyboards. Simon King – drums & percussions. Alan Powell – drums & percussion. And sci-fi writer Michael Moorcock(who also influenced the albums concept)- vocals on two of the albums tracks. This line-up only lasted for this album, as Lemmy departed shortly after it was finished, and past vocalist Robert Calvert returned for the next album.
The album 11 tracks mainly focus on a mixture of bonding & epic space rock, which is laced with soaring layers of keyboards & synths, moody flute & saxophone trails, and the odd hint of heady violin playing. Yet there are the odd more moody & atmospheric moments too that go from: mixes of spoken( reverb heavy) word & experimental atmosphere heavy backings, onto acoustic guitar strumming & seagull field recording weaved moodiness. Every one of the 11 tracks is built & cut for ultimate effect, been both heady, offten bounding & moodily psychedelic. There are none of the aimless & shapeless space noodlings here that some of the bands other albums are guilty of, and each track is both memorable, well built & conceived as stand alone tracks, but also parts of the albums larger concept.
The single disc edition I’m reviewing, is really the bare bones edition of the three, but even so it’s very nicely put together & conceived reissue. The album has been remastered from the original stereo tapes, and features just one extra track in the shape of “Motorhead” which was a B side track, that also gave Lemmy the name for his next project. The CD comes in a colourful single flap digtipak sleeve that takes in the albums original outer & inner sleeve artwork. Also included is a wonderfully put together & informative 16 page booklet, which features a very detailed 9 page write-up from respected rock journalist Malcolm Dome about the albums concept, it’s recording & it’s place in Hawkwinds history. Plus there's a selection of (mostly) colour live pictures, poster art, etc.
So to sum this is a seriously classy & well put together reissue of this true classic album- really if you have any interest in space or psychedelic rock this is a must have item!Roger Batty