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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!