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Are there really fifteen songs on here?? - 73%

UltraBoris, June 3rd, 2004

Well, my tape version (manufactured circa 1994 at the latest, since that's when I got it) has 12 tracks on it, but I downloaded some mp3s that comprise a total of fifteen tracks. I'm not sure what the origin is of that release, but the first 12 are the Ace of Spades LP and the last three are apparently the collaboration with Girlschool that came out around the same time. I distinctly hear the female vox on "Please Don't Touch", and I have no idea about the nature of the other two - is that Lemmy, poorly mixed, or some other dude? It sounds like a dude - backup vox?

Anyway... it's good stuff, though it lacks the awesome bite that the live album No Sleep 'til Hammersmith has. I'm not sure quite what it is. Maybe it's the production, maybe the songwriting, maybe the fact that I heard the live album first, so I'm thinking that songs like Road Crew, the Hammer, and Ace of Spades, are meant to be played live, with that particular blend of slightly sloppy, slightly drunk, and completely fucking insane sounds that live Motorhead are known for.

And yes, there does remain the question of if there really are fifteen distinct songs on here... Motorhead is kinda like AC/DC in that they put out basically the same songs over and over again. They're very entertaining for the most part, but of the hundreds of Motorhead songs I've heard, I'd be hard-pressed to identify more than about thirty without the vocals. The riffs are very similar, and the songs run together. At times, this leads to a very pleasing effect - the fast, under-two-minute Bite the Bullet immediately leads into the slower, more groovy The Chase is Better than the Catch, and the whole thing sounds like a perfectly executed thrash break. I get the distinct feeling that Sodom came to this conclusion too, and exploited it to good use!

Highlights... the opener is legendary, a hyperspeed blast of punkish metal... self-destructive in lyrical approach, throwing in a chaotic solo, and of course that whackjob riffage coming on both guitar and bass at the same. On the live album, it is ridiculously godly - here it is quite good as well. Other higlights include the original closing track, The Hammer, which forms an excellent bookend to Ace of Spades, given the riff similarity. Then, Please Don't Touch is a very old-school rock 'n roll number (by old school I mean OLD school, like the early Beatles or even before that), and it's executed very well by the combination of Motorhead and Girlschool. Usually bonus tracks are worthless, but this is a highlight.

Worth getting? Certainly. It is a bit overrated as an album (especially compared to the very underrated followup: No Sleep 'til Hammersmith) but still quite decent. Just don't expect a whole fuckload of variety!