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Motörhead > Bastards > Reviews
Motörhead - Bastards

The voice of broken glass - 79%

Felix 1666, December 28th, 2020
Written based on this version: 1993, CD, ZYX Music

Lemmy (R.I.P.) was a challenge. He challenged the laws of ageing, the alcohol industry and academic music fans. He was a thorn in the side of people who thought (with good reasons) that there are better hobbies than collecting Nazi memorabilia. And sometimes he even called on his followers to fight. This was mostly the case whenever he had recorded a ballad. Many of them are really not the shit you want to smoke. “Don’t Let Daddy Kiss Me” is among these examples for a calm Motörhead song gone wrong. That’s a pity, because its empathic lyrics are remarkable, but the musical execution sucks. To be honest, it sucks completely and right from the beginning. Lemmy’s voice opens the track and it sounds weak, powerless and odd. Is this the same singer who claims “I am the voice of broken glass”, a line from “Burner”? Anyhow, “Don’t Let Daddy Kiss Me” would have been a noteworthy poem, but as a piece of music it belongs in the trash can.

Fortunately, “Bastards” as a whole deserves a much more positive description. There are probably not many dudes who count this album to Motörhead’s most relevant albums and I do neither, but it definitely shows its muscles. Apart from the terrible ballad, the quartet (yes, quartet) covers the range from good time rockers with piano support (“Bad Woman”) over pretty harsh, rock ’n’ roll inspired tracks to speed / thrash metal. The last category is represented by the excellent “Burner”. Here Lemmy’s vocals really sound like clashing glass, while the restlessly advancing guitars and the hammering drums form an outstanding speedster in the catalogue of the legend. By the way, this song kicks off the best part of the album. The directly following “Death or Glory” is another intensive, swift number. Mikkey Dee swings the hammers and his comrades at the (bass) guitars do not hesitate to show their fresh, energetic and impulsive side as well. The lyrics of “Death or Glory” appear as Motörhead’s version of the lyrics of “Sympathy for the Devil”, but with an emphasis on World War II, how could it be otherwise? Finally, “I Am the Sword” brings the album back on a more rocking yet still heavy track. These three highlights have all that it needs to enrich a Motörhead album; they are compact and avoid useless gimmicks, they sound straight and catchy, they enthuse with directness and the typical Lemmy paradox: this filthy purity that made his band (and himself) to something special.

However, this trio after the somewhat unspectacular opener is not the only reason to enjoy the album. “Liar”, a bone-dry headbanger, grabs you by the collar, no matter whether it is blue or white. I always liked the fact that Motörhead can provide a good mood, but they can be very humourless as well. “Liar” confirms this thesis with regard to its second part. “Lost in the Ozone” also reflects a surprisingly serious and thoughtful band. Moreover, the melancholy of the lyrics is underlined by the dragging tempo of this song. I don’t want to say that I was surprised about the fact that Lemmy was a thinking man, but I did not know so far that he also took care about the climate. Religion, World War II, politics, okay – but here he broadened the spectrum.

Apart from the differences in terms of style and tempo, all songs benefit from the voluminous and powerful production. The guitars have an all-embracing sound, the drums are perfectly staged and Lemmy is, well, Lemmy. With all his authenticity, vocal constraints and perpetual unrest. The mid-paced “We Bring the Shake” with its flawless flow is the final jewel, before the repetitive yet solid “Devils”, carried by a simple yet decent riff, brings the album to an end. It clocks in at 48 minutes, but its impact lasts longer. Or is there anybody out there who does not want to listen to some songs again?

Be A Good Soldier and Die Where You Fell - 95%

Twisted_Psychology, December 31st, 2018
Written based on this version: 1993, CD, ZYX Music

Just a year after the unrealized ambitions of 1992’s March or Die, Motorhead returned with a different direction in mind for Bastards. While the album’s more grounded approach would suggest a back to basics rock ‘n roll style, the songs here are heavier than anything ever released under the Motorhead banner before it. Late 70s anthems like “Overkill” and “Stone Dead Forever” were certainly heavy for their time, but the band had never been this aggressive.

