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Lastwind - 'Return Of A Sonic Assassin' (Flicknife) 5/5

Ok a quick history lesson. Back in 1977, after a particularly disastrous US tour space rock gods Hawkwind decided to split, (only for a short while before they reformed as 'Hawklords' in the summer of 1978), but in the gap Dave Brock and Robert Calvert met up with Devon based prog rockers Ark for a one off gig at Barnstable Town Hall under the name The Sonic Assassins. The gig was recorded and gave rise to the rather impressive and hellishly influential 'Sonic Assassins' ep, Brock later used several Sonic Assassins for the reformed Hawklords (bassist Harvey Bainbridge went on to become a regular fixture in the hawks for the next 10 years), Now, lord knows how many years on, Ark / Sonic Assassins member Paul Hayles has recruited some of his former band buddies, along with a couple of of the great and good from the south West music scene (including former Groundhogs drummer Ken Pustlnik) to form Lastwind. and they have just issued this rather tasty long player.

Now I will admit to being a huge fan of Hawkwind, ever since I had my 16 year old mind blown by a mates brothers copy of Space Ritual, and although I have found that the Hawks themselves haven't done anything that has really impressed me since Xenon Codex back in about 1988 - all those classic albums are still the benchmark I judge space rock by. And I'm glad to say that this one is a bit of a classic.

Kicking off with a title track that harks back to that classic Sonic Assassins ep, Lastwind have put together a cracking album that sounds more Hawkwind than Hawkwind themselves have sounded in years. You get cuts like the spaced out and grinding Winds Of Time, that wouldn't sound out of place of the Hawks 'Warrior on The Edge Of Time' opus, the hard driving Autoroute, that sounds like a classic Calvert era track in all but vocal delivery, the heavy space metal of Monster Trucks which hat tips the hawks PXR5 era and the trippy astral boogie of Which Way When with its references to the works of the likes of Harvey Bainbridge and Steve Swindals.

However don't think for a minute that this classic album is a mere hawkclone offering. There are loads of subtle nods and winks to some of the other greats of UK space rock as well, Inner City Unit, The Lloyd Langton Group, The Alman Mulo Band, Mournblade, Magic Muscle, Underground Zero... the spirit of all these classic acts and more is alive and kicking on this one, and that makes this old acid rocker very happy indeed.

In short this is a great album that should be in the collection of all Hawkfans, space rockers, prog boys and acid trippers whatever planet they happen to be on.

Very very highly recommended

For fans of... HAWKWIND, Mournblade, Gong, The Deep Fix, Krankshaft.....

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