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2004's "Inferno" wasn't exactly a mainstream breakthrough but it did seem to give the band a bit of exposure that it hadn't seen in a while. It was the first Motorhead album that I'd ever heard and left me along with many other fans curious to see what the band would follow it up with. Thankfully this 2006 effort manages to provide another batch of material.
While "Inferno" may be the heaviest album that Motorhead has ever put out, this album seems to have more in common with "Overkill" and reflects some particularly bluesy influences. The riffs still kick a good deal of ass and Lemmy's vocals are as excellent as always, but there is a somewhat lazy feel to the band's execution and song structures. This album also features cameos by Poison guitarist CC Deville and Alice In Chains/Ozzy Osbourne bassist Michael Inez, though they're not that noticeable...
The songs are also pretty diverse for a band that is accused of having written the same album eighteen times. You've got some faster anthems ("Sucker," "Trigger," "Sword of Glory"), upbeat rockers ("One Night Stand," "Devil I Know," "Christine," etc.), mid-tempo tracks ("Under The Gun," "Living In The Past," "Kingdom of the Worm," etc.), and a rare acoustic ballad ("God Was Never On Your Side"). The latter track definitely stands out for its uniqueness and the sweet vocal performance but there's something to be said for the pummeling "Sucker," the humorous "One Night Stand," and the interestingly sequenced "Trigger."
Lyrically, this album covers the same set of Motorhead subjects but it seems to serve as sorts to "Orgasmatron." "Devil I Know" and "Under the Gun" both make references to "Claw" while "Going Down" frequently makes mention to a certain "Dr. Rock." That and "Kingdom Of The Worm" seems to be one of Lemmy's attempts to rewrite that album's legendary title track...
All in all, this is a pretty good album though a noticeable step down from the awesomeness that was "Inferno." The band does seem to be on autopilot at times, but the songs are pretty solid and prove that Lemmy and his crew truly can piss excellence...
My Current Favorites:
"Sucker," "One Night Stand," "Trigger," "God Was Never On Your Side," and "Be My Baby"
There are times when you just gotta go with what's tried and true to get yourself off, and what better way to do it than a slice of patented Manic Motorheadbanging Mania? The opening track of this album alone will get you up and running in the morning as a prime example of that, but in classic Lemmy fashion I'm getting ahead of myself.
This, contrary to what the last reviewer said, is just as good as "Inferno" in my opinion. It has a similar clear and room-filling production job and musically, wellll...it's Motorhead! If you are at all familiar with them, you know what you're getting; a bludgeoning hodgepodge of chundering speed metal ("Sucker", "Trigger"), heavy raunchy blues ("One Night Stand", "Christine"), straight ahead pounding rock n' roll ( "Devil I Know"), and even a mellow ballad--mellow by 'Head standards anyway--called "God Was Never On Your Side". These songs are, incidentally, my favorites so far on the album.
The latter song surprised me not because of it starting with soft acoustic guitar jangling, but because Lemmy weighs in with a heartfelt vocal performance that is a subdued croon as opposed to his customary grizzled growl (though he gets in plenty of that on the choruses) . And the tune is still mighty heavy, it's just different, and they pull it off well. The rest of this album is rib-sticking fare, with Mikkey Dee battering his drums like they done him wrong, lots of Phil Campbell's fine bluesy guitar work and thick riffs, and that inimitable trademark chainsaw bass massacre and lycanthropic throat warble that can only issue from the legendary Lemmy Kilmister. But "Sucker"...whew! That is one of the best album openers I've heard in some time, with its relentless drive and thundering roar of riffs and jackhammer drums.
There are the usual jabs at organized religion lyrically, as well as life's struggles, woman troubles and the joy of women as well ("Christine" has a downright playful feel)--you were expecting Lemmy to write about the plight of Tibet or something? It does dip a little at the end, hence the less than perfect rating, but even that is not so bad; the less than perfect fare on this album is still head and shoulders above the best that many bands can offer. And Phil Campbell's son, Todd, even gets a writing credit on the last song, "Going Down", as he had originally written it for his band, Skawd. Dad nicked it for this album, though, and the kid has a future if this is anything to go by.
Last thing you need to know? It's fuckin' Motorhead, man! Of course it's going to be good. And that's my final word.