Much of that aggression can be directly attributed to the recruitment of drummer Mikkey Dee. In contrast to the often-sloppy performances of past timekeepers, his technique is both tight and hard hitting while still allowing for plenty of groove. It’s understandably not as technical as the work with King Diamond that established his reputation, but speed metal scorchers like the appropriately titled “Burner” would’ve been literally impossible without him. I dare wager that Mikkey Dee played a more important role in the Motorhead sound than anybody but Lemmy himself.

Thankfully this heightened musicianship is matched with some fantastic songwriting. Most of the songs are upbeat as “Death or Glory” and “I Am the Sword” offer blistering tempos while “Born to Raise Hell” and “We Bring the Shake” have some commercial remnants in their hard rock singalongs. On the flip side, “Liar” puts that heaviness to slower use with a grinding riff set and some of Lemmy’s most vicious growls ever. There’s even some room for psychedelia as the warped grooves on “I’m Your Man” would be quite potent in the hands of your local stoner doom group.

But like 1916 before it, a tragic ballad proves to be this album’s biggest curveball. “Don’t Let Daddy Kiss Me” is a jarring song both musically and lyrically; its sudden transition to soft acoustic strums from “Born to Raise Hell” party rock is enough to give one whiplash and its child abuse theme is heartbreaking but not overwrought. Its placement in the middle of the album and Lemmy’s vulnerable vocal performance make it an uncomfortable listen, but I’ll be damned if that wasn’t what the song set out to do in the first place!

Overall, Bastards may be the most underrated Motorhead album ever. In addition to serving as a strong bounce back from the misguided March or Die, the album is just as good as the band’s best-known efforts and set a new standard for everything that followed. The songs are some of the band’s catchiest ever and its heaviness would only be matched on the subsequent Sacrifice and 2005’s Inferno. Thankfully it gets more appreciation these days than it did upon its initially obscure release and I can only hope its greatness will discovered by more fans with time.

“Death or Glory”
“Born to Raise Hell”
“I’m Your Man”

Originally published at

When Motorhead became eternal - 95%

TrooperEd, March 30th, 2018
Written based on this version: 1993, CD, ZYX Music

Much as I love 1916, it's a small pity that was the Motorhead album to be released on Sony and thus appear in all of the FYEs and not this one.

Bastards is the Kilimister gang's finest moment. Taylor being given the heave-ho and replaced with King Diamond drummer Mikkey Dee gave the band a massive upgrade in heaviness as well as percussive technique. It's funny, Mikkey Dee always says he holds back when he plays with Motorhead but you'd never be able to tell during his tenure with the band. He doesn't sound like he's overplaying, but almost displaying a Keith Moon sense of abandon where he's trying to be as thrashy as possible while keeping time. This lineup would be Motorhead at their deadliest, their most metal. Sadly, it would only last them for two albums, including this one, but we got 3/4 of the rest of them for Motorhead's remaining years (my Lemmy in rock & roll heaven it's depressing to refer to Motorhead in the past tense). That has to count for something, right?

One point of contention with this album is Don't Let Daddy Kiss Me. That, and it's sequencing of coming right before Bad Woman. As if following up a song about being molested by one's father with a typical Motorhead sex romp is in bad taste. Well, I'm sure if Lemmy were still with us today, he'd respond to this criticism with "rock n' roll is supposed to offend you every once in a while. Fuck em if they can't take a joke." Not to mention that Don't Let Daddy Kiss Me takes the listener to such a dark place that it's practically vital to follow the song up with happy-go-fucky (not a typo) song, for fear it would stop the album's momentum dead in it's tracks. Kind of like how Teacher's Pet followed Buried Alive. In any case, the song is a fine ballad, and honestly, I can't think of a bad ballad that Motorhead ever put out, or even an average one (well, ok Dust & Glass doesn't really go anywhere).

If there is a weakness on this album, it's the final half of the closing song, Devils. I actually was so annoyed by this interminable "angels in my heart tonight" section that I ignored the song for many years, completely forgetting that it's opening riff is one of the better riffs on Bastards. Tiresome as that ending is, I'm not gonna take any points off because it's the proper end of the album, so you can just fade it out early. Unless you're one of those people who take iTunes plays seriously, thus needing to play the whole track through, in which case you're fucked.

