MOTÖRHEAD – Aftershock

Motorhead - AftershockOne thing that I love about Motörhead is that you always know what you’re getting. Pretty much. You can always rest assured that they will give you a good dose of hard rock ‘n’ roll and it’s not bloody likely that they will record a Whoa-whoa-livin-on-a-prayer thing or go disco or hip hop or some garbage like that that. It’s the same thing with AC/DC – and that is partly why we love those bands so much – at least I do. But there is one big difference between Motörhead and AC/DC apart from the fact that they play different kinds of music to each other and that is that when AC/DC gives you exactly what you’d expected, Motörheaad might give you the odd surprise or two. Remember on 1916 (1991 – my all time favourite Motörhead album), they had a ballad in “Love Me Forever”, recorded a Ramones tribute (“R.A.M.O.N.E.S.”), used a horn section (“Angel City”) and the title track was only Lemmy singing over strings. And on Overnight Sensation (1996) they used acoustic guitars pretty frequently and some songs had an almost poppy feel and on Inferno (2004) they had a bluesy acoustic track called “Whorehouse Blues”. So Lemmy and his entourage of Phil Campbell (guitar) and Mikkey Dee (drums) takes the musical paths that feels right for them at the time. But whatever they do, it always sounds like Motörhead in the end. And they play rock and roll.

I also love the fact that Motörhead refuses to become a nostalgia act. They are old school so the make records and then they tour them. Just like it’s supposed to be. Now, as fans, we all agree on that classics like Ace Of Spades (1980), Overkill and  Bomber (both 1980) and of course their live masterpiece from 1981 No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith are all Motörhead killers, but it’s really interesting to see how different people look at their later albums, especially the albums released from 1991 and forward. But also stuff like Another Perfect Day (1983), that featured ex-Thin Lizzy man Brian Robertson on guitar or Fast Eddie Clarke’s last stand Iron Fist (1982) are under debate from time to time. Me, I like them both. To me, the trilogy of 1916, March Ör Die (1992) and Bastards (1993) are my favourites. I also like Overnight Sensation, Inferno and last year’s awesome The World Is Yours. I don’t like Sacrifice (1995) and I think that both Snake Bite Love (1998) and Kiss Of Death (2006) are pretty uneven gives. But I’m sure many a Motörhead fan would beg to differ – and I like that because it proves that Motörhead still turns heads and affects people and for us fans, it makes every Motörhead release interesting because even though you know what you’re getting, you just don’t know what you’re getting and that makes it exciting. And after last year’s knock out, I was looking forward to yet another Motörhead release.

This 14 track jawbreaker opens with “Heartbreaker”, a typical Motörhead song – no more, no less – a good song but it doesn’t run me over. And I want Motörhead songs to do just that. It’s good, but it doesn’t stick. Hopefully it will grow on me. Third song “Lost Woman Blues” turns things around a bit. The song is a real blues rocker, kind of like ZZ Top on an amphetamine binge and it’s really smoking, “Do You Believe” is all classic Motörhead like we love them and “Death Machine” is pure groove – a great hard rocker. Speaking of surprises, “Dust And Glass” is so laid back that I can’t call it anything but a ballad, but with a kind of 60’s psychedelic feel – very cool.  On 1916 they went to Brazil (“Going To Brazil”) and on this album, the vacation continues, this time destination Mexico – “Going To Mexico” is in the same vein as its Brazil dito – classic Motörhead rock ‘n’ roll all the way. “Silence When You Speak To Me” (gotta love that title) has some really catchy riffing and its melody really sticks, “Crying Shame” is rocking hard, but with a big pop feel and a piano, the song is catchy as hell and one of my favourites here, “Keep Your Powder Dry” is just great, a melodic Motörhead rocker with Lemmy’s own sense of humor as a lyricist and the high-octane, balls out, mudkicking rocker “Paralyzed” finishes the album in a great way. Once again Motörhead has provided a tasty meal full of rough and tough hard rock n roll. I must say that I’m impressed by the way that these guys who has been playing forever (Motörhead is almost 40 years old and Lemmy turns 68 on Christmas) still can come up with the goods without putting everything on repeat. It’s no secret that Lemmy is a big fan of Beatles, Little Richard and Chuck Berry and that shines through on many places on this album. So if you’re a Motörhead fan, this album is a no-brainer. You know what you’re getting and at the same time you don’t. But you can be sure of one thing – they rock. After all, they are Motörhead and they play rock ‘n’ roll. Nuff said!

Jon Wilmenius (8/10)


01. Heartbreaker
02. Coup De Grace
03. Lost Woman Blues
04. End Of Time
05. Do You Believe
06. Death Machine
07. Dust And Glass
08. Going To Mexico
09. Silence When You Speak To Me
10. Crying Shame
11. Queen Of The Damned
12. Knife
13. Keep Your Powder Dry
14. Paralyzed

2 comments on “MOTÖRHEAD – Aftershock

  1. Jon, 1916 is also my favourite Motorhead album! (Tied with the one with Robbo Robertson on it, Another Perfect Day.) To see an 8/10 review and to hear a single as strong as Heartbreaker is encouraging. I’m currently cut off from buying new music until Christmas, so this one’s for the wishlist.

    Everyone knows Mikkey Dee is a freaking amazing drummer (he was a highlight of the ’96 gig I saw) but also worth praise is Campbell. I don’t think he’s given enough credit as a guitarist. Look at the guy — he’s been the only guitar player in Motorhead since 96 or 95 and they have lost nothing that they had with Wurzel! The guy nails the classic Fast Eddie vibes, but also has so much feel.

    • I agree on everything you wrote here, Mike. Campbell doesn’t get enough praise as far as I’m concerned.

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