Motörhead – Bad Magic (2015)

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Motörhead (n.): Consistency, especially over a long period of time

The way I see it, time has not been much of anything at all to Motörhead, positive or negative. Every few years sees another album, with gradually improving production standards and gradually evolving vocals from Lemmy Kilmister. It’s been a very long time since the band experimented with its formula. Essentially, Motörhead’s formula is so basic (blues rock amped up until it becomes metal and sped up or slowed down as necessary) that they’ve been able to keep pumping out consistent work to this point, and Bad Magic keeps this going despite Lemmy’s recent health scares.

The art of Motörhead is very much like that of oat porridge, perhaps with a bit of cinnamon or fruit for flavor. You can’t go into this expecting anything but very basic, especially blues inflected heavy/speed metal. This extends to the songwriting, which I can accept considering that there’s no pretensions of being sophisticated or experimental or Myrkur or whatever the target of the day is. Perhaps the instrumentation is a bit more complicated than on something like Overkill or Ace of Spades, but Bad Magic is separated from such formative works by decades of technological advance and metal marketing. This recording still has much in common with its predecessors, and you could reasonably make the argument that since Motörhead keeps making mostly the same albums, they aren’t adding much by churning these out.

On the other hand, consistency is a virtue of its own, and in many ways, Bad Magic is a safe, sane, and predictable purchase. A slightly more refined and more technical Motörhead album, preparation for whatever concerts they might be able to play in their area, and most likely more enjoyment and value than some of the gimmicky recordings in this genre. It might be better for neophytes to start with earlier work, but as a relatively basic “more of the same” type album, Bad Magic is certainly a success. There really isn’t much to say beyond that, and I trust readers can make an informed decision about whether new Motörhead is something they want in their lives.

Motörhead – Aftershock

motorhead-aftershockMotörhead is like a kaleidoscope. Anytime you look in, you get a different vision, but it’s still clearly made of Motörhead, even if turned around a bit. The band is both distinctive and consistent in its unique style.

Aftershock is like any other Motörhead except that the kaleidoscope is particularly vibrant and more rounded and orderly than most visions. Clearly someone at the band or label had in mind a partner to 1991’s 1916, which for many marks the band at its most listenable.

Why is 1916 so lauded? Each song used its own techniques, rhythms and structures that were not shared wholesale with other songs. Songs were finished, showing a craftsman’s touch to a normally hasty art. Variety of pace and emotion broke up the record. The killer loud production didn’t hurt either.

Following along those lines, Aftershock is a bluesy hard-rock version of Motörhead with aggressive, catchy songs that at times resemble Motley Crue playing Motörhead. However, the album excels in quality control. All riffs are necessary, and while repeated a great deal, there is no unnecessary repetition and best of all, no unordered songs that sort of rambled off into the horizon.

It doesn’t have the pop appeal of 1916 which was a passionate and somewhat melancholy album that attracted people to its intensity, but even more, how easily grasped the songs were. They are not quite as distinctive on this album and fade more into the backdrop of what Motörhead has been doing for the past two decades. However, they’re also good summaries of the Motörhead sound from a slightly newer perspective.

One other thing of great interest is how guitar-based this album is. In rock-based music, the guitar is where most of the musical depth goes, since it’s hard to do it with vocals or drums. Here, the guitar leads the songs more than the bass or drums, which creates a surging feel and a constant background of energy. The solos and fills from the guitar flesh out the pattern and give depth to what otherwise might be too hard-charging to be anything but linear.

The point of Aftershock is to be a Motörhead album and to make a slightly updated and more powerful vision of what’s in the kaleidoscope. It succeeds brilliantly and while it isn’t as immediately distinctive as 1916, it adds a greater field of detail and appeals to the same audience, albeit more with pop form than pop sensibilities. Underneath all of that of course is the same raging engine that brought us this band in its glory days, amped up and ready to strike, with no thoughts of mercy at all.

    Tracklist:

  1. Heartbreaker
  2. Coup de Grace
  3. Lost Woman Blues
  4. End Of Time
  5. Do You Believe
  6. Death Machine
  7. Dust And Glass
  8. Going To Mexico
  9. Silence When You Speak To Me
  10. Crying Shame
  11. Queen Of The Damned
  12. Knife
  13. Keep Your Powder Dry
  14. Paralyzed

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C214zJQwPhg

Motorhead Tribute India resurrects Motorhead worship

motorhead_tribute_indiaIn an effort to remember the founders of metal who helped shape this style into what it is today, a group of bands in India have released Motorhead Tribute India, an album of 13 covers of classic Motorhead songs.

