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"...Listen. Top notch." - 92%

GiantRex, March 16th, 2012

I remember the first time I discovered this album and being mesmerized by the cover art. Lemmy and the boys were almost certainly unaware of it, but the picture adorning their album was way ahead of its time. They had next to nothing to do with the development of death metal, but the art on Another Perfect Day was very much in the spirit of what was to start hitting the record store shelves by the end of the decade. Not back then in the genre's heyday, and certainly not today, are any records found with a cover as badass and downright frightening as this one. Just what the hell is going on here? Ol' Snaggletooth doesn't look like he's doing so well, caught up in some kind of infernal tempest of fire, ice, and lightning, complete with a forked tongue and lava spewing from an eye socket. The title lettering looks like a scabbed-over wound in the aftermath of it being carved in someone's arm.

Truly, the cover seems out of place when you consider the type of music for which Motörhead is known. "Ferocity" isn't a term that I would attribute to the Motörhead sound. Rather, the first two words that come to mind as I try to describe it are "grit" and "sleaze". What perhaps makes Another Perfect Day an oddity in the band's catalog is that here the lyrical subject matter and the overall tone of the music is darker and a bit more serious than on any of their previous successes. Don't take my statement the wrong way - I'm not saying that Motörhead is trying to make legitimate political or social commentary with this music. What I am saying is that this album isn't as heavily punk or blues influenced as most of their earlier work, and the subject matter is focused on insanity, revenge, and war more so than it is on sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll.

All that being said, what does the music actually sound like? Well, for lack of a better term, gritty. It's unfortunate, but the production here really isn't good at all. The first time I listened to this album, the opening track really threw me off-base. The bottom end of the mix is so hopelessly lost that I hadn't realized the song's first verse had started. I understand how this can be upsetting to many fans. One of the things that is always expected of a Motörhead album is to hear Lemmy's bass loud and clear. You have to really search for it on this release. During the segments of the album when the band isn't simply pounding away, there is a noticeable amount of reverberation in the guitar tone. At other times, it all sounds very hollow. It sounds under-produced. It isn't normal for this band at all.

I suppose it's for reasons such as those that this album is often considered "overlooked" and why it wasn't a commercial success. It's a shame, really, because the quality of songwriting here is a considerable improvement over the previous year's Iron Fist and quite a bit more complex and varied than their offerings on Ace of Spades (although not nearly as catchy). The opening track, "Back at the Funny Farm", is without question one of Motörhead's best songs. In a way, it serves as a microcosm of everything the band had done up to that point in their career - and is no way indicative of what anything on the rest of the album sounds like, save for the closing track, "Die You Bastard". Two blazing tracks bookend the rest of the contents, much of which is very strange for this band.

The main riff to "Shine", the song which follows the fantastic opener, is simply awkward. If you can stomach it, this is the kind of music the remainder of the album portrays to the listener. Nearly all of the tracks have calm, unoffensive introductory sections which are directly influenced by 70's-style prog rock, and many of them have overtones derived from the same style of music. Does this detract from the album's quality? No, it's just different. "Dancing on Your Grave" is a Motörhead classic and is the genesis of Sepultura, and despite that it's an oddly melodic track. Even so, it's not nearly as toned-down as "One Track Mind" or the title track. If you followed my statement there, yes, that's right. This album's title track is not a tearing, speeding song. It's mid-paced at most. Motörhead isn't known for playing ballad-type songs, but all of the slower work here is executed very well. Lemmy knows how to handle his voice even when the music isn't at its most aggressive and the music is still heavy even when it's slow. Odd for Motörhead, but enjoyable.

It's the innately unusual character of this album that makes it so memorable for me. Motörhead's music is supposed to be about motorcycles and booze and picking up trashy women and getting into fights in shitty bars. Another Perfect Day paints for us a vastly different picture. I'm not claiming that Motörhead is atmospheric, but for their style this is a very bleak album. It sticks with me - the tangible insanity of "Back at the Funny Farm", the desperate feeling of the chorus in "Marching off to War", the depression of being worn down by the perpetual grind in the title track... Maybe it doesn't stick out for some people, but it definitely does for me. In a nutshell, that's why I like Another Perfect Day so much. It feels to me almost like Motörhead's attempt to take their music and image in a slightly different direction while remaining true to their roots. Of course, we're all aware that no such change ever truly happened, and most are grateful for it, too. Motörhead today is the same old Motörhead, but I still strongly recommend this album as look into their past from a very strangely placed window.