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If You Won't Tell Tchaikovsky the News, We Will - 95%

Cat III, June 16th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2019, CD, BMG

"We are Motörhead, and we play rock 'n' roll."

Despite fronting one of the most influential metal bands—and if we're talking extreme metal, the most influential—Lemmy always maintained Motörhead was a rock band, which is understandable given the time he grew up in. His love of the Beatles and time as a roadie for Jimi Hendrix are well known, though his fixation goes back to the genre's beginnings, specifically Little Richard. “Don't Waste Your Time” could be interpreted as Lemmy's attempt to settle the question of what type of music Motörhead really played. It has the band's usual amount of distortion, but the simple melody is pure 50s and they even add in piano and saxophone, played by John Paroulo and Bill Bergman respectively. Of course, twenty years into their career, Motörhead had nothing to prove, and this track is just a tribute to the greats of a bygone era of music.

If being mistaken for a metal band were such a concern, they would have chosen a different song for the title track. “Sacrifice” doesn't open the album; it blasts through its doors. If Motörhead ever recorded a heavier track, I haven't heard it. You can depend on the band to deliver a pummeling, but here they crush the listener like skulls beneath the treads of an M1 Abrams; a stark contrast to the lyrics' antiwar message. Lemmy is no one's idea of a versatile singer, but when he does make small variations he makes them count and here his bark is full of menace. Troma Studios used the song in their film Tromeo and Juliet* as well as the “Aroma du Troma”: a montage of clips from various films in their catalog. The latter was included on a DVD of Plymptoons: The Classic Works of Bill Plympton and served as my formal introduction to Motörhead (and to Troma) (I say “formal” because I likely heard them before without knowing it).

If you only know the band by their reputation or their biggest singles, you're probably under the impression they're like a more respectable Mortician, recycling through the same formula for every song. Listen to one of the albums and you'll be cured of that notion. Sacrifice shows plenty of variation. “Sex & Death”, “Over Your Shoulder” and “In Another Time” are straightforward bashers not far off from each other in terms of pace, yet each remains distinct. “Sex & Death” is the second rockingest cut on the album, offering an upbeat good time. Its followup “Over Your Shoulder” returns to hard metallic sounds. “In Another Time” is somewhere between the two in heaviness, with wah-powered licks breaking up passages of quick, choppy picking.

With “Order/Fade to Black” the band prove they're capable of crafting complex songs. It starts with a gravel-throated call and response between Lemmy and Lemmy over a repetitive marching riff, bursts into their trademark blazing speed fueled by pounding double bass, rinses and repeats before breaking into an extended solo that's slow with a few gusts of notes and makes good use of that wah pedal, then switches to just a drumbeat and the bass playing a line that hearkens back to the opening of their most famous song (and some other stuff happens after that). That solo comes courtesy of Phil Campbell who handles the majority of the solos, again showing unappreciated diversity. Some are impressive, while others are quick 'n' dirty, but all are appropriate. Würzel left after this album, but his riffing is strong as ever. Mikkey Dee puts in another dynamite performance. He was always a more precise, nimble drummer than Philthy Animal Taylor, yet never sterile or unduly enamored of his own skills.

The cover is one of Joe Petagno's best, showing that decades on Snaggletooth had power left in him. Surrounding the great beast's head is a hellacious scene worthy of Bruegel. Silhouetted gravestones crowd the foreground, on the left a battle rages beneath a procession of towering banners while on the right a conflagration billows into a whirlwind of bodies being ridden by Death himself and even the clouds above portend violent doom. All of it is rendered in shades of black and searing orange. Snaggletooth and his war-ready accoutrements have never been so textural, with leathery hide, rough tusks, molten slits for eyes, a speckled helmet covered in cracks and a mouth oozing translucent, viscous saliva. Topping it off, the tongue is distinctly penile and the throat vaginal. (Petagno would later use such a tongue on the cover of Bonehunter's Children of the Atom; a cover with a composition that seems to be a subtle nod to this one.) It's the perfect image for a flagitiously underrated album. Ace of Spades is their most important album and they have plenty of others better known and more influential than Sacrifice, but, for my money, this is Motörhead's best.


