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The end of an era already came for Motörhead after the unexpected no. 1 they reached in the British charts with the legendary live record No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith. It is said that’s what concert albums use to determine and that’s what exactly happened in their case. Lemmy was dissatisfied with Iron Fist, Clarke left afterwards, they tried a risky experiment with Robbo Robertson but the fans disliked Another Perfect Day, then the ex-Thin Lizzy guitarist left too followed by Phil. Lemmy was left alone but instead of sitting in a corner and cry, he resurrected the group in 1984 with a completely new line-up which impressed us very soon with those magnificent 4 tracks on the No Remorse compilation. Good times were back.
These songs were supposed to be a back to basics work, denying the previous record melodic patterns, intended to bring back the real energy of their earliest stuff. “Nothing Up My Sleeve” (I think I already heard that middle riff on “Leavin’ Here”) and “Ain’t My Crime” get rid of the class and mellow nature of the Brian Robertson material with sharper more direct riffs and rampant loose rhythms featuring Motörhead characteristic song-construction efficiency. Vocals are quite insistent this time, with instruments supporting Lemmy’s words in the background, leaving much space for him to perform his lines. A couple of pretty heavy cuts here give guitars attention again, “Built For Speed” and “Deaf Forever” are configured with slow weighty guitar lines, repetitive and intense with peaceful tempos, pure instrumental simplicity that lacks no competence nor grace from these rockers who manage to make something consistent out of it. The rest of compositions reflect the explicit will of Motörhead to recover their genuine initial style of rapid rabid rock & roll. Velocity becomes particularly vital for the development of “Mean Machine” and “Claw”, both totally uncontrolled, relentless and fierce, though keeping the casual hard rock essence, away from brutality. Speed is no exception and soon reappears on other numbers, “Ridin’ With The Driver” specially has very dynamic tempos, violent riffing and unique vocals, those are the elements that define most of this material, an absolutely brilliant formula that always worked out for Lemmy and the boys with no exception. The culmination of the whole record arrives with the mighty title-track which includes some of Mr. Kilmister’s most unforgettable lyrics, an amazingly rough leading riff and a sinister climax that made it become an instant classic.
This meant a victory for the band, who managed to survive after those critical line-up changes and uncertain times. It’s memorable these songs refused to follow the commercial fashion of comical sounds of glam, Motörhead were one of the very few who stayed loyal to themselves and their identity, something we wish some of their NWOBHM compatriots did. They didn’t take any inspiration from their disciples either, the many outrageous young thrash groups. In fact, they preferred to repeat the same formulas and play much traditional rock & roll instead of trying to be heavy and extreme. Most of these tunes are rather casual, cheerful than aggressive or simply attempting to be fast in vain, a sensible choice that proved these guys would never intend to imitate anyone or pretend to be something they’re not. However, it’s evident they wanted to make their music more energetic, less refined and classy than the previous album offering, getting rid of all the elements Robbo brought, specially melody and that instrumental complication. Everything now is simplified, straight as it used to be in the beginning, although lyrics seem to be present in bigger percentage on certain tracks. Choruses are more incessant and repetitive, making this material certainly commercial and easy, unconsciously. The great work of the amazing combo Phil (Campbell) & Würzel brought a lot of renewed power, young blood that Motörhead demanded, though they seem to lack the magic of Eddie, performing sometimes humble riffs that don’t progress much and solos that abuse of pedal effects and wah-wah, kinda noisy and excessively spontaneous. The other new guy in the band made a much brilliant performance; Gill’s drumming is simple, far from technical but strengthful and massive, controlling double bass-drums with total precision.
So this record was the beginning of a new era for Motörhead, it demonstrates they could prevail with this promising line-up without getting stuck in the past, although their attitude, honesty and guts remained intact. Maybe this isn’t Lemmy and co.’s greatest work, either the most remembered by the fans from the Würzel years but fun is guaranteed undoubtedly with each of these cool songs. Unfortunately, their sound became instable and generic shortly afterwards in the minor following release Rock & Roll, lacking the grace and power of mid-80’s classics like “Locomotive” or the “Killed By Death” hit. However, they never made a bad album in their whole career and this one is definitely no exception.
