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Motörhead > March ör Die > Reviews
Motörhead - March ör Die

In the Thunder and Heat - 70%

Twisted_Psychology, December 28th, 2018
Written based on this version: 1992, CD, Epic Records

March or Die will always be remembered as Motorhead’s sellout record. The band didn’t ape any trends of the time, but they really leaned on their mainstream connections this time around. Lemmy’s participation in the songwriting for Ozzy Osbourne’s No More Tears likely left an impression on him, perhaps further fueling the desire for prominence that started getting traction on 1916. Unfortunately, this album doesn’t quite have the same focus as its predecessor.

While March or Die is more stylistically in line with classic Motorhead than 1916, this is a rather watered-down variation of that formula. Songs like the opening “Stand” are decently written and feature the bass drive and gravelly vocals fans know and love, but the executions don’t seem to hit as hard as they should. Other songs feel like retreads as “Jack the Ripper” has a bumpy groove in the vein of “The One to Sing the Blues” and the closing title track channels “Orgasmatron” without properly channeling its misanthropic menace.

These issues reach an early culmination on the rather misguided cover of Ted Nugent’s “Cat Scratch Fever.” Having the song be second in the track list is awkward enough and the band’s performance is frankly neutered. This song is tailor made for Motorhead’s signature sleaze, but the high-pitched vocals and uptight rhythms really don’t do it justice. This cover would’ve been so much stronger with meaner guitars and grittier vocals and it’s sad to see it not live up to what I can imagine in my head.

Oddly enough, those mainstream connections end up working in the album’s favor. A power ballad featuring a duet with Ozzy Osbourne seems disingenuous on paper (and makes me want to listen to Lita Ford for some reason) but, “I Ain’t No Nice Guy” may be the strongest track on here thanks to its surprisingly sincere performances and smooth buildup. I also enjoy the Motorhead take on “Hellraiser” even if I prefer the bombast of the No More Tears version and “You Better Run” makes fun use of the tried and true “Hoochie Coochie Man” rhythm.

Overall, March or Die isn’t a bad album but rather an underwhelming blunder by Motorhead standards. It’d be easy to blame it all on celebrity pandering, but the songs exploiting those cameos end up being the best while the songs that sound the most like the band’s typical work are ironically the weakest. I don’t think the writing is quite on par with the classics, but the effort really would’ve benefitted from more aggressive performances. There’s enough good here for hardcore fans to enjoy it but the band’s other works from this era are so much better.

“I Ain’t No Nice Guy”
“You Better Run”

Originally published at

A Step Down, But Still Great! - 80%

AngelicStorm, September 19th, 2009

How do you follow an album as career defining as 1991's awesome "1916"? While that album did feel a bit Americanised and commercial in places, it was so colourful and a complete delight to listen to. The songwriting was top notch, and the band were really on top form with that album. 1992's follow up, "March Or Die" in the main, sounds less Americanised than "1916". Even though for the most part, the mainstream sound remained. However, it still sounds very much like Motorhead, and still features many cuts of classic rock n' roll delivered in the way only Motorhead can!

Opener "Stand" is great anthemic song, with a very catchy vocal refrain in the verses, and an awesome solo. The main riff reminds me a bit of Overkill's "Hello From The Gutter", and the whole song kicks the album off to a great start. The second song, is a cover. Ted Nugent's "Cat Scratch Fever". I've never been a fan of bands putting covers on their studio albums, and this one doesnt subvert that trend. It's not a great song anyway, and Motorhead just seem to be going through the motions with it. Having it so early on in the album also isnt a good sign. This track should definitely have been left for a b side or something. A mistake, to put it politely. Thankfully, "Bad Religion" helps get things back on track. This is a fantastic track, pure rock n' roll, complete with a fist pumping section that would surely get the crowd going if it was played in concert. "Jack The Ripper" is a monstrous track, and the best on here. The main riff is a sinister swagger, which perfectly accompanies the chilling lyrics. Which comes as a refreshing change from the booze, women and rock n' roll that is usually the trademark for Motorhead lyrics. There is also some great pounding drumming here from session drummer Tommy Aldridge. The chaotic first solo is great, and the slow breakdown adds even more menace to the song. This is definitely one of the band's best ever, and should have become a setlist staple. Rock n' roll is known for its upbeat sound, but the dark images conjured up by this track makes it sound creepy and evil instead. The ending fade out of a distorted voice saying "Jacky" just adds a final sinister touch to an amazing song. Its a shame Motorhead didn't make more songs like this as it shows a different side to them, and gives them and even meaner edge than they already had.

2 of the songs on this album have a connection to Ozzy Osbourne. "I Ain't No Nice Guy", and "Hellraiser". The former is a ballad where Ozzy duets with Lemmy. This is actually a great ballad, with a piano adding to the feeling. The lyrics, and almost "down and out", back alley sound gives it a very Motorhead feel, despite being a ballad. It also features a guitar solo by Slash. I love this song a lot, definitely another highlight of this album. The latter of the Ozzy connected songs does not feature his vocals, but it was on his "No More Tears" album. However, seeing as Lemmy co-wrote this song, it's not really a cover. Motorhead's version is more stripped down than Ozzy's, though it still has a very Americanised sound. However, the chorus remains a huge anthem to the rock lifestyle, and it is a great song for Motorhead, just as it was Ozzy.

