Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2022
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Motörhead > Ace of Spades > Reviews
Motörhead - Ace of Spades

All My Motörhead Reviews Sound the Same Pt 4 - 80%

Tanuki, August 19th, 2019

So I was planning to start this review with a big spiel about how I first heard 'Ace of Spades' from the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 soundtrack, and how my mind was blown when I found out Lemmy and Wendy O' were more than just Koopa Kids from Super Mario World. I toyed with the idea of using my geeky anecdotes to illustrate Motörhead's cultural omnipresence; how even a shut-in weirdo like me managed to stumble across them before the internet, and before my formal introduction to heavy metal. But ultimately, it felt like a cheap justification for a meaningless endeavor. I know no one cares. I know my life is irrelevant. Makes me wonder what I'm doing writing a review for this album at all. Or why I write at all. Or why I exist at all.

...Ace of Spades, to the seething disdain of their long-suffering and much-bereaved frontman, is the Motörhead album. Not necessarily the most varied, nor the most interesting, nor the best. Just, the. It's the one we all think of first, and don't even deny it. No matter how big, small, or non-existent of a fan you are, the word 'Motörhead' conjures up an image of the classic lineup dressed as swarthy bandaleros in a valley. End of story. It's kinda like, no matter how smart you are, if someone says 'Frankenstein', you immediately picture the big groaning monster instead of the scientist. There's no shame in it; it's just how things are. I suppose the most pressing question on today's agenda is simple. Do you share my greed, and is the only album you need, the Ace of Spades? The Ace of Spades?

It's a blues metal barbecue that's every bit as invigorating, spicy, and artery-clogging as its reputation suggests, much like Saxon's Wheels of Steel. Released just a few months apart, and sharing quite a bit in terms of song structures, impetus, and public opinion, if you like one album you're almost guaranteed to like the other. A savage haymaker in the form of its title track is followed up by an onslaught of filthy, minimalist batterings. Considering the way people talk about this album, it'd be reasonable to assume Ace of Spades is just half an hour of complete silence after the title track has had its fun. On the contrary, it's remarkable how "never" this album lets up. Bold and incursive in its proliferation of blues, rock, and proto-speed metal, Fast Eddie simply outdoes himself with luminiscent setpieces and teeth-kicking solos, and the ferocious tempos mean a constant workout for Philthy as well.

On the flip side, dare I say Ace of Spades is Motörhead's most accessible album, even moreso than the slow and moody Bomber. Stuffed with cherished favorites like '(We Are) The Roadcrew', 'The Chase is Better than the Catch', and of course the title track, if this album isn't commercial, it's certainly lent itself nicely to being commercialized, ex post facto. And don't mistake that for a criticism; when vulgar compositions are capturing the imagination of the mainstream audience, it speaks volumes of their songwriting quality and capacity for memorable melody. The mainstream audience in 1980, no less, when people were wondering whether Jethro Tull was heavy metal.

At the risk of inverted crucifixion, I was never fond of '(We Are) The Roadcrew', and I can't stand 'Jailbait'. Subject matter notwithstanding (in both cases), I can't shake the feeling of meandering contrivance trammeling these tracks, in stark contrast to the natural, gutsy dynamism of, say, 'Damage Case'. Chalk that up as them being the rare few mid-tempo tracks surrounded by an album-full of bloodthirsty speed metal werewolves. I'm well aware I occupy a microscopic minority when I rag on '(We Are) The Roadcrew'. Sorry folks, that chorus gets stuck in my head in the worst way possible. But don't worry; I'm sure we'll all agree on their next album.

The loudest rock 'n' roll - 90%

EzraBlumenfeld, February 25th, 2019

Though Motörhead is credited time and time again with the creation of the speed metal genre, I see very little relationship between the blues-based British trio and other well-known acts to have been given that label. "We are Motörhead, we play rock 'n' roll" is an immortal Lemmy Kilmister quote that is possibly most accurate when applied to the band's legendary 1980 LP Ace of Spades, which just feels like an exceptionally fast traditional, bluesy hard rock record.

Though I totally understand why the band is cited as a major influence by countless thrash bands, I've always had a hard time seeing them as a metal band themselves. Sure, they have the attitude, speed, and look; but when it comes to their actual sound, there's very little metal in it and very few of the bands who claim to be influenced by them actual sound anything like the British rockers. Lemmy Kilmister was nearly 35 years old when Ace of Spades was released, so it makes sense that he would be playing music based in slightly older formulas.

The guitars have dirty, distorted sound that is comparable more to bands like Led Zeppelin than Judas Priest. At the time, Motörhead was a three-piece band and "Fast" Eddie Clarke was the only guitarist in the band. His riffing is quite simple, yet very fast (as his name would suggest). He flecks each song with blazing, fitting blues solos that are predictable but necessary.

Philthy Animal's drumming is frantic and intense, producing some of the fastest rhythm patterns ever heard at the time. Each song on the record is nearly inconceivably high-tempo, slowing down to a reasonable tempo next to no times throughout the entire album.

Now, there's an obvious reason Lemmy was the face of Motörhead besides the fact that he was the only constant member. His overdriven bass tone and raspy singing are the most crucial, defining elements of the band's entire sound. Originally a guitarist, he plays his bass in a more syncopated way than most would, and it sounds good with his heavily distorted tone. His iconic vocal style is the result of years of smoking and his odd choice for a microphone angle; he always sang with his head facing at least 45 degrees upward.