In a year which produced such albums as Master of Puppets and Reign of Blood which were carrying metal music into its bold and aggressive future, the 7th studio album from legends Motörhead served as a beloved contrast, a study in the rock and roll fury of the medium's past. From its iconic hellish train cover image, Barbarella inspired title to the steady distorted thrum of Lemmy's bass, it's yet another of the band's myriad classics.
"Deaf Forever" makes for a nice lead-in with its steady rocking rhythm, dominating bass and shouting samples. The lyrics are also pretty serious business here as evident in the chorus:
'Sword and shield
Bone and steel
Deaf forever to the battles din'
"Nothing Up My Sleeve" follows the "Ace of Spades" format of fast and fun, shuffling blues metal with big chords below Lemmy's blue collar poetics. "Ain't My Crime" rocks the hell out, with a noisy guitar strumming above its chords. "Claw" is lowdown, dirty and mean and sexy. He just don't understand the power of the claw! "Mean Machine" is perfect Motörhead, raw and powerful metal blues performed like no other band. One of the best tracks on the album. "Built for Speed" is a mid-paced tribute to the rock and roll lifestyle. "Ridin' With the Driver" delivers a punk edge and "Doctor Rock" is a corny classic.
This is the same song in which Lemmy tells some lucky female inspiration she's got a body like a Marshall Stack. Grrowwrr! The title track "Orgasmatron" ends the album with its very simple rhythm and some of Lemmy's most gnarled and brutal vocals ever, despite the lack of many notes in the riffs it's almost hypnotic and another of the band's classics.
The entire album is slathered in a rotten, dirty production. You feel like you've just strolled into a bar in HELL and Motörhead is the house band. Expect some fightin' and at least one bottle broken over your head. Also expect not to be my friend if you don't like this, poseur!
‘Orgasmatron’ was the first Motörhead album in three years after the excellent but largely misunderstood ‘Another Perfect Day’. A completely new line up (with the exception of Lemmy of course) and years of record company troubles meant the band really had something to prove and ‘Orgasmatron’ not only proved this point but it forced your brains through your nose in the process.
‘Orgasmatron’ shows a healthy balance of the bands signature rock ’n’ roll swagger with more experimental touches, as such this may be more preferable to fans who found
‘Another Perfect Day’ too far removed from the ‘Fast’ Eddie era. I do however have one point of contention with ‘Orgasmatron’, its mix is pretty bizarre. At times the guitars seem to disappear from the mix completely which is especially odd considering that what was then a newly twin guitar band should surely have more guitar, right? The actual production sound itself is fine with a particularly excellent drum sound…but the mix is as iffy as four week old seafood.
Performance wise the band play with a youthful exuberance of a band who know they can rock like bastards, but just haven’t been able to put it down to record yet. As such the ‘Orgasmatron’ displays a vitality and hunger that is essential to a great Motörhead record. Guitarist’s Würzel and Phil Campbell have distinctive yet complementary styles fitting within the established Motörhead mould but instantly recognisable. Würzel (along with being a scarecrow) is the more off the wall of the two relying on over the top bends, trills and even his fairly distinctive take on tapping, in all it makes for a great fun listen. Phil on the other hand is more reserved in his style, being more of a traditional blues rock base with a definite touch of class. In addition to this the pair fit in with the general tradition of Motörhead hell raising for instance Phil drank two bottles of vodka a day in the mid 80’s and Würzel listed his ambitions as getting up in the morning and drinking as much as he could…Gentlemen, I salute you! Other new boy here is Pete Gill ,of Saxon fame (or not), who is a great drummer with a pounding double bass sound. However, Pete proved to be a bit of an odd character (even by Motörhead standards!) who kept a note book with all kinds of bizarre things like ‘Phil Campbell owes me 50p’ and apparently enjoyed flashing himself in public. Lem, as always sounds like a plane taking off. But lyrically he puts down some truly excellent work, even by his own lofty standards. The title track happens to be everyone’s favourite set of Motörhead lyrics, focusing on the macabre side of organised religion which a finesse and elegance that few could match. But lyrical themes are varied and interesting from more darkness and horror in say ‘Deaf Forever’ to classy double entendres (no really, stay with me!) such as ‘Your magic circle ain't where's its at’ the circle would be the physiological effect of girls on men…women are sorcerers because they can give men an erection from a distance, magical prick teasers don’t y’know! Splendid, learn along with Lem.
