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Lemmy can do no wrong. - 94%

Vlachos, July 31st, 2009

Motorhead enters the 1990s, and releases what was to hold up as, arguably, their best work for the whole decade. Very impressive, as Motorhead at their worst still makes Judas Priest sound like Stryper.

Rock ‘n roll attitude is embodied without a wasted note or breath. Sadness (and other powerful emotions that testosterone buries deep within most mens’ out of shape figures) is displayed in not too many and not too few songs tremendously and with little to no cheese. Punk is heard both evenly throughout the album as well as overtly on the obvious track. Thrash and speed metal elements are strong, and puts bands of those genres absolutely to shame. Doom and gloom is bookended by catchy, energetic tracks, yet nothing is out of place. The production is crisp and clean (as far as Motorhead goes I mean), but in no way soft or weak. Everything is surely unique to the band (which puts them out of the simple dimensions of their genre) and continues their legacy. If they hadn’t already done everything by the legendary Ace of Spades, this would be a major evolutionary step; a testament to Motorhead’s sheer genius.

That’s 1916 in a nutshell. If I had to explain to someone how incredibly awesome Motorhead is any more, I’d end up pontificating like a lunatic. But, it’s true! They’re amazing. This was released 18 years ago as of this time of writing, and while its style is rooted in the ‘70s and even earlier than that, it still holds up. In fact, for albums over 10 years old, this might be Motorhead’s album that holds up best.

Make My Day is probably my favourite track on here. The lyrics are great, it sounds spontaneous every time I listen to it, and the riffs... shit. Just listen to it. Remember the first time you listened to something like Holy Wars or Raining Blood? The riffs were lightning-fast and heavy but still got stuck in your head, prompting you replay it as soon as it was over. If you don’t fall into that category, I... I don’t know. As mentioned by another reviewer, this is a lost classic. I mean, every Motorhead song is good, but this is special even to them. I don’t think you can find this one on a live album, unfortunately.

Of course there’s the title track, which is of course at unlike anything they’ve ever done. I don’t care what great vocalists in metal and rock you can name, Lemmy is right up there as far as having soul in what’s sung. I can’t name many songs sadder than this. For me, the contrast between this and the rest of the album kind of enhances everything; you go through a great little journey, and it ends in tragic sadness. Oh, man.

For new Motorhead listeners this would ideally be the fifth or sixth album you have to listen to, and by the time you’re a fanatic this will probably be the one you’ll perhaps notice isn’t in as constant rotation as others, but very well may shine brightest and be saved for special occasions.