. After an unaccepted album (Another Perfect Day
), they lost yet another great guitarist, Brian Robertson. After a few auditions, Phil Campbell and Wurzel were both added to be the band’s next guitarists. “Orgasmatron
" ensued, with the band returning to their fast paced, dirty roots. However, the album left much to be desired, and I for one was left with the question “Can Phil and Wurzel even remotely play as well as Eddie or Brian?".
So to be honest, I was a tad bit skeptical in buying this album. I had already purchased future Motörhead
albums, and out of the three I had bought (Hammered
, and 1916
), only “1916
" made me smile and bang my head. I had almost been convinced that besides on “1916
", Phil and Wurzel couldn’t play worth a dime (Save Wurzel on Hammered
, he had left the band before that came out).
But with one last hope of desperation, I ordered “Rock ‘N’ Roll
", and prayed to God above that I would be blessed with some of the high quality that Motörhead
had bestowed upon us with previous releases like “Iron Fist
" and “Ace of Spades
And boy, did I ever get what I wanted.
Not only is “Rock ‘N’ Roll
" a true return to their classic blend of Punk, Metal, Rock, and Blues, but it’s a statement from the band that they know how to write an album. The title track, which is also the opener, takes you back to the days of “Overkill
" with a standard drum intro, complete with chopped guitar riffs and a straightforward punk-like chorus. “Eat the Rich
" was a leftover song that these boys had written for a British comedy movie of the same name, and with its funky bass intro and flowing guitars, it could’ve fit nicely on “Another Perfect Day
" is another rockin’ tune, complete with Rock/Blues influenced guitar riffs and a plugging bassline. When I first saw the name “Stone Deaf in the U.S.A.
", I knew this sucker had to be good because another song by them, “Stone Deaf
", was a simply amazing track. And I was in no way let down. Although “Stone Deaf in the U.S.A.
" has a main riff that is very similar to one of their previous songs, “No Class
", it doesn’t make a difference. The Hard Rock riff will hit you at a million miles an hour, and will never let up. The main difference between the main riff here and the one on “No Class
" is there is more of a focus on the palm mutes found in-between the quick bursts from the guitars. The next track, “Blessing
", isn’t really a track at all. Its one the guys from Monty Python
, Michael Palin, as he recites a “prayer" for the members of Motörhead
. It’s downright hilarious, and I won’t spoil it for you all, but don’t skip over it. It’s a guaranteed laugh. The next track, “The Wolf
" comes in off the silence of the previous track with another pounding drum intro, courtesy of the one and only Phil Taylor. The riffs that follow are very similar to the ones found on “Blackheart
", but the tempo has been kicked up a bit to give it a more Punk-Rock feel. Who would’ve thought that “The Traitor
" would feature one of the funkiest guitar riffs these guys have ever done, cause I wouldn’t. It’s got a nice, thick groove to it, so don’t be surprised to be snapping your fingers to it instead of banging your head. Or you might pull the “A Night at the Roxbury
" and side-bob your head the whole way through. “Dogs
" comes in with a chunked bass intro that soon is backed by the guitars in full force. It later goes on to become a more straightforward riffing sound, with the guitars sticking very close to the bass. “All For You
" is probably the Bluesiest sounding song on this whole album, with a simple, intriguing guitar riff and a melodic chorus. As with a good deal of albums, you gotta save the best for last, and “Rock ‘N’ Roll
" is no exception. “Boogeyman
" showcases one of Lemmy’s best bass intros ever, which mixes in a nice deal of funk and punk to create one hell of a thumping intro. The guitars take a slight blues approach and add such a groove to the song that it makes you want to dance.
Lemmy’s bass playing on this album is even better than before. Not only do his thumping intros ring forever true here, such as on “Eat the Rich
", and “Boogeyman
", but variations pop up all over. Granted, they aren’t when he is singing, but on tracks like “Stone Deaf in the U.S.A.
" you can clearly hear him climbing his way up and down his fret board, adding another dimension to the song.
His vocals, as well, seem to swing back to that carefree attitude. He’s still got that gruff as hell voice that sounds like he’s been smoking ever since he was in his momma’s belly, but boy can the guy sound convincing. Whether he’s shouting out lines like “Put the bite on the son of a bitch!
or just yelling random words, he seems right at home. “All For You
" actually has him singing, for real this time, not just sounding higher. He is actually singing. And he is able to the match the guitars note-for-note, creating a nice big melodic chorus.
Lemmy’s lyrics also seem to mirror his vocals, whether it be the funny romp on why he doesn’t believe in marriage on “Rock ‘N’ Roll
" with some great lines like “I like to fool around, love to tear 'em down
". Or the downright hilarious “Eat the Rich
", which contains some of Motörhead’s
funniest lyrics, containing phrases like “Side order, could be your daughter, Finger licking good. Come on baby, eat the rich, Put the bite on the son of a bitch
". The second to last song, “All For You
", is rather strange for Lemmy though, as he once said he never wanted love or marriage, yet this song is so close to a love song with Lemmy singing out “The only one babe, to ever break my heart, Was you, such a shame
I’ve been disappointed for awhile with Phil and Wurzel’s playing. Granted, the riffs are always an enjoyment, but their solos have always been lacking. Big time. Which was probably the biggest reason why I was ‘wowed’ by this album. Not only does each song contain a solo, but some of them contain two, and they aren’t short and crappy like they usually are from these two. On the title track, both Phil and Wurzel fire off separate solos, each equally impressive, and without the use of annoying effects. Most of these solos have their roots in old-school rock, like the ones found on “Eat the Rich
" and “Stone Deaf in the U.S.A.
", and both of those tracks even feature some excellent use of Slide-Guitars.
And Phil and Wurzel aren’t the only ones making a triumphant return. After leaving Motörhead
to go join Brian Robertson, Phil Taylor finally got back in his mind and decided to rejoin the group, and his presence is felt throughout. His drum intros on the title track, and especially on “The Wolf
", while being very simple, are all highly enjoyable. His ability to keep the sound tight on faster licks like on “Stone Deaf in the U.S.A.
" and “The Wolf
" keep the song flowing.
I stand ashamed. I can’t believe that for a second I actually doubted Motörhead
. Not only is “Rock ‘N’ Roll
" true return to glory for these Brits, but it’s easily one of the best of their career. Phil and Wurzel prove on this album that can run with past Motörhead
legend Eddie Clarke, and make some juicy riffs on top of that. And of course Lemmy is here, bringing his brash vocals and thumping basslines with him. Don’t let these one pass you up.
Rock ‘N’ Roll
Eat the Rich
Stone Deaf in the U.S.A.