Highlights? Good fucking God what isn't a highlight here? Aside from that pesky Devil's ending everything here is Birmingham factory quality titanium! On Your On Your Knees is the best Motorhead opener since Ace of Spades, possibly even better. Burner [anyway] is a surprisingly successful recycling of that immortal speed metal chestnut. We Bring The Shake features the most delightfully oblong riff in the Motorhead catalog along with brilliant vocal harmonies (another thing that Motorhead had a great signal-to-noise ratio with; moreso than most). I'm The Man was supposed to be given to Aerosmith but they turned it down for reasons that can only be concluded as "they're fucking idiots." Seriously, they'll collaborate with Nsync, Desmond Child and Diane Warren but not Lemmy? Cunts. Finally, I Am The Sword is a Rickenbacker induced San Andreas rumbling with that perfect combination of metal, punk and rock & roll that we all worship Motorhead for.

Bastards is a giant middle finger to all the trends and foolishness of American record company stupidity in 1993. A quintessential album no one's collection should be without. Hopefully in the next few years Paul Inder and Todd (Motorhead's final manager) can work together to get this on Blackened Recordings so everyone can get their claws on it. Maybe even pull a U2 and stealth download it onto everyone's iPods. Eat your 90s Motorhead kids, it builds character.


BastardHead, February 11th, 2013

February 11th is a special day for me. There's no concrete date to when I began this whole reviewing shtick that I've been trying so desperately to make my internetical legacy. But for my money, I consider it to be today, February 11th. That was when I posted my (frankly terrible) review for Gojira's ode to Lunesta, From Mars to Sirius, and the reason I consider this to be my anniversary is because that was the first one I wrote as less of just a time waster and more because I just really, really enjoyed writing about music. And so, with this in mind, I'd like to celebrate my five year anniversary (!!) as a reviewer with a bit of trivia: Motorhead is where "BastardHead" comes from. Legend has it that when starting this new rock n' roll band after leaving Hawkwind, Lemmy had decided to name his band Bastard to reflect the kind of attitude he exudes so naturally. His manager convinced him otherwise, saying "You'll never make it on Top of the Pops with a name like bloody Bastard", presumably immediately after his monocle popped out. Lemmy, for the first and only time in his life, relented and changed it to the name we all know and love right now.

So obviously, Motorhead is a pretty special band to me. I didn't grow up with them like other sentimental bands (Metallica, Guns n' Roses, Pantera, et cetera), but really getting into Motorhead truly does open a lot of doors for metal fans. Lemmy, being the bottomless quote machine that he is, has always said that the band was never meant to be a metal band, they're a rock n' roll band first and foremost. Most metal fans tend to disagree, but I actually tend to side with the creator here. There's obviously a lot of heavy metal at play here (especially on this album, "Burner" is a fucking speed metal monster), but listening to the guitar work, the attitude, and the overall feel of pretty much any Motorhead album ever released (barring maybe Inferno) just makes it clear that the band has always been more about rock 'n roll sleaze than heavy metal thunder.

And that's one of the reasons Bastards is such a brilliant record in my eyes, it's both the most overtly rock n' roll album since Bomber, and it's also without a doubt the heaviest album they'd released up to that point in time. The two best songs exemplify the two extreme ends of their spectrum, with "Burner" being a high octane, double bass filled, speed metal aggressor, while "Born to Raise Hell" is the quintessential rock n' roll party anthem. The rest of the album runs the gamut set by those two extremes, with only one exception, which I'll get to later. I won't lie and say nothing feels like filler, because "Devils" and "Lost in the Ozone" tend to go in one ear and out the other during most runs through the album. But everything else stands as one of the most obviously varied experiences the band has ever provided listeners with. The common attack against Motorhead is that all of their songs sound the same, which is demonstrably bullshit. Chances are that if you abide by that belief, you simply haven't bothered listening further than "Ace of Spades", "Iron Fist", and maybe "Killed by Death". Now, all of those songs rule, but to say those sound identical to "Born to Raise Hell" or "Liar" or "On Your Feet or on Your Knees" might as well be the equivalent of a bright green sandwich sign that says I DON'T KNOW SHIT ABOUT SHIT AND PROBABLY LISTEN TO ARCADE FIRE.

