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Somewhere in the midst of Motorhead’s glory days in the studio, between 1979 and 1981, this short little live performance managed to get recorded and put out on the market as their first live offering. Amazingly enough, in spite of the really short period of time allotted to the band, Lemmy and company pull off a hell of a set and really get the audience jazzed up in a venue which they were likely not the headlining act. Sure, the song selection may come off as archaic to most who have come to know the band since, the production quality is somewhat up close and resembles a small venue recording, but for all of the limitation this shapes up to be a fairly enjoyable listen.
Being a performance from before Motorhead’s metal credentials being fully solidified in “Ace Of Spades”, the songs found on here tend to have more of an aggressive rock character than a metal character. “Leaving Here”, “Dead Men Tell No Tales” and “Too Late, Too Late” all more closely resemble the emergent rock/metal character of bands like Thin Lizzy and Rainbow more than anything else, barring Lemmy’s raunchy vocal style, which flirts heavily with the rawness levels explored by Venom quite often. The latter of these 3 songs is a bit bass heavy and seems to be hinting at the style that Iron Maiden would adopt on their early works, which were just starting to come together at this point. The only song here that really goes off in a metallic direction is “Stone Dead Forever”, but it is pretty tame compared to the fury achieved on “Overkill”.
Although a fairly tame, restrained, more rock oriented version of the band, “The Golden Years” is a worthwhile pick up for anyone who wants to delve into the earlier period of Motorhead’s live escapades. At this point the arrangement has gotten a good bit tighter and more together than was the case in the late 70s, the guitar work has gotten a bit wilder and crunchy, and Lemmy’s vocal style has become much more characteristic of what the band is now known for. This isn’t necessarily for the newcomer to the band, but once you’ve gotten most of the major live releases, this is something that could be looked at for a reasonable price.