The production has an unclean atmosphere that is to be expected of such an album, though the mixes are clear and consistent. The original pressings featured 13 songs, but newer versions have added some tracks that Motörhead recorded with Girlschool. Ace of Spades is best experienced in its original form, and I find these newer additions to be rather useless and disposable.

As any entry-level metalhead can tell you, Motörhead were one of the bands that had the biggest influence on the evolution of the genre, and Ace of Spades is the perfect example why. The fast-paced tempos laid the groundwork for thrash, and Lemmy's incoherent vocal style could be considered a prototype for the more intense barking and growling that made their way into metal later that decade. Although it's an extremely historically significant album, the most important thing to take into consideration is just how high-quality the songs here are. Each one is short and sweet, and they all add up to a phenomenal listening experience that puts Ace of Spades among the top metal (or metallic) albums ever created.

Overrated, but still great - 95%

Iron Wizard, March 30th, 2017

If I had to pick the most overrated albums of all time, I'd list Metallica's Ride the Lightning, Iron Maiden's The Number of the Beast, and most importantly Ace of Spades by Motörhead. This album gets a great deal of praise, and a good portion of that is right my deserved, but there is no doubting that this is an overrated album. Even Lemmy himself has said that he didn't understand what it was about the title track that people liked...

With the quarrel about how much attention Ace of Spades gets aside, this is an awesome album. It combines the classic bluesy sound of the with the heavy crunch of Overkill, while eschewing most of what dragged Bomber into being a below average album. The production hits you like a hammer over the head as soon as the first notes of Lemmy's distorted bass kick in. The production is perfect. It's raw and stripped down, highlighting Motörhead's no frills power trio sound, the bass is plenty loud, and the sound is very harsh and abrasive.

Ace of Spades sort of marks the point where Motörhead truly found themselves as musicians, with the music sounding much more natural and less forced than on any of the band's previous efforts where they seemed to remain on the side of caution. "Fast" Eddie Clarke has really made a name for himself here. The album is jammed packed with fucking awesome guitar riffs. His style varies from the proto-thrash of the title track, to the powerful punk interlude of the standout "Love Me Like a Reptile", and finally, to the bluesy style exhibited on such songs as "Fast and Loose" and the overrated "We are the Roadcrew". Even with all of this said, the technicality and musicianship is not that important to Ace of Spades. In the traditional Motörhead spirit, the emphasis is mainly on the "feel" and "taste" of the songs. All of these riffs are played very emotionally, exuding a feeling of insane classic-ness, as if this is some old 50s rock and roll. The lyrics also take on this persona, with Lemmy taking on the wording style present in older rock and roll. They range from antigenic ("Ace of Spades") to hypersexual and somewhat lackluster (on the otherwise awesome track "Fast and Loose".)

Despite Ace of Spades being an overall masterpiece, there are some issues with the album. For one, Lemmy's vocals are somewhat weak. I preferred the darker voice would assume on Iron Fist, as well as his prior, less comprehensible sound. He just sounds too cliche here. Another issue is the one filler track, "Fire Fire". I know that I praised the "classic rock and roll" vibe of this album, but this one takes it too far, sounding like some sort of retro stuff in the vein of Stray Cats or something. Other than that, Ace of Spades is a great album that any fan of metal ought to get.

Sometimes things are overrated because they rule - 92%

TrooperEd, March 5th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2001, CD, Metal-Is Records (Reissue, Remastered, US)

Lemmy, I gotta tell ya. I get it. I understand why this album's acclaim annoys you. I get your annoyance at the fact that everyone wishes you guys broke up after Ace of Spades; how nobody wants to pay attention to your far more interesting 90s/00s discography. I get it as a fan and as an aspiring artist. But here's the problem: as an album? Ace of Spades really is that good.

How good is it? Well, it's not 100% perfect. I always found myself skipping Dance and Jailbait after Fire, Fire just to get to the killer one-two punch of Bite The Bullet/The Chase Is Better Than The Catch (which I consider to be all one song, both thematically and lyrically. Bite The Bullet the relationship is over, and with Chase the man is on the prowl again). I did warm up to Jailbait after a few years, but perhaps there is one song too many on here. Point being, this album is so goddamn good you can erase the legendary title track from history; wipe it completely from memory, start the whole thing off with Love Me Like A Reptile and STILL have one of the best goddamn albums of 1980.

Speaking of Love Me Like A Reptile, all you buttholes wondering "are there really x songs here" can go fuck yourselves. Yes, there are goddamn 12 (or 15) songs here and they are all quite distinct both in riffs and in tempos. One cursory listen to the groove metal(!) mayhem of Shoot You In The Back and the Sabbath swing of Fast & Loose is all that's required to comprehend that Motorhead was never a one speed band. Hell, The Chase Is Better Than The Catch is about as close to Living After Midnight anthemicism as one can get. The fact that Motorhead were playing that fast made them revolutionary. I realize everyone has heard the title track a million times, but they need to hear it one more time and realize that is a BASS riff. Admit it, the first time you heard that you thought it was a really sick, delightfully over-distorted guitar. Even when they played it live afterwards that riff always sounded more like a proper bass (dare I say losing a bit of spark), but not here. Here than midrangey bass just sounds so....metal! But it's a testament to the bands ears that not once does the song (nor the rest of the album) sound like it's missing a pinch of bottom end. I can't deny that bass and low end rhythm is an important and overlooked component in metal, but Motorhead in all their noisy glory manage to side step that problem with style. Motorhead has always in essence been a two (or three) guitar band with different higher end frequencies but Lemmy's always figured out how to be the glue in that pocket.

