Saturday, 19 November 2016

Warrior On The Edge Of Time - Tracks & References

Following on from the first extract from the new edition of Sonic Assassins, for those who know the original version with its 'Tracks and References' appendices, I've not done that for the second edition and instead will use them, with amendments, here. Anyone who spots references I haven't got... ping them over and I'll update again!

The view, according to Michael Moorcock: 

“What Dave tends to do is he says ‘do us a concept.’ I do it, then Dave has a different idea and the whole thing shifts away. It’s a perfectly good way of working – to give Dave a bit of a start.” (Orbit 6, 1983)

What they said then:

A review in Melody Maker (10th May 1975) systematically demolished the content of the LP, mitigated only by being linked to a review of Moorcock’s New Worlds Fair LP – compared to which, Warrior on the Edge of Time was ‘an unqualified masterpiece.’

What they say now:

Paul Sutton Reeves in his retrospective analysis of 70s Hawkwind (Record Collector, May 2002) wrote that Warrior on the Edge of Time was “the most fully realised of Hawkwind’s albums” and particularly appreciated “two highly atmospheric instrumentals.” 

What their peers say:

Warrior on the Edge of Time and Hall of the Mountain Grill were two of the first albums I ever heard that really turned me to 70s music. I mean, I was growing up in the 80s and it was only through a friend’s record collection that I discovered bands like Hawkwind, Camel, Pink Floyd… those two albums totally blew me away, and still to this day the first five or six Hawkwind albums are very special to me. You need to listen to Warrior in its 5.1 sound, not because of what I did but you can imagine that psychedelic swirl of sound is pretty extraordinary in surround.” (Steven Wilson, on remixing Warrior  for the Atomhenge reissue).

Tracks and references:

Assault & Battery, Part I

The opening verse is taken from ‘The Psalm of Life’, a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-82), while the scared circles of the second is presumably Stonehenge, though the reference may refer to any prehistoric stone circle, as at Avebury, Wiltshire for instance.

Golden Void, Part II

“I think it’s all to do with taking LSD.” (Dave Brock)

The Wizard Blew His Horn

The opening of Moorcock’s The Eternal Champion (Science Fantasy #53, June 1962) has John Daker transported into the dead body of Erekose the Champion before being awakened to fight for humanity.
The imagery appears to be drawn from a combination of The Book of Revelation (the horse weeping blood) and the Celtic myth of the Wild Hunt.


“’Opa-Loka’ was named after a place in Florida [Opa-Locka]. I lived in Florida in 1970.” (Alan Powell)

The Demented Man

Pretty much the last showing on a Hawkwind LP of Brock in busking mode. “In the circles, on my mind”… Yes, very nice, now move along please, sir, you’re blocking the escalator… A lovely cover version was included on the Pre-Med album The Truth About Us


“Sunbeams are my shafts to kill…”. More poetical borrowings, this time from Hymn to Apollo (Percy Byshe Shelley, 1792-1822). Shelley was a notable figure in the Romantic Movement, an author of politically radical poetry.

Standing at the Edge

‘Veteran of the Psychic Wars’ appeared on Blue Oyster Cult’s Fire of Unknown Origin album (CBS 1981), and turned up again alongside the Elric-inspired ‘Black Blade’ on Extraterrestrial Live (CBS 1982). 

Spiral Galaxy 28948

28th September, 1948 is Simon House’s date of birth. 


A slightly altered chunk from The Eternal Champion – Based on the speech the humans give to Erekose, describing what he will help them do to their Eldren enemy. Erekose later sides with the Eldren, and slaughters humanity.

Dying Seas

“Moorcock gave me a load of titles, I wrote songs about them – ‘Dying Seas’ was one of them. There were others, which I’m using now, one called ‘Sonic Savages’.” (Nik Turner)

Kings of Speed

Speed – a slang expression for Amphetamine Sulphate.

The Mr C mentioned would be a reference to Moorcock’s Jerry Cornelius character; also mentioned are Frank (Cornelius) and (Bishop) Beasley. Hawkwind appeared in a cameo role in the Jerry Cornelius novel A Cure for Cancer and in the background to the Cornelius film The Final Programme

'Kings of Speed'
(French / German / Japanese / Portuguese / UK)

What this author says

Recorded out of contract at the end of Hawkwind’s United Artists tenure, Warrior… is not only a pivotal album in 70s Hawk-lore but one with its own mystique, its long-time unavailability generating rumours of decaying or lost masters and contractual roadblocks. Originally released on UA but not contractually part of their catalogue, it hasn’t benefited from Nigel Reeve and EMI’s dedication to early Hawkwind canon but this new multiple-version Atomhenge release more than rectifies that.

Whatever reverence is held for this disjointed attempt to conceptualise Mike Moorcock’s Eternal Champion stories onto vinyl, and it is held among fans as a true highpoint, it’s neither in the Space Ritual league of classic albums per se, or as cohesive as Hawkwind’s preceding LPs. That it often feels demo-like is exposed on the new transfer though majestically conquered on Steven Wilson’s 5.1 remix on the accompanying audiophile DVD. 

Sacrilege committed, it still has classic moments: Dave Brock’s Assault & Battery and its segued crash into Golden Void, his acoustic Demented Man and Simon House’s intricate Spiral Galaxy 28948. Relevant bonus material, remixes aside, includes multiple versions of Motörhead, a busking trifle and a sprawling demo of Spiral Galaxy but there isn’t enough extant outtakes to further illuminate the original.
Warrior On The Edge Of Time - Atomhenge Reissue
Record Collector

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