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Hawkwind: The Machine Stops

The Machine Stops is the 26th studio album from legendary UK space rock collective Hawkwind...yes, you read that right, 26 albums, and that doesn't count the numerous live sets and other various collections & compilations. These guys have been very prolific since their inception in the early '70s, and they show no signs of slowing down. This latest release is a concept album, with a storyline based on the E.M. Forster sci-fi novel of the same name that involves "an atmospheric, musical interpretation beginning in tunnels deep beneath the earth, where every need is controlled and catered for by the machine. The struggle to escape and find a way to reach the outer surface is a utopian dream, which could prove to be the most deadly dream of all. Forster's visionary masterpiece provides a chilling warning of the dangers of isolation, reliance on computer technology and the effects upon society. "

The 2016 line-up of the band features founding member Davie Brock (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Richard Chadwick (drums), Mr Dibs (vocals, bass), Niall Hone (synths, bass), Dead Fred (keyboards), and new guy Haz Wheaton (bass). The Machine Stops is the first Hawkwind album in many years to not feature contributions from Tim Blake, who left the band recently to give all of his attention to his Crystal Machine project. The band however have not missed a beat, as The Machine Stops will take many fans back to some of their classic space rock concept albums of the '70s and '80s. Their mix of psychedelia, electronica, prog, and metal (otherwise known as space rock) is ever present throughout, with short musical bits drenched in synths and spoken word vocals spliced in between the more adventurous, chilling, and futuristic sounding main tracks. Hawkwind have always been great at throwing in some uptempo, rocking songs amid the more exploratory pieces, and they've once again done a great job at that here, with "Synchronised Blue" hitting hard and sandwiched between the floating synths & hazy vocals of "Thursday" and the trance inducing "Hexagone". Brock's yearning, effects drenched vocals will take many listeners back to classic albums such as Hall of the Mountain Grill, Warrior on the Edge of Time, and The Chronicles of the Black Sword, and he's in fine form on standout cuts "Living on Earth", "King of the World", "Lost in Science", "All Hail the Machine", and the throbbing "A Solitary Man". Synthesizers and keyboards are liberal throughout, providing a vintage as well as modern feel, with Brock's solid guitar riffs and lead solos adding the metallic thump. Some of the instrumental explorations here are absolutely breathtaking, with grandiose synth soundscapes just dazzling in classic Hawkwind fashion, but never sounding the least bit recycled.

In short, The Machine Stops is easily one of the strongest Hawkwind releases in a very long time, a concept album that ranks up there with some of their best and sure to be a future classic in their discography. Highly recommended!

See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!

Track Listing
1. All Hail the Machine
2. The Machine
3. Katie
4. King of the World
5. In My Room
6. Thursday
7. Synchronised Blue
8. Hexagone
9. Living on Earth
10. The Harmonic Hall
11. Yum Yum
12. A Solitary Man
13. Tube
14. Lost in Science

Added: September 12th 2016
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 2944
Language: english

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Hawkwind: The Machine Stops
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2016-09-12 10:30:42
My Score:

One of the best things about reviewing music is learning about exciting new bands and the amazing wealth of talent that is out there. It is also refreshing to hear the music veterans every once in a while as well. Hawkwind have been pioneers of space and psychedelic rock since the late '60s. They had an incredible run of strong albums in the '70s even though they had a fair share lineup changes. Well, the band is back with the release of The Machine Stops a few months ago. The one constant in the band has been cofounder Dave Brock (guitars, synthesizers, vocals) who is joined by Mr. Dibs (bass, vocals), Richard Chadwick (drums, percussion, vocals), Niall Hone (guitar, bass, keyboards), Haz Wheaton (bass) and Dead Fred (all instruments and vocals on track 8).

The Machine Stops has Hawkwind getting its second wind so to speak as the music is vibrant and energetic. The infectious punk rock attitude on the incredibly catchy "Synchronized Blue" and the heavy fast moving riffs of "The Machine" are certainly highlights. "In My Room" is another catchy tune, this time with an unsettling moodiness while the surreal "Hexagone" is quite gentle with moody atmospherics and swirling synths. The dreamy vocals fit the mood perfectly.

I have to say Hawkwind has really impressed me here. The Machine Stops will make an excellent addition to your collection and is certainly worthy of the Hawkwind name.

Released on Cherry Red Records.

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