Motorhead review by Motörhead

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  • Released: Aug 21, 1977
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 6.3 (3 votes)
Motörhead: Motorhead

Sound — 10
Ian Kilmister definitely can give some strikingly amazing guttural vocals. This is actually commonly mistaken as Motörhead's debut album but that would be "On Parole" which was unfortunately not released by United Artists who weren't convinced of the commercial potential that album wouldn't be released until 1979 although recorded in 1976. This music definitely has a lot of angst pulled through it with restlessness and a need for being on the road on some nice drugs, at least that's always the feeling I've gotten from Motörhead, just fine classic hard rock trio work at its finest the lead/rhythm bass chord progressions Lemmy does are just insane it compensates the need for a rhythm guitar completely by doing such a powerful technique, just quite stunning. Lemmy can even go in snych with some of the amazing lead note parts simultaneously, throughout here his bass guitar almost goes into a close sound to an actual guitar while still sounding like a bass, its just phenomenal and nobody has ever done it like Lemmy.

These guys were an unrelenting power trio of a brilliant fusion of hard rock metal music with punk in a sense of doing old classic rock classics in that punk style. I think they just get so dark and poignant in a sound in a really all out hard rock feel that they somewhat go slightly metal but they remain a fusion really just sitting on the borderline of punk and speed metal a quite interesting merging. The band had met up with Ted Carroll, the head of Chiswick records, to record a live show of theirs at the Marquee which instead of recording he offered them the chance to record a single. They recorded around thirteen backing tracks within two days and impressed Carroll enough to offer them further studio time to complete the tracks and use eight of them on this groundbreaking all out furious album. The group's original debut "On Parole" offers the same tracks on here again only including two new tracks to replace a bit of the album which were two new self-penned tracks "White Line Fever," "Keep Us on the Road" and a cover of "Train Kept A-Rollin'." The title track "Motorhead" was coupled with the non-album track "City Kids" for release as 7" and 12" singles. The four remaining tracks from the session were shelved until 1980, when they were released on the "Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers" EP. The B-side and the EP were later added as bonus tracks to the CD release.

Lyrics — 9
Lemmy uses some of his older lyrics in "The Watcher" the "You're Alone Now" parts from his Sam Gopal days and used in one of those older tracks, I just couldn't help but mention that, having heard the old 1969 "Escalator" album and listening to that you can easily make the connection with those lyrics. Although his singing on here and in the continuing years would get more deeper and in a screaming fashion he does so excellently and producing a type of voice that I have never before heard, it is lovely because it reminds me of how artists before would control and utilize screaming and singing in a technique like King Crimson with Greg Lake (who also lead sang on bass) and Pink Floyd's Roger Waters (also a bass player) screaming away on "Careful With That Axe Eugene," there is definitely an aesthetic I have for screaming and rock as long as it sounds great and Lemmy definitely is blessed with a powerful set of vocals, also does remind me of Geddy Lee who fronts Rush in vocals and bass like Lemmy does in his own Motörhead. He definitely adapted and began to change his style over a course of years throughout playing mainly with Hawkwind and before that only having an appearance on Sam Gopal who treated him better then the latter would eventually kicking him out, he learned a more raging style of playing and powerful lead vocals and haunting lyrics of rage that would become part of his repertoire.

I think Motörhead was very important and seemingly almost urgent in Lemmy's career as far as gaining fame and more recognition for his skill and contribution to punk and metal becoming a huge icon and really deserves the recognition. He definitely worked hard to get to where he is today and never really did compromise to fit what other people wanted just staying true to himself and his band remaining original, I think that's what a good portion at least of the whole idea of Lemmy himself is about. Here you have some really bada-s sounds and lyrics going on all throughout, one of my favorites being "Iron Horses" without doubt with some stellar guitar soloing and as usual Lemmy giving an incredible lead to back these dream like wild solos that feel like a bunch of iron horses running free, I mean the effects on there make it sound almost Jimi Page like in a sense but you know you're hearing someone else maybe not as good (I hate to compare) but clearly just as amazing in their own right just wailing away, I definitely give Fast Eddie Clark some major respect for all of that work put into here along with all three of the musicians of course.

I just love how these guys can be so tight, just on top of everything they're doing and sound great as consisting of just three guys on three instruments and that's the sort of magic going here into trios like Motörhead and Rush of this time. Eddie Clark definitely helps Motörhead find itself really in a heavier all out terrifying type of ominous mood that lingers on the track "Keep Us on the Road" which reminds me of just driving down the highway while there is a tornado in the distance outside the windows, rain beating down on the windshield and the ending just gives such a bolero of emotion it is insane, Lemmy has always been able to convey these profound feelings in anything that he conducts without doubt and I think the mournful hard rock can be traced back to the 1969 album with Sam Gopal for sure but of course evolves into something more serious just as Alex Lifeson progressed in his career to become so breathtaking of a performer, Lemmy has also come the distance not to say they were bad then, they just got better and better as time passed; constantly honing their skills. I love how Lemmy can just give that loud buzzing drone that carries on and resonates from his bass and that's what gives it such a distinction, you'll know when you're hearing a Motörhead album for sure and anything he did for Hawkwind clearly helped the band for example their 1973 album "Space Ritual" really shows a hiatus for the group with Lemmy in it.

