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Opus magnum - 99%

Warpig, August 8th, 2006

Motörhead have never made a “bad” studio album, but they have never made a “perfect” studio album either. However, between 1986 and 1993 they came pretty close three times: with “1991”, (the first 3 quarters of) “Bastards” and “Orgasmatron”. (see my profile for a complete list of my ratings for all Motörhead albums)

In 1982 “Fast” Eddie Clarke gave way to new guitarist Brian Robertson, who played on 1983’s fantastic “Another Perfect Day”. Although he didn’t fit the band attitude-wise, to say the least, he added a new dimension to Motörhead’s sound. It was however the introduction of Phil Campbell and Wurzel in 1984, that enabled the band to record a few of their best albums. And this line-up started off with a bang, ‘cause the first thing the world heard of them was the single for one of the true Metal anthems of all time: “Killed By Death”.

I got to know this band in 1985 or 1986 and I think it was the video for this song that introduced me to them. (You know, Lemmy jumping out of a grave on a bike…) That was just the right time to come into touch with Motörhead, because they were just about to release their true masterpiece!

Many people seem to have a problem with the sound, but I still can’t relate to this. Yes, this is certainly no 80’s-Mutt-Lange-Million-Dollar-production, and maybe Bill Laswell didn’t even know how to produce that kind of music (even my 1997 reissue CD version has a few dropouts at the beginning of a few songs), but in the end, he managed to get a sound, that was raw as fuck - the kind of sound that, I guess, a lot of punk bands would kill for - plus he added a few small but effective details that put the finishing touches on a few songs, e.g. the drum sound before the chorus in “Claw” or at the beginning of “Mean Machine”.

This album shows Motörhead at their fiercest: Just listen to the completely out-of-time drumming at the beginning and at the end of the afore-mentioned “Mean Machine”, which sounds like Pete Gill running amok, or Lemmy’s insane screaming at the end of “Claw”, and you know what I mean.

From the 9 songs found on here, “Doctor Rock” is the only “lighter” one. The rest is fast or anthemic mid-tempo stuff. Motörhead seemed to have counted more on the mid-tempo tracks, as they took “Deaf Forever” and “Built For Speed” (renamed “On The Road”) for the single. The third slower one is the well-known title track; a song that, in my opinion, no band should ever try to cover. Although I don’t think that it’s better than the other tracks on here, it seems to be perfect as it is, as proven by all the bands that have tried to cover it (including Sepultura), but didn’t even come close to the intensity of the original.

This is basically a perfect album, and the only thing that prevents this album from getting a 100% rating is the (good, but not quite perfect) chorus of “Mean Machine”.

I’ve just realized that this album has recently been released as a double CD (2006), including a shitload of live tracks plus the songs that have already been on the 1997 re-release, i.e. the b-sides of the “Deaf Forever” 12” and an alternative version of “Claw”.

I’ve listened to this album many, many, many times during the past 20 years, but it just won’t wear out. “Orgasmatron” will always be one of the most important albums of my life, needless to say that it stands as one of the best albums ever made!