Hawkwind Triad: Harvestman, US Christmas, Minsk – Hawkwind Triad Review

originally written by Jim Brandon

Cover albums usually rank about as high as Carnie Wilson’s stomach staples on my interest meter, but even I was intrigued when I learned Steve Von Till’s Harvestman, North Carolina’s bluesy U.S. Christmas, and fellow Chicago homies Minsk were getting together to record a collection of tunes by the UK’s legendary rock icons, Hawkwind. Frankly, I wasn’t sure the heavier aesthetics of these three bands would compliment the songs they decided to tackle, but it became very obvious just how much respect and care went into reinterpreting these choice cuts even upon the first listen. What works best is the way it’s structured to flow like a cohesive, consistent album rather than a random assembly of odd choices, and how each band fully works their own trademark sound into each of these songs without compromising the integrity of the originals.

As to be expected with the artists that comprise Hawkwind Triad, there’s some hefty fucking guitar work being rolled out and slapped with a contemporary coat of psychedelic nuance in abundance, but there’s no need to worry about being overwhelmed with all these elements with this listener-friendly effort. U.S. Christmas open events by taking a righteous stab at “Master Of The Universe” in jaunty balls-out fashion, and Von Till makes himself an early star of the show with a smoldering rendition of “D Rider” which shows Steve in a soulful, hazy vocal light. Minsk appears to have the most fun with their selections, infusing “7X7” with a ton of psilocybin saxophone while keeping “Children Of The Sun” pretty true to the original, albeit a step slower, and hearing them simply rock out on “Assault And Battery” with no restraints before slipping seamlessly into “The Golden Void”? I’ll happily take a toke of what they’re smoking.

With “The Watcher” Von Till again puts a somewhat creepy spin onto his vocals, and lays in with a lighter Neurosis-like head trip with a vague visualization of “Down Through The Night” which makes for a great transition into “Assault And Battery”. But after Minsk takes their bow at the seventh track, U.S. Christmas hit “Orgone Accumulator” dead-on, and send the rollicking “You Shouldn’t Do That” into space during its lengthy eleven+ minute jam session before Harvestman brings it all home on the apropos “Magnu” with a satisfyingly steady fade into oblivion in a cleansing mess of static and effects.

Long story short; if you’re a fan of any one of these three bands it’s worth checking out the entire thing, and if you’re a fan of Hawkwind, I can almost guarantee you won’t be the least bit offended with this release. As one of the most revered and influential artists of their time period, this truly is a fitting tribute to a band that created music with no foreseeable expiration date in sight. Blare it, breathe it in, and treat yourself to some classic reinterpretations done correctly. Admirable.

Posted by Old Guard

The retired elite of LastRites/MetalReview.

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