Motorhead Tribute India was compiled by Srikanth Panaman, who recorded the bands from Bangalore in his studio, and released the album on Iron Fist Records who are selling it online. Covering a dozen classic songs, and an imaginative re-envisioning of “Ace of Spades,” the CD clocks in at almost an hour of NWOBHM/punk crossover or proto-speed metal, depending on how you want to look at it.

In an interview with The Hindu, Panaman summarized the experience as “The original idea was to do a tribute gig, and then we thought if we’re spending that kind of time and money working on it and rehearsing, we might as well release an album to back it up.”

Active from 1976 onward, Motorhead helped revitalize the metal sound by stripping it down to raw and fast technique, using melody as the basis for song form, and introducing the gruff voice that later influenced punk bands who later influenced grindcore and death metal vocalists to go even further with this style of vocals. With an assortment of death metal bands on the bill, this CD should be a fitting tribute to the influence of influences, Motorhead.

Rotten Copper – Rotten Copper (2017)

Living in a dying time presents as many troubles as recording in a dying genre. Something went wrong with metal in 1995, and since that time we have had big oaf idiot metal from the NWN/FMP types which bores us, versus popular metal music which is vapid and consumerist at its core and so has nothing to offer of substance.

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Iron Maiden Being Sued Over Tribute Lyrics


Article by George Psalmanazar.

A member of 1970s British progressive rock band Beckett is suing Iron Maiden for a six line lyrical tribute in ‘”Hallowed Be Thy Name” off Number of the Beast to one of Steve Harris’s favorite prog rock songs, “Life’s Shadow”. Some random band manager Barry McKay is suing Iron Maiden on behalf of Brian “Ingham” Quinn, one of the two credited writers of “Life’s Shadow”. McKay is alleging that Iron Maiden came to a secret settlement with the other writer credited on the record, Bob Barton, and that Quinn really wrote the song himself back in 1969 rather than in the early 70s when both of them were in Beckett. Barton is also being sued and McKay is now trying to hit Iron Maiden up for a “few hundred pounds per live performance” for a license to perform their own music.

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Evil – Evil’s Message (1984)


Article by George Psalmanazar.

Evil were a Danish metal band from the mid 1980s often held up as yet another “lost gem” by record collectors as their sole studio release, the Evil’s Message EP, has never been reissued except for a hard to find, bargain basement compilation with French heavy metal band Sortilège’s self-titled EP in the late 90s. Evil’s Message is far from actually being good though; it is nothing special, bog standard Motorhead and Metallica style speed metal.

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Condor – Unstoppable Power (2017)

Readers can probably infer from the title, logo, and cover of Unstoppable Power that this Condor are not the Colombian heavy metal / progressive rock act. Norwegian Condor plays rocking speed metal similar to the Canadians Exciter and Razor. Riffing is primarily in the Motorhead influenced style of those two mixed with the chromatic, tremolo-picked styles of early Slayer. Leads are Slayerian noise bursts or imitations of Kirk Hammet. Norwegian Condor’s drumming is mostly crusty, background d-beating which lends the music some extreme percussive aggression not found in many 80s speeding oldies.

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Midnight – Shox of Violence (2017)

Midnight are the definition of beer metal. Midnight sound like Motorhead if Motorhead accidentally took tranquilizers and forgot to write chord progressions and progressive minor-key heavy metal leads in their songs. Midnight are Motorhead if when Lemmy got arrested for drug possession in Canada in the early seventies while touring with Hawkwind, Lemmy did not merely get kicked out of Hawkwind and deported back to the United Kingdom; Midnight are Motorhead if the Canadians were really the Soviets who institutionalized and lobotomized Lemmy while forcing him at gunpoint to cart around a potent IV drip of anti-psychotics and sedatives for the rest of his life.

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Satan – Court in the Act (1983)


Article by George Psalmanazar.

Satan‘s Court in the Act exists in a unique space between the New Wave of British Heavy Metal and speed metal. As a wholly metal album that attempts no pandering to mainstream radio rock unlike seemingly every other NWOBHM band, Court in the Act is by far the strongest studio album of that sub-genre/movement and incredibly influential to American speed metal bands Metallica, Megadeth, and Slayer.

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Stoner Rock Is Not “Doom Metal”

Earlier this year, independent music distribution platform Bandcamp claimed that many stoner rock bands are in fact doom metal. This is a common logical fallacy based around associating the pace and instrumental tone of the music with actual musical content. The stoner “doom” trend of bands that started in the late 90s and early 2000s and has continued non-stop right up until the present almost twenty years later was one of the earliest hipster attempts to assimilate heavy metal before the waves of speed, death, and now black metal aesthetics rehashed into pop rock for the safe space generation.

Continue reading Stoner Rock Is Not “Doom Metal”