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Motörhead > Bomber > Reviews
Motörhead - Bomber

Definitely in the Top 5 Albums From the 70's - 100%

Mercyful Trouble, March 15th, 2021
Written based on this version: 1986, CD, Legacy Records

The New Wave of British Heavy Metal in the early 1980's is commonly thought to be the point at which this loud and larger than life genre of music began to gain steam and become much faster and more aggressive, but one need look no further than the early work of Motörhead (okay, punk is important in the equation too) for a sense of where the increased focus on speed came from. In early 1979, Overkill was released and its title track is to this day considered an indispensable influence on speed metal, and in 1980 the band would release the not even remotely overrated Ace of Spades which was the recipe for sheer badassery. And yet, the more balanced and paced Bomber, seems to be the band's most overlooked early album - a shame, because it's the most essential Motörhead album for my money. However, having been released in October 1979, it was sandwiched between their two most popular albums. Despite this, it doesn't really matter to me that Overkill came first, because Bomber was still ahead of its time for 1979 and showed enough songwriting progression from Lemmy and co. to be an extremely worthy follow-up album not even a full year later.

Herein, though, lies the disadvantage of releasing more than one album in such a short span of time. One or more of them is likely to be overlooked, and it just so happens that the two more canonically important albums overshadow the one that is the most varied and consistent of the bunch. Like I said above, there's a great deal of fully realized songwriting chops on display on Bomber; it's got plenty of hooks which are usually just a few simple notes or power chords like in the main riffs of "Lawman" and "Sharpshooter", not to mention the main bassline of "Stone Dead Forever." I feel that it's overall a bit riffier fare than on Overkill, both on these balls-out tracks and on slower ones like "Sweet Revenge", which is much more involved than the bluesier songs Motörhead had done up to this point like "Capricorn." However, it never reaches Sabbath levels of emphatic riffiness (which defined heavy metal music in general), therefore still lending the music the looser, more rock 'n' roll feel that makes this band feel so charming and timeless.

Bomber is also really well-paced, and I love that. Side A is pretty much flawless since it's got kind of a valley structure; "Dead Men Tell No Tales" is really energetic and inspires the listener with a good message about staying clean (if nothing else I always sing "but I don't care for lies!" to myself), but then the album gradually slows down before picking up again on Sharpshooter. "Poison" might be slightly less memorable than the first four songs, but there's really nothing truly bad I can say about that song, either. Side B is honestly even better, though - I especially like "All the Aces" and "Talking Head", since they're the prime examples of satisfying deep cuts for full-album listeners. In fact, I whenever I include "Traditional Heavy Metal" bands on my playlists to break up the Grave, Incantation, and Bolt Thrower, I'll usually throw "Talking Head" into the shuffle. Finally, you get an awesome burst of energy to close out the album with the titular "Bomber", which showed Lemmy's interest in history as much as women and having a good time. This is definitely an album where I prefer the older CD pressings without the bonus tracks. The live songs and B-sides are cool on the Sanctuary reissue, but this album feels complete as it is, clocking in just under 37 minutes.

So that's all I have to say about Motörhead's third album. It's their best early album because it has the most variety and no filler at all. Ultimately a pretty humble album, it's nothing the average rock or metal fan won't get down with even if they do prefer Overkill or Ace of Spades. For me though, this album is a desert island necessity because it's feel-good kinda stuff and that's generally not the music I gravitate towards. And yet, there's not a ton that I have to say about this album, because it's rock 'n' roll, nothing more and certainly nothing less!

All My Motörhead Reviews Sound the Same Pt 3 - 70%

Tanuki, August 7th, 2019

If any aspect of warfare could ever be considered glamorous, I'd bet most people would say dogfighters. There's the superhuman bravery and prowess of their pilots, not to mention the sensuous aerodynamic designs of the aircraft themselves. Most every Brit drools over the voluptuous curves of the Spitfire, just as Yanks do over the striking stature of the P40 Tomahawk. I'm more of a Mitsubishi A6M man, myself. The point I'm trying to make, though, is that bombers are on the complete opposite end of this spectrum. They're the hulking, ugly, graceless monsters of warfare, responsible only for the dirtiest of a conflict's dirty work. No one on Earth has a "favorite" bomber... except maybe Sabaton. So with all that said, guess what Motörhead took a shine to.

