Released: Aug 28, 2015
Genre: Heavy Metal, Speed Metal, Hard Rock
Label: UDR GmbH
Number Of Tracks: 13
For a band that's been releasing music for almost 40 years, and especially one that is known for essentially releasing the same album over and over, Ramones style, Motörhead still has a few tricks up their sleeve - essentially squeezing in the odd personal and meaningful lyric.
Bad MagicFeatured review by: UG Team, on august 31, 2015 4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Sound: Motörhead was formed in 1975 by Lemmy, and since that time he has been the only constant member. As a band he has had numerous lineup changes over the years, with a few musicians going long stretches of the distance with him, though none going the full ride. Lemmy has built his band's mythos around fast, ugly rock music written and played on amphetamine and whiskey, and you can definitely tell that this has been the constant in their sound from the early days. Unfortunately, recent events have shown that Lemmy doesn't actually have the Keith Richards level constitution he was thought to have, as he's had bypass heart surgery, and now more recently has had to cancel shows due to being lightheaded and dizzy (reportedly due to the high elevation). This means that "Bad Magic" may very well end up being the last album by Motörhead if Lemmy doesn't take the time to take care of his health and slow down with the rock 'n' roll lifestyle that he has championed for decades. "Bad Magic" has 13 tracks with a total runtime of approximately 42 minutes.
"Victory or Die" is probably one of the most classic Motörhead-esque tracks on the album. It is opens up fast and stays fast and the vocals are a stream of toad-voiced lyrics just barely on this side of nonsensical. "Thunder & Lightning" opens up with "what do you want from your miserable life/ what do you see in your future so bright/ get what you want and do what you can," with a fast paced drum beat going. The solo is probably one of the longer solos from the album, and one of the better solos I've heard from Wizzö. "Fire Storm Hotel" is slightly reminiscent to ZZ Top with some of the riffing going on, but if you overlook that, it is one of the strongest songs from a compositional standpoint. "Shoot Out All of Your Lights" opens up like a speed metal rockabilly nightmare, and has a chorus I actually found myself tapping my foot and nodding my head to. "The Devil" is an interesting song, and has a really cool thing going on with the guitar parts. I've heard some negative stuff about Wizzö, essentially that he isn't very creative, but I think he works inside a specific framework and he's very creative inside that framework. "The Devil" is a good example of that. The lyrics on "The Devil" seem to deal a lot with coming to terms with mortality, which could be autobiographical for Lemmy. Brian May actually provides the solo on this one, or at least he is credited with it - honestly it doesn't sound much like Brian May to me.
"Electricity" is essentially the lead single from the album, with a lyric video being released about a month ahead of the album. The lyrics read out like they are really two different sets of lyrics - one part that is trying to articulate something deeper, and then the other is talking about kissing a bolt of lightning and it will make you sing. "Evil Eye" has a dark little percussion intro, but the song grows into a kind of swampy stomping fast blues with some weird vocal delay effects going on with the chorus. Musically, this has got to be my favorite song on the album. "Teach Them How to Bleed" has an almost Hendrix vibe to it, but with less finesse and more force. "Till the End" has a slow and sad intro, with a singing lead part and some possibly honest lyrics from Lemmy on this one, basically detailing his plans to keep being himself until the end. "Tell Me Who to Kill" is dominated by Lemmy's forceful bass work, and some fun lyrics. "Choking on Your Screams" is another track about coming to terms with death, which is a common theme on the album, but again it is dealing with the subject in an interesting context. "When the Sky Comes Looking for You" is an interesting track, as it actually sounds like it is in a major key - which is a little different. In its own way, it is another track about facing mortality, but possibly with a more enlightened outlook than a lot of the other tracks on the album. The album closes out with a cover of The Rolling Stones' hit "Sympathy for the Devil." They stay fairly faithful to the original, besides putting the Motörhead spin on it just a little. The tempo stays fairly slow, which is really different from most Motörhead tracks. I enjoyed the album immensely - more than the past several Motörhead releases. // 8
Lyrics: Lemmy sounds like himself, for good or bad, which is to say his voice is more of a croak but filled with character. There isn't much you can say about the actual vocal performance - you can hear Lemmy's age a little bit, but honestly he didn't even sound young when he was young. The lyrics are interesting as there is a recurring theme of mortality and death, and that seems to be something that Lemmy has been dealing with in his actual life recently. As a sample of the lyrics, here are some from the track "Electrify": "Don't speak of your beliefs/ They are yours to keep/ Memories will fade/ As time goes by/ Remember just yourself/ Me or someone else/ You will be the only one to try/ Freedom to believe/ don't cost a thing/ Innocence should not be bought and sold/ Kiss a bolt of lightning/ It'll make you sing/ Electricity deep in your soul." // 7
Overall Impression: This is my favorite release from Motörhead for a while now - musically there is a little bit of creativity going on, and this is from a band who commonly steals from their own previous work when writing guitar and bass riffs. The lyrical content is almost introspective, which might put some Motörhead fans off, but I have definitely enjoyed the look inside Lemmy's mind, especially as this may very well be the last album of new music we get from him. I would have a hard time picking favorite tracks from the album, but in the moment that I'm writing this, I feel especially fond of "The Devil," "Evil Eye" and "Teach Them How to Bleed." Long live Lemmy! // 8