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Hawkwind: The Xenon Codex (remastered)

Originally released in 1988, The Xenon Codex is the 15th studio release from legendary space rock pioneers Hawkwind. At the time, the group had a fairly stable line-up for a few years running, which consisted of founder Dave Brock (guitar, keyboards, vocals), Harvey Bainbridge (keyboards, vocals), Huw Lloyd-Langton (guitar), Alan Davey (bass, vocals), and Danny Thompson Jr. (drums). Following in the footsteps of the very popular The Chronicles of the Black Sword, The Xenon Codex contains many of the same elements that made its predecessor such a great album, but also hinted at some of the more keyboard heavy arrangements that were soon to come on future releases.

Of the harder, space rocking tunes, "The War I Survived", "Neon Skyline", "E.M.C.", and "Mutation Zone" are pretty successful, filled with the trademark Hawkwind familiarities, including some stellar riffs & solos from Brock and Lloyd-Langton, as well as trippy synth effects. However, it's the spacier, dreamy numbers like "Wastelands of Sleep", the lovely "Lost Chronicles", "Tides", and "Sword of the East" that provide the most compelling moments on The Xenon Codex. Each one is steeped in glorious keyboard textures, melodic vocals from Brock, and on "Lost Chronicles" especially, some of the most poignant lead guitar work ever from Lloyd-Langton. As far as the writing goes, this is more of a complete 'band' effort, with most songs either credited to the majority of the group, as well as a few individual writers, but it's less dominated by Brock this time around.

Atomhenge's remaster includes 5 tracks recorded live at the Nottingham in 1988, just shortly after the album was recorded. By this time, Thompson had departed, with Richard Chadwick taking his spot on the drums. Before long, Lloyd-Langton would also be gone, and violinist Simon House would once again return, but that's a story for another day. You get some killer renditions of "Motorway City", "Angels of Death", "Ejection", and one of my personal favorites, the underrated "Dragons and Fables". The sound is superb on this reissue, really letting the stellar synth work shine, and the booklet is jam packed with live photos and info. Another great job from the Cherry Red family.

Track Listing
1) The War I Survived
2) Wastelands of Sleep
3) Neon Skyline
4) Lost Chronicles
5) Tides
6) Heads
7) Mutation Zone
8) E.M.C.
9) Sword of the East
10) Good Evening
Bonus Tracks-recorded at Rock City, Nottingham 12/7/1988
11) Ejection
12) Motorway City
13) Dragons and Fables
14) Heads
15) Angels of Death

Added: February 20th 2014
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2287
Language: english

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