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Only falling very, very slightly short of the standards of the preceding Overkill or the following Ace of Spades - and that's only because the title track is very, very slightly less iconic and memorable than the title cuts from those two - Bomber continues Motorhead's ongoing fusion of heavy metal aggression and volume, punk rock attitude, and classic rock and roll songwriting.
As with many Motorhead albums, the title song is the best - this time placed as the album closer rather than kicking off the set - with an insanely catchy chorus it's almost impossible not to sing along to. Lemmy's talent as a lyricist is in full flow this time around, with Poison being a frank and emotionally raw condemnation of his absentee father and Lawman being one of the most eloquent "fuck the police" songs ever recorded. Fast Eddie gets a shot at lead vocals on Step Down, but can't really match Lemmy's iconic roar - not that anyone could expect him to, but it does mean that song is a step down compared to the rest of the album.
As far as the music goes, it's more of the classic Motorhead sound - loud as fuck bass and percussion, with Lemmy playing bass like it's another lead guitar, and fast and furious lead guitar from Fast Eddie to sweeten the deal. If you've heard one of their songs from this era - and who hasn't heard Ace of Spades? - you know what you're letting yourself in for, and you know whether you love their classic sound or hate it. If you love it, there's plenty to love here. If you hate it, well, I'm not going to convince you otherwise and Bomber probably won't either.
Some of my earliest experiences with metal came from a cassette version of "Bomber," which I particularly liked very well growing up. As time as moved on, my love for this album and the band that brought it into being has not softened, though I have branched out into other genres of the metal universe.
It comes odd to me that an album like "Bomber," when propped up next to "Overkill" and "Ace of Spades" in the trilogy of "classic" Motorhead, this album always takes last place. Reasons for this are strange to me, especially after hearing both of the supposed superior efforts.
The only reason that I can gather from hearing these three albums for a good number of years now is its because "Overkill" and "Ace of Spades" are generally better known. The title tracks to those albums are better known than the title track in "Bomber," not to mention the song "Ace of Spades" is THE calling card of this band. Rightfully so, as its a timeless speed metal track (a term Lemmy despises, preferring to be known as a rock 'n roll band with attitude.) In reality, taking these three albums as a whole, its impossible to pick a bad one of the three as they're all great listens but "Bomber" always pulls itself ahead of the game. It achieves this by remaining consistent (as opposed to "Overkill," which had a disrupted flow at times) but its songs have individualistic character (exactly where "Ace of Spades" went wrong.) At the end of the listen, you can recall these ten songs and you don't feel the need to replay it to make sure you caught everything. Easily digested gritty biker bar rock, exactly what Motorhead excelled in on this album.
You kick this album off in a great way, with the Motorhead classic "Dead Men Tell No Tales" and it never lets up from there. It runs through a series of different but similiar styles like the kicked back bluesy middle finger to authority on "Lawman" or the speed metal style of "Sharpshooter." This continues on "All the Aces" and the incredible "Stone Dead Forever." If Motorhead could do anything right at this point in their career, it was an early draft of speed metal. We top everything off with the title track as the closer, which is definitely one of the best songs here alongside "Stone Dead Forever" and "Dead Men Tell No Tales." The only song I thought wasn't as good as the others is "Step Down," with "Fast" Eddie Clarke performing on the vocal front. Its not that its a bad song, other than the voice thats leading the way, everything else works just the same as anything else on this album.
Any fan of Motorhead is certainly encouraged to seek this out. Don't let the general opinion lead you astray, this album's title track might be a hair below "Overkill" or "Ace of Spades," but taking the entire album for a spin gives way to realization. Realization in that "Bomber" successfully pulled off being a more consistent album but giving each song characteristic. It remains one of my absolute favorite Motorhead albums and ranks in my top 10 favorite albums. The best thing for you to do is to check it out for yourself and see exactly what I mean. This is the sort of thing to be present in the jukebox of all smoke layered pool halls after nine o' clock.
Of all the early Motorhead albums, I’d have to elevate Bomber as the best of the bunch. Sporting the thickest, meanest production of the pre-Orgasmatron albums and a nice sampling of the band’s classic songwriting prowess, Bomber is as varied as it is entertaining and is a sure bet for Motorhead faithful.
Lemmy and the boys aren’t yet playing any Ace of Spades style speed rockers, so the tracklist is notoriously bluesier than their following endeavors. Not that there aren’t any up-tempo numbers; tracks like “Stone Dead Forever” and “Dead Men Tell No Tales” prove otherwise. But everything is firmly planted in the blues. No more Capricorn-style psychedelic numbers either. Just straight up blues ‘n’ roll. Rockers like the driving title track and the swaggering “Lawman” coexist with the smoky bar ballad “Step Down” (sung by Eddie Clark) and the deadly down-tempo “Sweet Revenge,” highlighted by that sliding chorus riff. Eddie and Lemmy rock as hard as ever on here, swapping leads and melodic fills like old stories across a beer-stained poker table in a seedy pub, with Phil Taylor providing the backbone. Speaking of pubs, it sounds like Lemmy went through a few pitchers before recording his vocals; they’re as raspy as ever. Expect plenty of quick wit and rabid wordplay from him on this one, he’s at his best.
My final compliment to this album is the production. Raw and thick, Bomber is the last album that would get this kind of treatment before the band smoothed out the sound for the legendary Ace of Spades. It sounds like it was recorded in one take in the basement of a noisy bar (probably was, too). Personally, I prefer this grungy, dirty Motorhead sound over the cleaner sound of future albums, but alas, it was not to be. Ace of Spades, Iron Fist, and so on are noticeably cleaned up.
