Review Summary: A successful combination of Motorhead’s classic sound with a slightly modern touch.
It is already known that the ‘90s weren’t kind to those who flourished during the ‘80s. Experiencing the diminishing effect that exaggeration had on the teen population was arguably one of the most interesting and gratifying realities of that decade. Every metal publication and subsequently metalhead blamed grunge, but the truth was that silly hair, androgynous looks and a traditional/conventional approach to metal just didn’t speak to the soul of troubled youth anymore. Even more importantly, those who ruled the ‘80s had run out of mojo songwriting-wise. Consequently, the popularity of acts like Megadeth, AC/DC and Slayer was decreasing and even Iron Maiden who had no trouble filling large arenas, were playing in bars and venues with limited capacity.
Despite the above, Motorhead were doing just fine both in terms of popularity and quality with a couple of solid releases such as 1916
. Nevertheless, Sacrifice
left a lot to be desired as far as production and songwriting were concerned and the band was blamed for trying too much to sound modern by adding even some Pantera elements. On top of those, bear in mind that in a post-Load
world the stylistic choices as far as hair is concerned were scrutinized and overanalyzed. Therefore, seeing Lemmy without his iconic friendly mutton chops on just the second Motorhead cover that doesn’t feature iconic mascot Snaggletooth was cause for alarm.
As a result of the above and not the quality of songs per se, Overnight Sensation
is one of those albums that made a poor first impression to my young impressionable self but grew on me immensely over the years. What makes the band’s 13th studio release an enjoyable listen is the successful combination of the classic Motorhead recipe with a modern touch. The production here is heavy, dirty but not the muddy mess that Sacrifice
is. More importantly, the guitar playing is improved with some characteristic Phil Campbell riffs on the energetic "Civil War" and the rock ‘n’ roll "Crazy Like a Fox". In addition, Lemmy is still on his prime and what is apparent after a six-album run as a four-piece, is that Motorhead work better as a power trio. Of course, there are a couple of run of the mill tracks such as “Eat the Gun”, “Them Not Me” and “Shake the World” but they don’t reduce the overall experience significantly. In fact, Overnight Sensation
includes two of Motorhead’s best ‘90s tracks in the form of “"I Don't Believe a Word" and the ballsy title track; two midtempo groovy compositions that make the album worth the price of admission.
Overall, this is a surprisingly solid release in an era where Motorhead seemed to be running out of steam and this is exactly the reason that makes it a successful example of good leadership. A four-piece or a power trio, Lemmy’s sense of direction and perseverance is what made Motorhead one of the greatest acts of all time and an inspiration to fans. Overnight Sensation
might not be Motorhead’s greatest achievement but life is so much more than great achievements; it is about withstanding and dealing with adversity and as such, this is a special LP.