I'm also not going to challenge the notion that this album is "Fast" Eddie Clarke's finest moment as a riffer and a soloist. While his contribution to the title track is undeniable, again, that intro lick is a bass moment. However practically every single song afterwards has that absolutely deadly hook that causes you to pull your finger away from the skip button with the same speed like you just touched a piping hot radiator. The way he shreds through that final solo of Love Me Like A Reptile as well as Fire, Fire is so fucking raw yet melodic it brings a damn tear to your eye. Is it Randy Rhoads quality shredding? No, but it doesn't need to be! This is Motorhead dammit! Even Eddie's screw-ups are sonically salacious (behold the fallen and can't get up feedback foolery of We Are The Road Crew)!

Run, don't walk, to buy this album. It's likely the only studio album besides whatever recent ones are out to be on the shelves. DO NOT just listen to the title track. Matter of fact, skip it the first few listens and entertain my scenario of beginning with Love Me Like A Reptile, so you can truly appreciate everything this monster has to offer. If you're trepidatious about not getting any hyper-speed, fret not because The Hammer will be waiting at the end to smash in your skull! Happy thrashing, I hope you don't have any fragile pottery floating around. Rather, it will be floating around once this goes on your stereo!

Recommended tracks (that aren't Ace of Spades, because that one is a given):
The Hammer
Love Me Like A Reptile
We Are The Road Crew
Fast & Loose

Motörhead: Ace of Spades - 83%

Never_Enough, June 23rd, 2016
Written based on this version: 2005, 2CD, Sanctuary Midline (Reissue, Remastered, Slipcase, EU)

It's pretty much the general opinion that Motorhead has wrote the same song since their debut. A good song done well, but nothing worth listening too once you heard it a million times. However, that's only what the uninitiated surface fan whose only listened to "Ace of Spades" and the beginning to "Overkill" would say. Throughout their vast career, Lemmy and his gaggle of drunk musicians have explored many different genres within the world of rock while retaining their style since the beginning. For example, their debut would be punk rock if the band had absolutely no talent. Or how about their experimental album known as "Another Perfect Day". Can't forget about their thrash-laden bullet train, "Bastards". Or perhaps the most baffling of all, their foray into blues on "Inferno". Point is, Motorhead is more diverse than any of these half-baked jerk-offs are giving them credit for. However, you can only see this observation over the span of their entire discography. Suffice to say, individual albums can be summed up by a couple of songs off them. By no means is that a bad thing. If anything, that's called consistency and that's what this album is, a consistently great hell-ride.

The most notable track off this album is...well, do I even have to say it? Everyone fucking knows "Ace of Spades". The song by itself is trumpeted for setting the foundation of speed and thrash metal. This is the first Motorhead song that anyone has ever heard. You all know the lyrics and the main riff off the top of your heads. There's nothing more I can say about this song except for one thing: Lemmy never remembers the lyrics to the bridge when performing live. I swear, I hear it every time when Lemmy is supposed to say, "That's the way I like it baby, I don't want to live forever, and don't forget the joker!" I guess a man whose known for his intake of booze and amphetamines would be little forgetful. Just look at Ozzy.

Even though that's the most memorable and popular track of the album, I wouldn't list it as the best. No, that title goes to a tie between "Fast and Loose" and "Jailbait". Picking between them is like choosing your favorite whorehouse prostitute: it comes down to personal kinks. On one hand, you have "Fast and Loose" which details Lemmy's sexual exploits in the late night. Apparently, this chick likes it fast and loose which also serves as an accurate description of this album, come to think of it. It has this old timey rock and roll swing to it which is present in basically every Motorhead song, but is more discernible here. It really displays how artists from that early era of rock influenced Lemmy. The downside to this awesome song is the lackluster solo courtesy of "Fast" Eddie Clarke. Looks like Eddie is more suited know, fast material as opposed to this slightly down tempo piece. On the other hand, you have "Jailbait" which details Lemmy's sexual exploits...okay, y'all might be on to something for saying that he has a bit of a one-track mind. However, there's a twist, this song is about Lemmy's fixation for underage girls...Oh. God damn it, I'm trying to defend you here, Lemmy. Anyway, this song is catchy as all hell. Not only is that accredited to Lemmy and Eddie's riff crafting, but also Phil Taylor's drumming. Christ, what a fucking animal.

Looking back on this record, I noticed some flaws. For one, there's 12 fucking tracks. That's way too many for an album that's the equivalent of a speeding bullet through a desert hell. Despite the fact that there's 12 tracks, it's only 36 minutes long. I think the only reason why there's so many tracks is due to making the time length quota. You know, the Anal Cunt dilemma. However, I don't think some of y'all will see that as a problem. I mean, what's the matter with more Motorhead? To me, that just adds to much filler to this legendary album. It makes a complete listen through just slightly more tedious. Shave the album down to 8 songs by cutting out songs like "Fire Fire", "Dance", "Bite the Bullet", and "The Chase Is Better Than the Catch" and this record would be perfect.

Of course, I strongly recommend this album. Looking back with fresh eyes, the album displays some minor faults that personally irritate me. However, it's a classic for a reason. This album showed the world that Motorhead is a force to be reckoned with. It's incredibly fast and unforgiving with its blend of heavy metal and hard rock elements. While technically overrated, I don't mind the praise that it deserves. This album paved the way for thrash, speed, and almost in a way, the entire extreme metal genre as we know it. I'd tell you to pick it up, but chances are that you probably already own this classic.

