And here comes God doing his awesome magic once again.
British Rock N’ Roll veterans Motörhead can be compared to an unstoppable monster truck. While drummer Mikkey Dee provides all the necessary horsepower, guitarist Philip “Phil” Campbell makes sure there’s a smooth and effective transition between gears, and the unparalleled commander Ian Fraser “Lemmy” Kilmister, of course, keeps breathing smoke and fire through his vocals and bass guitar, smashing every living creature that dares to stand in their way. And it looks like Motörhead’s sonic machine doesn’t really care about its total mileage so far, as it keeps rolling perfecetly in the excellent Bad Magic, the 22nd studio album (impressive, isn’t it?) in their extensive career.
As “they’re Motörhead and they play Rock N’ Roll”, this time I decided to review the album on the road and not sitting in front of a computer, because this is how true and honest Rock N’ Roll is supposed to be enjoyed. Well, that was indeed the best decision I could have possibly made, because not only it kept me awake and watchful while driving due to its high intensity, but it also helped me absorb the music in a more organic way. Anyway, Bad Magic might not be a masterpiece, and do not expect to find anything different from their latest releases (for instance, it’s very similar to their previous album, the also good Aftershock), but it surely lives up to the band’s reputation and will definitely add a few extra razing tunes to your rock collection.
Enough said, it’s time to let the Rock N’ Roll party begin with Victory or Die, featuring those classic riffs by Phil while Mikkey keeps pounding his drums like there’s no tomorrow, and it’s amazing how even after 40 years on the road they’re still capable of crafting such kick-ass music. The same can be said about the thunderous newborn classic anthem Thunder & Lightning, where there isn’t a single second that’s boring or out of place, and besides, its official video is a beautiful tribute to all “motörheads” in the world and complements the music flawlessly. Every single fan that appeared on the video is 100% sure Lemmy is God, period. And you know what? They’re damn right about that.
The slower but flammable Fire Storm Hotel is another amazing composition by Lemmy and his crew that reminds why we all love them so much. In addition, the story told in its lyrics is really cool and adds a lot of value to this already excellent tune (“So wait and I will tell you what happened here / The hotel burned, no lessons learned, only ghosts got clear / They say the rooms are empty but I know they’re not / The way things are in the hotel bar, the devil buys the shots”). In Shoot Out All of Your Lights, Mikkey gives an outstanding lesson in groove and rhythm, supported by Phil’s raspy guitar lines and by the inebriate voice by Lemmy, keeping the ball rolling at an amazing level of quality; whereas The Devil, which sounds like an ode to Lemmy’s arch nemesis (or maybe his best friend, who knows?), is a well-paced and melodic tune guided by Lemmy’s vocals, with highlights to its badass chorus (“The Devil knows you now / The Devil will break your neck / Nobody will hear your call / Go, stare into the face of death”).
Electricity is (guess what?) an electric display of Rock N’ Roll played at full speed, showing that Lemmy still got it despite all his health issues and that his electric soul will never stop firing awesome rock songs like this one, followed by another traditional tune entitled Evil Eye, which will please most fans of the band mainly due to the great job done by Phil with his dirty and soulful riffs, and the superb rock hymn Teach Them How to Bleed, which I would love to see them playing live. When Motörhead speed things up they always deliver the best Rock N’ Roll you can think of, in special with Mikkey playing on his “ beast mode”. Till the End is a melancholic ballad that albeit good it sounds a little out of place amidst so many fast tunes. It’s still very enjoyable and might be a good break for fans who cannot bang their heads for a long period of time, but it’s below average in Bad Magic. Fortunately, Tell Me Who to Kill puts the album back on track with its traditional punch, lots of feeling and Lemmy excelling once again with both his rough vocals and his vicious bass lines. This was born to be a classic, obviously enhanced by its fun lyrics (“Stand up right keep your fingers still / Pretty sure I think I know you now / I just got to know, so whisper sweet and low / Speak the name, tell me who to kill”).
I’m not sure what happened to Lemmy’s voice in Choking on Your Screams, maybe he was trying to sound as if he was actually being choked, but anyway it didn’t work as expected. However, although it’s by far the weakest of all songs, it doesn’t make any harm to the overall result of the album (you just need to skip it if you agree with my opinion). When the Sky Comes Looking for You offers a magnificent blend of Blues Rock, Hard Rock and Rock N’ Roll all backed up by Motörhead’s trademark. While listening to it in my car I realized this is one of the best songs to hit the road I can think of, with kudos to Phil for his amazing guitar solos and to Lemmy just for being who he is. But that’s not the end of Bad Magic, as the band still delivers an interesting tribute to a band that’s probably the only active one in the world older than Motörhead, The Rolling Stones’ all-time classic Sympathy for the Devil. And what’s even more interesting is the fact that Phil was the one responsible for the piano parts, which in my opinion is beyond awesome.
In short, another solid album by Motörhead (you can listen to it in its entirety on their YouTube channel), and another beautiful proof of how much Lemmy, Phil and Mikkey love Rock N’ Roll and will never give up, not even when it seems they’re getting “too old for this shit” and people start saying they need to retire. Always keep in mind that Lemmy is God, so we shouldn’t be too worried about the fact his health hasn’t been the best lately. Actually, he’s probably just “sick” of people who, instead of sharing some cold beers with their friends and listening to rock music, are destroying the world he created. Let’s just hope he’s strong enough to keep crafting his Rock N’ Roll magic for many years to come, otherwise, the world we live in becomes meaningless.
Best moments of the album: Thunder & Lightning, Fire Storm Hotel, Teach Them How to Bleed and Tell Me Who to Kill.
Worst moments of the album: Till the End and Choking on Your Screams.
Released in 2015 UDR
1. Victory or Die 3:09
2. Thunder & Lightning 3:06
3. Fire Storm Hotel 3:35
4. Shoot Out All of Your Lights 3:15
5. The Devil 2:54
6. Electricity 2:17
7. Evil Eye 2:20
8. Teach Them How to Bleed 3:13
9. Till the End 4:05
10. Tell Me Who to Kill 2:57
11. Choking on Your Screams 3:33
12. When the Sky Comes Looking for You 2:58
13. Sympathy for the Devil (The Rolling Stones cover) 5:35
Lemmy Kilmister – vocals, bass
Philip Campbell – guitar, piano on “Sympathy for the Devil”
Mikkey Dee – drums