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It may come as a surprise to most who aren't familiar with their full catalogue, but Motörhead are a band who have never really made a bad album. The first seven of their LPs (excluding No Parole which is essentially an inferior alternate version to their self-titled début) are all stone cold classics featuring the best of their material, and although their has been a few troughs since then like Snake Bite Love/We Are Motörhead at the tail end of the 90's there has been absolute killer cuts after their glory period too such as 1916 and even as recent as 2008's Motörizer. As a follow up to The Wörld Is Yours in 2010 this is at least an equal achievement, a solid effort to show that Motörhead are timeless and will always still have it. And with the band skirting the edge of destruction more than ever before a reassuring cut like this is exactly what fans need.
A track by track breakdown of a Motörhead record is always going to be a bit of a pointless exercise as everyone will know their 21 times tried and tested formula, and I'm happy to report that it is still as effective as always. “Keep Your Powder Dry” wonders off true course slightly with a lead riff that sounds more like something from an AC/DC song but Lemmy's unmistakable chord-driven bass style keeps it in Motörhead's yard. Likewise when things get bluesy on the Steve Miller Band-style Hammond organ-accompanied “Crying Shame” and the stripped down John Lee Hooker/Lightnin' Hopkins-esque Folk Blues feel of “Lost Woman Blues” and “Dust and Glass” it always has Lemmy's trademark stamped firmly across it.
When it comes to the more straight-up rockers there is not many tracks here I would like to hear replace some classics in a live set, but “Queen Of The Damned” is definitely one of them. Most of the songs on here clock in at under 3 minutes and that is more than enough time for a chord-driven bassline to open it up, a cracker main riff, bluesy licks, throaty vocals, short but sweet solo and lyrics about a dangerous woman. What more could you want from a Motörhead song?
Nothing else on here quite matches this tune, but a few stand out thanks to Lemmy's still timeless lyrical ability, in particular closing track “Paralyzed” which boasts probably the band's best opening lyric since “Killed By Death” when Lemmy croons; “Running through the jungle/looking for a light/running like a bastard baby/in the jungle night” Young whippersnappers like Speedwolf could take a tip from “Do You Believe?” when it comes to righting great Rock n Roll lyrics but there is a worldweariness in some of the lyrics here that can only come from the seeing the things an ageing rocker has and can never be faked by youth. “Coup De Grace” is one such cut but when the man himself “dances with the devil” at “The End Of Time” it is the perfect song for describing where he is in life right now.
Motörhead have definitely had their reputation slightly tarnished in recent years by some borderline Gene Simmons-like poor choices for merchandising ( Motörhead wine anyone?), being unable to control the pricing and content of endless compilations and boxsets fired off their label's production line and more recently Lemmy's ill health affecting live performances. As I said before, Motörheadbangers are in need of a little reassurance and I think this album fits that bill well. They have always been a band who have behaved like every day could be their last as a band, and while this is an emotionally tough time to be a fan of theirs as that possibility edges ever closer it is almost comforting to now that if Motörhead were no more as of tomorrow then this would be a fitting epitaph to an unparalleled career. [7/10]