Motorhead, ‘Aftershock’ – Album Review
Motörhead have been kicking around for nearly 40 years now, churning out albums at a feverish pace since 1977. ‘Aftershock’ marks their 21st studio album and sounds exactly how fans expect it to sound: like Motörhead. Lemmy Kilmister and company have never strayed from the path of fast-paced rock ‘n’ roll with the ethos of ‘Everything Louder Than Everything Else.’ There is no such thing as a bad Motörhead album, just ones that are better. In the case of ‘Aftershock,’ it happens to be one of the band’s best.
‘Aftershock’ gets things going with the lethal ‘Heartbreaker,’ and already there’s a sense that this album is on a higher level than the band have been on for years.
The warm and fuzzy production with organic sounding drums is the bread and butter of the power trio, as Lemmy’s bass rumbles with its maxed out distortion. His gravely voice remains as unchanged as Motörhead’s music and we have ourselves a splendid opener.
‘Coup de Grace’ is your standard Motörhead song and keeps the pace set on ‘Heartbreaker’ going. ‘Lost Woman Blues’ slows things down a bit with a dirty, bluesy, hypnotic riff and woeful lyrics from the outlaw frontman. With one minute remaining in the song they suddenly remember they are Motörhead as Lemmy interrupts exclaiming ‘Hey!” and Mikkey Dee’s snare fill gives way to a swinging double time rhythm and heavy distortion, ultimately closing with a crash ending. This sort of attitude from the band puts a grin on any fan’s face as they embrace everything they love about Motörhead.
Motörhead dish out cut after cut like ‘Do You Believe’ and ‘Going to Mexico’ that just have something extra behind them that still employ the band’s cookie cutter songwriting. The former sees Lemmy describe a woman as “Hell on roller skates,” almost as if he’s blissfully unaware that roller skates have not been seen in public in decades and everyone will understand what he means. He even sincerely fits in the line “Rock you like a hurricane.” ‘Going to Mexico’ is among the best songs on ‘Aftershock,’ highlighting the band’s general badass demeanor with its unrelenting pace and the chorus, “Give us the time and we’ll do the crime / only one place to go. / South of the border, crossing the line / going to Mexico!”
There’s not a bad song on ‘Aftershock’ and so many are standout tracks that need to be mentioned. ‘Dust and Glass’ is another slower, reflective song that breaks up the pacing just enough for other songs to yield maximum effectiveness. ‘Queen of the Damned,’ ‘Knife,’ and ‘Paralyzed’ are three songs that seem like they could influence bands like Venom and Midnight all over again, leaving a puddle of drool by their feet from a combination of hyper-active salivation and dropped jaws.
‘Aftershock’ is unquestionably Motörhead’s finest album with the lineup of Lemmy, Phil Cambell and Mikkey Dee and the best since 1986’s ‘Orgasmatron.’ Lemmy is 67 years old and shows no signs of letting up, especially with younger members behind him. Dee has delivered his best drumming effort since King Diamond’s ‘Them’ and Campbell is reenergized, laying out riff after riff with dominant force. Fans know what to expect from Motörhead and may pass up new offerings from the band in favor of the classics, but don’t skip on ‘Aftershock’ because you might find yourself spinning it more than some of your favorite Motörhead albums.