Motörhead have the blues. Sure, they've worn their influences on their sleeves for the entirety of their 40 year career. But on Aftershock, the band's 21st studio release, the ghosts of Chuck Berry, Robert Johnson and Little Richard come home to roost like never before.
This doesn't mean that they've slowed down, of course. From beginning to end, Aftershock is an aural blitzkrieg, carpet bombing the listener with some of the best songs the band has produced in years.
Kicking things off is the lead single "Heartbreaker" - an instant classic with some words of warning from Lemmy:
Careful where you stand now boy / everything has changed
But the thing is, nothing has changed for Motörhead and we wouldn't want it too. Motörhead is like Charles Bronson. Bronson was never cast in a role for his wide range of acting. He was cast to come in as Charles Bronson, kick a whole bunch of ass and then drive off with nothing but blood and mayhem in the rear view mirror.
There's few bands that have achieved this infallible status and Motörhead is one of them.
Phil 'Wizzö' Campbell is a man on fire here and I dare say, Aftershock contains some of his finest work to date. The riffs Campbell throws down on tracks like "Do You Believe" and "Queen of the Damned" are bound to be talked about for years to come.
Providing the steel-solid backline is drummer Mikkey Dee, proving once again through his tireless efforts that he is really the only man for the job. One could argue all day about which was the best lineup for Motörhead, but really, all one has to do is look at the body of work and the stability Kilminster, Dee and Campbell have provided (or just see them live) to answer that question.
Aftershock is the fifth album to be produced by Cameron Webb, who first came aboard on the 2002 album Inferno. He's proven to be the man for the job over the course of the past five albums. He knows exactly how to record the band in such a way that every member is equally represented in the mix.
Reverting back to the opening comments of this review, the blues that permeate through this album are never more evident than in "Lost Woman Blues" that, in addition to more brilliant guitar work from Campbell, will hold the distinction of being one of the just plain coolest songs in the band's catalog.
Much has been spoken and speculated about Lemmy's health in recent years, but he has proven to be the tough old bastard we all expected him to be and it looks like he's not going anywhere anytime soon, thank God.
There's a soothing comfort in knowing that Motörhead is still out there, still kicking nine shades of shit out of bands one-third their age. I know that one day many years from now there will be a world where Motörhead is no longer there, but that's a world I just wouldn't want to live in.
8.7 / 10
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