*Though the soundtrack contains some shit like Sublime, it features plenty of legit acts like The Meatmen, The Wesley Willis Fiasco, Brujeria, and Unsane.

a very consistent and heavy Motorhead LP - 82%

UltraBoris, June 3rd, 2004

It's tough to classify what exactly Motorhead is - at the same time, they are both one of THE most over-the-top bands out there, but their metalness is sometimes borderline. Their formula seems to be one-half metal, one-half punk, one-half rock 'n roll, and yes, that does indeed add up to three-halves of a band, and that's a conservative estimate for their sheer raw power.

That said, this is one of Motorhead's most unequivocally METAL albums. Lots of nifty riffage, ranging from midpaced headbanger stuffs to all-out speed metal. While the album isn't quite as much a kick to the face as their absurdly cool live albums (especially No Sleep 'til Hammersmith), it is quite possibly their heaviest studio album.

Highlights... probably Order/Fade to Black, with its alternation of midpaced and fast sections, or the uncommonly catchy Dog Faced Boy. Silly song title, but what a great song. The opener, Sacrifice, is an excellent mood setter... usually if you have any claim whatsoever to being a speed metal band, then it's the opener that's the fastest, loudest, heaviest, most over-the-top song on the album, but in this case, the opener is a midpaced basher, and the over-the-topness is distributed evenly throughout the whole album.

Don't Waste Your Time is another excellent song; one that sums up their three aspects as mentioned before... metal, punk, and rock 'n roll. The basic melody and rhythm could be Chuck Berry, circa 1958. The rough attitude could be the Ramones, circa 1976. Then the distortion and heaviness could be Overkill, circa 1984. Motorhead are the masters of taking good old rock 'n roll, and supercharging it to absurd amounts of intensity. Lemmy's been around forever, and he certainly wears his influences on his sleeve. Motorhead is timeless music; they mercifully don't feel the need to evolve or downtune or wear baggy pants. They struck gold once, so why unstrike it?

The album really finishes on a Hell of a bang: In Another Time is a fast, hard, loud, punkish speed metal number, and Out of the Sun starts off with a little bass-driven section, and then goes into another fast wrecker with a killer solo, then a little interlude, and then, like the second coming of Overkill, it comes back to life with ANOTHER set of solos - first bass, then one more guitar shredder.

Speaking of the bass, this being Lemmy, it's always very prominent. Since Lemmy was a guitarist the first howevermany years of his career, the bass has always been used as either a riff monster or the occasional lead instrument, as opposed to the traditional low-end. There isn't very much low-end here, with most of the sound being saturated in the middle frequencies. Lemmy's vocals are an acquired taste - I for one think they're a brilliant tribute to nicotine. The production is very clear, the distortion very much over the top, just like it should be, and of course the whole thing just fucking rocks.

Killer album - 100%

Rolly, September 28th, 2002

Sacrifice is one of my favorites, if not THE favorite album. The sound is quite special, at first I didn't like it, the guitars sounded a bit "wooly", but it took me a couple of years to discover what a great album this is.

The titelcut, 'Sacrifice' is like being hit by a freigth train. Mikkey Dee's awesome drumming just nails you to the wall, it's aggressive and right in your face. I think this is one of the albums that really emphasize Mikkey's drumming.

The songs on this album varies a bit on this one too, while 'Sacrifice' is brutal, 'Over Your Shoulder' is mid-tempo and heavy. All in all this is quite a heavy album. LIke many of the other albums Motorhead have released, it shows good quality songs. Well written lyrics, often with a war-theme, unjustice and free speech.

'Make 'em Blind' is also one of my favorites, again I have to mention Mikkey's drums, they're so fascinating and is an important part of this song.

'Don't Waste Your Time' stands out as a real rock'n'roll song with a boogie guitar, saxophone and piano. But it sounds quite heavy regardless of these not-so-metal instruments.

The last song on this album 'Out Of The Sun' is a killer too, melodic and strong, it opens a bit discreet and then suddenly the amps are turned to 11.
As already stated I like the whole album, but the songs that I've mentioned here are my favorites.

Buy this album if you don't have it. It'll raise your roof, mine is gone.....