Motörhead – Aftershock (2013)

Posted: October 21, 2013 in Music

motorhead cover

When it comes to legends of hard rock, no one speaks louder than Motörhead. The band, led by vocalist/bassist Lemmy Kilmister, has been around almost 40 years – and with over 30 million copies sold of their historic 20 studio albums, the accolades and respect continue to build. Responsible for re-energizing a dying heavy metal scene in the late 1970s, Motörhead has, over the years, become possibly the most influential band of our lifetime. Bands from all walks of rock and roll continue to name them as THE most important band of the era, and you can’t argue the impact the band has had over the last four decades.

But don’t tell that to Lemmy. As humble as he is horrific, rock and roll’s elder statesmen of all things dirty and grimy seems to almost back away from the attention. Instead of strutting around as the king of rock, you can usually find him at the Rainbow Room in Hollywood, cozied up to the bar playing video games and drinking Jack Daniels. Not exactly what you would expect from rock and roll royalty, but that “regular guy” mentality is one of his greatest traits – when he’s not making kick ass records.

It’s the music that seems to transform Lemmy from a mild-mannered, gentle giant to one pissed-off bastard. When that beast in unleashed, the hard rock and metal communities usually stop what they are doing to take notice – not only out of respect, but to take in another dose of the drug that is Motörhead.

The latest “fix” is ‘Aftershock’, a fourteen track affirmation of everything that is great about them, and another storied episode in the life of a man – and a band –  who just won’t die.

If you are expecting a “new” sound from Motörhead, you haven’t paid much attention to the band over the years. Their combination of blues, punk, speed metal, and rock and roll has run a pretty straight line over their career. as has Lemmy’s gravelly, raspy vocals – and that trend continues on the new record. While I usually bash bands for sticking to the same formula, the unique (and unaltered) style of Motörhead somehow still sounds fresh among the rest of today’s harder music.

motorhead

As soon as you hit “play”, the familiar break-neck speed and energy that has defined the band all these years hits you like a ton of bricks. The opener “Heartbreaker” goes straight for the jugular, and it is immediately obvious that Motörhead hasn’t lost a step and – in fact – sounds better than ever. Forceful rockers like “Coup De Grace”, “Death Machine”, and “Silence When You Speak To Me” showcase the bands cohesiveness (drummer Mikkey Dee and guitarist Phil Campbell efforts are flawless), while “End Of Time” and “Going To Mexico” channel the classic “Ace of Spades” sound. Most of these tracks get right to the point of ripping your face off, as Motörhead has never been about wasting time with frivolous fills or nonsensical lyrics. Even most of the guitar solos are condensed – barely giving you enough time to pour a shot or light a cigarette – but that’s the beauty of it all. It’s downright nasty throughout.

A coup;le of tracks, though, find Lemmy capturing a softer side amidst the chaos. The groove-laden, blues heavy “Lost Woman Blues” and “Dust and Glass” not only offer up a couple of moments to catch your breath, but also showcase the bands ability to write deep, meaningful songs.

The record, as a whole, though is all about being loud, fast, and fun in a style and effort that only Motörhead – amongst all their peers – seems to have perfected.

Lemmy said it best when asked about the new record: “We’ve been lucky; we’ve been around so long people realize they can’t get us to go away, so they’ve just decided to join us. You might not like what we do, but we do what we do very well. We’re not killing ourselves. We don’t get into the studio and say, ‘Let’s write a hit single!’ We’ve never been one of those bands. We really don’t care if everybody likes it; if people like it, to us it’s a bonus.”

And by “not caring”, Motörhead has delivered a fantastic album that should please long time fans and newcomers alike, and has once again proven that – if nothing else – you can’t kill rock and roll.

9.5/10

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