Power of Metal.dk Review

Style: Out of this World Rock
Release date: 30 April, 2012
Playing time: 37:54 (CD 1), 46:23 (CD 2)

The progenitors of Space Rock and, arguably, pioneers of conceptual Prog Rock are back. According to the accompanying press blurb, “Onward” features “sound tracks for internet warfare, mantra’s for self realization and electrical systems checks. Revealing ancient prophecies, aligning constellations, urban violence and touchy feely robots. Unfolding harsh primordial soundscapes heralding a new green millennium.” At this point the expression “WTF!?!” comes to mind. But then this is Hawkwind and the aforementioned description effectively encapsulates the wackiness and perennial idiosyncrasy of the band….an idiosyncrasy that is pretty much perpetuated with “Onward”.

Hawkwind cover a lot of musical ground in this new album, such as the contemporary-sounding Alternative Rock of ‘The Prophecy’ and the ethereal ‘Southern Cross’. There’s also some fantastic instrumental ad libbing in ‘The Drive By’. A lot of great moments, therefore, even though as an album, you get the feeling that it’s a fragmented bit of work. The band insists in featuring those ‘spacey’ sounds almost everywhere, even though they might be superfluous. After a few spins, though, this becomes less uncomfortable. Similarly, songs such as ‘Seasons’ and ‘The Hills Have Ears’ are solid compositions but their mixing has all instruments full on (or almost) in a way that they sometimes disrupt each other.

The second part of “Onward” mainly focuses on rare and ‘vintage’ Hawkwind tracks, which accurately capture Hawkwind’s live and spontaneous spirit. That these tracks are overshadowed by the superior quality of the new “Onward” material suggests that the creative juice of Dave Brock & co flows stronger than ever. Incidentally ‘Computer Cowards’ must surely be the only track in recorded history to end with what sounds like a boiling kettle and a cow moo-ing!

Regardless of Hawkwind’s untouchable legacy, “Onward” is an excellent release and is one of the band’s better albums.


CD 1
01. Seasons
02. The hills have Ears (guest guitarist: Huw Lloyd Langton)
03. Mind Cut
04. System Check
05. Death Trap
06. Southern Cross
07. The Prophecy
08. Electric Tears
09. The Drive By

CD 2
01. Computer Cowards
02. Howling Moon
03. Right to Decide (Bonus Track)
04. Aerospace Age (Bonus Track)
05. The Flowering of the Rose (Bonus Track)
06. Trans Air Trucking
07. Deep Vents
08. Green Finned Demon
09. The Mystery Track

Label: Eastworld Recordings
Distribution: Plastic Head Music
Reviewed by: Chris Galea
Date: 10 April, 2012
Website: www.hawkwind.com