- CLASSIC ALBUM SELECTION
of how many albums they produce, or how long the current line
up has been together, for many people, Motorhead’s peak
period came at the beginning of the 1980s’s, with a series
of hit albums and – astonishingly – singles that put
the band at the top of the heavy metal tree just as the genre
was undergoing a huge revival. Now, those early Bronze Records
albums are available in a box set that is considerably cheaper
than the previous high-priced collectors edition that had been
condemned by the band’s main man Lemmy.
Listening to these early LPs again, it’s fascinating to
see how the band developed their sound, and how it quickly became
all too generic. At the time, Motorhead really were the
fastest, loudest, dirtiest band out there – heard now, they
seem almost sedate at times. That’s not a criticism of the
band though – time marches on after all, and if it wasn’t
for their influence, metal may well have developed in very different
The only really essential album here is Ace of
Spades – an album that kicks off with the iconic
title track and doesn’t stop for air until the last track.
It’s Motorhead personified – loud, grubby, sleazy
and brutal. With other classics like (We Are) The Roadcrew
and Love Me Like a Reptile, this is most certainly
classic stuff, with barely a duff moment throughout.
On the other hand, Bomber is too laden down with
plodding blues numbers – only the title track is memorable,
the rest likely to be somewhat disappointing to all but the most
hardened Lemmy fan.
As for the rest – Overkill is solid enough,
though lacking in any stand-out moments, and Iron Fist
shows a band already settling into a rut – while the title
track is strong (and gave the band their last hit single), the
rest is pretty anonymous. It was also the final album to feature
guitarist Fast Eddie Clarke, who quit the band in disgust at the
recording of Stand By Your Man with Wendy O.
Williams. He was replaced by ex-Thin Lizzy guitarist Brian Robertson
for Another Perfect Day, which is the most disposable
album in this set. While certainly not awful, it’s very
much representative of a band who had decided on their sound and
were sticking with it, no matter what. While fans will point to
later tracks that hit the spot – Eat the Rich,
Killed By Death – the fact remains that
no Motorhead albums were going to reach beyond the hardened fan
base from this point onwards (in fact, you wonder how many of
the people attending Motorhead gigs have heard any of the stuff
they’ve done in the last thirty years).
Also included here is the classic live album No Sleep
Til Hammersmith. One of the great live recordings,
this is perhaps how Motorhead should be heard –
louder, rougher and grubbier than on any studio recording. There
have been plenty of live Motorhead recordings since this, but
Hammersmith is the only one you need.
A mixed bag for sure, but given the low price, one worth checking
IT NOW (UK)