So yeah, if you dig Motorhead, you’ll dig this record. More no-nonsense old-school heavy metal from the masters of it, Bomber could even challenge George Thorogood in the best-drinking-music department. Bottoms up.
Who could have possibly thought that after the brutality left by their previous album OVAHKILL (or Overkill to you "Metal-impaired"), Motörhead had enough in them to release an even more brutal album later on that year. This is... BOMBAH! (or Bomber to you "Metal-impaired").
From start to finish this album is a beast with Philthy Animal Taylor having a seizure inducing performance on the drums that would be near the fastest for it's time, Fast Eddie redefining shredding on a guitar and finally Lemmy showing us why he's the biggest bad-ass in metal with his performance on the Bass/Vocals.
We start off with the fast and angry "Dead Men Tell No Tales", this is your typical Motörhead opening track that is simply there to let you know that these guys are better than you and would kick your ass if you feel otherwise, definately a high point on this album. The next two songs are much slower and bluesier, "Lawman" and "Sweet Revenge". Now these are nowhere near as good as the opener, but these songs are songs that are made to headbang to... the reason us humans have necks is so we can headbang to songs like these, although the former does drag on a bit.
The speed gradually builds up with "Sharpshooter", which is simply enough, about a Sharpshooter. This song is much faster than the two that came before it, but it doesn't really live up to "Dead Man Tell No Tales", still a pretty strong song.
Then comes "Poison", or as I like to call it "FUCKING THRASH!", from the second this song begins you're in for one of the fastest songs for it's time, this is one of the greatest examples of Thrash meets Punk up until Overkill's "Feel the Fire". The song might go for less than three minutes, but if it were any longer you'd have neck problems.
The greatness continues with "Stone Dead Forever", the longest song on this and one of the heaviest. This song is a classic and still receives concert play to this day, one of Motörhead's best here. "All the Aces" is another fast ditty, but it's still rather forgettable. "Step Down" is something different, it's Fast Eddie's shot at vocals, it sounds more "Paranoid"-era Black Sabbath than it does Motörhead, this is a good song, but is more or less filler. "Talking Head" is a mid paced song with pretty fun Bass licks during the solo section, but that's all it has really. Then we get...
IZZEH BOMBAH! IZZEH BOMBAHAHAH!
You guessed it, the title track "Bomber". Now remember the stuff I said about "Dead Men Tell No Tales", "Poison" and "Stone Dead Forever" (sans the longest song part), add all of that together, then turn it up to fucking 11 and we get one of the greatest anthems to come out of heavy metal. From the fast and furious riffage and verses, to the melody bridge or to the onslaught that is the chorus, this song fucking owns and I couldn't think of a better way to close this album.
So there you have it, an album that is the definition of Motörhead, the definition of Metal, the definition of headbanging and the definition of turning it to 11.
Sadly pretty much ever Motörhead studio release that follows this fails to live up to the aggression and all round awesomeness displayed here, probably the only Motörhead that can top this would be their legendary "No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith", but that's for another review.
It's a Bomber!
This is probably the first ESSENTIAL Motorhead album. The thing with Motorhead is that sometimes they are a bit too filler and a bit too inconsistent - one gets that when they release two albums of 10 songs each a year... when they are dead on, they are a fierce mix of punk, metal, and rock 'n roll, with all three aspects of the band coming on strong, with each song combining all three in some proportion or another.
THIS is an album that is fierce and dead FUCKING on. Combine basher anthems like "Lawman" and "Sweet Revenge", which are monstrosities of Sabbath meets old-school riff rock like Hendrix or the Kinks. Then other songs are pure Motorhead riffage, that NO other band sounds like - the MC5 wish they were this heavy, Judas Priest wish they were this pissed off, the Sex Pistols wish they were this coherent... All the Aces, Talking Head... the simple speed stuff, half guitar, half bass, all power all the time.
This is their second LP of 1979 (third, if you count the initial release of the 1975 recording, On Parole) - and a far more violent release than the previous offering, OVAHKILL. What the title track of that album brought into full force, THIS album continues on. The guitar and bass tones are much more similar here than there to The Masterwörk, No Sleep 'til Hammersmith of course.
With the opener, "Dead Men Tell No Tales", and the album kicks on a high note, and never stops. The epic madcap soloing of "Sharpshooter", combined with that absurdly heavy bass backing - shades of Ace of Spades and Overkill - and the simple Priest-ish riffs... I hear "Delivering the Goods" and even "Island of Domination" in the gallop. The more melodic, punk work "Poison", with the gang choruses a la the Ramones... "Step Down" with Fast Eddie taking on the vocals, and the whole thing comes out like a late 60s burner a la a much more violent The Doors...
these guys were ALL. These guys weren't afraid to wear all their influences on their sleeves, and come up with a sound that is unmistakeably their own nonetheless... the loud destructive bass, the shrieking guitars, the LOUDEST BAND IN THE WORLD of course... the epic (yes, even in under five minutes, this song is a complete masterwork) "Stone Dead Forever" with its glorious intro licks leading into the awesome speed metal riffage (and the random feedback at 2:48 - something tells me they left it in) and the solo that's all Ten Years After, Times One Hundred... and of course the final track.
THE TITLE TRACK!! THE TITLE TRACK!! THE BOMBER!! THE BOMBER!!
Well worth it. Well fucken worth it. First there is Sabbath. Then there is Priest. Then there is Motorhead. With these three bands, and NOTHING else, you can take over the world.
Yes, pretty sad that in the two years of this site, there's been two reviews for this LP.
(Oh yeah, my CD comes with a few live bonus tracks... not sure when they were recorded, but they sound completely fucking competent, though not QUITE as vicious as No Sleep.)