Review Summary: An album to remember Lemmy by
With the sudden death of Motorhead’s infamous leader, millions of fans hung their heads in unison. Can he really be gone? The man who’s had his foot glued to the gas for nearly five decades can’t possibly be done, right? Once the shock subsided, and the painful acceptance took hold, the ultimate celebration began.
The fact of the matter is there’s a lot to celebrate: 40 years of unadulterated heavy metal to be exact. One thing I’ve always admired about Lemmy is his profound and genuine love for Rock ‘n Roll. Rather than bother himself with the prospects of mainstream success, he concerned himself with one thing and one thing only when creating music – does it riff? It's true, his music has remained almost entirely unchanged throughout his career in Motorhead, but his loyal fans wouldn’t have it any other way. We know exactly what we’re going to get when we put on a Motorhead record, but I’ll be damned if Mr. Kilmister doesn’t get our blood pumping every time we hear his signature gravelly voice over rapid-fire guitars.
Even though the foundation of Motorhead’s music remains virtually unshaken, there are several unique albums in their discography that strayed a bit from the standard formula. One of these albums is the often underappreciated "Bastards", released in 1993. In addition to containing a handful of songs with his trademark fast ‘n furious style, there are several slow burners that prove Lemmy was more versatile than many believed him to be. The poignant ‘Lost in the Ozone’ contains one of the most affecting performances of his entire career, as his gentler singing is nearly therapeutic, and a perfect match for the song’s dreary atmosphere. As if the track didn’t hit like a ton of bricks before, hearing Lemmy croon about his isolated state beyond the grave now hits with the emotional weight of a semi truck. The truth is, once you remove all the labels of Lemmy as an invincible rock God or even a sex icon, he was just as human as each and every one of us. ‘Lost in the Ozone’ is the perfect representation of this, as his soul is laid bare for all to see. It’s perhaps the closest we’ll ever get to unveiling the man behind the myth, but the song is sure to resonate with listeners for many years to come.
Aside from "Bastards" most sincere moments, there are still plenty of boisterous tracks that are bound to get your adrenaline pumping. ‘Born to Raise Hell’ is Motorhead at their very best, with guitar solos around every corner and Lemmy sounding as nasally yet confident as ever. Many other songs are simply groovy as hell, with ‘Death or Glory’, ‘I Am The Sword’ and ‘Bad Woman’ being immediate standouts.
Whether you’re a seasoned Motorhead fanboy or are just beginning to dive into their extensive discography, there’s no shortage of entertainment to be found on Motorhead's overlooked "Bastards". It’s an album that represents everything Lemmy ever stood for, and what a legacy he’s left behind. On December 28th, 2015, we lost a true metal great, one of the genre’s last true giants. However, he’ll never be lost completely. He poured every ounce of his blood, sweat, and tears into Motorhead for the span of four decades, and the music he left behind will never die. Lemmy was certainly born to raise hell, and his spirit is still alive and kicking in the afterlife. RIP Lemmy, you will be missed.