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Hawkwind: Distant Horizons (remastered)

The 21st album in the Hawkwind discography, 1997's Distant Horizons isn't always looked at too fondly by loyal fans of the band. It's an album that shows the space rock legends in transition, as long time bassist Alan Davey had recently left the group, with vocalist Ron Tree taking over the bass duties, and second guitarist Jerry Richards joining full-time alongside Dave Brock (guitar, keyboards, vocals) and Richard Chadwick (drums). Up to this point, the band has been dabbling quite a bit in trance, techno, and electronica throughout the '90s, and there's quite a bit of that here to go along with some of the more familiar Hawkwind characteristics.

The opening reggae/trance induced title track kicks things off in bizarre fashion, as bubbling synths and odd vocal chants eventually give way to the punk infused hard rock of "Phetamine Street". Tree's shrill vocal delivery and muscular bass lines weave around some crunchy riffing courtesy of Brock & Richards on this enjoyable track. "Waimea Canyon Drive" is a flowing space rock number, with Brock on lead vocals and plenty of tasty guitar licks and extraterrestrial synths, while "Alchemy" offers up plenty of the kick ass space metal of some of the bands excellent '80s albums, complete with crunchy riffs and pounding rhythms. Richards shows his talents here in a big way with some searing lead guitar work. "Clouded Vision" is an interesting, moody rocker with some effective guitar textures but clouded a bit by some muddy production values, something that plagues the entire album actually. You'll get taken back to classic '70s Hawkwind on the raucous "Reptiod Vision", as Tree's huge bass lines bring to mind Lemmy at his crazed best amidst frantic guitar riffs, nimble drum work, and some spacey synths. It's easily one of the best songs here. "Population Overload" is pure trance (you could probably dance to this one), while "Wheels" is a heavy metal riff fest supported by loads of electronica. After the brief but lovely "Kauai" and the avant-garde "Taxi For Max", the album closes with more techno/trance via "Love in Space".

Atomhenge's reissue comes with a few bonus tracks, one of which is the hard rocking "Archaic", another raging punk space metal number (and actually better than a good portion of what wound up on the album), and the chilling mix of space rock & electronica called "Morpheus". As I mentioned earlier, Distant Horizons isn't a great sounding album, but Atomhenge's remaster treatment does sound decent. A cool booklet loaded with photos and info is included, which can always be expected from the Cherry Red family. Overall, Distant Horizons has a few outstanding songs, some filler, and some puzzling material, but, as with most Hawkwind albums, it's a fun listen.

Track Listing
1) Distant Horizons
2) Phetamine Street
3) Waimea Canyon Drive
4) Alchemy
5) Clouded Vision
6) Reptiod Vision
7) Population Overload
8) Wheels
9) Kauai
10) Taxi For Max
11) Love in Space
Previously Unreleased Bonus Tracks
12) Archaic
13) Kauai (alternate take)
14) Morpheus

Added: March 8th 2014
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 1376
Language: english

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