Anyway, the point is that Bastards starts off on one of the strongest feet that any Motorhead album ever has. Eight excellent tracks in a row, from "On Your Feet or on Your Knees" through "Liar", the album just charges forth at full speed before playing around with some more typical rock n' roll, the most shockingly dark Motorballad of all time, and even a sort of extraordinarily heavy quasi-blues track. As much as I love this band, I really can't think of any other albums they've released that start off this strongly and stay this consistently good for as long as this does. No album of theirs is perfect, but it takes a whopping nine tracks before this one stumbles in even the slightest, and that is definitely a commendable feat, especially considering how many of these songs are wildly different from one another. "Death or Glory" is almost a straight up punk song to start, with minute set aside for a marching beat in the middle, "Liar" is preposterously groovy and almost feels like the song Satan would sing to blues musicians at the Crossroads, and "Bad Woman" is essentially a 1950s piano rock song ala Little Richard, except performed by four raucous party animals who reek of Jack Daniels and hand rolled cigarettes. Bastards is basically just an amalgam of every influence the band has ever had (which to be fair, most of their albums are basically this, but this is one of the most blatant examples), and when most bands try to do a little bit of everything, they end up bland across the board. But nope, turns out Motorhead is just fucking great at everything so pretty much every idea sticks.

Despite this being the heaviest album the band had put out at the time, it somehow manages to contain two ballads, one kinda power ballad "Lost in the Ozone", which ranks as the only track I out-and-out don't like, and then there's the almost entirely acoustic "Don't Let Daddy Kiss Me", which I'm... pretty conflicted about. On one hand, it's an incredibly daring song, dealing with a horrifying subject matter that most bands tend to shy away from, and then nails the emotional impact by telling it from the perspective of the little girl, painting the scene in a very depressing, bleak, and most troubling of all, realistic light. The verse about how if she tells anybody about what is happening, she'll lose her family and her home is just brutal. This song is crushing on the most emotional level possible, and there's no happy ending to the story either. There's no ending at all. Dad molests/rapes his daughter nightly, he feels nothing, she's praying for death because she has nobody to turn to because even God hasn't saved her. The end! No moral! But on the other hand, as much as I admire such a brave and horrifying song from an otherwise irreverent group of wildmen, it's... well by a band of wildmen, right in the middle of a wild album about wild parties. Following up such a heavy subject with "I KNOW YOU'RE A BAAAAD BAD WOMAN" just feels... wrong. Maybe it's just personal preference here, but the rest of the album just feels somewhat uncomfortable after that harrowing dirge. I don't know about you, but if I just discovered somebody was sexually abusing his small daughter, I wouldn't be able to so seamlessly shift back to partying. But then again Lemmy is no ordinary man, so I guess such a hard left turn into Depressionville didn't seem out of place to him. HERE I COME BABY WOOP DEE DOO!

Apart from the album's iHawk style "irreverent - maudlin" switch, and one or two songs that are ultimately pointless in the grand scheme of things, Bastards stands as potentially my favorite Motorhead album. This one just does nearly everything it sets out to do just right, everything hits bullseye. I'd honestly recommend this as a starting point over more seminal albums like Ace of Spades or Overkill or Another Perfect Day, because this one gives the best taste of everything Motorhead is capable of, and can help act as a guide for where to go next. What was your favorite song here? "Burner"? Go to Inferno. "Bad Woman"? Go to 1916. Et cetera and so forth. For reasons I can't quite fathom (perhaps because 1992 is the last year that fans of 80s metal care about and this was released in late 1993?), Bastards seems to have ended up as one of the forgotten albums in the grand scope of the band's career, which is bizarre since it has the significance of being Mikkey Dee's first album and Wurzel's last, essentially being the last step before solidifying the power trio lineup that has persisted for the last 20 years, but hey, I guess they can't all be winners. Bottom line is that Motorhead is awesome and Bastards is a brilliantly fun album, oozing with attitude and sleaze, and really what more could you ask for from this band? Straight up, unadulterated rock n' roll with a punk and metal edge, just the way it should be.

Originally written (WITH ADDED VISUAL AID) for

A reliable Motorhead strikes again - 76%

JamesIII, February 24th, 2010

As with covering "Snake Bite Love," the 1990's material of Motorhead is generally met with mixed reactions from fans. This is understandable, considering Motorhead is a classic band and classic bands are generally best known for the material they did early on, or at least the albums that made them famous. From there, its a slew of notable albums that usually don't get talked about that much. Yet after the rather mediocre "March or Die," anything would have been a nice change of pace, and the shifting back to attitude-driven metal/punk madness in "Bastards" is just what the doctor ordered.