Bonus: This version of the album comes with a second disk that contains 11 alternate versions, 3 live versions, and one actual bonus track. I'm not going to talk about the live and alternate versions since that'll just be treading the same territory. No, I'll be covering astoundingly awesome "Dirty Love". Technically, this is the B-side to the "Ace of Spades" single, but I can't think of anywhere else where I can cover it. This song takes off with Eddie shredding away with an all to catchy rhythm section behind him. The solos to this song is impressive to say the least. This is Eddie in his Prime and there's no restraining him. This song serves as a platform to why Eddie Clark is a great guitarist and why the classic lineup is Motorhead's best lineup. Not much else to say, but instead ask why? Why was this a b-side and not on the actually album? I'd be a lot less harsh on those filler tracks if this track was there to hold me back. Anyway, I'd recommend the Sanctuary Records 2005 2CD deluxe edition under one condition: if you don't already own the "Ace of Spades" single. Otherwise, it'll be a waste of $31 for some soiled versions of already great songs. Seriously, you can get about 31 chicken sandwiches at McDonalds with that money.

The pure spirit of rock'n'roll - 100%

Napalm_Satan, December 28th, 2015

('That's the way I like it baby, I don't wanna live forever...')

When listening to a Motörhead album, one should come in with these expectations: Simple songwriting, simple riffs, gruff vocals, lyrics about sex, alcohol and gambling, and just a general sense of pure fucking testosterone driven Grade-A vintage coolness. Rarely will you hear something that better represents the absolute rebellious rock attitude that was espoused by the best acts of the genre than this. Take any song, at any given moment, and it is about as awesome and driven as it comes.

From start to finish, this is just about the finest hard rock you will ever come across. Literally 99% of all rock albums you are thinking of right now that you believe to be better than this? You are wrong. None of those albums display the carefree, laid back and yet booze fueled drive that this has. Lemmy's lyricism and vocals on this is a really good summation of why this album is the epitome of coolness. Lemmy's vocals sound like a man who has done several hundred women and downed at least... oh I don't know, 500 bottles of whiskey? And I mean that in the best possible way, though his voice can be considered technically awful, it just works so well. He has a very gruff and yet powerful singing voice, one that goes with the gruff and powerful guitars singing about living fast.

And those riffs... oh my word. Admittedly, there aren't too many of them, and they are kind of similar. However, who gives a flying FUCK?! Every last riff on here is driven, aggressive, dirty and once again, fuckin' cool! They are some of the finest hard rock riffs you will ever hear, perhaps with a slight punkish bounce to them too. They are meaty and powerful in their sound, going full speed ahead into the night. Lemmy's bass lines are loud and follow the riffs closely, further reinforcing the riffs and giving them that extra bit of grunt, not that they needed them in the first place. The drums are pretty good too, throwing in loads of little fills and rolls along with the simple straight beats. The solos are bluesy, pedal driven, and melodic, serving as an interesting counterpoint to the rough as hell vocal performance.

One criticism that I need to address is the lack of variety. The riffs sound similar, the vocal style is constant, all the solos are cut from a similar cloth, all the songs sound the same, etc.. To this my response is: WHO FUCKING CARES?! Really, when every last song features consistently aggressive, driving and memorable riffs backed up by a consistently loud and ugly bass, when every song has Lemmy's cool lyrics and awesome vocals, why the fuck is that a reason to complain? Motörhead are one of the most consistent bands ever, and the fact that you can select practically any song of theirs and always get awesome... everything, is a testament to just how driven and passionate their music is. The fact that Lemmy can mix up the same formula for 23 albums and never ever produce something even remotely bad (even if it bordered on average at times) just shows how creative and beautifully simple Motörhead's music is.

It isn't like the songs ever overstay their welcome, either. Nothing here is longer than 5 minutes, or even 4 and a half. They never really stagnate due to the immense amount of energy and drive put into the performances, and even if they do start to drag a tiny bit (to you that is, I have no issues with this) you will be headbanging too much to even care. The guitars play their punkish heavy metal/hard rock riffs with the utmost urgency and carefree nature, the drums are simple and yet highly energetic with double bass and fills all around, what isn't there to like? This album is the very embodiment of what heavy metal is. Pushing things to extremes. This was, for its time, highly driven and aggressive, about as rough and heavy as it came. Later bands built upon it, taking one individual element of this album and pushing it to the absolute maximum. These guys play on '11' for the whole fucking album, never once stopping to think.

These songs are not necessarily technically amazing, and may even come across as dumb, but Motörhead have always been a band that is more entertaining as a complete package. Everything about their music fits together to form one massive rocking whole. The individual instruments are OK on their own, but come together (along with the rough as hell production) to produce aggressive, heavy and driving music. The songs fit together to make 40 minute odes to booze and women. And these odes fit together to make Motörhead's complete run, their enormous bastion of riffage, their legacy. You can't necessarily pick out a single stand out from this pack, but it all comes together.

This, my friends, is the very embodiment of what we stand for. Rebellion, not giving a damn, turning it up to 11 all day every day, living fast and dying old. Maybe this isn't the most technically accomplished album ever, but really. This shit is fucking awesome, one of the most aggressive, focused, driven and cool albums of its day. And it still holds up over 35 years later.

