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Motorhead "Kiss Of Death"

By Jeff Kerby, Contributor
Thursday, July 13, 2006 @ 3:32 PM


"...raise the funds necessary

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(Sanctuary)

“She promised paradise, as she lied upon her bed. Like a fallen angel with the devil‘s charm. She promised paradise with the Kiss Of Death.”

When I first heard Lemmy crooning these immortal lines along with the infamous Don Dokken on the title track of the new Motorhead album--let’s face it, I was more shocked than your wife was when she came home early last week and caught you wearing her lipstick and doing pirouettes in front of the mirror as Abba’s “Dancing Queen” played loudly in the background. Yep, this was no less shocking--I probably didn‘t scream as much as your old lady did though….hmm, ok…well, it’s a lie--at least the Motorhead/Dokken thing is, I don‘t know what the hell you do with your free time. What isn’t a lie though is how damn good this record is--even without ol’ Don emoting his best sensitive poetic conjurations. All hail the return of the band that Dave Grohl once stated was “the first metal band that it was ok for the punks to like.” Whereas wearing a Dokken patch on the back of your old denim jacket might get your ass kicked in certain circles back in the day, it seems that Motorhead has always been accepted by nearly everyone who considers themselves an outcast in one way or another. Although they never quite reached the widespread popularity of many of the bands who tried to cop their sound and attitude eventually did, Motorhead has consistently maintained one of the most devout followings in metal. Sure, one could argue that it wouldn’t matter if Motorhead released a bad album or not because people would still come to their gigs, but we can’t verify that assertion because it’s never happened--don’t expect it to here either.

In the lyrics for the first track entitled “Sucker” Lemmy growls that “nobody cares if you’re in or you’re out, we’re gonna give you a smack in the mouth.” Instantly it is apparent that the vocals are turned up and clear on this album which is reminiscent of Cameron Webb‘s production on Motorhead’s last record, Inferno, as well. Although the lyrics are largely discernable, the usual Motorhead wall of noise is still in effect. “One Night Stand” follows, and is a hard rock boogie wherein Lemmy seems to have taken his recent acclaim as being named one of Maxim‘s “living legends of sex“ to heart as he declares, “I‘ve been a slut all of my life. I wish every night was a one night stand.“ Really, the second track swings like Back in Black era AC/DC without losing any of the band’s signature sound and will be doubtlessly added to the growing list of classics Lemmy’s band has created throughout the years. The tempo doesn’t drop at all on the third track “Devil I Know“ either--again, there is a monumentally catchy chorus featured in this song that is supported by a strong backbeat supplied by the ever steady Mikkey Dee that is impossible to ignore. Instead of falling back, the intensity actually gets ratcheted up a notch on “Trigger”, but again, even with an increase in speed and power, a listener can still sing along with this tune at it’s fastest, most chaotic point. “Under The Gun” does eventually slow the festivities a bit, and although this tune isn’t quite as good as the selections that precede it, the guitar solo here fits as tightly as a rhino cock in an elf’s ass….and not nearly as painful listen to. Would that be painful? To listen to I mean---what would that sound like? “Eee, eee!!! I’m a goddamn elf! Ouch, shit!! Get this rhino cock out of my cookie making ass!! Sonovabitch!! Why did I have to be an elf! I dunno. Anyway, the first side of this record concludes with the acoustic intro to “God Was Never On Your Side” a selection that churns and burns before the electric guitar eventually comes in and turns the tune into a classic low verse, loud chorus, low verse situation that proves even more effective as Lemmy’s bare-boned vocals make him sound like father time.