"Bastards" seems to fire out more unapologetic, straight-forward heavy metal than previous releases, not to mention dropping some of the punk influence to greater emphasize the metal aspect. The opener in "On Your Feet or On Your Knees" is a perfect example of this, and a very good peek into what lies in store for the listener. "Born to Raise Hell" gets even better, and with a powerful and catchy chorus, is sure to be a barnburner wherever it gets played. "I'm the Man" is also a worthy headbanger, more remembrances of the classic Motorhead design.

Now some songs also deviate from the standard Motorhead sound, but are nonetheless good mentions. "Death and Glory" is a powerful number, infusing more of the punk influences with the general heavy metal approach found elsewhere on this listen. "Bad Woman" is a favorite of mine, which comes with some heaping helpings of Southern influence which makes for an interesting and unique listen on this album. Campbell and Wurzel also spice up things here with some nice solo work, something that is seemingly lacking as a whole on this album.

Unfortunately, not everything is great about "Bastards," despite the good things going for it. "Don't Let Daddy Kiss Me" is an acoustic misfire, not to mention being totally out of place in the track listing. "We Bring the Shake" isn't that notable, though not necessarily bad, but ultimately a throwaway. In addition to this, as I mentioned in the previous paragraph, the soloing isn't that commendable here. There are a few good ones here and there, but overall not that impressive which is not what I was expecting out of this band and the talent present.

"Bastards" isn't an album that Motorhead fans will likely be celebrating, but its still a fine testament to this band's ability to carry on regardless of time frame. Keep in mind that it was 1993, the golden age of the musical wasteland known as grunge and the "alt" rock explosion of that era, but by the sounds of Motorhead, you wouldn't guess it. If "Bastards" teaches us nothing else, its that even in one of the most trendy eras in music history, when everyone and their mother starting adorning tattered flannel and half-ass musical abilities, Motorhead carried on in reliable fashion. "Bastards" isn't an exceptional release, but even compared to some finer Motorhead albums, its definitely a respectable release in an era when piss poor excuses for music were running rampant and out of control.

Play That Guitar Just Like Ringin’ A Bell! - 90%

Acrobat, April 18th, 2008

‘Bastards’ is Mikkey Dee’s first and Würzel’s last proper Motörhead album, so that’s the nominal line up changes out of the way, so now for the important stuff. What exactly did Phil and Lemmy have for breakfast during the recording? Respectfully, Cider and Jack Daniels. Erm yeah. Anyway, ‘Bastards’ is another brilliantly monikered album, somewhat of a lost classic for the band, not because the fans have forgotten it or the band just the standard record company bullshit. Honestly, Motörhead should have been bigger than Metallica (mainly due to more quality songs, musicianship and live performances) but they had a insanely high amount of record company and managerial bullshit to deal with instead, just typical!

‘Bastards’ is an album of two half’s, I know all albums have two sides but this has somewhat of a clear divide in terms of musical direction. The A side is frighteningly good, the first 5 songs are just balls to the wall, be that balls to the wall speed metal or rock ’n’ roll, its achingly heavy (barring the ballad ‘Don’t Let Daddy Kiss Me’ which is tender but I could be a prat and argue that lyrically it’s still heavy). The second side still rocks but displays the bands more experimental side, and although less successful than the frankly stellar A side, its still rather good. The AC/DC of erm rock ’n’ roll? (I was going to say metal but that’s not strictly the case)…hardly. ‘Liar’ displays a new sort of groove for the band, all mid tempo and angry! ‘Lost in the Ozone’ is a power ballad (two ballads on a Motöralbum? It’ll be MTV unplugged next!). ‘I’m the Man’ is a weird sort of bluesy grunge that doesn’t actually work, but it’s the only one on the album, so we can overlook that. Oh crikey it’s all experimental! But doth it rock? Aye, indeed.