‘Orgasmatron’ does featuring some new ideas for Motörhead. First of all they open with a mid paced number, eschewing the often used ploy (not only by Motörhead) of opening with a bit of speed metal. ‘Deaf Forever’ however is rather excellent number driven along by some deliciously simple riffs and rudimentary drum work (bare a few killer fills). The chorus is ridiculously catchy and I like the little shouty thing at the end of each line. The title track itself is built around a bass drone and although cut from the same cloth as ‘Deaf Forever’ it’s heavier, morbid and menacing. A truly haunting song condensing all the horror of thousands of years of plebiscite misery into…oh, about five and a half minutes. It’s written from an interesting perspective too, from kind of religion as a omnipresent and prevalent being looking at all the suffering its caused in glee. This is anti-organised religion lyrics done exceptionally well; eloquent and poetic without “God is gay, hail Satan!” Kerry Kingism’s.
But as always we do get are beloved straight-forward rockers and gee whiz aunt Mary aren’t their some corkers! ‘Dr Rock’ is a lively and bouncy number and a stalwart of their live set to this day. It’s got some nice lead bass work and doesn’t have a proper guitar solo but rather a noise that sounds like a helicopter…Jawsome! ‘Built For Speed’ is shining example of one of Lemmy’s many odes to the power, splendour and majesty of rock (which in fact is so majestic that one can use heroic diction). Musically, its got a drum intro to die for, some simply divine riffs (as in their simple and divine) and a nice trade off section, which Phil comes out trumps in by making a noise that goes like this *naw naw naw naw* , not that Würzel is slacking either. On the rest of the album we get lots of lovely straight forward loud, fast and furious rock ’n’ roll, all which are catchy. So it’s pretty clear ‘Orgasmatron’ is all out arse kicking rock album.
1986 may have been the year of thrash, but once again Motörhead proved there just isn’t a substitute for the new religion, the electric church…rock ’n’ roll. Let it live, let it live. Somewhat of an overlooked classic by the music press and some more casual Motörhead fans, ‘Orgasmatron’ is worthy of a place in any rock fans collection.
MotÃ¶rhead need no introductions. They've been chugging out pummeling, riff-heavy rock music for the better part of the last 30 years, and they show no sign of stopping soon. This was their 8th full length offering, Orgasmatron, and it's exactly what you'd expect from these dinosaurs of rock - Lemmy Kilmister's charismatic gritty snarl layered over a jubilantly energetic bucketful of grooving hard rock riffs and juicy, luscious classic metal solos. MotÃ¶rhead have always stuck to this formula, and it's a much-needed breath of fresh air when you consider the ridiculous levels that some bands take their "progressions" to these days. People always cite repetition as a drawback to music, but that is a flawed generalization - this, while sticking to the same formula throughout, kicks a lot of ass.
Every song here is very good, with the best probably being the title track, which is a slower, grinding number with cool lyrics and an excellent groove, with a vocal performance that will send chills down your spine, followed closely by the opening ass-stomper "Deaf Forever," which will never come out of your head, no matter how much you try. "The Claw" is another awesome song, pretty typical for MotÃ¶rhead, except with a better chorus then usual, and perhaps a bit more speed too. But fuck, every single track smokes, and this is the album you want to put on for a good time. This is the same formula they've always used, and why mess with success? Who really needs a bunch of flashy bells-and-whistles "progressions" to such a great Metal backbone in the first place? Orgasmatron rocks, and MotÃ¶rhead rocks, and if you just want something that rocks without any semblance of pretension or artistry, then turn to this. That's all that needs to be said.
