Review Summary: Rock and roll: Warts and all.
Death and taxes? Another sure thing you can add to that shortlist is that Motörhead will always be on hand to deliver a short, sharp dose of dirty noise. Now on their 20th LP, Motörhead have yet to relent on their quest to blow the minds and ears of their baying audience. Sticking to a strict schedule of an album every two years since 1996’s Overnight Sensation
, the circus rolls on with reckless abandon and despite their advancing years you feel as if Motörhead will outlive us all.
Lately, Lemmy appears to have been inducted into the Hall of Elder Statesmen. Fashionistas are wearing glittery Motörhead shirts without a trace of irony, both Slash and Dave Grohl have recruited him for their respective projects and his appearance in a surprisingly smooth Kronenburg advert has kept his profile high and introduced him to the younger set, brought up on a diet of pretenders to the throne. To many, Lemmy is the last bastion of rock and roll. If Nigel Tufnel had not set his amps to 11, you know Lemmy would have done it first.
The World Is Yours
won’t set the world alight with insightful lyrics or experimentation, but that isn’t what we’ve signed up for. This is an LP that just does not let up from the get go. Opener “Born To Lose”, echoing the sentiments of one their more famous couplets, is like a hammer to the face and in the right conditions would probably cause more damage to the recipient. “Hell is coming and it won’t be long” growls Lemmy right before a solo that could wake Cthulu from his deep slumber.
The one aspect of Motörhead’s longevity that has served them well is the advance in production tools and techniques. Their classic material, as joyful as it is, can sound like a coin rattling around a cadaver’s ribcage when compared to the luxuries afforded to today’s groups. Motörhead’s later LPs have encompassed their monolithic live sound and the records are the better for it. “Brotherhood Of Man” sounds like the apocalypse come early. Juggernaut riffs and Lemmy’s funereal lyrics deriding the folly of mankind give the song an urgent and dark tinge, putting their younger contemporaries to shame. It’s the standout track on the LP and whilst it is not the most original song in the Motörhead canon its sheer relentlessness is impossible to dislike. The only track that could have done with either another look or ditching altogether is “Rock N’ Roll Music”, a sub-par plodding rocker that sounds unnervingly like Status Quo, had Francis Rossi spent his childhood being served a diet of gravel on toast. Across the rest of the LP it’s much of the same; winding solos, crunching chords and Lemmy putting the world to rights. The album’s kiss-off is the tetchy and frantic “Bye Bye Bitch Bye Bye”, about as close as Motörhead could ever come to a love song.
Lemmy’s position as the ever-present front man of Motörhead means that his band mates tend to be forgotten, but they perform a stand-up job here. There is not one unnecessary guitar chord or drumbeat out of place. The current line-up has existed since 1994 and with them showing constant improvement you hope they become the final and permanent fixture of an ex-musicians list that’s longer than Mr. Tickle’s arms.
Ultimately, we all know what to expect from Motörhead. Lemmy’s legacy is in his own hands and safe for that reason. He stands as one of the only true rock and rollers able to back up their talk with action. They’re more than just “Ace Of Spades”, “Overkill” and “Bomber” and The World Is Yours
is a superb testament to that fact.