Gather around, children, and I will tell you the tale of what it was like in the time before time. When the world was a vast emptiness waiting for a spark to ignite the torch of hope and rock and roll. It was 1975 and the spark erupted when a man we'll call "Lemmy" appeared on the scene with his band Motorhead. They would go on to bring the world "Overkill", "The Ace of Spades", "Iron Fist", "Eat The Rich", "Rock and Roll" and so much more. 38 years and 21 studio albums later, Motorhead gives us another gift in the form of their latest record "Aftermath".
As a rule, I try not to assume anything. You know what they say happens when you assume. Or at least I assume you do. This week, however, I'm going out on a limb and guessing that you are at least mildly familiar with the work of Motorhead. But, if you have not heard of Motorhead I have one question... under which rock do you live?
It's true, I have been honored with the task of reviewing this latest album from the legendary metal band Motorhead. The sole constant member, lead vocalist and bassist is the iconic, gravel voiced Lemmy Kilmister. You may have seen the documentary "Lemmy" that came out a couple of years ago and if you haven't you should.
Motorhead's latest album is a bold departure for Lemmy and the band. They've added a horn section and keyboards to the mix which gives the songs and other-world feel. Nah, I'm just messing with you. This is Motorhead, for chrissakes.
Motorhead has a sound that is original and unique to them and they haven't strayed too far from their original formula. This leads us to an interesting discussion - why do some bands who refuse to change their style grow stagnant and irrelevant while some, like Motorhead, AC/DC and a few others, find strength in remaining true to the sound that first brought them success? The answer, I believe, is a "we're gonna play what we wanna play and we don't care what anyone else thinks" attitude. Motorhead has it in spades.
As previously mentioned, Motorhead's latest album "Aftershock" is their 21st studio album and it sounds, well, like Motorhead. And what's funny is it's really good. It's classic Motorhead. I think you could add this CD to your Motorhead collection, put your player on "shuffle" and it would be difficult to identify the different albums the songs are from much less which decade. The bass sound is just as loud and distorted as ever. The vocals are the same Lemmy. The guitar, the drums, it's the same. And, for Motorhead, that's a good thing.
The record contains 14 tracks and kicks off with the powerful "Heartbreaker" (I hoped this was a cover of the Pat Benatar classic but it's not). This is Lemmy, Phil Campbell and Mikkey Dee doing what they do best. Rock and f'n roll!
Motorhead has successfully fused elements of rock, punk and blues in their music. "Aftermath" contains a couple of slower, bluesy numbers in the form of "Lost Woman Blues" and "Dust and Glass" proving Lemmy has some soul as well as power in his vocals.
If you're looking for some rock, you'll find it in every song. Some of the standouts for me are "Death Machine", "Going to Mexico" and "Silence When You Speak To Me". The songs of "Aftermath" are as good as anything Motorhead has released previously. Some of the riffs may sound similar to those you've heard before but it doesn't come off as redundant or rehashing. There's also a confidence and an attitude here that can only come from years producing quality material.
What more can I say? This is freakin' Motorhead, baby.
If you have been a fan of Motorhead over the years as I have, then you will love this album. If you're only a casual listener then I still think you'll love this album. But if you never liked Motorhead, this album is not going to change your mind. It is the latest in a long line of iconic recordings by a band that is quite content to go on playing the music they love the only way they know how, loud, loud, loud and in your face. Long live Lemmy and cheers to Motorhead.