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There’s no point in describing Motӧrhead’s sound at this point. I’ll give you guys a hint: on their 22nd album in a near-40 year career, they didn’t start playing mellow progged-out jazz music. Aftershock sees the boys in fine form with a collection of looser, faster and more energetic tunes than you’ve seen on many of their other recent releases. I was one of those who thought The World Is Yours was a weak album, and it was one of the Motӧrhead albums I played the least. I didn’t expect this one to knock my block off so thoroughly, but there you go.
The band just sounds hungry and energized as hell on this album. You get a lot more dynamic on here than the stodgy sound of the last few, and also a lot rawer, more punky performances and songwriting ethic going on – there are fewer spots where they slow down to a midpaced stomp. Now, as much as I enjoyed those tunes from albums like Inferno, I always liked Motӧrhead better when they were just playing fast and furious. On ball-busters like “End of Time” with its down and dirty punk style, and “Death Machine” with its gritty, teeth-gnashing stomping like a horde of wild boars, the band sounds virile and pissed off as hell. Opener “Heartbreaker” and its immediate sequel “Coup de Grace” are both fine Motӧrhead tunes that show the band still kicking ass and able to get way more pussy than most bands starting out now. And “Do You Believe” is just a killer tune, with Lemmy howling away about the glories of a rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle like he hadn’t already done it for 30 years before this. But it’s so good here that I’m giving it a pass.
Not to say that there’s no variety here. “Lost Woman Blues” is a contender for best song here with its slow, bluesy (shockingly enough…) build up and then its raunchy, rocking finish – Lemmy shows off his sensitive side, too. “Dust & Glass” is a weird little psychedelic-style ballad that sort of just serves as a breather between the heavy stompers, but it’s good. “Crying Shame” is the band’s usual 50s-style rock ‘n’ roll ditty with the swingin’ pianos behind the groovy metal riffs, and it rocks – how much charisma can a 67 year old man possibly have? Look no further than Lemmy right here. Bad fucking ass. The best tune has to be “Silence When You Speak to Me,” though – an absolutely crushing song with a bass line that will turn your skeleton to dust by the time it’s over. Just an absolute winner of a song.
The album gets a bit weaker as it goes on, with shorter songs like “Queen of the Damned” and “Paralyzed” not quite living up to the standard of the first half of the album. But on a 14-song album with so many highlights, and from a band this old, I’m inclined not to care about a little filler too much. I mean, even the filler is still pretty damned good in its own right. And seriously, 22 albums in and Motӧrhead sounds like this. That’s just amazing. If they were just going through the motions, that would be one thing, but they’ve got a fire under their collective asses and their material here is as strong as it has been at any point since the early 90s, at least. This is a winner of an album, and I’ve had a lot of fun listening to it this year. Definitely going on the Best of the Year list for ’13. Get it now and let Lemmy show you the light and the way.