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Motorhead have not had a problem remaining relevant through a long period of time, seeing the rise and fall of every scene from the mid 70s until now, playing basically the same brand of raunchy, ugly, fist pumping rock music with a speed metal edge to it. In the midst of the late 80s craze of either hair metal crowd pleasing or technique driven Bay Area thrash, Lemmy and company took their show on the road yet again and provided the same line of older, stripped down, nasty good times to said generation. The resulting “No Sleep At All” sees the band in Finland, which would later become a hotbed for all things metal, and essentially at the top of their game, despite the heavy collection of well known songs on their set list.
Unlike “Live At Brixton ‘87’, which essentially had the same set list, the pacing and production quality here is about as good as they come. There were literally patches on said album where you couldn’t find Lemmy’s bass, and sometimes it was difficult to even hear the 2nd guitar, but here the dimensions are perfectly balanced like four clenched knuckles ready to bash a person’s school in. The heaviness quality on “Deaf Forever” is so high, and the arrangement so tight that it rivals anything heard off of Accept’s heaviest studio releases. The performance of “Ace Of Spades” on here is actually better than the studio version, with about twice the attitude out of Lemmy’s gritty voice and three times the guitar power out of both Campbell and Wurzel, who pull of a lethal dueling version of the guitar solo that would make Tipton and Downing proud.
But the most appealing aspect of this album, particularly given the heavy collection of classic fanfare that could and often does end up in the band’s set list to this day, is the freshness of the performance practices. The versions of “Overkill”, “Doctor Rock” and “Eat The Rich” are pretty well spiced up with an enthusiastic guitar performance and couple of interesting additives, particularly the passage of chaotic feedback and electronic noise at the end of “Overkill”. Even plainer sounding, rocking songs like “Stay Clean” and “Traitor” are so well performed that I end up liking them more on here than I did when they were first committed to recording in the studio.
Although there is a rather large collection of worthy pickups in Motorhead’s catalog as it pertains to live releases, this is arguably the best one to get as a representative of the band’s two guitarist era of the mid 80s to early 90s. They didn’t jump on the bandwagon that had started up among band’s they’d influenced in the thrash scene completely, but there is something of a reaction to what was going on there is the way they approach their own format, particularly as it pertains to guitar soloing and hardness.