Originally written for http://www.metalcrypt.com
Motörhead have never made a “bad” studio album, but they have never made a “perfect” studio album either. However, between 1986 and 1993 they came pretty close three times: with “1991”, (the first 3 quarters of) “Bastards” and “Orgasmatron”. (see my profile for a complete list of my ratings for all Motörhead albums)
In 1982 “Fast” Eddie Clarke gave way to new guitarist Brian Robertson, who played on 1983’s fantastic “Another Perfect Day”. Although he didn’t fit the band attitude-wise, to say the least, he added a new dimension to Motörhead’s sound. It was however the introduction of Phil Campbell and Wurzel in 1984, that enabled the band to record a few of their best albums. And this line-up started off with a bang, ‘cause the first thing the world heard of them was the single for one of the true Metal anthems of all time: “Killed By Death”.
I got to know this band in 1985 or 1986 and I think it was the video for this song that introduced me to them. (You know, Lemmy jumping out of a grave on a bike…) That was just the right time to come into touch with Motörhead, because they were just about to release their true masterpiece!
Many people seem to have a problem with the sound, but I still can’t relate to this. Yes, this is certainly no 80’s-Mutt-Lange-Million-Dollar-production, and maybe Bill Laswell didn’t even know how to produce that kind of music (even my 1997 reissue CD version has a few dropouts at the beginning of a few songs), but in the end, he managed to get a sound, that was raw as fuck - the kind of sound that, I guess, a lot of punk bands would kill for - plus he added a few small but effective details that put the finishing touches on a few songs, e.g. the drum sound before the chorus in “Claw” or at the beginning of “Mean Machine”.
This album shows Motörhead at their fiercest: Just listen to the completely out-of-time drumming at the beginning and at the end of the afore-mentioned “Mean Machine”, which sounds like Pete Gill running amok, or Lemmy’s insane screaming at the end of “Claw”, and you know what I mean.
From the 9 songs found on here, “Doctor Rock” is the only “lighter” one. The rest is fast or anthemic mid-tempo stuff. Motörhead seemed to have counted more on the mid-tempo tracks, as they took “Deaf Forever” and “Built For Speed” (renamed “On The Road”) for the single. The third slower one is the well-known title track; a song that, in my opinion, no band should ever try to cover. Although I don’t think that it’s better than the other tracks on here, it seems to be perfect as it is, as proven by all the bands that have tried to cover it (including Sepultura), but didn’t even come close to the intensity of the original.
This is basically a perfect album, and the only thing that prevents this album from getting a 100% rating is the (good, but not quite perfect) chorus of “Mean Machine”.
I’ve just realized that this album has recently been released as a double CD (2006), including a shitload of live tracks plus the songs that have already been on the 1997 re-release, i.e. the b-sides of the “Deaf Forever” 12” and an alternative version of “Claw”.
I’ve listened to this album many, many, many times during the past 20 years, but it just won’t wear out. “Orgasmatron” will always be one of the most important albums of my life, needless to say that it stands as one of the best albums ever made!
My fellow Motorhead fans often evince scorn and derision for this album, wringing their hands at the new improved sound the band brought forth with then new and expanded line up. But when a band has a catalog as deep as this and generally of superior consistent quality, opinions are sure to be passionate and obstinate. To bring the reader up to speed history wise, this album was Motorhead’s first after the general membership disintegration of ’84. Following the cliff notes version of the band’s past that was No Remorse, the band got into major legal scrapes with Bronze records, and found themselves unemployed soon after. However GWR records signed the band and dropkicked them into the studio will NYC dance and hip hop producer supreme Bill Laswell. An odd choice, sure, but the sonic evidence is what should be considered, not the guy’s past.
