Assassins of Silence / Hundred-Watt Violence Review

This Hawkwind Tribute was first released in 1995 by Ceres Records of Oakland, California. It
features mostly unsigned American bands.  Although only 300 vinyl copies were pressed, the reissued
CD version is unlimited and may still be obtainable from specialist outfits like CD Services
There are two distinct threads to this CD.  Some of the acts on it come across as garage bands, trying to
faithfully replicate the original tracks to the best of their ability.  Others try to do something new with the
material, with generally better results...

SLOTNICK - Death Trap
This has a punky vibe with suitably snarling vocals.  Fairly true to the original but more driving, with a
tortured-sounding 1st guitar solo and a 2nd wah guitar solo.  8/10.

MONOSHOCK - Psychedelic Warlords
Starts off more like the ISOS version of You Shouldn't Do That.  The first part is fairly dire;
murky-sounding with lo-fi vocals in particular.  The keyboards have a brief moment of glory at 5.05.  At
6.15 Monoshock move into the freeform breakdown and do this part very well, apart from the backwards
chipmunk vocals.  The song ends well, putting on a spurt of pace and and fading into spacey chipmunk
territory.  5/10.

THE PETALS - Hurry On Sundown
The old favourite given a 60's West Coast treatment, i.e. a real sunny feeling.  This is what Hurry On
Sundown might have sounded like if the Byrds (circa 1965) had covered it.  One of the most innovative
covers on the CD.  9/10.

PUFF TUBE - Quark, Strangeness & Charm
Another clever treatment, coming straight from the laboratory of a mad scientist.  Porky Pig type vocals
over a backdrop of weird nosies, relentless bass and crisp drums.  9/10.

GORILLA - Flying Doctor
The immediate reaction is that this band are aptly named.  They turn this into a shambling thrash which
suddenly picks up pace after about a minute but then drops back into a simian shuffle.  The song alternates
between these two modes before mercifully coming to an end at 4.14.  6/10.

SPACE DUST - Orgone Accumulator
This must have been recorded in somebody's kitchen, by people who were, er, fairly new to the whole idea
of being in a band.  Loose and floppy without anything like the vigour of the original.  5/10.

VOCO KESH - We Took The Wrong Step Years Ago
An instrumental version - atmospheric opening with mellotron and gongs, subsequently joined by sitar and
acoustic guitar.  This is a fairly comprehensive reworking of the original, and it's one of the best cuts on this
album.  9/10.

LIQUORBALL - You Shouldn't Do That
Halfway between the ISOS version and the blanga rendition that appeared on the Roadhawks album / Space
Ritual CD reissue.  But Liquorball reduce the song to a 2-chord riff without vocals.  7/10.

Thrashy, noisy and chaotic with strangled yelping vocals.  5/10.

F/i - Robot
This lacks punch, featuring a dragging tempo and cybernetic vocals.  The last couple of minutes, where the
pace is ratcheted up, suits F/i much better.  6/10.

FUZZFACE - Urban Guerilla
A fairly faithful redition.  The vocalist sounds a little like Chris Bailey of Australian 70's punk band The
Saints.  Fuzz lead guitar is a nice touch.  7/10.

Retitled as 'Time You Left', this is another noisy thrash but with a pleasantly squashy feel to it.  They pare
this song down to just over 3 minutes.  Unfortunately this means that Lemmy's atonal bass solo isn't
reproduced.  7/10.

THE MIKE GUNN - Master Of The Universe
trives for the same arrangement as the original studio version on ISOS, with 2 rhythm guitar tracks; one
with a lot of presence, the other with a deeper, darker tone.  Enlivened by some very processed-sounding
lead guitar between the two verses.  8/10.

FLY ASHTRAY - Spirit of the Age
A lighter feel that emphasises the humourous aspects of the original - but does it with different lyrics, in a
suitably Calvertesque vein.  8/10.

ST37 - The Watcher
A fairly straight rendering of the closing track on might have been interesting to hear a more
'Motorhead' version.  This one does get into a groove, which the original didn't.  Dom't know about the
falsetto vocals, though. 7/10.

Even where some individual tracks on this CD are not particularly successful, this is still a good album for
the committed Hawkfan.  It shows up the punky / thrashy potential of Hawkwind's music, and in the hands
of talented musicians, some of these songs are taken in a completely new direction.  It *is* space rock,
unlike the UK tribute album 'Ritual of the Solstice', which sounded like a crock of techno bullshit, to me
Doug Pearson, who organised the creation of this album, has come forward with some clarifications:

"The Liquorball track is actually the intro to a 30-minute rendition, which is why there aren't any
vocals.  The full-length version has been made available on CD-R at Liqourball gigs.  The original vinyl
release of Assassins of Silence had a different edit, with vocals.  It also included additional material
from The Temple of Bon Matin ("Earth Calling") and The Mike Gunn (a light-hearted recitation of
"Sonic Attack") and about half a dozen other tracks that weren't on the CD, mostly because they had
been subsequently released elsewhere."  Thanks Doug: I think I have to look for the vinyl version now!
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