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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

CD Review: Motorhead - Motorizer

Motorhead - Motorizer
2008 SPV/Steamhammer
Ray Van Horn, Jr.

With Motorhead, the case has always been what you see is what you get, and that's suited Lemmy and the boys just fine. So few bands enjoy the opportunity to sell out venues simply based on reputation, a reputation built on sonic aggression, a propensity to blow eardrums out upon contact, and let's face it, we like to cheer on scruffy roughnecks who gives us the soundtrack to smash beer bottles in the streets and piss on alley walls, no matter how and supposedly mature we grow. Deep down inside of us--particularly we metalhead folk--the urge to say screw everything, let's just rock until we die is an ethos that doesn't seem to go away.

The longer Motorhead stays in the game, that sense of never caving in to convention will always linger, so long as Lemmy is bullfrogging to the tune of quick-tempos ushered by Mikkey Dee (who has now long usurped the skins mantle well away from "Philthy" Phil Taylor), while Phil Campbell has merely gotten better by the year. It's no wonder Motorhead refuses to pack it in, because as a trio that's now been together for over a third of the band's career, why the hell should they?

Motorizer is Motorhead's second attempt at breaking some of their own molds, following their knockout previous effort Kiss of Death. While familiarity is always the operative word in the Motorhead camp, instead of dismissing the blokes as writing the same tunes over and over with which to give their record label benefactors an excuse to send them out on the road, we can at least say they're trying like hell to stay relevant in a revival scene that will soon be dusting the posers and makeabucks back into the dust.

For the first of half of Motorizer, the guys tweak their bellowing tunes in various modes, be it the bluesy shamble of "One Short Life," the upbeat jive of "Teach You How to Sing the Blues" or the greasy breakdown in the middle of "Buried Alive." Sometimes the alterations are blatant, while most are subtle, but the effort Motorhead puts forth to avoid cheating their fans at wholesale at least eases the fact the second half of Motorizer settles into the prototype schisms that makes a Motorhead album a Motorhead album.

At least "English Rose" is a nice little toe-tapper, modifying "Eat the Rich" from their Rock and Roll album into a laidback beer tosser with a hummable chorus to make it even more digestable. While there's only one genuine thrasher on Motorizer ("Rock Out"), the tickets still get punched on "Time Is Right" and the introspectively-titled "The Thousand Names of God." Yeah, a Motorhead album is a Motorhead album and Motorizer is thus. Before you grouse though, what else would you really want?

Rating: ****


JP said...

I thought, for a while, Motorhead were expanding their horizons on Bastards and Overnite Sensation, but I think what's really happening is that they're expanding the pool of cliches to draw on. Nevertheless, I enjoy each succesive album and this one's no exception.

JP said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

that's one way to look at it, lol

Paul said...

Truly pathetic effort which proves Motorhead have run out of ideas. Songs are stale, heaviness is never there and Lemmy is more than going through the motions. I think it really is over. This is the most boring album of their career.

Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

point and counterpoint welcome, Paul!

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