Less than two years removed from 2013’s Aftershock (an album that I was surprised by how much I loved it) MOTÖRHEAD are back to punch us all square in the mouth again with new album Bad Magic, out August 28 via UDR Music. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this is not rocket science. But it IS three guys plugging in and playing loud as fuck across twelve new songs, once again reminding some of these snot-nosed youngsters how it’s done. Starting with opener “Victory or Die” and “Thunder & Lightning” Lemmy, Phil Campbell, and Mikkey Dee are out for blood from the outset. “Lightning” is definitely one of the best tunes; I thought that 30 seconds into my first listen, and I haven’t changed my mind. Old-time MOTÖRHEAD with an infusion of fresh new energy is the best way to describe it, really.
It’s a trip to the 80’s Sunset Strip for “Fire Storm Hotel” followed by another sledgehammer track in “Shoot Out All Your Lights”. And if THAT’S not enough, Brian May, the legendary guitarist extraordinaire from QUEEN lends his considerable soloing talents to “The Devil” elevating the tune to new heights. Single “Electricity” is 100% get-out-of-my-face attitude, making it an instant favorite from jump, with another killer solo to boot. “Evil Eye”is a bit left of center in places but it still rocks hard and rocks fast with some evil chanting going on, and “Teach Them How to Bleed” manages to be very melodic with a wall of riffs coming straight at us in angry bursts.
But hold the phone, what is this?? With “Till the End’ we are treated to a lovely (well, as lovely as MOTÖRHEAD can get, anyway) ballad that actually took me by surprise. Lemmy sounds pained and world-weary and Phil lets rip another incredible solo. It’s shockingly good, it really is. And then it’s time for a broken nose courtesy of my other favorite “Tell Me Who to Kill” featuring more of the killer riffs that have been shoved up our noses and down our throats since track one.
Speaking of riffs, “Choking On Your Screams” has them in abundance. The only thing I really wasn’t into with this number was the vocal melody set against the music. It just didn’t mesh well for me. But that’s a minor blemish when you think about it, because the music slays. Anthemic is how I’d sum up closer “When the Sky Comes Looking For You”. It’s as if the band knew just how great a song they had on their hands and they wanted to save it till the end. It’s fucking fantastic, as is the rest of the album. I used to not be a big MOTÖRHEAD fan…the key words being “used to.” First with Aftershock, and now with Bad Magic they’ve turned me from casual fan into true believer.
STANDOUT TRACKS: Thunder & Lightning”, “Shoot Out All Your Lights”, “Electricity”, “Tell Me Who to Kill”, “When the Sky Comes Looking For You”, “Teach Them How to Bleed”