Hawkwind - Hall Of The Mountain Grill - Album Review


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"The Psychedelic Warlords (Disappear in Smoke)" opens the album with electric waves, giving birth for the menacing guitar riff. Pleasantly out normal note count the chorus of voices starts to sing the theme of the song, contemplating possibilities for escaping the grey dullness of everyday life. The constructed motive morphs as a long hallucinogenic improvisation, having fine saxophone solo from Nik Turner, interesting surreal instrumental passages and reverbed echo chaotix. The song disappears in a thick wall of blasting wind, which evokes then a very beautiful and dramatic instrumental number, main melody drawn by a violin over orchestrated shimmer. Two last tracks of the first side are merged together; "D-Rider" oscillating between anxious internal depressions and relieving explosion to grandiose cosmic verse, and "Web Weaver" spinning more acoustic rock tapestries before getting lost in space.

The B-side of the vinyl starts with classic heavier rock punch of "You'd Better Believe It", dropping to infinite caverns of black vastness when the melodic phrases have been successfully computed. The album title song is a dramatic piano composition, a cosmic synthesizer orchestration bringing more dimensions to it. This is followed by Lemmy's tune "Lost Johnny" which he also signs. A quite nice rocker, predicting his upcoming Motörhead career, but maybe deviating little from the more thoughtful and highflying feeling of the other songs of the album. "Goat Willow" is just a short peculiar aural vision as an intro for album closer "Paradox", which I understood is recorded from a live concert. This song has really brilliant metaphorical lyrics, and the composition itself builds from powerful but simple minor chord progressions. The drums enter the song only after the singing is completed, opening the rockier improvisational sequence only after the beginnings recital. A set of Mellotrons have been brought to the stage also, and the farewell tune is on of the finest songs from the group I have heard.

This record introduced me to the cosmic realms of Hawkwind's spacey atmospherics and long improvisational progressions, and thus certainly affected for my own internal models regarding the expectations about the group. For a long time this along with the records "Space Ritual" and "Warrior on The Edge of Time" formed a trinity of most albums on the band's 1970's, but with more age gathered I started to find more appreciation also for the other albums of their unbalanced discography. The album also gave a very strong experience to me, motivating to search further the distant galaxies of this band's universe, and orientating my own growth towards more meditative record listening. A real classic, which I would warmly recommend to anybody interested of cosmic rock music.

Studio Album, released in 1974

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Psychedelic Warlords (Disappear In Smoke) (6:50)

2. Wind Of Change (5:08)

3. D-Rider (6:14)

4. Web Weaver (3:15)

5. You'd Better Believe It (Live *) (7:13)

6. Hall Of The Mountain Grill (2:14)

7. Lost Johnny (3:30)

8. Goat Willow (1:37)

9. Paradox (Live *) (5:35)

Total time 41:36

Bonus tracks on 1996 EMI remaster:

10. You'd Better Believe It (Single Version Edit) (Live *) (3:22)

11. The Psychedelic Warlords (Disappear in Smoke) (Single Version) (3:57)

12. Paradox (Remix Single Edit) (Live *) (4:04)

13. It's So Easy (Live *) (5:20)

Total Time 58:29

* Recorded at Edmonton Sundown on 26 Jan 1974

Line-up / Musicians

- Dave Brock / vocals, lead & 12-string guitars, organ, synthesizer

- Del Dettmar / keyboards, synth, kalimba

- Nik Turner / sax, oboe, flute, vocals

- Simon House / keyboards, Mellotron, violin

- Ian "Lemmy" Kilminster / bass, vocals, lead & rhythm guitars (7)

- Simon King / drums, percussion

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