HAWK-POP 3 1/2 Stars
crumbhunger | Fresno, CA United States | 12/30/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Just fine for a latter-day ( 12 years old ) HAWKWIND album. If you've heard and enjoyed 'The Ballad of the Black Blade' or some of the 'Chronicals' tour material then you will like this. This largely instrumental disk starts with the "poppish" 'The War I Survived' and drifts between mellow synth-rock and material with a soft, synthesized, BLUE OYSTER CULT feel. The remaining tracks on the disk are: 'Wastelands of Sleep', 'Neon Skyline', 'Lost Chronicles', 'Tides', 'Heads'( a bit PINK FLOYDish ), 'Mutation Zone', 'E.M.C.', 'Sword of the East', and 'Good Evening'. Running time: 44 minutes, 14 seconds."
Chromefreak | 06/09/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Hawkwind is in surprisingly good form on this late 80s release. Though by no means comprable to the group's glory period, roughly 1972-1979, The Xenon Codex contains several excellent songs ("Heads," "Sword of the East" and "Wastelands of Sleep" are several of the stand-outs), as well as several good songs ("The War I Survived" and "Neon Skyline"). What separates this album from much of the group's lackluster 80s output is that there's no attempt at profound conceptualizing or social prophecy. Just some good, rocking songs here. Outside of Levitation, The Xenon Codex might be Hawkwind's best 80s release."
Fritz Gerlich | firstname.lastname@example.org | 12/23/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
* Dave Brock - electric guitar, keyboards, vocals
* Harvey Bainbridge - keyboards, vocals
* Huw Lloyd-Langton - electric guitar
* Alan Davey - bass guitar, vocals
* Danny Thompson Jr - drums
I believe there are two version of this album on cd. The 1992 remix and remaster from Castle records and the 1989 Enigma records original release. The 1992 is far superior to the 1989 version. The '89 disc suffers from a horribly muddy mix that smears the sound of the instruments and vocals. The eq is also poor, with the bass disappearing for extended periods.
The 1992 version, while far superior, is still not a great sounding disc. I think the problem lay in the original recording and production. I am looking forward to the Cherry Hill/Atomhenge version which is sure to be on its way soon.
This one gets very little respect. Many Hawk fans seem to have decided that the only great Hawk music is 70's Hawk music. And they also have a tendency to compare the band's later output to its earlier stuff. So as long as you aren't looking for "The Space Ritual", you will be surprised how good this disc is.
The songwriting and playing are top notch on this record. Thankfully Huw Lloyd-Langton's constant metal soloing that marred several of their 80's offerings for me is reigned in. A pet peeve of mine is the use of the finger-tapping technique to get 100 notes per minute from an electric guitar. Eddie Van Halen popularized it with the late 70's song "Eruption". I find it unmusical and believe that guitarists only do it to be showy. Hendrix did not finger-tap, and he was the best blues-rock guitarist ever. Langton was constantly doing that on their 80's albums, but not so on Codex, there is very little of Langton showing off.
The sythns and electronics on this record are also handled very well. They are subtle and fit nicely into the music. Sometimes, the Hawks will ruin a good song by having jarring and unnecessary spacey sounds to prove their space rock cred. Not on this album.
The album has some great tracks. The music ranges from ambient to hard driving space rock jamming. It is an undervalued great Hawkwind album."