Sunday, 6 September 2015

Motorhead - 'Bad Magic' (Album Review)

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 28/08/2015
Label: UDR Music




If this is to be the last album, then the band have added to their legacy, kept their powder dry once again and gone out all guns blazing. If it isn't, well the next one will be along in a couple of years and will no doubt give your ears a good hiding when it does. Still the best rock and roll band in the world, and as the man says, the last one you can trust until the end.


‘Bad Magic’ CD//DD//LP track listing:

1). “Victory or Die”
2). “Thunder & Lightning”
3). “Fire Storm Hotel”
4). “Shoot Out All of Your Lights”
5). “The Devil”
6). “Electricity”
7). “Evil Eye”
8). “Teach Them How to Bleed”
9). “Till the End”
10). “Tell Me Who to Kill”
11). “Choking on Your Screams”
12). “When the Sky Comes Looking for You”
13). “Sympathy for the Devil”


Motorhead is:

Lemmy Kilmister | Bass. Vocals
Phil Campbell | guitars
Mikkey Dee | Drums

The Review:

Motorhead have now been around for forty years. Incredible, but there it is. I can't think of a more consistent band. An album every couple of years or so and each one worthy of your cash and time. In Lemmy, Motorhead have the rocker we would like to be if we were a lot less like ourselves. More so than personality, image or anything else, there is the music to focus on, though. Dare I say it; there are few bigger fans of Motorhead than me. They ARE rock 'n' roll and they have written and performed some of the most visceral and exciting music ever. If you don't get it, then I feel sorry for you. Your loss.

Having been listening avidly since buying the ‘No Remorse’ compilation in 1992 I have bought a lot of Motorhead records when they were first out. I have looked forward to buying the next one, time after time. With Lemmy now well into pensionable age, the likelihood of another one to look forward to gets slimmer each time another one gets released. Yet, here comes ‘Bad Magic’, swaggering, brash, fast and loud. Just like all the other Motorhead albums... as if they were really all the same. The thing with the best bands is that they have a certain sound; Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, AC/DC, Slayer, Bolt Thrower...even the Stones. They all sound just like themselves- the quality of the material may vary, but in essence they remain identifiable. Naturally, there will always be those who revile such bands (“it all sounds the same”.. “It’s just another Iron Maiden album” etc. and ad infinitum) but there will be those who love them for it and expect what they are expecting.

‘Bad Magic’ delivers on every level. “Victory or Die” opens things with a bitter statement of intent- defiance in the face of impending destruction, joie de vivre despite the party coming to an end. “Thunder and Lightning” is everything that Motorhead are best at- thunderously loud and, yes, lightning fast with celebratory devil may care lyrics. “Firestorm Hotel” is one of those mid paced rollicking numbers that latter day Motorhead excel at (from 1916 onwards).

The drums of Mikkey Dee are absolutely thunderous as per- excellent intro on “Shoot Out All of Your Lights” with a great double bass drum sound and use of rudiments on the ride (this is how you play drums, kids- learn the basics, get fast at them and just lay the beat down. Hard.) Of course, not every track is a stone cold killer (“The Devil”)- but the ‘Aftershock’ album wasn't perfect and then again, neither was the ‘Ace of Spades’ album either. There are always tracks that are not as good as the stand-outs, but the vibe is always there with Motorhead and the overall sound wins. “Electricty” has some excellent lyrics and a well worn riff from Phil Campbell (now with the band for 31 years). “Evil Eye” is a kind of “different” Motorhead track- sombre and dark with a strong percussive refrain- that crops up occasionally in different forms on a  few of their records.

Teach Them How To Bleed” is as good as the title suggests it might be- all expected Motorhead-isms operating in the red.  Till The End’ is the album's sole downbeat number (most of their best albums have at least one!) It is as close to a ballad as the band really get here. “Tell Me Who To Kill” turns up the volume and ups the tempo again. Great title, great riff and a great track. “Choking On Your Screams” features a malevolent vocal and a kind of discordant half stepping riff that wouldn't be out of place on the excellent ‘Bastards’ album.

When The Sky Coming Looking For You” is rhythmically similar to “Dr Rock” from the (also excellent) ‘Orgasmtron’ record and features rather wistful lyrics, which are also pretty caustic. That only leaves the cover of “Sympathy For The Devil”- a fine song and a fine cover. It is done well here; faithful at first and revved up later. It is a fitting way to end the album. I only hope that this is not the last Motorhead album I get to hear anew. Having bought the vinyl at the start of the week, I got the joy of dropping the needle onto it for the first time, new musical territory to explore, new songs to become familiar with and all wrapped up in the cloak of reliability that the band has worn for forty years.

If this is to be the last album, then the band have added to their legacy, kept their powder dry once again and gone out all guns blazing. If it isn't, well the next one will be along in a couple of years and will no doubt give your ears a good hiding when it does. Still the only band I have a tattoo of, still the best rock and roll band in the world, and as the man says, the last one you can trust until the end.


As an added bonus, here is my list of Motorhead albums from best to worst.  And yes, ‘Bastards’ is the best one. Or is that just because it was the first one I bought brand new? For what it's worth, ‘Bad Magic’, at an early guess, sits somewhere below ‘1916’, but somewhere above ‘Aftershock’. Please note, all the albums on this list are good, but some are not as good as others.

1.       Bastards
2.       Overkill
3.       Ace of Spades
4.       Another Perfect Day
5.       Orgasmatron
6.       Bomber
7.       1916
8.       Inferno
9.       Iron Fist
10.    The World is Yours
11.    We Are Motorhead
12.    Sacrifice
13.    Motorizer
14.    Aftershock
15.    Overnight Sensation
16.    Kiss of Death
17.    Rock and Roll
18.    Motorhead
19.    March or Die
20.    Snake Bite Love
21.    Hammered

‘Bad Magic’ is available everywhere now

FFO: Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, AC/DC

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