Perhaps this review comes across as a bit haphazard and rushed. The reason for that is because I have written this review largely to sing my praises of one of the greatest rock and metal musicians of all time, Lemmy Kilmister. It is with a heavy heart that I found of his passing on the 28th December 2015. He had turned 70 just 4 days prior, and died due to an extremely aggressive cancer. His legacy is inimitable, being a catalyst for some of the finest music in the '80s that the world had ever heard. Entire subgenres at least partially owe their existence to this venerable founding father of the genre and his amazing work. Let us not dwell upon his passing, but celebrate the life and times of Lemmy! Blast your Motörhead albums as loud as possible, crack open the beers, and live fast people. Its what Lemmy would have wanted.

R.I.P. Lemmy (24th December 1945 - 28th December 2015)

It's the Ace of Spades - 89%

Guardian_disciple, July 7th, 2013

This album lacks in variety. This album may lack in depth, but 'Ace of Spades' is just a relentless heavy metal machine. It's all about riding motorcycles, drinking alcohol, and laughing in the devil's face while dying. It's dirty, it's hard, and it's fast. It is simply rock 'n' roll. Songs like the almighty 'Ace of Spades' itself, the rocky 'Shoot You in the Back', and the groovy '(We Are) The Road Crew' are flawless pieces of manhood, motor oil, and blood transformed into music. It would be ridiculous if it wasn't Lemmy, the incarnate rock star, who is so cliché that he is actually epic.

Indeed, not every song is a killer. In fact, there are many fillers, such as 'Fire Fire', 'Dance', and so on. Fortunately, Motörhead don't write long enduring epics, but short songs, so you won't get bored. Also, 'Ace of Spades' may be too consistent. There is always a first verse, a rocky refrain, a second verse, a small solo, and so on. I'm not of the kind that would deny the little piece of rust on the motör of the 'Ace of Spades'. However, the many highlights of this album compensate its short fillers.

Don't expect the best album by Motörhead and you'll get catchy rock 'n' roll with classic guitars, equally awesome and unusual E-bass, and Lemmy's far beyond technically-perfect, but fully fitting voice. Just imagine a showdown between two members of a biker gang in the desert of Mexico (that's how I'd understand the cover photo). That's how the album sounds. They're not even trying to appear as a sophisticated project of professors of music. They're Motörhead and they play rock 'n' roll.

Outlaw bikers and card sharks. - 84%

hells_unicorn, March 2nd, 2011

Whenever anyone needs a reminder that the words primitive and bad are not synonymous terms when describing a metal band, Motorhead’s well known 1980 lawn killer of an album “Ace Of Spades” is the place to send them. It’s the sort of album that hearkens back to those days where the lines between hard rock, punk and metal were pretty well blurred, and there was a place for bands to play primitive pentatonic riffs and Chuck Berry inspired guitar solos yet do it in such away that rekindles the shock factor of both after about 25 years after they were introduced to a wider audience. It represents a band that is quite apt at testing the manhood of its listeners, while still keeping that non-conformist 70s punk element at the fore.

While definitely not being the most consonant sounding band, this is the sort of sharp edged, cigarette steeped goodness that can be sung along to. Lemmy’s vocals are about as gritty and gravely as they come, yet there is still a discernable melody in his minimal range. But the real winner here is the wicked combination of chunky, distorted bass work with crunchy rock guitar riffs that create an aggressive feel that is nasty enough for hardcore, yet precise enough to be mistaken for the emerging NWOBHM. A few of the band’s signature live songs can be found on here, along with a tiny side order of older rock influenced numbers that could be qualified as filler, yet are still solid and fun.

Perhaps the biggest flaw at play here, which is typical to most Motorhead albums, is generally a lack of variety. The songs tend to be either up tempo, or really up tempo, and consisting in a very simple yet highly energetic mixture of simplistic 70s riffs played a little too fast and dirty, and drums that get a little too happy on the double bass at times. The shorter and faster things tend to be, the better, as is the case with most 70s punk albums. Most are familiar with the wickedly gritty title song that kicks things off, though perhaps not so much with the equally energetic yet somewhat cleaner cut closer “The Hammer”, but both are classic examples of the solid speedy goodness Lemmy and company have been delivering since “Overkill”. Other quintessential highlights include the flashy rocker “Fire, Fire” and the sloppy little ditty “Bite The Bullet”.

Pretty much everyone can have a genuine appreciation for this band, although being able to fully appreciate an entire album of their’s is a different matter as they have a fair share of songs in their repertoire that rarely see the stage, and “Ace Of Spades” isn’t really an exception to the rule. There’s still a lot of old school rock present in the mix here, and most people who go for heavy metal might not go for the pre-NWOBHM tendencies at work here, anymore than they might some of the lesser known early Judas Priest and Black Sabbath songs. But this is the sort of album that can be appreciated by most fans of straight up heavy metal at high tempos, and should definitely be looked into.

Ace of Speed Metal...Not Quite, But Close - 73%

heavymetalbackwards, July 8th, 2009

“Ace of Spades” is not your usual approach to creating heavy metal music. What Lemmy does here is crank up a bunch of modestly composed Little Richard songs to full gear. He gives them distorted guitars, wailing solos, gruff vocals, and a biker attitude that couple with some of the most sexually promiscuous and boozing lyrics you can imagine.

When the title track opens the album, you are immediately sucked into the galloping speed metal riffs. This song is dirty but catchy, and it’s no wonder that it’s remembered today as a rock classic. Motorhead got lucky with the breakthrough success of this song, and it’s no surprise that the others stayed only within the grasp of real metalheads (and punks). Songs like “Jailbait” are sleazy and in bad taste, but Motorhead are intended to be an advanced case of halitosis; that’s their purpose. They are the filthy scoundrels of hard rock and roll, and downright proud of it.

