31 July 2013

Motörhead - March Or Die

Hot on the heels of the quite frankly awesome '1916' comes this little number. Back in the early 90's, Motorhead were regarded as something of a dinosaur, a relic from a bygone age where rock and metal were played and listened to by people who wore too much denim and leather, and who looked like they smelled of motor oil and car parts. Grunge was in full swing and tried to convince us it was a little more than people from Seattle mumbling incoherently about something they reckon is all deep and stuff but was usually a self-pitying exercise. A raging smack habit and a singing style which replaced all vowels with the letter 'A' was optional. Of course, that all finished in the time it takes to pull the trigger of a shotgun and soon, metal was back. How back? Well, you could buy band t-shirts in high street stores such as Top Shop, the most common one being Motorhead and their iconic skull design. The revisionists then went full-swing by proclaiming Lemmy as a God. It's true - he is, but the same people were, when Kurt Cobain was in, saying that people like Lemmy were past it. I don't know the man personally but I reckon that he'd be happy with this accolade - but would be more into a bottle of JD and a couple of nice women for company. Where was I? Oh yes. An album review...

This is Motorhead's tenth studio album and the last one to feature a contribution by drummer Phil 'Philthy Animal' Taylor who left the band/was sacked (depends on who you speak to) due to not being up to scratch, he played on a song called "I Ain't No Nice Guy" but more about that later. Drumming duties were handled by Tommy Aldridge who has also worked with Ozzy Osbourne, Gary Moore and Whitesnake amongst others and by the band's current drummer, ex-Dokken sticksperson Micky Dee (He did one song - 'Hellraiser').

The main problem is that it seems to lack the punch that the best Motorhead albums come with. It starts off well with opener "Stand", before going into a 'meh'-cover of "Cat Scratch Fever". Things get rocking again with "Jack The Ripper", "Hellraiser" (One of the album highlights. Better than the Ozzy Osbourne version as it's not as overproduced and Lemmy is a better vocalist than Ozzy). Like I said, it's all very good but without a bit of fire behind it, it goes flat very quickly. Worst track IMO is the aforementioned "I Ain't No Nice Guy" which is an acoustic ballad. Not that there is anything wrong with those but this was shortly after "More Than Words" by Extreme where it seemed like a fair few rock bands tried to grab a hit with the acoustic ballad formula. Mr Big did one and a (really, really shit) band called Nelson made a fucking career out of them! Nothing wrong with experimenting and spreading your wings but IMO it's not Motorhead. Hell, '1916' had ballads on it yet they sounded like they came from the heart.

Best track is the title track, 'March Or Die'. It's heavy as fuck but not in the usual sense. A looping industrial-esque drum beat and jarring cellos (or synths) create a wall of noise while Lemmy growls about how shit everything is and we're all going to hell when we die? Oh yes! This is one of the times when experimentation works. Sure, it would've been interesting if they'd went all techno and stuff but it wouldn't be the same.

So, there we go. Some songs hit the mark, others don't. A bit of pruning and it may have been a good album but at best, it's merely decent. Still, better than whining about nothing and everything all at once...

5 - It could have been a bit better.

Chris J.

You can buy this album off iTunes.
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