Here you have some nice renditions of a ZZ Top "Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers" along with John Mayall's "Witchdoctor" done in an amazing style and own musical outlet making them just as great versions of the classics and having their own take on them so you can recognize whose doing it with passion and giving it this fantastic dreamy sound with wicked soloing throughout, I love ZZ Top but man these guys make the soloing on "Beer Drinkers" so breathtaking. They are clearly going for a rock and roll classic style just jamming and doing their thing but yet they get this metal punk sound it just comes naturally I guess from the way all of these guys played and it sounds amazing. I love the "On Parole" track with it's blatant obscenities which I use all the time in context of not giving a sh-t so I definitely love it because it's my type of music just not giving a fuck, the attitude on here is just so punk I really love it. This album yields a fierce, aggressive, and energetic sound that rock and roll should be about in full swing revival and acting much more hardcore and wild than before. The whole buildup to the end of "On Parole" after saying "f--k that sh-t" is just great, intense soloing with Lemmy's bass complementing it as a rhythm like solo, these guys definitely produce the sound of more then three guys like twice the amount but you wouldn't guess hearing it that this was a trio, just a really overall solid album.

Overall Impression — 10
Together with Larry Wallis of the Pink Fairies and drummer Philthy Animal Taylor, Motörhead recorded a debut album that was rejected by United Artists that alone gives a bit of a different sound, I think the guitarist change probably helped Lemmy get heavier not to say the "On Parole" album is bad or soft, that most certainly is not the case! They are both great in their own right I personally do like the "On Parole" album better but that still doesn't mean I don't love this one almost as much, I think there is some raw back to back power going on here on all parts, I mean Phil gives the right beats that need to be delivered like when it all meets on "White Line Fever" with Lemmy wailing going duo with the lead guitar on here with some wild bass and powerful drumming to measure just like on the rest of this punk metal masterpiece.

In a sense these guys (with their ZZ Top covers) would be in a sense a response to America's ZZ Top at the time as a hard rock trio, but Motörhead goes far beyond that and delves into the energetic dark and mysterious. It's quite insane how Lemmy started out as a part of Jimi Hendrix's road crew to this, he actually did as I was saying work his way up in the rock industry and played hard all the time just giving a type of melancholy deep and heavy sound that would just linger there in a good way for sure, I actually admire all of his work for that aspect alone everything just gets gloomy and on a more serious note of rage. For me "The Watcher" is really my second favorite track from here giving Lemmy that feel of a real rockstar with a Mott The Hoople type of buildup but far faster and more intense with intricate soloing that just wails and imbeds itself in the song haunting it like just raging screaming guitar with some nice effects to end the song, just all out raging furious guitar I'd say this is one of the most ground breaking and best albums ever in rock history, it really most likely set a bar for later rockers in punk and metal and helped genres merge to create genres like thrash metal and it all starts from that punk garage rock dream and they pay homage to those roots acknowledging it by doing a cover of "Train Kept A-Rolling" which shows the bands amazing key potential here for just harnessing energy into such a large and focused amount with raging bass like guitar leads to compliment some shrieking fiery guitar soloing with heavy rumbling drums to back it all.

This album is definitely a lot of fun and it portrays Lemmy's attitude really well, just being bada-s and not giving a f--k about what anybody else says with a smoke in your mouth. Just music alone can really describe someone and Lemmy lets it become the real medium that he could use to communicate and get that across, like who he was was punk rock metal. Just the whole attitude on here and ominous apocalyptic feel here like being in a riot with hell meeting the earth in one dimension, this music just would fit something like that, it's harder and more up front and in your face than Meat Loaf even with all out driving pulsating Motor rhythmic pulsing hence the name Motörhead, as I was saying it just fits the whole punk scene in this sense of getting on your bike after doing some drugs and just riding off into the sunset, freedom and raw angst, that's what I feel when I listen to Motörhead and nothing captures it better than their second album.  Wallis then left after just one rehearsal, leaving the classic Motörhead lineup in shape for their debut proper. Rock & roll had never heard the like. Though only a minor chart success, Motörhead patented the group's style: Lemmy's rasping vocal over a speeding juggernaut of guitar, bass, and drums. The lyrical theme was "Don't mess with us" instead of "Don't mess with our hair." Before this, hard rock was about musicianship and exhibitionism.

Motörhead, conversely, returned mainstream rock to its most brutal base elements - no wonder the punks liked them. All the bonus tracks on here definitely make this more worthwhile than it already is, featuring more new hard rock style in the fashion of the band during the late '70s at a time when there was nothing really like it around or in scarcity with few groups like Judas Priest who could match in sheer blistering sound.

2 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I spelled Jimmy Page wrong :p I need to edit these more thoroughly, how embarrassing I was thinking of Hendrix of course.