40 years! Think about that length of time, just really let it sink in. In any respect it’s a very long time. Well, imagine a band that has remained active, popular, relevant and high in quality for all of those 40 years. Mind boggling isn’t it?
Motörhead have NEVER let current trends affect what they do in the slightest. Sure, all artists get influenced by other artists, both current and historic, but not many bands that have been going even half as long can say they didn’t try too hard on at least one record to fit in to what the current trend was, rather than just let its creation be natural. Usually what happens, if they’re truly a class act, is that they will come to their senses, understand what made them so good in the first place and return to some sort of form. This has happened in rock and heavy metal music many a time. No need for examples, as you will all love at least one band that has done this. Well Lemmy and the boys are and always have been, Motör-fuckin’-head!
With their credentials fully intact and untarnished, reviewing their albums is usually a case of deciding whether the latest is ‘not bad’, ‘pretty good’ or ‘really fucking awesome!’ I am delighted to let you know that this is in camp number three. If you are yet to hear it then I am jealous. You have that wonderful first time experience to look forward to.
The pow-pow double of ‘Victory or Die’ and ‘Thunder and Lightning’ is just the way you’d want the ‘head to kick off the record. Third song, ‘Fire Storm Hotel’, is a great example of that mid paced swaggering rock-and-roll-through-a-heavy-metal-filter that they do so well.
I have always said that I strongly dislike reviews that just go song-by-song and tell you all about each one when you could just listen to it yourself BUT this album is one that made me almost want to do that. Suffice to say that each track has something a little different about it to make it memorable. I do really feel that this is the most diverse collection of songs the band have put their name to in a long time. They have also managed to bring in some modern vibes into the proceedings with such ease that it doesn’t ever hint at being contrived.
‘Evil Eye’ is notable for having some of Lemmy‘s most menacing vocals ever committed to tape and a cracking little mid section/lead guitar part. ‘Till the End’ is a Motorhead ballad done well. Sometimes they hit the target with these and others have been misses but this one is all feels and no cringes, brilliantly executed.
For me, the highlight is the rather dark and delightful ‘Choking On Your Screams’. I wouldn’t walk in the dark with this one on your headphones. The record closes with a pretty honest cover of the Rolling Stones classic ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ that neither adds to or detracts from the album. I’m sure some will adore it but I am indifferent. In all honesty, I’d have swapped it for another original song but that is a tiny gripe.
As well as Lemmy‘s trademark, awesome, dirty and overdriven bass playing, both Phil Campbell and Mikky Dee are quality as per usual. Campbell especially has submitted some of his best lead work in many a year.
“Bad Magic” is greasy, arrogant, spiky, memorable and full of tunes! Happy 40th chaps – 22 more albums please!