Possessing the same fiery impetus as the album released just seven months before it, albeit played noticeably slower and smoother, it's easy for me to equate Bomber to Saxon's Denim & Leather. As I illuminated in my Saxon marathon, the two NWOBHM elder gods had a bit of a buddy system going on; similar touring schedules and similar veneration for 50's and 60's rock legends led to many similarities in their musical trajectory. Motörhead was of course the irresponsible uncle and bands like Saxon and Tank were the impressionable nephews. That being said, I wouldn't be surprised if Saxon was inspired by Bomber when writing their more 'accommodating' album Denim & Leather.

Rest assured, I'm not implying Motörhead wrote a single stanza of music with critics or the mainstream in mind. God no. However, I do surmise they made the executive decision to dial back on their own aggression after Overkill tore everyone's heads off, probably to distance themselves from the fast-approaching NWOBHM label. Remember, Lemmy never ever wanted to be called heavy metal, thus, a finely bred habitarium of down-tempo, introspective blues ballads were well in order, with 'Sweet Revenge' and 'Step Down' moving glacially slow with mesmerizing, pendular rhythms, and the latter not even featuring the coaly lungs of Lemmy. Meanwhile, 'Lawman' and 'Sharpshooter' are hot and sticky cruisers that are not to be headbanged to, but rather played through the speakers of a '72 Lincoln Town Car.

But what about the title track? Or the furious combination of devilish solos throughout 'Stone Dead Forever'? Or the utterly ruinous chorus of 'All the Aces', punctuated with the fattest rock n' roll changeups known to man? All perfectly reasonable pieces of counter-evidence to my theory, I confess, though I would emphasize that all three tracks still have somewhat moseying bloodlust by Overkill's standards. Anyone who's listened to No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith (which, by rights, should be everyone on Earth by now) will note how much better the title track sounds when played that teensy bit faster.

So there's an endearing slothfulness present throughout Bomber. Definitely not Motörhead's harshest, a strong contender for their most accessible to the uninitiated, and early evidence to the fact that Motörhead albums do not, in fact, all sound the same. If you can surmount this, the production as thin as giftwrap, and the rare instances of filler (*ahem* 'Poison' *cough*), your reward is a series of mellow, cowboy boot-wearing blues gems piled somewhere in Motörhead's dragon hoard of classics.

The first AVERAGE Motorhead album - 53%

TrooperEd, January 15th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2001, CD, Metal-Is Records (Reissue, Remastered, US)

I'm a huge Motorhead fan, but I gotta level with you reader, I do not get this album's acclaim. When I first heard it back in 2005 it sounded very generic to me then, and it sounds generic as hell to me now. There's a reason this isn't as discussed as Overkill or Ace of Spades, and it's the same reason Motorhead barely touched any of it live: It's not that good.

Which is not to say the whole thing is a snorefest. Dead Men Tell No Tales, Stone Dead Forever, and of course, the fantastic title track are all classics of metal. Though I must say as a personal preference, I never listen to the studio version. Fadeouts are always shit and the studio version actually makes you get kind of tired of that killer riff. No Sleep Til Hammersmith indeed. But in any case, either one of these three songs could have made the Overkill (or Ace of Spades) album and been a fine replacement for the snorefest that was Metropolis (or Dance?).

But the rest? Well, Lemmy remarked on how Jimmy Miller's heroin addiction was fucking everything up on this album during recording and it definitely shows. Sweet Revenge is an example of this. This was before Motorhead figured out to play slow like champs, this wouldn't be their first blunder in that department either (see:Metropolis). Sharpshooter would be a great song if not for that lame underdeveloped intro riff, which makes you want to hit the skip button within seconds. Poison sucks, just clunky from beginning to end. The entire thing really just reeks of underdeveloped ideas, and "should have kept to Overkill tour on the road til 1980." The thing about Motorhead is when they're subpar, there's nothing inherently awful about it, but it is very generic. Incidentally Over The Top, a B-side, didn't make the album and not only was it better than most of the tracks here, but it would go on to be a live staple. Go figure.

