Hawkwind
Onward


4.5
superb

Review

by Matthew Hopkins USER (44 Reviews)
December 18th, 2013 | 41 replies | 852 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Onward and upward.

3 of 3 thought this review was well written

Hawkwind – A trip through space, Part XVII – Warp Speed


When 2010 hit, Hawkwind seemed to move into warp speed when it came to releasing new material. 2010 brought Blood of the Earth, and 2012 brought their new album Onward. Whereas Blood was focused more on the rock side of Hawkwind, interlaced with a few excellent space style tracks, Onward is a completely different silver machine. It is not 88 minutes of brain damage, it is 81 minutes of pure bliss.


On this album, Hawkwind are:

Dave Brock – guitar, synthesizer, vocals, bass
Richard Chadwick – drums, vocals
Tim Blake – keyboards, theremin, bass
Mr. Dibs – bass, vocals
Niall Hone – bass, synthesis, sequencing, guitar
Jason Stuart – keyboards
Huw Lloyd-Langton – guitar


This line-up is exactly the same as the one from Blood of the Earth, and this version of Hawkwind work very well together, Huw Lloyd-Langton provides what would be his final Hawkwind appearance due to his tragic loss to cancer in December 2012. This means that this version of Hawkwind has had time to pull itself together, allowing each of the members to work with perfect interlocking skill.

One of the first things you notice about Onward is its length. It is a very long album, the longest LP that Hawkwind have ever attempted. But whereas in their youth, Hawkwind couldn't keep it up passed round five, now they seem to have all the stamina in the world. They are the George Foreman of music apparently as they have created an album which is good from start to finish. But this is years of experience melted down into a concentrated form. Something they manage to pull off very well.

Onward is very spacey, and is the epitome of that tried and tested Hawkwind style. You have layer upon layer of musical genius moulded together with painstaking efficiency. Keyboards from Blake who also uses the theremin, an interesting device which plays what can only be described as in tune radio static, go together perfectly with the heavy rock riffs of Hone and Brock, who make an excellent team not see since Langton and Brock in the 1980s.

Onward certainly lives up to its name, darting in-between a total of 18 tracks. Starting with the energetic opener 'Seasons' which combines a daring mix of synthesised vocal work, guitars and keyboard work. Mr. Dibs steps up to the microphone with brilliant skill. But 'Seasons' is just the start of the masterpiece that is Onward. There is something here for every Hawkwind fan. 'The Hills have Ears' contains some excellent eastern style musical parts. This brings back memories of 1977's 'Hassan I Sahba' which contained very similar sounding musical parts.

Onward is so long, that there is more to be said about it than can be written. But this truly is Hawkwind firing on all cylinders. They have finally found a line-up that works, and the whole band have never sounded this good. Hone and Chadwick work together perfectly, creating a tight team for everyone else to work from. This is Dave Brock's perfect example of Hawkwind. A simple rock band, with brilliant and expansive musical sound to keep it warm. When the old man comes to the front with his aged voice bringing a whole new level to the music, you see the reason why Hawkwind have survived this long. They are one man's dream, kept together by an excellent team of people who can do no wrong.

The only downside for this album might be its length. It is a very long album and if you are not used to it then it might appear somewhat as a shock. But Hawkwind are able to use this length to their advantage as they can cover a vast amount of musical styles, each some seemingly brought from different sections of their career.

The band may be old, it may be the type of music that your father listened too, but unlike many bands from that era this band are not spent yet. Onward happens to be one of the best Hawkwind albums ever, possibly let down but it's very length. This is not an album for people who do not appreciate the epic half of Hawkwind. It is a beautiful album from a band that have given so much over the years. From here, the only direction that Hawkwind appear to be heading is in fact onward.



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user ratings (14)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
tarkus (4)
They've still got it...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Hoppoman
December 18th 2013



633 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yay my Hawkwind reviews are finished For now anyway.

Mad.
December 18th 2013



3581 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Major congrats man! Reviewing a discog doesn't get much harder than Hawkwind.
Review was good but possibly a little bit hyperbolic, though I agree this album kicks arse.