The faults of this album are rather apparent, though. There is little variety; there are no ballads, no instrumentals, or any sort of variation in songwriting. They are verse-chorus numbers that are not as aggressive as they could be. It seems that bands like Venom needed to kick Motorhead up a notch, because Lemmy and the guys are at their best during the real speed metallers like “The Hammer.” If every song were like this, or even like “We are the Road Crew,” this album would be a masterpiece. Unfortunately, while punkish speed metal may be my favorite style of music, it’s one of the most difficult to compose in because things get monotonous fast. There are very few classic full-lengths to be found in this niche style, and Ace of Spades isn’t quite a classic either. Well, the song is, just not the album.

If you don’t know what Motorhead sound like, get out from under your rock and listen to Ace of Spades. Or, if you’re curious about what Lemmy’s voice sounds like, you can just record a running chainsaw and put it down in a pitch shifter. Seriously though, he has quite the gravely voice and it comes to him all too naturally.

My conclusion is that this is a bit too light for my tastes in speed metal, but when it’s at its speediest it is indeed something to bang your head for.

Rock 'n' Roll in Fifth Gear - 80%

DawnoftheShred, February 27th, 2007

You don't have to be ground-breaking, sophisticated, or even sober to record a classic heavy metal album. All you need to do is rock really fucking hard and have the balls to back it up. Such is the case with Motorhead, one of the grimiest, energetic, most badass bands to ever kick some ass and play some tunes. Ace of Spades isn't necessarily the best thing they've ever cranked out, but it's certainly their most well known and easily one of their most memorable.

This is not an album you'll have to relisten to several times to catch all the subtleties. This is as straightforward and accessible as they come. Whether Motorhead is ripping through some intense speed metal ("Ace of Spades," "The Hammer") or laying down a dose of laid-back, bluesy rock and roll ("Fast and Loose," "The Chase is Better Than the Catch"), Lemmy and the boys keep it heavy and they keep it catchy. Great riffing, tight rhythm section, lots of lead, and lyrics you can't help but sing-along to. The ever rough and gruff Lemmy Kilmister delivers some great lines on this one, hitting up all the band's usually subject matter. Songs about drinking, songs about gambling, songs about fornication, songs about writing songs about said topics, it's all here, delivered with a great sense of songwriting and tons of attitude. Motorhead fans pretty much need to own this one.

If there's one thing that holds this release back, it's that it suffers from the same problem as most of Motorhead's discography, that being repetitiveness. About half-way into this album, you'll start to wonder if you're hearing the same riffs, leads, and vocal melodies from earlier songs. This isn't exactly the case, but there isn't a lot of variety on here (an effect that's furthered by the inclusion of the bonus tracks). Ace of Spades is just straightforward, ballbusting heavy metal. The repetitive nature of their albums does hinder some of their later releases, but here it's still quite fresh and easy to listen to whether you're new to the band or if you own all their albums. Recommended if you want to have a good time.

Music to crash your car to. - 90%

asklater, December 4th, 2004

Motorhead basically invented thrash metal, and, this record, which originally came out in 1980, played a large part in that. This rerelease, which comes with 3 bonus tracks, clocks in at just over 46 minutes, which, for 15 tracks, averages out to a little over 3 minutes per track.

While the title track is probably Motorhead's most well known song, it actually doesn't stand out too much here, as all of these songs are equally good really. Of course, they aren't radically different, either, but that's not really a bad thing.

In fact, the standout track for me on this one was bonus track Please Don't Touch, a Johnny Kidd and the Pirates cover done in collaboration with then labelmates Girlschool. While I'm not too familiar with the original, which came out in 1959, after all, the cover version is excellent, and perhaps the catchiest song on the whole album. Makes the CD version worth buying even if you own it on vinyl, unless, of course, you own the St. Valentine's Day Massacre EP as well...

The one thing that strikes me about this record is the amount of energy the music has. You really get the impression that the band is giving it all they got, and the energy given off is infectious. Ace Of Spades wouldn't be a good album to put you asleep, although it would provide an adequate soundtrack for a high speed car chase!

The production on this record is far from pristine, although all the instruments can be quite clearly heard, providing that you can tell Lemmy's bass from a guitar, which, with his playing style, isn't always too easy. These guys might not be virtuosos, but they're perhaps the greatest three piece band ever (at least until they became a four piece, anyways). Motorhead has done for thrash what Black Sabbath did for stoner rock/doom metal, and this is essential listening for all speed metal heads.

Heavily underrated - 100%

Ausgebombt, September 21st, 2004

What we have here is the 6th offering from Motörhead. Following the extreme success of two milestones of the Motörsound (Overkill, Bomber) we are kicked in the face with Ace Of Spades, full of adrenaline album that delivers the goods exactly to what the fans wanted after the previous bombs.
Really we'll have to say that ALL motörmusic is the same, if we are going to prejudge the album by further stablishing and popularizing too (since it's THE best selling Motörhead album) then we are missing exactly what this album is.

This album sank the knife deeper into our souls of what Motörhead is supposed to be and to sound like.
This is why I say the album is heavily underated, the songs in here are ripping drunkfests for Motörbangers. Every single one. Maybe you'll find a filler or two, I give you that for Fire, Fire and Dance. But what band has not done that?

