This is the third studio CD (unfortunately not out on vinyl like the previous ones) by the "new" Hawklords, a heavy, punky and psychedelic space rock band formed mostly by ex-Hawkwind/Hawklords members around six years ago. Before the studio albums they released a live DVD/2LP recorded at the Barney Bubbles Memorial Concert. At the moment the line-up is Harvey Bainbridge (synths, keyboards & FX), Dave Pearce (drums), Jerry Richards (guitars, bass on tracks 1 & 3 on this CD, synths, piano & vocals, Adrian Shaw (bass, synthesizer, dialogue FX & audio sculpture) and Ron Tree (vocals). The band considers themselves as some kind of continuation of the '78/'79 Hawklords, and yes, there are lots of similarities in the vibe, atmosphere and sound and even song structures and ideology. Harvey's spacey, soaring synth work is very important as well as the tight rhythm section of Dave and Adrian (as also in The Bevis Frond!) and heavy, talented guitar playing of Jerry. It's a really demanding job to step in the big boots of the late, great poet, visionary and lead singer Robert Calvert but Ron Tree is the best man for the job as far as I know.
The album starts off with the heavy rocking, rather repetitive and a bit punky "State of Emergency". The last two minutes are just spacey soundscapes. I'm already enjoying the ride! "Damned" is another great, heavy, straight-forward space rock track that kicks ass. Excellent! The beautiful "Forever" cools down the vibe a bit but still rocks out too. "Induction" is a dark, ambient narrative with psychedelic, almost scary effects and reminds me of the stuff Michael Moorcock did on Hawkwind's Warrior at the Edge of Time album. In fact, Mike is one of the contributors to this track so no wonder! "Sonic Seven Kiss" is one of the best songs on the album, very powerful stuff. Then it's time to chill out with the pretty and semi-acoustic wonder called "Starstruck". "It's What You Wanted" rocks a bit in the New Wave/Post Punk style, and "Soma" is a three minutes of hallucinogenic ambient soundscapes by the synth wizard himself, Harvey Bainbridge. The cool "Catwalk Chic" somehow brings to mind "Urban Guerilla" and works very well too. The mid-tempo "Upside Down Man" is bit more atmospheric again and also has some acoustic guitar in the mix. "The Well of Forever" brings at first to mind "Who's Gonna Win the War?" as well as Hawkwind's Church of Hawkwind album before it starts to rock out around the three-minute marker. Jerry's solo guitar work sounds like a homage to Huw Lloyd-Langton, superb. Then we still have one bonus track left, and "You What" is a rather strange, experimental thing... What a great album, it seems that the Hawklords are getting better all the time and according to the live reports and YouTube snippets they must be excellent live as well so buy their stuff and go and see them live if you can!