Originally released in 1982, Church of Hawkwind was the twelfth studio album from the space rock masters, and featured the line-up of Dave Brock (guitars, keyboards, bass, vocals), Huw Lloyd-Langton (guitar, vocals), Harvey Bainbridge (bass, keyboards, vocals), and Martin Griffin (drums), with some help from Marc Sperhawk,
Capt Al Bodi, Alan Davey, Richard Chadwick, and Kris Tait (Madam X) to flesh out some of the songs. Considered by some to be somewhat of a Brock solo album, Church of Hawkwind is a much more electronic album than we've seen from the band previously, as Brock was highly inspired by the works of acts like Tangerine Dream at the time, and it really shows. Less of the heavy space rock and more of a synth & sequencer dominated album, Church of Hawkwind is no less a marvel of sonic indulgence for the band.
If you really love prog & space rock that is highly dominated by synthesizers, this is the Hawkwind album for you. Many of the tracks here are short instrumental excursions into deep dark synth dominated space, with some of the more band focused songs like "Nuclear Drive", "Star Cannibal", "Looking in the Future", and "Light Specific Data" offering up traditional Hawkwind fare, complete with big riffs and Lloyd-Langton's sizzling lead guitar. Audio from classic news stock footage is interspersed from time to time, only adding to the eerie feeling of many of the shorter numbers. I really can't say enough about the synthesizer work created by Brock & Bainbridge here; it's not that this is virtuoso material, but the layers of sound are just so futuristic and ominous that it's hard not to be completely impressed by the effectiveness of what is on display. You can just close your eyes and let the waves of sound take you into another world...it's that incredible.
Atomhenge's remaster just crackles with clarity and deep, gut wrenching power. Every instrument is crystal clear and bright in the mix, making for a thoroughly engaging listening experience. A host of bonus tracks are available as well, including an ominous extended version of "Angel Voices" (which could easily be part of a soundtrack to a nightmarish science fiction film) and an equally chilling "Harvey's Sequence", complete with some of the most haunting synth & sequencer waves you will ever hear. Great to hear the demo of the driving space rock piece "Water Music (Light Specific Data)", which has some searing lead guitar work to go along with all the pounding drums and buzzing synths. A great booklet filled with info, photos, artwork, and lyrics rounds out this impressive package from the Cherry Red family.
Side 1: Space
"Angel Voices" 1:21
"Nuclear Drive" 3:39
"Star Cannibal" 5:31
"The Phenomenon of Luminosity" 2:40
"Fall of Earth City" 3:24
"The Church" 1:32
Side 2: Fate
"Joker at the Gate" 1:51
"Some People Never Die" 3:52
"Light Specific Data" 3:48
"Experiment With Destiny" 2:31
"The Last Messiah" 1:27
"Looking in the Future" 4:03
Previously unreleased bonus tracks
"Angel Voices" [Extended Version]
"Fall of Earth City" [Alternate Version]
"Water Music (Light Specific Data)" (demo)
"Looking in the Future/Virgin of the World"