And so, on to Orgasmatron…it’s undeniably a “different” entry in the band’s work, and for a few reasons. Firstly, two of it’s best tracks (both musically and lyrically, Lemmy’s poetry had taken on superior quality by this time) sounded much better when played live then in their somewhat squashed versions here. Said cuts, “Built For Speed” and the titanic “Dead Forever” would come across much finer backed with the full concert battery of the band’s legendary concert volume, as here they sound a touch sonically compressed. Some thrashy quickies are also along for the ride, both of them uniformly fine, if not exactly legendary (“Ridin’ With The Driver,” “Mean Machine”) and “Doctor Rock” is a fine fall to your knees and repent if you please sermon of metal intent from king Lem. Both Wurzel and Campbell give good accounts of themselves as the new guitars on hand, and the drum production is thunder, pure and simple (what did you expect from a hip hop producer).
But the true monolith here is the title song, a stomping, cavernous diatribe about world control systems, delivered by Lemmy in a nearly monotone croak that would make it’s intended targets crap their bloomers if they ever got to lend ears to it. Playing the roles of Preacher, Politician and War itself, Lemmy let’s us know that obedience is death, the bastards are all out to grind us down, and unless we wise the hell up, we’re all doomed. But never mind my less that astute assessment of this. Let’s let Lemmy speak for himself:
I am the one, Orgasmatron, the outstretched grasping hand
My image is of agony, my servants rape the land
Obsequious and arrogant, clandestine and vain
Two thousand years of misery, of torture in my name
Hypocrisy made paramount, paranoia the law
My name is called religion, sadistic, sacred whore.
I twist the truth, I rule the world, my crown is called deceit
I am the emperor of lies, you grovel at my feet
I rob and I slaughter you, your downfall is my gain
And still you play the sycophant and revel in your pain
And all my promises are lies, all my love is hate
I am the politician, and I decide your fate
I march before a martyred world, an army for the fight
I speak of great heroic days, of victory and might
I hold a banner drenched in blood, I urge you to be brave
I lead you to your destiny, I lead you to your grave
Your bones will built my palaces, your eyes will stud my crown
For I am Mars, the god of war, and I will cut you down.
My friends, it just does not get any heavier than that. A side note: this album came out in 1986, two years after Bronze records had written the band off as a spent force. It’s 20 plus years later as I write this, and the band have two more decades of strong, possibly even better material behind them. Nothing like hindsight, eh?
I am totally surprised that nobody has reviewed this album on this site! This was one of the albums that really got me going over Motorhead, along with "No Remorse" among many others. It has everything you could ever want from Lemmy AKA "God" & Co.; loose, bluesy, Bo Diddley-inspired riffing (most of Lemmy's riffs are variants on that classic syncopated 4/4 rhythm), devastating crunch and wailing solos from the dual guitar tandem of Phil Campbell and Wurzel, Pete Gill's thundering double kick drumming, Lemmy's utterly unique vocals snarling out lyrics of violence and mayhem..what's there not to like?
The only reason this did not get 100 is the production, as Bill Laswell didn't quite have the right idea as to how to capture this raging locomotive (to coin one of their best tunes with this lineup)of a band. As a result, the sound is thinner than I prefer, but you can still hear everything perfectly well, especially Lemmy's trademark Texas chainsaw bass massacre!
Standout tracks...umm, the whole album? OK, my faves: "Deaf Forever", "Claw", "Mean Machine" (total speed metal madness!), "Riding With The Driver", "Doctor Rock", and naturally the monolithic title track, which rides in on an ominous, spine-chilling wave of feedback and noise and segues into one of the best songs Lemmy has ever written, with that ultra-heavy bass riff anchoring the tune, and some of his best lyrics concerning war and politics: "I hold a banner drenched in blood, I urge you to be brave/I lead you to your destiny, I lead you to your grave" Evocative and shiver-inducing, this one is.
An unsung classic, is "Orgasmatron", and you need it, plain and simple.