Sound: From the opening riff in Runaround Man, it's apparent that Motorhead is staying true to the sound that brought the British band fame back in the mid-1970s. While there aren't any tracks that quite live up to Ace Of Spades on the band's 24th album Motorizer, there is also no shortage of killer blues riffs. At the forefront of it all is Lemmy's trademark gritty vocals and driving bass line, and that actually might be enough for some Motorhead fanatics out there.
On a recent appearance on Bruce Dickinson's Friday Rock Show, Lemmy described the opening track Runaround Man as being nonsense set to an infectious beat. That's not a half-bad description. The lyrics don't have any distinct meaning (Lead me on; Give the dog a bone; It's been a long time since I've been home), but the vocal phrasing goes along perfectly with the grooving riff. There are some slight harmonies attached to Lemmy's vocals in the chorus, and it's catchy enough to make it an instant Motorhead classic.
There's plenty of low-end, bluesy guitar on Motorizer, but the mix also allows Lemmy's bass and drummer Mikkey Dee's work to come through. Guitarist Phil Campbell, who has been with Motorhead since 1984, delivers some of his best efforts on Rock Out, Back On The Chain, and When The Eagle Screams. Lemmy's bass line gets plenty of attention with more than a few solo moments, and he's able to come out strongest on Rock Out. That particular track comes closest to Ace Of Spades, particularly in terms of the rhythm.
There are a few tracks on the album do break the momentum. Heroes, although it provides a nice change from the usual Motorhead sound, is quite a bit slower than the other 10 tracks on Motorizer. The band does it's best to keep it heavy in the slow moments, however, and in the chorus that comes across most effectively. Buried Alive is much faster tempo-wise, but musically it stays focused too long around the same few chords. // 7
Lyrics: You get an interesting mix of topics on the latest Motorhead album, and the songs range from being your clich rock tracks (Rock Out) to broaching some serious topics (Heroes). I almost prefer the run-of-the-mill lyrics coming from Lemmy, particularly since he's been elevated to somewhat of a badass rock god. So while the lyrical content isn't the most thought-provoking, you could also make the argument that the attitude Lemmy projects can still pretty much sell any word he sings. // 7
Overall Impression: If you're not looking for anything that new or unusual from Motorhead, then Motorizer will be a welcome addition to the band's catalog. Tracks like One Short Life show that Motorhead is still on stop of it's game in terms of dirty blues rock, and When The Eagle Screams and Back On The Chain following close behind for their riff work. There are a few lackluster songs in the 11 tracks, but even in the weakest moments, Lemmy's charisma still rarely disappoints. // 7