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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?