I will say that the lineup or Clarke/Kilmister/Taylor did have a synergy and a chemistry which has never quite been duplicated since. In no way does that declare anything about Motorhead's quality post that lineup (Another Perfect Day easily beats this), but there is a special sonic personality here. Perhaps it was just Fast Eddie's guitar tone, which, while undoubtedly metal, also had shades of rock & roll and even punk. There's no mistaking any of the post-Clarke/Taylor/Kilimister lineup for anything but metal.

In conclusion, what a waste of awesome cover art. If there were a list of "weak albums with awesome cover art," this would have to be #1.

Recommended tracks:
Dead Men Tell No Tales

Another direct hit - 82%

Warthur, November 16th, 2011

Only falling very, very slightly short of the standards of the preceding Overkill or the following Ace of Spades - and that's only because the title track is very, very slightly less iconic and memorable than the title cuts from those two - Bomber continues Motorhead's ongoing fusion of heavy metal aggression and volume, punk rock attitude, and classic rock and roll songwriting.

As with many Motorhead albums, the title song is the best - this time placed as the album closer rather than kicking off the set - with an insanely catchy chorus it's almost impossible not to sing along to. Lemmy's talent as a lyricist is in full flow this time around, with Poison being a frank and emotionally raw condemnation of his absentee father and Lawman being one of the most eloquent "fuck the police" songs ever recorded. Fast Eddie gets a shot at lead vocals on Step Down, but can't really match Lemmy's iconic roar - not that anyone could expect him to, but it does mean that song is a step down compared to the rest of the album.

As far as the music goes, it's more of the classic Motorhead sound - loud as fuck bass and percussion, with Lemmy playing bass like it's another lead guitar, and fast and furious lead guitar from Fast Eddie to sweeten the deal. If you've heard one of their songs from this era - and who hasn't heard Ace of Spades? - you know what you're letting yourself in for, and you know whether you love their classic sound or hate it. If you love it, there's plenty to love here. If you hate it, well, I'm not going to convince you otherwise and Bomber probably won't either.

In last place, for some reason... - 92%

JamesIII, January 8th, 2010

Some of my earliest experiences with metal came from a cassette version of "Bomber," which I particularly liked very well growing up. As time as moved on, my love for this album and the band that brought it into being has not softened, though I have branched out into other genres of the metal universe.
It comes odd to me that an album like "Bomber," when propped up next to "Overkill" and "Ace of Spades" in the trilogy of "classic" Motorhead, this album always takes last place. Reasons for this are strange to me, especially after hearing both of the supposed superior efforts.

The only reason that I can gather from hearing these three albums for a good number of years now is its because "Overkill" and "Ace of Spades" are generally better known. The title tracks to those albums are better known than the title track in "Bomber," not to mention the song "Ace of Spades" is THE calling card of this band. Rightfully so, as its a timeless speed metal track (a term Lemmy despises, preferring to be known as a rock 'n roll band with attitude.) In reality, taking these three albums as a whole, its impossible to pick a bad one of the three as they're all great listens but "Bomber" always pulls itself ahead of the game. It achieves this by remaining consistent (as opposed to "Overkill," which had a disrupted flow at times) but its songs have individualistic character (exactly where "Ace of Spades" went wrong.) At the end of the listen, you can recall these ten songs and you don't feel the need to replay it to make sure you caught everything. Easily digested gritty biker bar rock, exactly what Motorhead excelled in on this album.

You kick this album off in a great way, with the Motorhead classic "Dead Men Tell No Tales" and it never lets up from there. It runs through a series of different but similiar styles like the kicked back bluesy middle finger to authority on "Lawman" or the speed metal style of "Sharpshooter." This continues on "All the Aces" and the incredible "Stone Dead Forever." If Motorhead could do anything right at this point in their career, it was an early draft of speed metal. We top everything off with the title track as the closer, which is definitely one of the best songs here alongside "Stone Dead Forever" and "Dead Men Tell No Tales." The only song I thought wasn't as good as the others is "Step Down," with "Fast" Eddie Clarke performing on the vocal front. Its not that its a bad song, other than the voice thats leading the way, everything else works just the same as anything else on this album.

