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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.