Motörhead are back, ladies and gentlemen. After a health scare from Lemmy, the band wisely got off the road and took the time off to allow metal’s Elder Statesman to recover and get back to doing what he does best: rock out! Now, while I understand the appeal of this group, I’ve always been more of a casual fan. I’ve got the requisite albums (Ace of Spades, Iron Fist, No Sleep ‘til Hammersmith, etc.), and I’ve seen them live, so I get it, believe me I do. I guess something was always lacking for them to be in my upper pantheon of metal bands. However, the last two records Motörizer and The World Is Yours had some noteworthy tunes on them, so I definitely wanted to check out their latest, Aftershock, out everywhere October 22. And I’m glad I did.
Obviously the same things are there that have made Motörhead who they are: speed and volume. And yes, they can be accused of doing the same thing over and over again, but so what? Who cares? This ain’t splittin’ atoms, it’s fucking metal!! Loud, proud, and unapologetic! First and foremost, opening track “Heartbreaker” is a powerhouse and has more balls than some younger bands’ entire body of work. Same goes for “Coup De Grace”. The guitars are razor sharp and biting, and Lemmy’s gravelly voice sounds exactly the same, full of whiskey and don’t-fuck-with-me-attitude. Next thing you know, they slow it down for a blues-soaked number by the name of (whaddaya know?) “Lost Woman Blues”, which is mind-blowingly good, and totally from left field. If Motörhead were looking to impress me, they’re off to one hell of a start!
“End of Time” is another pedal-to-the-metal kickass romp, as is “Do You Believe”. The intro and main solos on this one by Phil Campbell are really ballsy and fucking great, and drummer Mikkey Dee is just on fire. “Dust and Glass” revisits slower, moody terrain once again before all hands are on that fiery deck for “Going to Mexico”, another lesson in speed and power from the guys who pretty much invented the style. “Silence When You Speak to Me” is a cool, mid-tempo song reminiscent of “Love Me Like a Reptile” in a way, while “Crying Shame” drinks from the AC/DC well of riffs. And trust me, that’s not a knock. I love them! Hell, those boys do the same thing over and over, too, and no one complains, right?
Of course, there are a few not-so-great moments. With 14 tracks there were bound to be. “Knife” is pretty dull, and “Keep Your Powder Dry” is almost TOO by-the-numbers. “Death Machine” also just kind of meanders about, despite having some good music in it, and wasn’t a favorite. But that’s OK. Things really light up for “Queen of the Damned” and closer “Paralyzed” which is one of the fucking fiercest metal tracks of the year. All told, I have to say I was blown away by how good Aftershock is, and this is one Motörhead album I think I’m gonna play the shit out of for awhile!
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Paralyzed”, “Heartbreaker”, “Coup De Grace”, “Lost Woman Blues”, “End of Time”, “Do You Believe”