Any fan of Motorhead is certainly encouraged to seek this out. Don't let the general opinion lead you astray, this album's title track might be a hair below "Overkill" or "Ace of Spades," but taking the entire album for a spin gives way to realization. Realization in that "Bomber" successfully pulled off being a more consistent album but giving each song characteristic. It remains one of my absolute favorite Motorhead albums and ranks in my top 10 favorite albums. The best thing for you to do is to check it out for yourself and see exactly what I mean. This is the sort of thing to be present in the jukebox of all smoke layered pool halls after nine o' clock.

Bombs Away - 86%

DawnoftheShred, November 14th, 2007

Of all the early Motorhead albums, I’d have to elevate Bomber as the best of the bunch. Sporting the thickest, meanest production of the pre-Orgasmatron albums and a nice sampling of the band’s classic songwriting prowess, Bomber is as varied as it is entertaining and is a sure bet for Motorhead faithful.

Lemmy and the boys aren’t yet playing any Ace of Spades style speed rockers, so the tracklist is notoriously bluesier than their following endeavors. Not that there aren’t any up-tempo numbers; tracks like “Stone Dead Forever” and “Dead Men Tell No Tales” prove otherwise. But everything is firmly planted in the blues. No more Capricorn-style psychedelic numbers either. Just straight up blues ‘n’ roll. Rockers like the driving title track and the swaggering “Lawman” coexist with the smoky bar ballad “Step Down” (sung by Eddie Clark) and the deadly down-tempo “Sweet Revenge,” highlighted by that sliding chorus riff. Eddie and Lemmy rock as hard as ever on here, swapping leads and melodic fills like old stories across a beer-stained poker table in a seedy pub, with Phil Taylor providing the backbone. Speaking of pubs, it sounds like Lemmy went through a few pitchers before recording his vocals; they’re as raspy as ever. Expect plenty of quick wit and rabid wordplay from him on this one, he’s at his best.

My final compliment to this album is the production. Raw and thick, Bomber is the last album that would get this kind of treatment before the band smoothed out the sound for the legendary Ace of Spades. It sounds like it was recorded in one take in the basement of a noisy bar (probably was, too). Personally, I prefer this grungy, dirty Motorhead sound over the cleaner sound of future albums, but alas, it was not to be. Ace of Spades, Iron Fist, and so on are noticeably cleaned up.

So yeah, if you dig Motorhead, you’ll dig this record. More no-nonsense old-school heavy metal from the masters of it, Bomber could even challenge George Thorogood in the best-drinking-music department. Bottoms up.

Because they aim to please... - 94%

thatcoltkid, July 28th, 2007

Who could have possibly thought that after the brutality left by their previous album OVAHKILL (or Overkill to you "Metal-impaired"), Motörhead had enough in them to release an even more brutal album later on that year. This is... BOMBAH! (or Bomber to you "Metal-impaired").

From start to finish this album is a beast with Philthy Animal Taylor having a seizure inducing performance on the drums that would be near the fastest for it's time, Fast Eddie redefining shredding on a guitar and finally Lemmy showing us why he's the biggest bad-ass in metal with his performance on the Bass/Vocals.

We start off with the fast and angry "Dead Men Tell No Tales", this is your typical Motörhead opening track that is simply there to let you know that these guys are better than you and would kick your ass if you feel otherwise, definately a high point on this album. The next two songs are much slower and bluesier, "Lawman" and "Sweet Revenge". Now these are nowhere near as good as the opener, but these songs are songs that are made to headbang to... the reason us humans have necks is so we can headbang to songs like these, although the former does drag on a bit.

The speed gradually builds up with "Sharpshooter", which is simply enough, about a Sharpshooter. This song is much faster than the two that came before it, but it doesn't really live up to "Dead Man Tell No Tales", still a pretty strong song.

