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Usually, I hate to behave as an alternative person. The fact is, nowadays it seems that being normal is the real challenge, so many are the people who amuse themselves going against common thinking, seeing it as cool or trendy. Music doesn't exactly differ from this, since it's not hard to find someone denigrating a 'Pleasure to Kill' or even a 'Ride the Lightning' hoping to rile the passing metalheads, also on this site. I imagine them in the act of saying: 'Hey, it would be fantastic to make fun of *insert name of half world's favourite band here*, surely nobody has ever done it!' or similar. It has degenerated, really. Anyway, what does this reflection have to do with the review?
By now, I guess everyone has noticed the title, and most of all, in the eyes of many people, the certain dose of blasphemy it contains. Sure, I've listened to the 'Ace of Spades' title-track countless times, it has never tired me, and possibly it never will. I recognize that the album is a milestone of Motörhead career and of music history, it's universally known. Still, when somebody asks me about the 'definitive' album ever done by the Bastards, I've never had any doubts: I've always answered with 4 numbers. Yes, my friends, this time it's my turn to differ. '1916' is my favourite album composed by the late Lemmy Kilmister, and probably the most complete of them. This because it's one of their few albums which contains no weak songs, a small flaw otherwise verifiable on 'Overkill', 'Orgasmatron', 'Ace of Spades' itself.
Although Motörhead has never been renowned for originality, be sure that you won't find 11 copycat tracks here. Rather, it seems that the band wanted to write an album which could sum up the best things of their first 15 years, and even recall some solutions experimented on the overlooked (but, needless to say, great) 'Another Perfect Day'. There is speed, there is melody, there is emotion: there is Hard Rock, with capital letters, and plenty of it. The tracklist shows indeed all the different faces of '1916'. We have powerful tracks like 'The One to Sing the Blues' and 'Make My Day' (one of my favourite songs ever), classic, carefree R'n'R cuts like 'Going to Brazil' and 'Angel City', the emotional apexes found in 'Love Me Forever' and the title-track, the anthemic 'No Voices in the Sky', the experimental, doomy 'Nightmare/The Dreamtime' or the punk-fueled 'Ramones'... you know it's gonna be a great album when even the so-called fillers are pretty good! 'Shut You Down', while not a first choice of many, is straight-to-the-point and shredding; 'I'm So Bad (Baby I Don't Care)' is the only song which I didn't fall for, a 'Dancing on Your Grave' in its place would have earned a perfect score for this album.
Musically speaking, I feel Lemmy couldn't surround himself with better mates than these ones. Philthy Animal left his final mark, returning as a band member for the last time, but still showcasing sparks of brilliance like on the opener track. Guitarists Würzel and Phil Campbell are instead at their 3rd effort, but their potential wasn't wholly exploited on the previous efforts, so it sounds like a step forward. Some of their leads are able to reach a legendary status, be it the seemingly endless outro of 'Make My Day' or the memorable climax of 'Love Me Forever' first solo: I mean, I still have goosebumps while listening to the latter, it's so perfect!
There's really no need to add something else: if, for some strange reason, you still haven't checked whether Motörhead are your ideal band or not, or (even worse) you don't know them and you need some music to begin, look no further than '1916'. If you love Lemmy's crew you will surely have heard it, several times. But fuck it, play it again! It's too good to be left inactive.
On a final note, it really hurts to see that Phil Campbell is the only alive member to have played in this masterpiece. May Lemmy, Würzel and Philthy rest in peace, mankind won't forget you.