FORMAT INFORMATIONLP Info: 180 gramaudiophile vinyl
"Hall Of The Mountain Grill" found Hawkwind pushing the thudding hard rock of their early albums into the sci-fi influenced soundscapes that would define their legendary sound. In fact, this 1974 album is something of a prog rock classic, given everything from its futuristic cover to the sounds of mellotron, synthesizer, harpsichord, and flute interspersed among the overdriven guitars.
Hawkwind were pioneers in the first wave of space rock, and their sound often draws comparisons to Pink Floyd's music of the same era. But for all their cosmic meanderings and Tolkien imagery, Hawkwind rocked hard (Lemmy, who later went on to form Motorhead, was a member of the band), and "Hall Of The Mountain Grill" is full of driving, fuzzed-out guitar songs that perfectly balance the touches of ethereal psychedelia. With that in mind, this heralded effort should please fans of prog, psych, and early-'70s metal; and for fans of space rock proper - it's a must.
Featuring Hawkwind's classic line-up, which included vocalist/guitarist (and band constant) Dave Brock and bassist/occasional vocalist Lemmy (soon to depart and form Motorhead), 1973's "Space Ritual" is monolithic in stature and stands as the group's most impressive live (if not overall) recording. Although the ensemble often garnered comparisons to Pink Floyd, Hawkwind was far more aggressive than Waters, Gilmour, and company, charging through a potent, freeform set of cosmic freakouts (the trippy "Earth Calling") and rumbling metal ("Lord of Light" sounds like Black Sabbath in lunar orbit).
While the entire outing is stellar, the British space-rock group really hits a stride during the epic "Orgone Accumulator", which settles into a deep, acid groove. Although the spoken-word segments (most notably a recitation of sci-fi/fantasy author Michael Moorcock's "Black Corridor" by vocalist/poet Bob Calvert) might not suit everyone, "Space Ritual" endures as both a document of its era and one of Hawkwind's finest releases.
On Hawkwind's second album, the seminal space-rockers began to assemble the pieces that would come to be regarded as their signature sound. While some elements of leader Dave Brock's folkie past were still extant (most notably the surprisingly poignant "We Took the Wrong Step Years Ago"), the heavy guitar riffs, wooshing electronic effects, and science-fiction lyrics that typified the eventually predominant Hawkwind style all came into play on "In Search Of Space". Though bassist Lemmy (who would later found Motorhead) had yet to hop aboard the spaceship, Hawkwind's proto-metal tendencies were already apparent in the downright Black Sabbath-like "Master Of The Universe". The acid-damaged "Adjust Me" and the monomaniacal, one-chord jam "You Shouldn't Do That" attest to the growing freakiness of the band, a quality that would only continue to endear them to a hardy contingent of fans as their far-out tendencies increased.
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