Then comes "Poison", or as I like to call it "FUCKING THRASH!", from the second this song begins you're in for one of the fastest songs for it's time, this is one of the greatest examples of Thrash meets Punk up until Overkill's "Feel the Fire". The song might go for less than three minutes, but if it were any longer you'd have neck problems.

The greatness continues with "Stone Dead Forever", the longest song on this and one of the heaviest. This song is a classic and still receives concert play to this day, one of Motörhead's best here. "All the Aces" is another fast ditty, but it's still rather forgettable. "Step Down" is something different, it's Fast Eddie's shot at vocals, it sounds more "Paranoid"-era Black Sabbath than it does Motörhead, this is a good song, but is more or less filler. "Talking Head" is a mid paced song with pretty fun Bass licks during the solo section, but that's all it has really. Then we get...


You guessed it, the title track "Bomber". Now remember the stuff I said about "Dead Men Tell No Tales", "Poison" and "Stone Dead Forever" (sans the longest song part), add all of that together, then turn it up to fucking 11 and we get one of the greatest anthems to come out of heavy metal. From the fast and furious riffage and verses, to the melody bridge or to the onslaught that is the chorus, this song fucking owns and I couldn't think of a better way to close this album.

So there you have it, an album that is the definition of Motörhead, the definition of Metal, the definition of headbanging and the definition of turning it to 11.

Sadly pretty much ever Motörhead studio release that follows this fails to live up to the aggression and all round awesomeness displayed here, probably the only Motörhead that can top this would be their legendary "No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith", but that's for another review.

It's a Bomber!

Ze bombah!! Ze bombah!!! - 80%

UltraBoris, September 17th, 2004

This is probably the first ESSENTIAL Motorhead album. The thing with Motorhead is that sometimes they are a bit too filler and a bit too inconsistent - one gets that when they release two albums of 10 songs each a year... when they are dead on, they are a fierce mix of punk, metal, and rock 'n roll, with all three aspects of the band coming on strong, with each song combining all three in some proportion or another.

THIS is an album that is fierce and dead FUCKING on. Combine basher anthems like "Lawman" and "Sweet Revenge", which are monstrosities of Sabbath meets old-school riff rock like Hendrix or the Kinks. Then other songs are pure Motorhead riffage, that NO other band sounds like - the MC5 wish they were this heavy, Judas Priest wish they were this pissed off, the Sex Pistols wish they were this coherent... All the Aces, Talking Head... the simple speed stuff, half guitar, half bass, all power all the time.

This is their second LP of 1979 (third, if you count the initial release of the 1975 recording, On Parole) - and a far more violent release than the previous offering, OVAHKILL. What the title track of that album brought into full force, THIS album continues on. The guitar and bass tones are much more similar here than there to The Masterwörk, No Sleep 'til Hammersmith of course.

With the opener, "Dead Men Tell No Tales", and the album kicks on a high note, and never stops. The epic madcap soloing of "Sharpshooter", combined with that absurdly heavy bass backing - shades of Ace of Spades and Overkill - and the simple Priest-ish riffs... I hear "Delivering the Goods" and even "Island of Domination" in the gallop. The more melodic, punk work "Poison", with the gang choruses a la the Ramones... "Step Down" with Fast Eddie taking on the vocals, and the whole thing comes out like a late 60s burner a la a much more violent The Doors...

these guys were ALL. These guys weren't afraid to wear all their influences on their sleeves, and come up with a sound that is unmistakeably their own nonetheless... the loud destructive bass, the shrieking guitars, the LOUDEST BAND IN THE WORLD of course... the epic (yes, even in under five minutes, this song is a complete masterwork) "Stone Dead Forever" with its glorious intro licks leading into the awesome speed metal riffage (and the random feedback at 2:48 - something tells me they left it in) and the solo that's all Ten Years After, Times One Hundred... and of course the final track.


Well worth it. Well fucken worth it. First there is Sabbath. Then there is Priest. Then there is Motorhead. With these three bands, and NOTHING else, you can take over the world.

Yes, pretty sad that in the two years of this site, there's been two reviews for this LP.

(Oh yeah, my CD comes with a few live bonus tracks... not sure when they were recorded, but they sound completely fucking competent, though not QUITE as vicious as No Sleep.)