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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.