A landmark album of early space rock, the 1975 release from British act Hawkwind, Warrior on the Edge of Time, was their fifth release overall, and last to include bassist & future Motorhead legend Lemmy. Somewhat of a concept album based on the lyrics of fantasy writer Michael Moorcock (he worked with the band quite a bit over the years), there's a lush, psychedelic atmosphere permeating the album that still resonates nearly 40 years after its initial release. Wonderfully remastered from the Cherry Red Records/Atomhenge folks, Warrior on the Edge of Time now sounds better than ever, housed in a lavish digipack with original artwork and a booklet packed with vintage photos and info on the band & album.
The band at that time were Dave Brock (guitar. keyboards, vocals), Nik Turner (sax, flute, vocals), Lemmy (bass, vocals), Simon House (violin, Mellotron, VCS3, keyboards), Simon King (drums), Alan Powell (drums), and Michael Moorcock (spoken word vocals on two tracks). Remembered by many as perhaps the definitive line-up of Hawkwind, the band were obviously firing on all cylinders here, resulting in an album that put it all together; space rock, psychedelia, free-jazz, prog, and hard rock. With many of the lyrics centering on Moorcock's 'Eternal Champion' character, the band takes off and brings this story to life. Ominous Mellotron, spacey synths, and haunting vocals provide the centerpiece for the pulsating "Assault and Battery/The Golden Void", the awesome 10-minute intro to this fascinating album. Moorcock's spoken word narration to "The Wizard Blew His Horn" gives the feeling of a fantasy tinged poetry reading, set to tranquil backing music, before the band lurches into the groove laden instrumental space rocker "Opa-Loka", as thumping bass and synth blips & bleeps take you soaring to the stars. Brock stars on lovely acoustic guitar & pained vocals on "The Demented Man", while the eerie rocker "Magnu" sees Brock & Lemmy firing off some menacing riffs amidst dazzling violin from House, Turner's jazzy sax, and haunting keyboards. This is very typical Hawkwind, as repetitive rhythms and riffs lull you into a psychedelic haze, with sax, violin, and synths zapping left and right through the mix. Intoxicating stuff for sure.
"Standing on the Edge" features effects laden spoken word vocals from Turner (chilling stuff), and "Spiral Galaxy 28948" is top notch space metal, as dark passages of ominous synths, violin, and flute float over busy rhythms. Fantastic futuristic keyboard textures on this one, which remind of a cross between early Pink Floyd and Tangerine Dream. Moorcock comes back for the nightmarish "Warriors", his narration drenched in effects and quite spooky (he could be dropped into a '70s sci-fi/horror film and fit right in), while "Dying Seas" is another space rock oddity featuring Turner's effects soaked vocals slithering through a dense fog of synth washes. The more upbeat "Kings of Speed" follows, a catchy hard rocker led by some thick bass rumbles from Lemmy and Brock's tasty lead guitar work, with House also getting in on the action with some country styled violin flights. For the bonus track, we get the legendary track "Motorhead", which of course spawned Lemmy's famous band that he formed after getting the 'heave-ho' from Hawkwind during the beginning of the tour for this album, a result of getting busted at the US/Canadian border with amphetamines. Driven by his pulsating bass and gravelly vocals, this tune is obviously not nearly as heavy as it would later become, but it's fun nonetheless and made even all the more curious with those soaring House violin solos.
If you are new to Hawkwind, Warrior on the Edge of Time is without a doubt one of the first albums you should check out. Lovingly remastered & reissued by the Cherry Red family, it's a space rock classic that's been given new life.
1) Assault and Battery/The Golden Void
2) The Wizard Blew His Horn
4) The Demented Man
6) Standing at the Edge
7) Spiral Galaxy 28948
9) Dying Seas
10) Kings of Speed
11) Motorhead-bonus track