Individual life affirming, hell raising and rocking tracks include. ‘On Your Feet Or On Your Knees’ (which isn’t about oral sex don’t worry!) which is a riff onslaught with a nice foot stomping pace, a definite underrated Motörhead classic on a underrated Motörhead classic…bizarre that! ‘Burner’ along with ‘Sacrifice’ is as close to thrash metal as the band got. It’s short, sharp and prickly (much like a hedgehog) with some eerie wahed guitar from Phil and one of his most unique solos. The lyrics here are particularly harrowing ‘I don’t think you know your future yet…’ well Mystic Meg does.
‘Death or Glory’ is the customary war themed song that has Lemmy indulging in one of his favourite past times, military history (well he’s not saving the Nazi memorabilia for a rainy day or the second coming of the forth Reich). It features Würzel and Phil at their most ferocious and insane; frantic (not the Metallica song!) riff work ahoy, and Mikkey shows he’s not been hired just for his uncanny resemblance to Joey from Friends. ‘I Am the Sword’ again has some brilliant spidery riffs and Lemmy’s most disturbing and vicious vocals ever. ‘Born to Raise Hell’ again continues the theme of having loads of great songs all stuck together (which isn’t actually a theme, but it feels like one). Now, if you don’t like rock ’n’ roll you won’t like this, but this begs a bigger question…what the sweet baby Jesus were you listening to Motörhead for if you didn’t like rock ’n’ roll!? Did you want jazz? Eleven finger tapping? “Proto-speed-thrash-metal?”…I despair of you and if this album wasn’t so good I’d take your life and mine! Anyway, ‘We Bring the Shake’ is the best of the more experimental numbers here. It’s quite reminiscent of Hawkwind, which is no bad thing. The verses have an ethereal droning quality to them which would fit just perfectly on ‘Space Ritual’ and the chorus well rocks…I feel I need more adjectives to describe rocking. So all in all an excellent bunch of tightly crafted songs.

Production and performance wise, this is the band displaying their most aggressive tendencies which were somewhat lacking on ‘March or Die’ (although that album is nowhere near the abomination others have made it out to be). The guitar sound is immense and everything’s definitely in the red. Mikkey, as the new boy has something to prove and he does it in style. The drums on the album are killer especially in contrast to the drab and straight sounding Tommy Aldridge (who is good for Ozzy and Whitesnake but not Motorhead). Lyrically, Lemmy combines his typical rock ’n’ roller themes with a more grizzly outlook on humanity and he does it with the class and flair of a man who’s done it all, well by it all I mean your mum and sister (hell, he chatted up my mum when she was fourteen too…and that’s all she disclosed, Jailbait?). Würzel and Phil deliver the goods once again on guitar, with some memorable moments.

‘Bastards’ is another masterpiece from the band who won’t or more likely can’t die. Ignore the negative review, the band and fans alike recognise ‘Bastards’ as one of the bands finest and it’s the best to feature Mikkey so far. Just another great album from an Englishman, Welshman, Scarecrow and a Swede.

Motorhead can be inconsistent - 57%

Estigia666, October 18th, 2003

I picked this album for one reason and one reason only: BURNER!! Masterful, tight, speed/thrash metal. Easily one of the best Motorhead songs from the 90s. 2 minutes and 52 seconds of pure fucking destruction you just can't live without.

With Motorhead having such a good streak of killer songs on the albums I heard before this, I thought the rest would be on par with the aforementioned song/slab of punishment.

But no.....

The problem of this album can be summed up in:

1) Lemmy's voice. It sounds just too jolly and happy for my taste, and with a gruff voice like his the last thing you wanna hear is THAT.

2) The songwriting itself. To name a few examples: "On your Feet on your knees" is just mediocre speed metal, "I'm your Man" almost sound like Soundgarden with grunted vocals, "Lost in the Ozone" begins like a Guns 'n Roses ballad and "Don't let Daddy Kiss me" is just an abomination of the worst nature. Not much like Ozzy's "So Tired", but, damn me, it pulled it's biggest effort to get on that sucking level.

"Born to Raise Hell". With such a title I thought "man, this is going to kick my ass bigtime". But no. Is just a rock 'n roll-ish number that, in itself, isn't bad, but is very lacky in terms of aggression.

And what the hell is up with "Devils"? I swear, the part at the end sounds EXACTLY like a song from the 80s I just can't remember from where it came. Sting? Beats me.

But the guitar tone kills. Too bad it can't save this album from total mediocrity.

One kickass song. The rest is either VERY mediocre, or just shite. Approach with caution.