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When I was young I was the nicest guy I knew... - 79%

Nightcrawler, July 6th, 2005

"March Ör Die" is one of the releases that usually doesn't get much mention when talking about Motörhead, and indeed, it's quite far from the neck-ripping and rib-crushing classics like "Overkill", "Bomber" and "Ace of Spades", but it's definitely not a downer of an album. The album is somewhat slower than you'd usually expect from the band, more ear-friendly and melody-centered, even on faster songs like "Name In Vain" and "Asylum Choir". But the badass attitude is still there, and they come up with some sinister riffs to go along with the melody.
One thing that this album does better than their earlier material is the variety - there's the mainly acoustic ballad "I Ain't No Nice Guy", there's the classic catchy rock n' roll numbers like "Stand", "Jack The Ripper" and "You Better Run" (which features the classic old blues riff from Muddy Waters' "Mannish Boy", or more famously from the George Thorogood And The Destroyers track "Bad To The Bone"), the midpaced bass-driven fistpumping anthem "Hellraiser" and a couple of fast numbers laced with fine melodies.

Motörhead was, not too uncommonly, going through some instabilities in the lineup at this time. But for this album, they did find the drummer they've played the longest with - Greek/Swede Mikkey Dee, who seems to be intending to stay in the band for the remaindeer of it's career. Though he only played on one song on this album, namely "Hellraiser", but he proved himself there to be clearly Motörhead-worthy by giving the strongest drumtrack on the album right there. Before they found him, Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor played drums on the song "I Ain't No Nice Guy" before he got booted out of the band, and session musician Tommy Aldrige played on the rest, doing an ok job, but lacking the power necessary to back up this legendary band quite properly.
Guitarwise, we have Mick "Würzel" Burston and some fellow in the bookletcalled "Zööm", and they definitely do the trick here. Both work well together to write some catchy melody-infused power chord riffs with a nice mood all over, and there's surely some kickass solos to be found in the album. On the ever-so-loud bass, Lemmy tears shit up and remains a heavier element when the guitars turn more melodic, and of course his wonderful voice spawned by Jack Daniels and Marlboro is just as fucking Heavy with a capital H as ever, and even works perfectly well on the more emotional numbers.
There's the previously mentioned "I Ain't No Nice Guy", which is mainly acoustic except for the solo, and has some nice piano parts. A mellow but happy mood, which coupled with brilliant lyrics and excellent vocal work by both Lemmy and a certain guesting Ozzy Osbourne, works really well and is hell of a fun listen to. Another more emotional track is "Too Good To Be True", one of the definite highlights on here - it's fast, and built around a simple, melodic progression of power chord riffage and works incredibly well. Coupled with strong vocal lines and a superb chorus that sticks in your head, this song apparently about lost love is not quite what you'd expect from the band that wrote "Love Me Like A Reptile" but goddamn does it work!

Other highlights include the classic bass-driven "Hellraiser" which is ten times heavier than the Ozzy Osbourne version, the upbeat, inspiring and quite simple opening track "Stand", the sinister "You Better Run" - almost as hardass as "Bad To The Bone" - which features some excellent drumming and subtle bluesy piano lines - "Jack The Ripper" with the killer blues-but-heavier-and-faster main riff and completely sinister, bluesy breakdown, and not to forget the excellent cover of Ted Nugent's "Cat Scratch Fever", which they execute perfectly.
The other songs are not quite as outstanding but the only really downer on here is the closing title track, which seems to go on forever without getting anywhere. But aside from that, there's good stuff everywhere, and this should definitely not be lacking in the collection of any Motörhead fanatic. From the faster, melodic numbers to the slower bluesy rockers, this is clearly worth your time and money.