I'll have to disect this album into a song-by-song description so I can proove my point that you can't mistake Ace Of Spades with Fast And Loose or The Chase is Better Than The Catch...

Ace Of Spades - This is the wild as fuck intro to a great album, particulary, the title track. We are given an bass line by Lemmy "God" Kilmister that lasts aproximately 6 seconds before Fast Eddie kicks us in our nuts with the unmistakable riff, flowing nicely from drunk bass lines to wild riffs, this song doesn't let us breath for a second. Of course who can forget the wild, out of this world solo? This is a straight forward, no wankery solo to keep the pace of the song. And it sure works.

Love Me Like A Reptile - Keeping the line with the "don't let us breathe please" Motörhead philosophy, we are quickly introduced to Love Me Like A Reptile. Another fast paced, straight forward song with funny lyrics. This song is more based on the guitars and haves more of a Rock (or old school Metal if you will) feeling to it, unlike the previous song which's riff was (to me) a bit influenced by a Bluesy feel , especialy in the last notes of the main riff.

Anyway, concerning the album in general, we can feel a variation of guitar distortions and the bass being mudder or cleaner in each song. In what respects to the present song (LMLaR), the bass works more in the back, though we have to acnlowledge that this is a band that normaly concentrates into writtiing music for the stand out of the Bass guitar.

Shoot You In The Back - The guitar riffing beggining to this song is what the bass line beggining is to Ace Of Spades. Fast Eddy Clark lays an impecable main riff line so the song can explode into what it will be the whole performance of the band. It also lasts about 6 seconds to do that.
Lemmy sings as always, I don't need to mention that.
The riffing combined with the choruses, unlike the previous songs, features a groovieness feel that makes it particulary catchy, with a clean guitar sound.

Live To Win - This song again makes it's way with a bass intro.. similar formula that utilized Ace Of Spades? Yes. The same? No... This song is kind of a mixture in between Ace Of Spades for the speed and the ominous presence of the bass, and Shoot You In The Back, for the clean guitars, which delivers a cleaner solo, equaly wild but less drunkier than AoS, and the catchy choruses. This song actualy gives us 2 solos to bang at, the second being my favourite since it's longer and gives me a feeling that it's more complete than the previous one, but not diminishing the other in any sense.

Fast And Loose - Live to Win fades to present us with the bluesy directed riff of Fast And Loose. This song, without ever moving away from the classic Motörhead sound, vibes as a Blues influentied song as a whole, not only the guitar. But it is easier to note this on the guitar than on the other instruments.
This song is as catchy as the previous, and the bass is again working behind the guitar. (If you don't remember that was featured in Love Me Like A Reptile but not in the other two).

(We Are) The Road Crew - This is a tribute song to the Motörhead Road Crew though the lyrics are not particulary invasive to the particular lives of the actual "Motörcrew" and can be taked as an anthem for any Road Crew in the world. Which is a good thing, since this is a fun song and can be played with indefinetely.
This song, musicaly, is very variated. We have a bigger presence of the bass which slowly drags itself into the back but never quite like in the second song and it haves a muddier sound. The guitar is also wilder and drunker and features a rock/punk crossover melody which gives this song the wilderness it should have.

Fire, Fire - It can be considered a filler song since it had not reach the popularity as ALL the 6 songs that precede it. But nonetheless this is a great song (quality over quantity). This song works with the bass hand to hand with the guitar, but the guitar is cleaner and the bass is dirtier and more in the front. We have a particular riff in here that sounds similar to Ace Of Spades, same? Nope, not at all. Anyway, as I was saying, the bass gains much more notoriety in the song because the guitar is not layed over it, but Lemmy gives the right place to Fast Eddie so he can deliver us the great, very clean soloing. I feel this equaly as a more fun song for the band.

Jailbait - This song follows pretty much the same formula than Fire, Fire and it's not ALL THAT memorable. But it sure haves the Motörhead landmark on it's front. The difference with this song and the previous is that the bass is less dirtier and less in the front of the mix.
I can't say much about this, the guitar riffing and "kerrangs" are those of classic Motörhead. Particulary, the solo for this song is the first presented in the album to lay the same note played 5 or 6 times and then continues down the notes to the rest of the soloing (much like Morbid Angel or Sodom) (the first one) the second one is more on the classic vein of Motörhead, though Fast Eddie Clark also plays the same note a couple of times in a row.

Dance - I don't need to say that this is another fast paced song from the UK Motörbangers. The main riff to this song is played faster than the previous, and we can also hear the bass in the front, though with a perfectly clean sound. So is the guitar, this song is much like Fire, Fire, in the sense that bass and guitars work almost hand to hand.. almost, because the bass is wilder here than the guitar. Not as it was featured before.
The solos are also perfectly delivered and the bass goes into it's right place so it doesn't disturbs the quality of the soloing.

Bite The Bullet - This is the shortest song in the album; again a song written by Lemmy that features funny lyrics. About the music of the song, the intro is delivered by the drums and the guitars (no bass) and then it kicks right into our face with the inclusion of the bass which completely dominates this song and it's alway in front of the mix. Punk influented by Lemmy's singing pace, this song doesn't give us a rest for it's shortness, and I repeat, the bass is right there in the front row slaming your head even during the duration of the solo.

