Debates are usually a fun way to kill time if you're ever bored on a Saturday night. Anything really, from politics to TV, from food preferences to well, music. I recently had one of these music debates with a friend of mine, who likes everything from 'Def Leppard
' to 'Taking Back Sunday
'. Well, we started talking about some of the greatest hard rock bands of all time, and he nominated, and defended, the powerhouse that is 'AC/DC
', stating how influential Brain Johnson's voice was, its raw and sheer-piercing power, and Angus Young's thick riffs and high-quality solos. In all, a very, very reasonable choice.
After he was done, I took him off balance by claiming the throne should belong to none other than Motorhead.
'But why dude? They've been playing for over 20 years, and that's certainly commendable. But Lemmy sounds like a primitive moron and the playing is so straight-forward and simple!'
'In a sense,' I began to reply, 'Yes, you're right. The guitar does stick close to the bass, but that's just the mixture of the Punk Rock that's found there. They've got everything going on for them. Some blues here and there, some Hard Rock/Metal, and of course that nice dose of Punk. But look what they've done for the community, they've influenced such bands like 'Metallica
' and they continue to put out quality record after record. As for Lemmy, yea, he does sound primitive. But the music is so raw and brash, that it suits him so perfectly. Motorhead have been around for as long as anyone can remember, and they won't die. They've kicked the music communities ass longer than anyone else, and they deserve the crown of greatest Hard Rock band.'
Well, needless to say, we didn't agree.
But the point of this is to show how great this band is, and how they just won't change. Sure, 'Another Perfect Day
' was a little experimental, but it still stuck to their roots and was once again, another great album. But after the amazingly talented Brian Robertson left the band, Lemmy was able to complete his dream: Make Motorhead a 4-Piece act.
Enter Phil Campbell and Mike Burston (Who I will refer to by his nickname, 'Wurzel').
' takes you back to before 'Another Perfect Day
', and at the time, was the heaviest album in this band's career. The opener, 'Deaf Forever
', is like the mix of tunes that were found on 'Overkill
' and 'Ace of Spades
', combining huge-chopped riffs that dominate the song with a highly anthemic chorus. The guitar playing shows Phil and Wurzel's love of effects, as the main riff is overlapped with some effects to give a more atmospheric sound. 'Nothing Up My Sleeve
' picks up the tempo from 'Deaf Forever
' with a huge thumping bass-intro and straightforward riffing. The same can be said for 'Ain't My Crime
' and 'Claw
', with 'Ain't My Crime
' showcasing a slightly more 'Blues' side, especially during the intro, and 'Claw
' opens with a drum-intro that is pretty much the same as the one on 'Overkill
'. 'Mean Machine
' greatly reminds of something that could be found of off 'Kill'Em All
' by 'Metallica
', with it's raw-thrash metal-esque riff that dominates the song. 'Built for Speed
' tricks you a little bit with its song title, as in reality it's the slowest song off this album. The riffs seem to chug more in this one, and after awhile it becomes a tad bit more repetitive and bland than the previous songs. 'Ridin' With the Driver
' picks up the tempo once again, with the classic Motorhead straight-forward type riffing, and this time the guitar plays exactly the same as the bass, no quick fills at the end or whatnot. 'Doctor Rock
' comes in quickly, blasting, thumping, and chugging away at your mind. The riffs are the same as they've been on most of this album, save this time Phil and Wurzel throw in little variations here and there. The chorus is a bit of a sing-a-long, much as-it-was with 'Deaf Forever
Motorhead are known for their title tracks, from the crazy, and seemingly never-ending 'Overkill
', the thumping classic 'Ace of Spades
', and the mind-blowing 'Bomber
, their title tracks are usually the highlight of the album. Sadly, this is seriously not the case here. 'Orgasmatron
' feels about as bland as they come, with basically one riff that is played throughout the whole song, with little or no variation. 'Orgasmatron
' was said to have influenced Black and Death metal, with bands such as 'Sepultura
', but frankly, I don't see either of those genres as being as repetitive and boring as this song. It also should be noted that this album was originally titled 'Ridin' With the Driver
', but Lemmy changed the name a few days before the release and they weren't able to change the album art in time. I would've been more than pleased with the title being the first choice, since then 'Ridin' With the Driver
' would've been the title track (duh), and while it still doesn't compare to previous title tracks by these guys, it's far more enjoyable than 'Orgasmatron
Pete Gill took over drums for Phil Taylor on this album, as Phil left shortly after Brian Robertson. Pete plays much like Phil, with tight drum beats, especially on 'Deaf Forever
', where his drumming during the verse seems to keep it all together, and during the chorus he bashes on his symbols on all the right moments, giving the song that huge anthem feel. He also has very-basic drumming intros on 'Claw
', 'Built for Speed
' and 'Ridin' With the Driver
Phil and Wurzel, while they work great together for riffs, their solos are seriously lacking. They base a lot of their solos off of effects like I said earlier, and will throw in some crazy-shredding occasionally, such as on 'Deaf Forever
' and 'Nothing Up My Sleeve
', and they even switch off leads during the solos. However, once you get past the first few songs, you won't even notice them soloing, because they are usually no more than 15 seconds and they become a case of 'Been there, heard that on the first track'. Songs like 'Ain't My Crime
' and 'Doctor Rock
' don't even have solos, which if you're like me, will greatly frustrate you.
But fear not! Even if the guitar playing is a step-down somewhat, Lemmy is still on top of his game! To quote my friend, this man whom sounds like a 'primal moron', is still kicking out some throaty vocals all over. Gone are the almost-singing vocals on some songs found on 'Iron Fist
' and 'Another Perfect Day
' and are replaced with the same harsh talking that made him the cult icon he is today. Actually, if you're looking for a guy with a great vocal range, Lemmy isn't your guy. After you've heard the opener, 'Deaf Forever
', you heard all he's gonna do on this album, which is just yell his harsh voice into the microphone.
His lyrics, with each album, seem to drift a little from the carelessness that once flooded Motorhead albums. This time around, its about war, with lyrics like 'Sword and shield, bone and steel, rictus grin,
Deaf forever to the battles din
' on 'Deaf Forever
'. They also reach out a little bit more with war, and include politics on 'Orgasmatron
', with ' am the politician, and I decide your fate, I march before a martyred world, an army for the fight
'. But for those who are just as reckless as these guys, don't worry, there's still some left over for you. 'Doctor Rock
' states: ' I've got the medicine you need, I've got the power, I've got the speed. I'll find out how to stop your clock, We sure ain't talking Doctor Spock. Hear me talking, Doctor Rock
' and 'Built for Speed
' says, ' I don't give a good goddamn, My life's been alright. I'm gonna crazy out of my mind, Every single night.
' is yet another solid release from these legends. Sure, some of the songs might get a little repetitive, but this is Motorhead showing the world that even after an experimental album, a band such as them can just as easily return to their roots with more raw power than before.
Nothing Up My Sleeve
Ridin' With the Driver