Indicated by the four X’s on â€œBad Magic’sâ€ cover (underneath their beloved mascot â€œSnaggletoothâ€) Motorhead is 40 years old.
And what better way to celebrate than to put out a new album of original material (rather than cram yet another compilation or boxed set down our throats like some bands)?
Motorhead’s 22nd album opens with the aptly titled â€œVictory or Die.â€ The dirty rock riffs the band is synonymous with churn â€œBad Magic’sâ€ cauldron into the instant hit â€œThunder & Lightning.â€ One of the faster tracks on the album, â€œThunder & Lightningâ€ gets your juices going and the blood flowing with Lemmy’s bombing bass locking with Phil Campbell and Mikkey Dee’s guitar and drums perfectly. The catchy hooks continue with â€œFire Storm Hotelâ€ and â€œShoot Out All of Your Lights.â€ The latter with a particularly fist-banging chorus.
â€œThe Devilâ€ is a bit disappointing as it’s a gurgling, roaring intro for â€œElectricityâ€ and not a standalone track. It sounds like a tank starting up and running onto a battlefield, but it’s probably a myriad of things smashed together to create the â€œsound of the beast.â€ It serves its purpose, but would have been better titled something else.
â€œElectricity,â€ â€œEvil Eyeâ€ and â€œTeach Them How to Bleedâ€ however are the complete opposite. These three songs are at the album’s core and blast through the epicenter with visceral attack, cutthroat lyrics and dead-on-balls accuracy. â€œTeach Them How to Bleedâ€ is especially aggressive and features not only a solid bass intro but one of the best solos of Campbell’s career. If you’re going to get into a fight, at least have this playing in the background.
â€œTill the Endâ€ slows things down a little bit but in the best way a song about brotherhood and companionship can. Of course, the initial meaning of the song all goes out the window when the one’s that follows are called â€œTell Me Who to Kill,â€ â€œChoking on Your Screamsâ€ and â€œWhen the Sky Comes Looking for You.â€ All of these songs are bad-ass and don’t stick to the same formula. The former go for speed and fury while the power-driven latter’s got you dead to rights before going for the jugular with the closer, a Motorized cover of the Rolling Stone’s classic â€œSympathy for the Devil.â€ Lemmy’s deliverance of Mick Jagger’s lyrics prove once and for all that Lemmy is not just God, but the Devil himself as well.
Where Motorhead’s last release â€œAftershockâ€ focused on slower, dirging numbers, â€œBad Magicâ€ goes back to their roots of being a heavy, aggressive band of pirates with a â€œnever-say-dieâ€ attitude. Having been rotten to the core for 40 years, â€œBad Magicâ€ is one hell of a birthday party for Lemmy and company.
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