The Chase Is Better Than The Catch - The previous song doesn't get to an end for it is interrupted (while slowing down, of course, no production error..) by the classic epic TCIBTTC. This is a very "Dance" song, because as this previous song, this one haves the sound that Motörhead would define forever in the next releases. The bass guitar variates it's domination of the song, but for the majority of it, you can clearly hear the bass right infront of the mix and the guitar in the back, more distorted than the bass, to give it a more present feeling so the bass doesn't get to opaque the rest of the musicians' performance.
The solo is quite mudded and still the bass guitar is present during it.
This song is a classic epique which I prefer live because of it's rawness and it's obvious existance ment to be played in front of an audience, as the majority of Motörhead songs.

The Hammer - What a way to close a fast paced rock/metal album than this song. This song is quite unique, because of it's uber fast pace. This one is one of the fastest songs in this album. The riffing is unstopable and the guitar is mixed at the same level than the bass guitar, being the first again muddier and more distorted than the last. So you can hear both present in almost a fight to be the loudest on the mix. Drums aren't left behind in the whole album, always getting the pace of the two main instruments and delivering it's quote of excitement and precious speed to each song. This doesn't fails us in The Hammer, the drums are wild, exciting and keeps in pace with the wilderness of the whole song.

Well, there you have it; I think I have proved myself stating that this album features quite a variation of songs and styles, but close attention must be payed, and of course, truthful enjoyment.

Are there really fifteen songs on here?? - 73%

UltraBoris, June 3rd, 2004

Well, my tape version (manufactured circa 1994 at the latest, since that's when I got it) has 12 tracks on it, but I downloaded some mp3s that comprise a total of fifteen tracks. I'm not sure what the origin is of that release, but the first 12 are the Ace of Spades LP and the last three are apparently the collaboration with Girlschool that came out around the same time. I distinctly hear the female vox on "Please Don't Touch", and I have no idea about the nature of the other two - is that Lemmy, poorly mixed, or some other dude? It sounds like a dude - backup vox?

Anyway... it's good stuff, though it lacks the awesome bite that the live album No Sleep 'til Hammersmith has. I'm not sure quite what it is. Maybe it's the production, maybe the songwriting, maybe the fact that I heard the live album first, so I'm thinking that songs like Road Crew, the Hammer, and Ace of Spades, are meant to be played live, with that particular blend of slightly sloppy, slightly drunk, and completely fucking insane sounds that live Motorhead are known for.

And yes, there does remain the question of if there really are fifteen distinct songs on here... Motorhead is kinda like AC/DC in that they put out basically the same songs over and over again. They're very entertaining for the most part, but of the hundreds of Motorhead songs I've heard, I'd be hard-pressed to identify more than about thirty without the vocals. The riffs are very similar, and the songs run together. At times, this leads to a very pleasing effect - the fast, under-two-minute Bite the Bullet immediately leads into the slower, more groovy The Chase is Better than the Catch, and the whole thing sounds like a perfectly executed thrash break. I get the distinct feeling that Sodom came to this conclusion too, and exploited it to good use!

Highlights... the opener is legendary, a hyperspeed blast of punkish metal... self-destructive in lyrical approach, throwing in a chaotic solo, and of course that whackjob riffage coming on both guitar and bass at the same. On the live album, it is ridiculously godly - here it is quite good as well. Other higlights include the original closing track, The Hammer, which forms an excellent bookend to Ace of Spades, given the riff similarity. Then, Please Don't Touch is a very old-school rock 'n roll number (by old school I mean OLD school, like the early Beatles or even before that), and it's executed very well by the combination of Motorhead and Girlschool. Usually bonus tracks are worthless, but this is a highlight.

Worth getting? Certainly. It is a bit overrated as an album (especially compared to the very underrated followup: No Sleep 'til Hammersmith) but still quite decent. Just don't expect a whole fuckload of variety!

Are there really 12 songs on here? - 58%

raZe, October 18th, 2003

Motörhead is a damn cool band. Their music is also cool. But I have one problem with them. Many of their songs sound so alike. Which is why I can't give "Ace of Spades" a higher score.

The album opens with the title track, which is simply blinding! It's my favourite song of theirs, and I'm sure many others feel the same way. The riffs and the lyrics are just insanely cool. Love Me Like a Reptile is also a good song, with a nice riff. Nothing compared to the title track, though. Shoot You in the Back follows the same style as the previous two, only slightly more laidback. And this is where you begin to realize that Motörhead isn't exactly the most varied band out there. Still, it's a good song. Live to Win and Fast and Loose are next, and although they certainly don't stink, the fact that they come after the previous songs makes them a bit tiring. But then, track number six arrives. (We Are) The Road Crew is an excellent song, with an awesome riff and some seriously badass lyrics. Suddenly there is hope for this album! That is, until Fire Fire is played, and the album goes back into a-good-song-but-why-bother mode.

Jailbait stands out a little, luckily, but by now you understand that you're not gonna be surprised by the tracks that comes after. And you don't. Dance is average, Bite the Bullet is more than long enough, despite clocking in at only 1:38, and The Chase is Better Than the Catch is just boring. The album ends with The Hammer, which is only a variation of what has gone before. Good, but unneccesary. The three bonus tracks, Dirty Love, Please Don't Touch and Emergency, give me nothing, and are therefore useless filler material.

I should also mention that the production is very raw, which suits the music, but doesn't add anything special. For all the coolness this band radiates, it can't hide the fact that they write the same songs again and again and again. They almost make AC/DC seem varied. Only almost, though, since that's impossible, haha. As this is by very many considered Motörhead's finest album, I should probably not buy anything else by them. At least I tried.