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Killer early Motörhead - 92%

OlympicSharpshooter, August 21st, 2004

I've never really understood why Motörhead's Ace of Spades record is so well-regarded. I mean it's good, but... you know, sloppy and inconsistent. That album has been called one of the most influential in all of metal, but honestly by Overkill Lemmy and Co. had their shit together, and their shit was much tighter and hard-hitting than anything else they'd release until Another Perfect Day or Orgasmatron. This album includes a bevy of 'Head classics, truly unparelleled in the catalogue for longevity and early metal punch.

In fact, there are no less than six songs on here that are stilled played today, and all of these tracks wind up on the majority of 'Head compilation records. I mean man, you can't argue with gems like the piercing near-epic sprawl of "Metropolis", a concert fav that forecasts the even better "Dead Men Tell No Tales" one record forward. On the other side of the metal table you have a raucous re-shred of ZZ Top's "Tush" recast in molton metal and spewed out as the lead-guitar overkill (no pun intended) of "No Class". This was a Motörhead functioning on a whole 'nother level, manic punkified speed clashing with crushing electric blues metal and tasty southern rock.

"Damage Case" pounds like nothing else, a true blues riff shocked into modern times by one seriously powerful power trio, the feel and heart of that near-dead form given a way to persist and proliferate in a new era. All of that basically means that "Damage Case" is an instant classic, full of Lemmy's comic come-ons and hammering bass, that stuttering intro (you know, 'dun-dan, dun-dan, dun-dan, dun-dan na na') taking hold of the spine and shaking it 'til you're head is banging and your metal hunger's fed.

It's strange that with such dark, glaring metal there can also be happy-go-punky fun like "Tear Ya Down", infectiously catchy, lyrically genius (much like spiritual brethren "Motörhead"), really one of my favourite 'Head songs, and including one of my fav Lemmy bass performances. Simple, clean fun.

The title track of course is the most enduring song on an album that endures on so many levels, in my opinion better than "Ace of Spades", the band telling us 'just don't sweat it/we'll give it back to you', listener caught up and feeding kinetic energy back to the band as it rumbles along. Really, the false endings on this thing almost tag it as the original "Painkiller", the long version moving on and on through cool, slow solo to whining high-register one-note barrage while Lemmy croaks and smokes on the stick.

This is amazing, high-intensity metal, an energy and violence that punk had and metal was looking to acquire, a bridge that Motörhead became between the two worlds. Motörhead, everything louder than everyone else, and Overkill, their first true behemoth milestone.

Stand-Outs: "Overkill", "Tear Ya Down", "Damage Case"