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You try being objectve. - 99%

Mr Ferocious, December 24th, 2012

Knowingly or not, everyone has listened to Motorhead. If you've watched TV in the last couple of years, you saw a slow version of 'Ace of Spades' being played for Kronenburg 1664 (although Jack Daniels would have been more keeping with the spirit of the band). If you sat down to frown at Shoot 'em Up, you heard 'Ace of Spades'.

'Ace of Spades' is not on this album, so you won't see it in this review again. What you will see is more Motorhead worship, the return of the power trio and the start of the current line-up. If you are unfamiliar with the history of Motorhead, well, that's what Google's for. This is a review by a raving fan, not a history lesson.

So. Bass. Specifically, Lemmy's bass. It is beefy. It is responsible for making this album so heavy, even though not all the material was written that way. It sits in the mix under the guitar, dominating the low frequencies. And it sounds good. It is always felt no matter what else is occuring in the mix, brass-knuckling your guts with the kick drum, beating on you whilst you fall to the floor, especially on an aggressive track like 'Civil War'. The bass doesn't sound sterile, but packs an organic fuzz that becomes apparent on 'Broken' and the title track. In terms of bass lines, Lemmy fills the bottom of the mix with what would probably be the second guitar part, if such a player existed. On 'Crazy Like a Fox' under the harmonica solo, there is a nifty bass line on the higher frets that duels the harmonica, and the bass has other small solos throughout the album which raving fans appreciate and probably pray for (if you're gonna pray, why not do it someone who can get back to you on it?)

Mikkey Dee is alive and winning on this album. He makes 4/4 rock beats that have been around since rock n roll started sound badass. There probably isn't anything on his kit that isn't utilised on the album, with marching kick-snare beats and double-bass assaults broken up with tom fills that spice every song up. The drum sound is immense. The kit is miked up near perfect and everything sounds balanced, sitting perfectly in the mix, not overpowering anything whilst still beating you up for your beer.

However, this album showcases one element in particular. Phil Campbell's guitar sounds perfect. It rivals Slash's tone on 'Appetite for Destruction' as one of the best guitar tones in rock n roll. It is clean, warm and powerful. When it needs to be heavy, it is. When the tempo starts to inflict neck injuries to listeners, the guitar doesn't disintegrate into a muddy mess. When fretboard gymnastics occur, the guitar is alive. But what about the riffs, you ask? The solos? Well, what do you think? They're great. It's debatable whether Phil Campbell enjoyed the pressure of having to come up with all the guitar parts, but they are brilliant. Riffs like 'Love Can't Buy You Money' and 'Shake the World' belong in the catalogue of classic Motorhead riffs. Faster tracks have meaty thrashy riffs that attack the listener; elsewhere, chord slams invade the sonic space and leave lasting bruises in visible parts of the body (tip: don't headbang in tight spaces). On solos, there is a mixture of bluesy shredding with a soaking of wah and uplifting lead sections in which every note is beautiful i.e. the end solo in the title track.

Lemmy's voice on this album is soulful yet aggressive, gruff but genuine, like on every other album. And what the hell were you expecting? The lyrics are well-written as always with social commentary appearing occasionally but without being preachy, with sarcasm and humour also getting involved. There is only one song that has 'serious' lyrics, namely 'I Don't Believe a Word', with its melancholy delivery for which Lemmy doesn't sound like Lemmy for the verses.

All in all, this is a brilliant album. The production is near perfect, the instruments are amazing, and it has two of my favourite songs of all time, and 'Broken' has the poignant line "Must we be expendable, is that what we are for?" So, buy the album. It won't let you regret it.

I couldn't really think of a good closing statement so you'll get this instead. In case you were wondering why this album isn't rated 100% when it is clear that is what it should deserve. It's simple.

I have to be objective somehow.