Although Black Sabbath were the original heavy metal group, they were not really classified as heavy metal at the time. Motorhead, part of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, definitely were. Led by the former Hawkwind member and bassist Lemmy, this is no doubt going to be an interesting listen. Let’s dive in and have a look at some musical history here.
We kick off with the legendary title track Ace Of Spades which has a fantastic dirty bass guitar intro riff, along with some great guitars and some throaty singing from Lemmy. This is brilliant music, and lyrically is about gambling. Borrowing a lot from Punk Rock, there is very much a hidden message in this song. The lyrics in the midsection indicate that one does not want to live forever, an interesting concept in itself. Powerful, forceful and energetic, this is a classic track of its own and is inimitable. Great song, it sounds very mental.
Next is the equally good Love Me Like A Reptile which kicks off with another great dirty riff, before Lemmy sings about sexual desire. This seems to be an overpowering concept of this album, but hey, this is really cool music regardless. It sounds like the sort of music outlaws would listen to. Still, there is an amazing talent and musicianship here that is undeniably good. This was no doubt hugely influential over time, on bands such as Metallica. Great effort, however. The guitar solo is very Jimi Hendrix like, great stuff here to listen to.
Shoot You In The Back is another good song for those who like guns and things like that. Musically following a great template, this is more story like. The drum fills in the solo sections are really amazing, and so is the rest of the song. Although to many this may seem dated, this is a great blast of Heavy Metal in your ears. It’s also incredibly intelligent for a style of music such as this. Sit down with a six pack of beer to this album for full effect.
Live To Win comes next and is more like a Punk song, but the lyrics are interesting. This does borrow from music before it, but it is way more original than you would think. The guitar solo here is really top, showcasing that you don’t need to be hugely famous to be accepted as a guitarist, delivered by “Fast” Eddie Clarke. Great stuff, you can just imagine the Thrash Metal scene taking direct inspiration from these songs. Great from start to finish.
Next is Fast And Loose which is about more male sexual desire. Bear in mind that this was released way back in 1980, and it was the era of macho male sexism, very different from what exists today. Interesting stuff, and a great song to hear. Once again, the musicianship here is sublime. These guys were no doubt talented, and this is a great listening experience, even for a lesser track. Talking directly about having sex at 2AM, this is very much reminiscent of AC/DC in a way, but more intensely delivered, another good song.
Following is (We Are) The Roadcrew comes next which talks directly about experiences that the band had on the road, this is just as consistent as all the other songs on here. Energetic and brilliant, Motorhead pull off a brilliant performance here that sounds raw, brutal and nasty. It is a great listen all the same, and definitely proof that this album had many great songs on it. Some intense feedback and wah-wah guitar solos are here, playing in a totally frenetic way. Great to hear.
Fire Fire is seemingly louder and more intense than some of the other songs on this album. It sounds like very much a song for Motorhead fans in particular. It may indirectly refer to arson. It has a drum solo before a guitar solo, showcasing the ability of Motorhead to create a top groove. This is spectacularly good, and something to annoy your parents with. Great album and song here.
Jailbait is next. Seriously, that is the title of this song. Disgusting sexual references aside, it is another good song on this album. Maybe it is designed to freak out the politically correct norms of society which have become increasingly concentrated since then. Regardless, lyrically warped and superbly musical is what drives this track along. Mind you, The Beatles had their own moment of said jailbait with I Saw Her Standing There on their first album. Nonetheless, weird and wacky, and a good Heavy Metal tune. More rhythmic based, this shows that Motorhead had a huge ability with their instruments to create different sounding songs.
Next is Dance which is a more simple piece, presumably for these guys to pick up ladies with. It is still quite uptempo, and the guitar solo in particular reflects that. This is an uncompromising listen, and Motorhead were on a mission to shake up the music scene of the time, which they successfully do here. Great song and excellent musicianship from all members of Motorhead. Thrilling.
Following is Bite The Bullet which has a false start, before the band launch into a rather ordinary macho male song. It’s not outright bad, but it is about heartlessly leaving a lover. Still, a very listenable track although it sounds rather ordinary compared to the others before it. The ending is a surprise.
The Chase Is Better Than The Catch arrives immediately next, and sounds like a better effort. Musically a great combination of Punk Rock and Heavy Metal sounds, it could have been edited a little bit in terms of length here. This is music that sounds oddly like the sort of thing men who are very sexist would listen to. Or Bikie Gangs. Still, this is a real strange listen compared to the Pop music of today. It seems sexism amongst some males, although always in existence, was more broadly accepted in 1980 than today. The guitar parts towards the end are very good, and this lights up the song in an awesome way.
The Hammer is the last track on the main album. It is a fast, blistering and energetic listening experience to finish off this interesting album with. Very catchy and reveals this album as a very good one to hear, even if it has not dated terribly well today. The guitar solo is short, sharp and amazing. Another listen when you need the musical equivalent of a fist to the face. Good effort.
In summary, this is definitely a classic album, although as mentioned throughout many modern music lovers would consider this aged. But, like Ancient History, there are lessons to be learned from its experience. This is the most popular Motorhead album to date, and you can hear why. Great music, and a great listening experience.
Very much out there.