"Asylum Choir" is more standard Motorhead fair, than the previous 2 songs. The melodic chorus brings to mind the experimental "Another Perfect Day" album. The solo on this one is great, and elevates the song from being merely "good". Another top track! "Too Good To Be True" is a return to the lighter edged rock n' roll that featured on parts of "1916". This is a very sombre tune, with Lemmy showing his emotional side which he rarely does. This is an amazing song, the fact it reminds of the previous album is a definite plus. Some might not like the lighter side of Motorhead, but if like me, you love it, then this song will be a favourite. Sadly, the album takes a dip with "You Better Run". Its not really a bad song, but it uses THAT bluesy rock riff which has been played to death by countless bands, including Motorhead themselves! Forgettable. "Name In Vain" is another return to the "1916" sound, but this time, to the heavier rock edge of that album's sound, unlike "Too Good To Be True". Anyone who likes Motorhead should like this song. Classic ass kicking rock n' roll done by the masters! The closing title track is really just a spoken word rant by Lemmy, over a sparse musical backing. With a constant "death march-like" drum beat. It's more like a dark outro for the album than an actual song. And in that respect, it works well.

To sum up, this is one of Motorhead's most awkward albums, (and underrated) but also one of the most rewarding. A couple of poor track choices really hurt this album for me, and is what is preventing me from awarding this album a 90+ rating. There is a lack of speed on the album, which some fans might not like, but by and large, I think the album works. And what it does, it does well. It is a slight step down from "1916", but there's no shame in that! Overall, I would definitely recommend this album to any Motorhead fan, or anyone who just loves good ol' heavy rock n' roll.

Buy or die!

When I was young I was the nicest guy I knew... - 79%

Nightcrawler, July 6th, 2005

"March Ör Die" is one of the releases that usually doesn't get much mention when talking about Motörhead, and indeed, it's quite far from the neck-ripping and rib-crushing classics like "Overkill", "Bomber" and "Ace of Spades", but it's definitely not a downer of an album. The album is somewhat slower than you'd usually expect from the band, more ear-friendly and melody-centered, even on faster songs like "Name In Vain" and "Asylum Choir". But the badass attitude is still there, and they come up with some sinister riffs to go along with the melody.
One thing that this album does better than their earlier material is the variety - there's the mainly acoustic ballad "I Ain't No Nice Guy", there's the classic catchy rock n' roll numbers like "Stand", "Jack The Ripper" and "You Better Run" (which features the classic old blues riff from Muddy Waters' "Mannish Boy", or more famously from the George Thorogood And The Destroyers track "Bad To The Bone"), the midpaced bass-driven fistpumping anthem "Hellraiser" and a couple of fast numbers laced with fine melodies.

Motörhead was, not too uncommonly, going through some instabilities in the lineup at this time. But for this album, they did find the drummer they've played the longest with - Greek/Swede Mikkey Dee, who seems to be intending to stay in the band for the remaindeer of it's career. Though he only played on one song on this album, namely "Hellraiser", but he proved himself there to be clearly Motörhead-worthy by giving the strongest drumtrack on the album right there. Before they found him, Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor played drums on the song "I Ain't No Nice Guy" before he got booted out of the band, and session musician Tommy Aldrige played on the rest, doing an ok job, but lacking the power necessary to back up this legendary band quite properly.
Guitarwise, we have Mick "Würzel" Burston and some fellow in the bookletcalled "Zööm", and they definitely do the trick here. Both work well together to write some catchy melody-infused power chord riffs with a nice mood all over, and there's surely some kickass solos to be found in the album. On the ever-so-loud bass, Lemmy tears shit up and remains a heavier element when the guitars turn more melodic, and of course his wonderful voice spawned by Jack Daniels and Marlboro is just as fucking Heavy with a capital H as ever, and even works perfectly well on the more emotional numbers.
There's the previously mentioned "I Ain't No Nice Guy", which is mainly acoustic except for the solo, and has some nice piano parts. A mellow but happy mood, which coupled with brilliant lyrics and excellent vocal work by both Lemmy and a certain guesting Ozzy Osbourne, works really well and is hell of a fun listen to. Another more emotional track is "Too Good To Be True", one of the definite highlights on here - it's fast, and built around a simple, melodic progression of power chord riffage and works incredibly well. Coupled with strong vocal lines and a superb chorus that sticks in your head, this song apparently about lost love is not quite what you'd expect from the band that wrote "Love Me Like A Reptile" but goddamn does it work!

Other highlights include the classic bass-driven "Hellraiser" which is ten times heavier than the Ozzy Osbourne version, the upbeat, inspiring and quite simple opening track "Stand", the sinister "You Better Run" - almost as hardass as "Bad To The Bone" - which features some excellent drumming and subtle bluesy piano lines - "Jack The Ripper" with the killer blues-but-heavier-and-faster main riff and completely sinister, bluesy breakdown, and not to forget the excellent cover of Ted Nugent's "Cat Scratch Fever", which they execute perfectly.
The other songs are not quite as outstanding but the only really downer on here is the closing title track, which seems to go on forever without getting anywhere. But aside from that, there's good stuff everywhere, and this should definitely not be lacking in the collection of any Motörhead fanatic. From the faster, melodic numbers to the slower bluesy rockers, this is clearly worth your time and money.