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MOTORHEAD Aftershock

By Jay Roberts, Massachusetts Contributor
Thursday, November 7, 2013 @ 4:39 PM

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UDR - 2013

While it may cost me some credibility points amongst my fellow metal fans, I've never really been a huge devotee of MOTORHEAD. Oh sure, I liked them well enough. They were fast, loud and aggressive, not too mention they had the larger than life Lemmy out in front of the whole package.

But much like with RUSH, I was pretty satisfied being spoon fed whatever songs might pop up on the radio and never really dug beyond the surface of Kilmister and crew. In MOTORHEAD's case that meant I had a pretty solid musical diet of "Ace of Spades" and maybe "Killed By Death".

So when the chance to review Aftershock was offered, I could pretty much come to the band as open as a person could be.

While I had the download link provided by the record company, I ended up purchasing the album ( the Best Buy exclusive edition comes with a bonus live DVD) and got rewarded with a pretty darn good CD that continues the streak of the band living up to their legend.

The CD explodes from the speakers from the first strains of "Heartbreaker". The tempo never really lets up on the song and you find yourself tired after the pummeling you take throughout the majority of the album.

While Lemmy hammers away at the bass and growls his way along vocally (as well as provide sketch art work for the CD booklet), the guitar work from Phil Campbell remains a draw to aficionados. I've been a fan of drummer Mikkey Dee since he played with KING DIAMOND and he sets a sublime foundation from which to build the rest of the material upon.

There are a couple of instances where even the instantly identifiable vocals of Lemmy get covered over in the sound mix, but for the most part, you never forget who it is you are listening to.

The electrifying pace of the album carries over to straight ahead pure attitude rockers like "Going To Mexico" and the superb "Queen of the Damned". The latter track also serves to remind you that for all his gruffness, Lemmy sure can turn a lyrical phrase.

At first listen, it was a bit hard to get into the album because the band doesn't mess around. They play a fast and furious brand of rock and roll where they get in and then get out. There's 14 songs on the disc, yet it clocks in at just 47 minutes in length. And you don't for a second feel like they skimped on anything. Some of the songs are just so brutally intense, my initial reaction was that if they made some sort of heavy metal themed gonzo porn film, MOTORHEAD would be the only possible band who's music could be used on the soundtrack. Check out the track "Silence When You Speak To Me" and you'll find that when Lemmy wrenches out the song title in the lyrics, you feel damn near compelled to follow his orders.

But it isn't all rip your ears off rockers on Aftershock. The band can reign themselves in to show off their ability to bring on some change of pace subtleness.

"Dust and Glass" moves out slowly before picking up with some nice full on guitar work towards the end of the song.

I particularly enjoyed the slow burning blues rock infused track "Lost Woman Blues". The gravelly vocals from Lemmy gives the song and extra dose of dramatic heft. But they do make the mistake of making the song more of a full on rocker about 3 minutes in. I know that you just gotta rock with MOTORHEAD, but in a stylistic sense I thought the song would've been much better if they'd stayed the course all the way through.

The speed in which the band moves from song to song worked against them with tracks 4 & 5. The first time I listened to the CD and I'm listening to "End of Time". But the song seemed to be rather long. Lo and behold, I was actually halfway through "Do You Believe" and never realized that the first track had ended and a new one began. The two tracks kind of ran into each other and didn't provide much in the way of clue if you weren't literally looking at the CD player digital display.

But that's pretty much minor stuff to "complain" about. The album closes out with a relentless number in "Paralyzed". The lyrics made me think this was a musical version of one of those high flying adventure novels that Clive Cussler writes. It is probably my favorite song on the album.

In recent days and weeks, there has been a lot in the metal press about the continuing health problems of Lemmy. But on Aftershock, he and the band show no sign of slowing down or backing off being one of the loudest and nastiest rock and roll bad ass bands of all time.

4.0 Out Of 5

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