It’s been a long time since I’d really listened to Motörhead. The last time I’d listened and seen them live was on the “Another Perfect Day” tour in, I think, 1983.
It was the moment they lost me as a hardcore fan mainly because of the ballet shoe wearing antics of ex-Thin Lizzy guitar player Brian Robertson. Sure, his playing was superb, and some of the songs on that album were excellent too, but the hard-edged essence of the band was gone for me.
Admittedly, after they recruited shredders Wurzel and Phil Campbell, and added the stick work of the superb Mikkey Dee, the band were still producing good stuff, but nothing that really caught me flush on the jaw. Also by then, musically at least, I’d moved away from that kind of sound and drifted into other territories.
Recently though, for some reason (call it reliving my youth if you will), I’ve started to appreciate some of my original musical influences. Bands like AC/DC, Blue Oyster Cult, UFO, Saxon and now these guys have come steamrolling back into my life, and I’m loving it. I feel like a kid again. Metal as youth elixir? Who’d have thunk it?
Discovering these bands again has reignited something in my soul that had been laying dormant for too long. I want to rock again. I want it loud again. If I’m gonna go deaf, I’m going to frickin’ well enjoy it!
This album, Motörhead’s 20th studio effort, is an absolute revelation for so many reasons. There’s no messing about, as you’d expect, but after doing some catch-up on the band’s last few efforts, I think “Aftershock” is by far the band’s best recording since 1980’s “Ace of Spades” classic.
From the opening, bone-crunching, “Heartbreaker,” the man-only lament “Lost Woman Blues,” and the insanely fast “End of Time” it’s pure, classic Motörhead. No quarter asked and none given.
As well as the above songs, there are so many highlights it’s really tough to put your finger on individual moments, but songs like the slow-burn classic “Dust & Glass” stands out. It’s one of those songs that sounds great as it is, presented as wonderful, perfect blues/rock hybrid, but it’s so well written that an unplugged version would be an absolute treat to hear.
Then, it true Motörhead style, it’s followed by the speedball rock of “Going to Mexico” (replete with an almost salsa-like rhythm underpinning Phil Campbell’s solo – I kid you not.).
Another memorable moment is the wonderfully titled “Silence When You Speak To Me,” which is a danceable track the the band ever produced. The verse slinks and grooves then the boys bring the hammer down in the chorus and guitar break.
In the course of this review I haven’t mentioned the legend that is Lemmy once, at least by name It’s almost like it’s not needed. Lemmy is such a legend that he speaks for himself, and is simply part of rock’s lexicon and is the heartbeat of the genre.
Unfortunately with his recent illness taking it’s toll, the band’s upcoming tour was cancelled, but apparently will take place next spring. So, if you’re a fan of pure, unadulterated rock ‘n’ roll spend your hard earned dosh on a ticket, go see ‘em and welcome Lemmy back to where he belongs: on a stage cranking out head pulverizing, spine crushing music of the highest order.
“Aftershock” is simply one of the best albums I’ve heard this year and it heralds the return of one of the great rock ‘n’ roll bands in the last 30 years.
Motörhead are a national treasure.
Cherish ‘em while you’re still able to.