Blood of the Earth

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Hawkwind's 2010 album serves mostly as a warning -- that too much drug-taking will permanently destroy your aesthetic barometer, and your ability to recognize when it's time to pack it in. None of the churning hard rock vigor of their early-'70s work (when the bass was being manhandled by one Ian Kilmister, who'd go on to form Motörhead) is present here; the drums on opener "Seahawks" are a loop, over which some chanting, bits of noisy metal guitar that are way too low in the mix, and heavy-handed synths are laid. Oh, and ocean sound effects. Can't forget those. The title track is nothing but whooshing and humming synths; it sounds like a slice of a boring in-between passage from a particularly uninspired DJ set by the Orb circa 1993. Things do finally rev up to Space Ritual levels of intensity on "Wraith," but while the band's talent for writing garage rock riffs and riding them to the edges of the universe hasn't abated, modern production techniques make the music too slick. "Green Machine" is a journey to the land of synths, '80s Tangerine Dream style; "Inner Visions" features more looped percussion and synth electric violin; while "Sweet Obsession" tries to rock and fails, as does the band's re-recording of "You'd Better Believe It," an anthem from the glory years. This isn't a good album, and it will only disappoint people who thought Hawkwind still had something to offer post-1975.

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