without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
In the world of classic metal (or any genre, for that matter,) its usually safe to say that fans will always stick with the classic albums. Fans of groups like Black Sabbath usually stick to the early to mid 1970's material, looking down on the "Technical Ecstasy" and "Never Say Die" records and perhaps even cutting off the band after the departure of Dio. In some bands, this is rather acceptable, the most obvious example being Metallica who hasn't managed to pull off a truly remarkable album since 1988. All of this aside, one band whose more recent catalog is wrongly shunned is no doubt Motorhead, a band whose very legacy is one that embodies consistency and quality.
After a string of successful releases in the 1980's, it appears that Motorhead slipped a little bit on "March or Die." The albums that followed were met with more or less of a mixed reaction, and probably the album most affected by this is "Snake Bite Love." Now, to say Motorhead have never changed as a band is quite untrue, as this album proves. To these ears, I hear some slabs of their usual metal/punk hybrid with boatloads of attitude, but also going off into some stoner territory on occasion. Of course, Motorhead doesn't run off and join the cult of Kyuss clones, but the influence can still be heard here and there.
Its none too difficult to gather that Motorhead hasn't really changed, despite the sometimes mixed bag of influences present here. "Love for Sale" is an excellent reminder of who Motorhead is, with their usual speed metal approach about some erotic lyrical topics that will likely get a smile from several. The title track is similiar in nature, and probably the song that is the most true to this band's classic style. "Take the Blame," "Don't Lie to Me," and "Desperate for You" are all tracks that work in the same manner, establishing further that Motorhead have not conformed to any new musical styles. In some other areas, the band injects some blues influence on "Joy of Labour," which something to be heard in the bars. It isn't quite as clichéd as "You Better Run" off "March or Die," and is more enjoyable altogether. "Dogs of War" is a little more complex, but nothing very noteworthy as a whole.
Now the controversy surrounding this album is generally that the songs aren't as strong as classic Motorhead. Well, no, they aren't considering "Ace of Spades" was 18 years prior to this, a rather long time to be competing with one or two albums. Also, there are a number of skippable to downright silly tracks on this record. "Assassin" is a perfect example of this, which includes some tribal sounding sections in the mix which sounds a little too close to the tribal tendencies of mallcore acts of the time. "Dead and Gone" is half balladic, half usual Motorhead that isn't all that interesting. They did a much better halfway country tune on "Whorehouse Blues" a few years later. "Night Side" is probably the worst offender of these, whose musical composition sounds decent enough but is ruined by that silly chorus. I realize with a band like Motorhead that a few gimmicks might occur here and there, but that song is a little hard to stomach, not to mention a complete throwaway.
Considering Motorhead's entire catalog, this one might actually rank as their lowest. Its still rather noteworthy, as it contains some good songs but there is alot of unmemorable and goofy things going on here. The late 90's were a terrible time for heavy music, so the fact that "Snake Bite Love" manages to eek out over most everything else of the time is saying something. However, its still a decent record for what it is and certainly something the average Motorhead diehard might be interested in seeking. I wouldn't plan on paying alot for it, however, as it doesn't contain enough quality material to warrant a brand new price tag.
Because this is a organic, corn fed, plucked and stuffed Motörturkey! Gobble, Gobble, Gobble! It’s generally said that Motörhead never released a bad album, and fair enough if say Metallica released this it would be “OMG 100%” and “a stunning return to former glories”. But by Motörhead standards this is a bad album.
A major problem here is the generally uninspired riff work. Now, don’t get me wrong Phil Campbell is a great guitar player, especially in a live setting where he constantly surprises me by just how good he can be. But after Würzel’s departure following ‘Sacrifice’ (he was unhappy with some of the bands direction, a supposed lack of arse kicking, not seeing his dog grow up and financial and wiminiz trouble) he went through a bit of a rough patch. Phil seems a little bemused and seems to looking to his left hoping to find his guitar spurring partner of eleven years to give him a hand with the riffs. Of course, Phil finds Würzel isn’t there and as such writes a 3rd rate ‘Sacrifice’ rip-off. Although, his leads are still good…but I can’t help but miss the madcap, squealing guitar histrionics of Würzel, ever the underrated member of Motörhead.
