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I've seen way worse downgrade results... - 88%

TrooperEd, March 18th, 2017
Written based on this version: 1996, CD, CMC International Records ‎

Exit the great Wurzel due to some he-said she-said bullshit (and given Mr. Benson's future credentials one might wonder if it was him), and once again the mighty Motorhead are as they once were; a trio. I've always been a believer that two guitarists are better than one, but Phil did a reasonable job holding down the fretboard fort the last almost two-decades. You'd think nothing was wrong at all with the results Overnight Sensation yields. While it's not quite as destructive as Sacrifice or Bastards, it's still a quality metal listen from front to back. Yes, metal. Lemmy might have been able pass off the over-distorted English MC5 reasoning during the Clarke/Taylor/Kilmister years, but the first few seconds of Civil War will convince even the staunchest retro-rocker of its steel.

I'd want to say "Eat The Gun" was the worst song on here if it wasn't so fucking catchy. I'm shocked this wasn't a hit or a live staple of any kind. At any given point during the past few weeks either the riff or the lyrics (Your gun is so big [oh wow]) will get stuck in my head even when I'm listening to other music. That's how much it rocks. This is definitely one of more Motorhead's punk moments, as there is no solo and it's relatively fast, simple and extremely effective. Matter of fact at the moment I'm hard pressed to find one that tops this, even RAMONES.

The thrashiest song on here (and the biggest surprise) is definitely Them Not Me. I was especially impressed how they manage to not gronk the Ace of Spades riff again (although you kind of hear it in the bass underneath when the rhythm kicks in, oh well, I'll take what I can get). But the secret weapon here, as it always is with Motorhead, is drummer Mikkey Dee. This song is one of his finest moments in Motorhead and not just because it's fast, but the way he causes the chorus to swing and groove. This my friends, is the example of heavy metal's true purpose, to smash a spike through the brains of the listener and make him/her/it perk up and die hard. Dee's ability to turn that time around in Them Not Me's chorus is one of those moments. His other truly great moment on this album is Shake The World, whose double bass insanity recalls the chaas of Pleasure To Kill, except at Battle Hymns speed. It's just as head-splitting as it sounds, and I highly recommend it for brain surgery.

Other highlights include Love Can't Buy You Money, which has one of the greatest Lemmy lyrics ever, "Watch your mouth or you might get the dentist you deserve." I was going to put that line as the title for this review, but fucking character limits. On top of that, it is most certainly one of the CHOICE Motorhead slow songs, which is more than I can say for "I Don't Believe A Word." That song on the box set actually kept me away from this album for a long time. 'Fucking hell if they thought this was good this must have been one of their out of idea periods.' Listening to it now, admittedly, it's way better than I remember it, and certainly doesn't sink to the depths of utter boredom like Metropolis, but it damn sure ain't Love Can't Buy You Money.

Even though 95% of the man's discography is utter swill, I have to tip my hat to Howard Benson for making Motorhead sound as dangerous as ever without repeating the same tones as his other masterworks, Bastards and Sacrifice. Most lazy producers just find a sound that works and run it into the ground (*cough* *cough* Scott Burns, *cough), but not Howard. Hell, if not for the album cover spelling it out, Howard makes you think Wurzel never actually flew the coop. What's especially impressive is how he makes Lemmy, in all his mid-range majesty sound like he's playing an actual bass!

Which brings me to one final song I have to mention, the title track. I will never forget where I was when I first heard this. I was on a senior high school travel abroad trip to Italy, and of course, I brought my double disc best of Motorhead album with me. I was riding on one of the trolleys with my party and Sacrifice had just concluded. Eagerly awaiting what was next, I was not expecting THAT bass riff. To be completely honest, it's the Welcome to Hell/2 Minutes To Midnight riff we've all heard a thousand times, but the way Lemmy executes it in that pocket, just fucking rocks. Is Lemmy playing an actual bass sound here? Yes he is and Motorhead is brilliant for it! This is one of those songs that you just have everyone in your party put on a pair of sunglasses, flip the top of your convertible down and cruise down a beach sunset highway. As cheesy as that sounds, it damn sure isn't cheesy when you are doing it to this song, and it damn sure isn't cheesy when Motorhead plays rock & roll. In approaching this album, I was worried that nothing could possibly rise to this song's level, and I'm very happy to say that I was wrong.

Forget Overkill, Bomber (ha!) and Ace of Spades. Bastards, Sacrifice and Overnight Sensation is the real classic Motorhead trilogy. Buy this with sunglass confidence.