Lemmy & his Motörhead march on in their 38th year of existence, and this time around the threesome deliver the 2013 effort they have christened Aftershock. Zoom and Mikkey are still onboard in the most stable line up ever, lasting for 20 years, and also the most commercially successful lineup. Lemmy should be no stranger to AI readers as they know him from his bass and vocal duties aboard the spaceship Hawkwind from 1972-1975, having hijacked their most successful single by removing Robert Calvert’s vocals and recording Lemmy’s instead and releasing it as the single we know as Silver Machine in 1972, Hawkwind’s only Top 3 single or record ever. He even used the bandname “Motörhead” from a Hawkwind song he recorded as the B-side to the Kings Of Speed 7″ single in 1975 right before getting the boot, as most Hawkwind fans also are very well aware of!! Many classic musicians have passed through Motörhead’s ranks, from the early days with Larry Wallis, Lucas Fox, Philthy Animal Taylor, Fast Eddie Clarke, Brian “Robbo” Robertson and Würzel (R.I.P.). Their last handful of albums have been quite consistently good, from Kiss Of Death (2006), Motörizer” (2008) to The Wörld Is Yours (2010), all outstanding and varied records from the sleek modern Trio.
So, Aftershock then. 14 new blistering rock’n’roll songs, while Lemmy himself has suffered health problems and had to cancel European dates on Motörhead’s tour for this record. He has even promised to live a healthier lifestyle, according to press releases and interviews. Can one imagine? No Jack and Coke or 60 cigs a day? Celery sticks and Smoothies instead mayhap? Yögahead? Only time will tell. I couldn’t wait to hear the new album, so I ordered the advance Classic Rock “Fanpack” with an amazing magazine, a sticker and a poster with the CD mounted on the package. On first spin nothing jumped out and grabbed me like on the previous albums I mentioned. They all had at least 2-3 super catchy rockin’ tunes on each CD that immediately grabbed me. Aftershock seems to be missing an element of “surprise”. Its no news that Lemmy is an extremely intelligent and experienced old bastard, who can write a great song to boot. Lemmy always gets the last word in any interview and fans in recent years have proclaimed him as “God”! Another thing is that Motörhead sell tons of albums, debuting high in the charts worldwide each album and sell out tours. They have become an Institution of themselves, and deliver what is expected, yet never “sell out” or “compromise”. Such is Aftershock. I had a best pal back in Art school 20 years ago who used to bring his collection of AC/DC, Ramones and Motörhead CDs and tapes to our house. If there ever was a “Holy Trinity” of this type of “basic” punk/metal fusion those three bands could very well rule the roost. They deliver what’s expected, never sell out or compromise, and are always quality. And they are Rock’n’Roll to the bone for those of us who live that lifestyle. It will never make you less or weaker to “carry on”. Cameron Webb is once again producing, and the cover art is by Norwegian painter Terje Aspmo. It looks fantastic, and we get Lemmy’s Tim Burton’esque doodles in the booklet. Lemmy the artist, goes with the official Motörhead wine. Songs like Coup De Grace, Silence When You Speak To Me, Dust And Glass, Going To Mexico, Crying Shame, Keep Your Powder Dry, Paralyzed and Knife are all standard punk-blues-metal that Lemmy & Co. deliver. We never expect anything new, they deliver the goods. Stand out tracks on the album are the fast riffy End Of Time” and Going To Mexico, the thoughtfully crafted lyrics to Do You Believe (which are typical Lemmy fare and advice), the slow atmospheric Dust And Glass (kind of like the classic old Motörhead track Born To Lose), the badboy rock’n’roll of Crying Shame, the tat-tat-tat punky Queen Of The Damned, the and the speedmetal sounding closer Paralyzed. I just feel like there are no “grand surprises” here like on the last handful of albums. I like it, I have just heard this before. It’s only Rock’n’Roll, and thats a lifetime achievement in itself. Viva Motörhead! A solid 8 out of 10 point effort, I am just not blown away this time, but I’m sure I will be next time, down that long and winding road.
Reviewed by Christian Eric Mumford