Motörhead have never been able to record two good albums back-to-back (the only exception being 1983’s “Another Perfect Day” and 1986’s “Orgasmatron”). Maybe the reason for this “anomaly” was the fact that these were the only two consecutive Motörhead - albums that were recorded by two completely different line-ups (apart from Lemmy, of course).
On the basis of this theory after 2004’s fantastic “Inferno” it was time for a “bad” album. Of course this is pretty misleading as this is a really good album, but compared to the 93% I would have given “Inferno” there is a difference of 11%, and this is quite a lot in that high range.
Therefore I have to say that Lemmy is wrong when he claims that "It's better than 'Inferno'… It's better songs, better arrangements and a better performance from me vocally, and a better performance from Phil Campbell on the guitar; he plays great on the songs."
It’s true, however, that Phil’s guitar playing and Lemmy’s vocal performance are great, but I don’t think they are better than their work on “Inferno”. The Cameron Webb - production of “Kiss Of Death” is not even similar to the production on “Inferno” but it’s identical, and therefore the only difference between these two albums is the quality of the songs.
“Kiss Of Death” is full of good songs, but if you compare both albums as a whole “Inferno” always seems to be one step ahead, as the songs seem to be that little bit stronger, plus “Inferno” did not contain even one filler, while “Kiss Of Death” contains a few songs I usually skip, e.g. “Under The Gun” (good pre-chorus though) or the “Sacrifice”-styled “Kingdom Of The Worm”.
Of course “Kiss Of Death” has its share of potential classics, just listen to the choruses of “Trigger” and “Christine” (you can’t get any better than that) or “God Was Never On Your Side” - Motörhead-ballad number 8, and a masterpiece just like the previous 7!
Last but not least, I will never understand Motörhead’s criteria for choosing a particular song for a video. “Life’s A Bitch” was an odd choice, to say the least (this would actually have been the last song I would have chosen from “Inferno”), and this time they did it again by choosing “Be My Baby” for the video.
“Kiss Of Death” is so similar to “Inferno” that it can be seen as a sequel. So if you liked “Inferno” you can’t do anything wrong by purchasing this one as well, but if you have to choose only one of them “Inferno” is the one to get!
Motorhead returned to form with their last masterpiece Inferno, while Hammered was a heavy record, the songwriting and riffs just weren’t as strong as on previous efforts. Seemed to me like Lemmy spent most of his energy for the track “The Game” which was good, but when linked to television stunt man Triple H I just found it unlistenable. Inferno kicked some life into the band which could have easily continued down the path of Hammered and began their downward spiral as has happened with many a metal band. So pumped were Lemmy and company that it spawned a dvd from the tour and it doesn’t take a genius to see that Motorhead are still having a blast on stage after all these years.
Which brings us to the new album entitled Kiss of Death again a vintage Lemmy Kilmister tongue in cheek and memorable like always. Kiss of Death features a bakers’ dozen of fast, pummeling, driving rock ‘n’ roll that we have come to expect and that has earned Motorhead their notorious reputation as the #1 road band in the world. One thing though, while this record is outstanding, you might not really think so at first listen. On Kiss of Death Motorhead incoporate contemporary rock elements, which caught me off guard, no they didn’t rid themselves of their gritty sound. However they have proven that they can hang with the young guns. Which if done right doesn’t embarrass the old timers.
Kiss of Death features some impressive moments, my favorite tracks on this album are; “God Was Never On Your Side,” another example of the genius of Lemmy Kilmister, he is one of the best songwriters that the mainstream media doesn’t know about. I also enjoy “Under the Gun,” which if you fancy “You Better Run,” or their blues stuff like “Hoochie Koochie Man,” you’ll just devour this track! And there’s the straight up rocker entitled “Christine” this one is no doubt influence by Lemmy’s love of Rockabilly music and Little Richard, it’s just so evident. And the closer on Kiss of Death find Motorhead revisiting a number from 1918 “R.A.M.O.N.E.S.” which makes it’s return as a tribute to the fallen Ramones members. Motorhead has been around for 30 plus years and Kiss of Death is an example of a band’s ability to buck trends and keep it fresh despite being locked into their signature sound.