A few things I picked up for ya:
Typo: "being album to fight all night despite their advanced age"
Punctuation is slightly weird here: "not a single part of this album which is bad or not required, everything about it is brilliant"
Typos: "possible let down but it's very length"

Digging: Dwellers - Pagan Fruit

Hoppoman
December 18th 2013



633 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks for that, I changed the parts and made it flow a little better.

It might seem that way, but I've been writing it inbetween four law essays, so I needed a break from serious writing.

Mad.
December 18th 2013



3581 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ouch man, and I can't even write more than 10 reviews in a year when all I'm doing is A levels! I'm impressed.

The first 3 songs on this are absolutely brilliant, especially Mind Cut which is easily the best track. I also really enjoy Southern Cross, The Drive-By and Green-Finned Demon.
Bonus tracks aren't great though, I ignore them in my rating

Hoppoman
December 18th 2013



633 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Same, I tend to ignore them as they often subtract from the album anyway. I find this is because they were not good enough to make the first cut. Of course this is no excuse for the Jimi Hendrix Experience making Purple Haze a bonus track.

There is still one Hawkwind album left, the apparently forgotten Stellar Variations however. I hope to get it done by the end of the year, but that may be pushing it.

Favourite tracks on the album? Seasons and Southern Cross tend to take the biscuit, when they played on the Warrior on the Edge of time tour, Seasons was the only song off this album too be played, was friggin wicked.

hogan900
Contributing Reviewer
December 18th 2013



1489 Comments


Congrats on the disgography dude, thats honestly insane. This was pretty good too! Nice job man.

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
December 18th 2013



1840 Comments


Nice review, and I love this album. Need to listen again to decide on a rating but I seem to remember nothing but great things. Hawkwind are back to what they do best.



Digging: Black Anvil - Hail Death

Hoppoman
December 18th 2013



633 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It was only 27 albums, it's not like I'm trying to do all of Buckethead's work :P

Mad.
December 18th 2013



3581 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Haha I had no idea Purple Haze was a bonus track, a bit like Silver Machine I guess
I've never heard Stellar Variations. Wasn't it released as Hawkwind Light Orchestra so technically a different band, or is there no lineup difference?

I love when that main riff first kicks in on Seasons, especially with the volume turned up to 11. I bet it would be awesome live, I definitely have to go see them soon, preferably not on the Warrior tour since I don't actually like that album hugely, apart from the first 2 tracks which is the greatest thing Hawkwind have ever done.

Hoppoman
December 18th 2013



633 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The Warrior tour is over now, and Stellar Variations has half of the Hawkwind lineup, containing only Brock, Chadwick and Hone.

Basically it is Hawkwind trying to be Rush, and doing it very well for that matter.

Mad.
December 18th 2013



3581 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That sounds mighty interesting, where does the ELO reference come from?

Hoppoman
December 18th 2013



633 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

No idea, maybe because it is Hawkwind lite?

Mad.
December 18th 2013



3581 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Maybe one of them thought it was really witty...

So is that Caravan or Man discog review coming up or are you giving it a break? (I wouldn't blame you)

Hoppoman
December 18th 2013



633 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

In time, it will be my project for the new year. Might be seeing caravan in the new year, they are playing in my University in March.

Mad.
December 18th 2013



3581 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Damn that's cool, didn't know they were still around

Hoppoman
December 18th 2013



633 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Old soldiers never die. They just hibernated throughout the 2000s apparently.

hogan900
Contributing Reviewer
December 18th 2013



1489 Comments


Well bucketheads discography would be impossible...

Hoppoman
December 18th 2013



633 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

That's because if I wrote a review a week, I would never catch up.

hogan900
Contributing Reviewer
December 18th 2013



1489 Comments


He releases like 10 albums at the same time, I wonder how he sells all his stuff to begin with.

Hoppoman
December 18th 2013



633 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I suppose it is like that crazy film with Mike Meyers, 'If you build it, they will come'



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