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After an offering as slow as “God Was Never On Your Side”, a listener has to know that a blitzkrieg awaits, and true to form, Motorhead delivers with “Living In The Past”. Song seven basically sounds like a rocker that has time traveled heroically from 1985 to reach out and slap you across your Cheetos-eating face--there is definitely a timeless quality to this number. It’s like you could imagine classic bands like Accept or Armored Saint or whatever performing this because it’s just a solid metal tune. Kiss Of Death returns to the swing on “Christine” as Lemmy does his best Chuck Berry meets Satan impersonation while describing the girl in question as moving “like a rattle snake made out of razor blades. She cant help it, its just the way she’s made.” By the end of the song when the singer simply declares “I just want to jump her bones”, it becomes reassuring that when a man hits sixty, his priorities don’t have to quietly revert to shuffle board or the Senior PGA Tour. “Sword of Glory” immediately follows--although it’s not as instantly memorable as the tune it succeeds, it does have a distinctive feel to it and contains some of Phil Campell’s best bass lines on the disc. “Be My Baby” starts out with a pulsating beat while never letting up and solidifying the idea that by track ten with three songs remaining that this is already a stalwart rock album that contains the type of music a rocker could have cranked up in their Plymouth listening to KNAC on the dial or Z-Rock on AM back in the day.

The last three tracks are interesting as the trio begins with “Kingdom of the Worm”--a tune that features Lemmy singing in a low, guttural, psuedo-ominous tone before finally getting to hooks that seem to possess too many words that serve to make the track uneven--vocally, at least. This is true even as the music tying them together is some of the best on the disc. Now, on one hand, it’s cool that this song is here because it deviates so much from the other tracks, but on the other hand, there is just this sense that it isn’t quite up to par. Of course, “Kingdom of the Worm” would have to be the song that the band has featured most prominently in their promotions thus far. If you did get a chance to hear this track and you liked it, then get happy because there is much better material on this disc. The rebound is quick here though as “Goin’ Down” cranks out the metal and is one of the best tunes on a strong release and features the admonition that “you cant mess with Dr. Rock.” The spiraling guitars and consistent backbeat provide the perfect combination and segue before the record’s conclusion which happens to be a cover of the Ramones’ track “R.A.M.O.N.E.S”. If you’ve been fortunate enough to have seen the band during the last year or two, there’s a good chance you’ve already experienced Motorhead performing the song live-although it has to be acknowledged that the intensity of one of their concert performances can’t really be duplicated on a studio track, the offering here is about as close as a listener could expect.

If there is ever any complaining done about this band, it generally runs along the lines of “all their albums sound the same” or “they aren’t as ‘heavy’ as they used to be”. If you find that this particular line of whining happens to be coming from you--watch out because some heavy, negative rock karma is invariably coming your way. It would be my hope that this negative karma might one day manifest itself in you eventually finding yourself reincarnated as one of Rosie O’Donnell’s crusty ass hairs---and the thing is, you couldn’t complain because you would totally deserve it. It would be your destiny, and one that you alone created. You would be left to suffer and know that you would deserve to experience every sweaty, burning, odiferous sensation emanating from that amorphous blob of flesh. The fact is that whenever Motorhead composes a song that doesn’t fit someone’s rigid perception of what the group is, some genetically-cursed biohazard has to proclaim that they are “selling out.” Hmm, yeah. The problem with that idea is that I’m pretty sure Motorhead knows they are never going be featured on TRL and that their music is never going to get cranked at a Green Peace meeting and going out on the road with the Dave Matthews Band is probably out of the question too. If ever there was a band that has earned the right to do what they want, it is Motorhead. Respect the fact that these guys could obviously rest on their laurels, but that this attitude of half-assitude would run in direct contrast to the workingman ethic that made these guys great to begin with--it‘s “bad man” metal at its finest. By letting you know just how good this record is a full six weeks before the slated August 29 release of Kiss Of Death, KNAC.COM is basically providing a public service announcement wherein you are encouraged you to start collecting the discarded cans needed in order to raise the funds necessary to purchase this.

Trust me--if you do, Kiss Of Death will prove to be worth every empty, rusty tallboy you pick up on the side of the freeway between now and then.

****


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