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Lemmy's crew start firing on all cylinders. - 83%

Warthur, November 3rd, 2011

The legend about Lemmy is that he started playing bass by mistake - Hawkwind needed someone to play quick, he happened to be a roadie for them, they handed him a bass guitar and he started playing it like a lead guitar. Whether that's true or not, Lemmy developed a then-unique "lead bassist" style whilst in Hawkwind and based the Motorhead sound around that, plus a fat dose of speed metal aggression, and a punk rocker's appetite for good old-fashioned rock and roll.

Overkill is the album where the pieces of that formula really came together to create the classic Motorhead mode we know and love today. The title track is a bass apocalypse which is still a centrepiece of the band's live performances to this day, and closing track Limb From Limb is - when you look past the heaviness - a very traditional rock and roll number performed in an incredibly confident way. Between the two is a range of songs which begin to show the full power this trio are capable of.

Several songs are particularly notable - Capricorn and Metropolis are the two slower numbers on the album, Metropolis particularly effectively catching an oppressive and doomly atmosphere, whilst I'll Be Your Sister is an extremely odd love song rendered all the more unusual because, hey, it's Lemmy singing it. (Lemmy's famous gravelly tones are beginning to take shape here, sounding mliles away from the clean and inoffensive vocals he lent to Hawkwind tracks such as Silver Machine.)

Overall, the album's running length might not be up to much - a nose over 35 minutes unless you count bonus tracks (and I don't) - but typically of Motorhead it's 35 minutes of all (over)killer and no filler.