ZYX Music, 1993

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


You can call Motorhead anything you want - call them loud, call them raucous... hell, call them ugly - but don't you dare call them quitters.

The year is 1993. Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister and crew have just been booted from their umpteenth label in a career spanning back to 1975. The fools this time around: WTG, a subsidiary of Epic. (In retrospect, at least Motorhead didn't go down with the ship; WTG folded operations shortly thereafter.) Without a label again, Kilmister worked up a good head of anger, took the lads into the studio, and bashed out one of their best efforts in a period where there hasn't been a bad album for some time.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Remembering the name he originally wanted to crown Motorhead with after he got fired from British space/psychadelic act Hawkwind, Kilmister had the appropriate name for their new album - Bastards. (Editor's note: This disc - once one of the hardest to find in Motorhead's discography - was re-released by Metal-Is Records in 2001.)

Led once again by the powerful dual-axe attack of Phil Campbell and Wurzel, Kilmister saddles up with his omnipresent Rickenbacker bass and slams the listener's head against the speaker with the first notes of the opening track, "On Your Feet Or On Your Knees." On this album, Motorhead begins moving a little closer to the fringes of speed metal, a genre they inspired. Making his second appearance on disc with the band, drummer Mickey Dee has injected new life-blood into this band that was showing no signs of slowing down. His frentic double-bass work seems to push his bandmates into new, uncharted areas.

But just when you think you're about to snap your neck off, Kilmister brings the tempo to a screeching halt with the powerful ballad, "Don't Let Daddy Kiss Me," a song which will haunt you, even after several listens. While Kilmister is no Michael Bolton (thank God), he shows he still has quite a range of emotions in his raspy vocals. (Kilmister has been including a ballad on Motorhead albums since 1916; this is probably his best in this genre.)

Probably the best track on Bastards is "Born To Raise Hell," a down-and-dirty boogie that is some of the freshest songwriting the band has shown since Orgasmatron back in 1986. "Death Or Glory" is a sign that Lemmy, though pushing 50 at this time, still had the young heart of the fans that adore him.

About the only negative thing I find with Bastards is that some of the songwriting has regressed to the way it was around the time the band cut 1916. The styles are the same, the moods are the same - and it just doesn't always sound fresh.

But this is a small complaint about an otherwise very powerful album. Bastards is proof that all the "dinosaurs" aren't dead, and the ones that are around you better treat with lots of respect.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1997 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of ZYX Music, and is used for informational purposes only.