posted on 8/2008 By:
Ah, Motorhead. Though the argument for Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, and Iron Maiden can certainly weigh in with much clout, the impact Lemmy and co. have made since 1975 cannot be denied by any stretch. There is so much that this band has innovated over the years (the d-beat for instance), and for that, we metalheads should and do testify that Motorhead will leave a lasting musical legacy for some time to come. With that said, does Motorhead really need an introduction?
Motorizer is Motorhead's 20th full length album, and it follows much in the way of its predecessor, 2006's Kiss of Death. Like that release, Motorizer is enjoyable if you're a Motorhead fan, but certainly not elite within their catalog. Unlike 2004's Inferno, signs of Motorhead's age are beginning to show. The performances are top notch, of course, and Lemmy sounds as coarse and vitriolic as ever. Yet, there's a lack of urgency to the songs on Motorizer. A similar thing could be said of Kiss of Death, which leads one to a feeling of dread as Motorhead might be understandably leaking some oil at this point. Too often, songs like "Teach You How to Sing the Blues" and "English Rose" seem to caricature and almost plagiarize earlier Motorhead songs ("The One to Sing the Blues" from 1916 and "Love for Sale" from Snake Bite Love respectively).
Despite, the songwriting, the performances are crystal clear and eerily precise. Mikkey Dee is spot on and keeps things lose and interesting. While he'll always be everyone's second favorite Motorhead drummer, he certainly owns the kit here and brings a sense of tightness to each Motorhead record he's played on. Same can be said for longstanding guitarist Phil Campbell who provides a solid performance with some truly great solos. Namely, the solo around the 2:50 mark on "Heroes" and the 1:37 mark on "English Rose". It almost seems as if the proverbial leash was taken off Phil for this album as he does a good amount of bluesy fretboard meandering with impressive results.
The profundity of Motorizer has nothing to do with the lyrical content, the individual performances, or even the pedestrian songwriting. It's the notion that on Motorhead's 20th album in their 23 year existence, they still rock harder and faster then a good portion of the bands they influenced. Metallica immediately comes to mind. With less than spectacular releases from the Priests and Maidens of the world in recent years, it's truly amazing to see a 62 year old Lemmy Kilmister still playing music with this intensity.
That being said, Inferno was the last Motorhead album that truly impressed me from top to bottom. Motorizer functions more as a continuation of Kiss of Death, which retains it in the laurels of other congenial albums from Motorhead. However, a bad Motorhead album is still light years beyond much of the music coming out in present times. Especially when compared directly with Motorhead's peers, as I would happily take Motorizer over the most recent releases from almost any of the bands they influenced and/or rivaled. If you're a Motorhead completist, then Motorizer will be yours regardless of the influence of any review. If you're lukewarm on Motorhead or thought Kiss of Death was a letdown, then Motorizer isn't going to get you out of bed either.
While the holes in Motorhead's vitality become more apparent as the years go on, one cannot deny their continuity and longevity.
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