Is there a bigger living testament to outlaw rock ‘n’ roll excess than Lemmy Kilmister? Keith Richards comes to mind, but ‘ol Keef’s musical escapades are so few and far between these days that at times it seems like he’s more a museum piece than a vital Marshall-sparked champion of road doggery. Lemmy, on the other hand, is still living out his notorious sense of debauchery down in the trenches, same as he has since Motorhead’s inception in 1975. On “Aftershock,” Motorhead’s 21st studio album, the band sounds angry, unapologetic, and sweeping with the sneering crackerjack cynicism that is one of the great hallmarks of a Lemmy lyric.
More of a straightforward punk/metal jackhammer than the Chuck Berry boogie-from-hell mined on their last album, 2011’s “The World Is Yours,” “Aftershock” sees Motorhead particularly galvanized in terms of bullet-proof confidence. Whether or not that has anything to do with Lemmy’s recent health issues, and perhaps is a thumbing of the nose at such concerns, is anyone’s guess. What is clear is that tracks like “Heartbreaker” are as weighty and aggressive as anything the band’s ever done.
“End of Time” is as frenetic and punishing as classic Motorhead speedballs like 1993’s “Burner” or even the heralded 1980 crown jewel “Ace of Spades,” the track’s apocalyptic visions in line with today’s newsworthy, yet most clandestine of fears: “politics, religion, rotten to the core.” “Going to Mexico” has a perforated, chainsaw-hacked main riff reminiscent of White Zombie’s “Thunder Kiss ’65,” Lemmy playing the familiar depraved ringleader to a facetious night of too-many-to-count illegalities straight out of a Robert Rodriguez movie, warning “Lucifer’s at your heels.”
Still scaring the proverbial mainstream music cat back up the tree, Motorhead’s more than happy to still be crawling on its seedy rock ‘n’ roll underbelly – was there ever any question as to doing it any differently?
Motorhead ‘Aftershock’ Rating: W W W W W