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Not all debuts are legendary. - 59%

Shadespawn, October 7th, 2008

So this is what the 70s sounded like, at least in the rock'n'roll scene. My first encounter with Motörhead was their later and more well known work, such as Bastards or Ace of Spades a few years ago. Motörhead is apparently a band that needs no introduction, since they have been around longer than most of the people in the heavy metal scene today. Heck, they even could be the grandparents of most of them. On this record, Lemmy was 32 years old, which is a hard thing to imagine anyway. Listening to this album is pretty much like digging up an old time capsule. The content surprises you as much as it baffles you.

Back in the old days, Motörhead played fusion of fast paced punk music and dirty bar rock'n'roll. I'm still trying to imagine sitting in a bar, with a whiskey in my hand, talking to the barkeeper, talking with a pretty girl. But this illusion fades pretty fast, since this album is not really that groundbreaking as one would hope it to be. This is by far never Motörhead's legacy. This is flawed.

Now, I may not know how this sounded back in the days, since I only dug up the remastered version with the mediocre bonus tracks. But the "enhanced" version doesn't improve anything on this album - in fact, it even destroys what the late seventies were supposed to be: dirty. The sound on this record is, for that matter, not dirty, it's far more thin. The way Lemmy plays his guitars really is a trademark itself, but they don't save any single aspect on this album. In fact, this sounds like Elvis on really bad drugs (which can be a cool thing to imagine), but not really breathtaking. You see, the problem is not in the age of the record, but in its execution, which makes this album a sore to listen to. Needless effects in both guitar and voice shriek out of the speakers without capturing one's attention very well. The song structure is boring, but has good moments here and there, but without climaxing in any way. One can see a few parallels between Black Sabbath's debut and Motörhead's first album in form on vocals on occasion, which are neither sung at an impressively trained level nor distorted enough to make you want to spit on everything that's a thorn in your life, due to the high level of self-expression. Take Lemmy's vocals on later albums, for example. If that guy doesn't want to make you drive down a highway with a toothpick in your mouth and a pair of nicely polished sunglasses, then I give up. At least Lemmy's vocals are much better and tolerable than Ozzy's back in the days, no doubt.

The cool material made on this album exists in the form of the snappy bass and grooving drums. You really get a nice 70s groove feel out of that (and not to mention from the soli, that are amazing on occasion). Songs "Keep us on the road" or "Iron Horse/Born to Lose" are some of the better ones on the album, succeeding where other songs on the album fail. For instance the mood is a little bit more doomy than on the others and has a melancholic feel to it. Fits the term "biker rock" well. The atmosphere you get from the jumpy drum patterns and mid paced, cheeky guitar riffs can get you going, if you are in the mood for it. Taking a closer look, one realizes that this album has its own good metal/rock'n'roll parts, as well as a lot of noisy punk garbage that is even obsolete for that particullar period of time.

Conclusion: For die hard fans of Motörhead, surely a nice cd/tape to have in your collection, but will not get as many spins as other Motörhead stuff.