But fret not boys and girls, ‘Snake Bite Love’ isn’t a total waste of time. ‘Love for Sale’, good golly Miss Molly, what a corker. This is why we listen to Motörhead ! Good time rock ’n’ roll delivered at 130db that makes you feel ten feet tall and encourages periods of very heavy drinking. Lyrically, the song is a rather clever way of describing the physical effects of Viagra and as such is perhaps the most apt song by a bunch of hoary old rockers ever. After all, if old Percy isn’t saying hello what’s wrong with a little encouragement? It’s the kind of thing Motörhead does so well, that being erm Motörhead music. You may not need an airplane (grammar Lem!) to get you through the night, but this song is a perfect way of sending yourself out for a night, mandatory Saturday night listening.
But elsewhere it’s a pretty dire state of affairs. Although there’s nothing really horrid here, neither is there anything that rivals the tongue in cheek brilliance of ‘Love for Sale’. There are not one, not two, but three straight up rip offs of ‘Sacrifice’ songs here; ‘Dogs of War’ is another ‘Over your Shoulder’ with those riffs Slash heard and went “There’s a stupid radio rock song to be had from these!”, ‘Assassin’ is actually just ‘Sacrifice’ but slowed down and with nowhere near the same menace, still it’s one of the albums better songs and ‘Desperate for You’ starts exactly the same as ‘Sex & Death’. Taking the piss? Just a little! Mikkey, admits that this album was rushed and it really shows, he states given more time ‘Snake Bite Love’ could have been a classic. Well, it’s certainly worth taking the extra time as albums, as you may or may have not noticed, are eternal documents and can’t simply disappear…no matter how much an artist may wish, so regardless of prior commitments it’s always worth that little extra time to make something worthwhile.
The late 90s and earlier part of this decade were a scrappy patch for the greatest rock band in the world ever (no, not Dumpy’s Rusty Nuts you moron!). The albums were workman like rather than inspiring as say the late 70s, 80s and early 90s were for the band. Overall, it’s not horrific but it’s by some distance the worst Motörhead album in the world…Ever!
Sometime musicians have a great misconception about their own albums or songs, and Mikkey Dee seems to be no exception, as he recently called this album in an interview "a little weaker". Well, Mr. Dee... I beg to differ!
The low points:
“Night Side” (Mikkey Dee: "Our worst song ever") and “Dogs Of War” (best described as “Over Your Shoulder Pt.II” - I didn’t like the “original” and I don’t like the “sequel”).
The good ones:
“Better Off Dead” (a fast one and the closer of the album), “Snake Bite Love” (I love the “Don’t tread on him when he’s around”-part) and “Assassin”: This is “Sacrifice Pt.II”, and although the differences between those two songs are marginal, “Sacrifice” probably would have made it into the next category, simply because I listen to it more often. Note: I think Lemmy has never sounded more pissed than when he shouts “Assassin! Assassin! Assassin! Assassin!”
“Love For Sale”: Just a great mid-tempo track and probably the perfect opener to get into gear.
“Take The Blame”: A double-bass monster with mid-tempo break and ending, and I think the only time Motörhead made use of a Hammond organ. One of my all-time Motörhead favourites (but there are still a few more to come).
“Dead And Gone”: Motörhead haven’t done many ballads, but when they do they are nearly unbeatable - and this track is no exception. I’ve listened to this song MANY times and it still gives me the creeps.
“Don't Lie To Me”: One of the best Motörhead-“Boogies” ever (and most reminiscent of "Don't Waste Your Time" and “Going To Brazil”).
“Joy Of Labour”: It seems that I am one of the very few who like this song. This is definitely not a typical Motörhead tune, and although it’s heavy as fuck, the pre-chorus adds a little sadness to it and changes the mood of the whole song - and that mixture is what makes this track a masterpiece. Note: Although Lemmy frequently uses his bass like a rhythm guitar it has never been more noticeable than here.
“Desperate For You”: Another quite fast one. I just realized that Motörhead really hit the gas on this album, i.e. if you’re into their fast songs, you’ll certainly get your money worth.
This album is actually something like Sacrifice Part II, not just because of the similarity of a few songs, but also the (raw) production, so if you liked Sacrifice (or Motörhead in general, of course) I think you must have this one!