Hawkwind - Warrior On The Edge Of Time
It is a common tale, that age old story of lost master tapes and shady reissues made from dodgy copies. But at long last the original recordings of Warrior On The Edge Of Time have been unearthed, and we can finally have a sparkling issue of arguably space rockers Hawkwind's finest hour. The band's fifth album, this is a milestone in the excesses and eccentricities of 70s rock carried along on the back of sci-fi writer Michael Moorcock's fantastical adventure, an ode to the balance between order and chaos.
The clarity of the revitalised music is quite simply magical, Lemmy's wandering bass locked in with the twin drumming whilst the space-age electronics fizz around Dave Brock's inimitable guitar with a luscious joy and depth. This is as cosmic as space rock gets, and more wondrously, more consistently brilliant as anyone before or after; by its very nature, aided and abetted by the copious amounts of stimulants and hallucinogenics, this brand of music has a tendency to wander off but Warrior... remains focussed.
The opening of 'Assault And Battery/The Golden Void' is a strong statement, a gateway into the pulsating, engrossing affair that is about to unfold. This is honed to perfection on what remains my favourite example to this day – the epic 'Magnu'. The galaxies align to create a stomping, mind-bending monster of psychedelic delirium, a track absolutely bursting with deranged ideas, infectious earworms and explosive energy. In eight minutes and fifteen seconds, this encapsulates everything great about Hawkwind, demonstrating a decidedly unhinged band at their creative peak and serves as the central linchpin for their magnum opus. "Until we diminish by the reign of night…"
Having been involved on and off with the band for a number of years, it made a lot of sense for Hawkwind to fully utilise the fertile mind of Moorcock, and it is his story that ties the whole album together. He makes an appearance too, reciting two of the three poems written especially for the record. While echoing 1973's Space Ritual, there is a measure of restraint and thoughtfulness this time around that helps them to become far more integral to the pattern of the piece rather than merely unusual interludes.
Warrior On The Edge Of Time always was a special album, a highlight not just in the Hawkwind discography but in the genre as a whole. Many have tried to emulate, copy or channel it in the thirty eight years since the record entered our particular universe, but none have as yet come close to matching it. A black hole in the shelves of record stores for far too long, this is welcome return for a genre classic. Strap in and enjoy the ride to the edge of time.