Overkill

Motörhead

RoadRacer Revisited Records, 1979

http://www.imotorhead.com

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 09/03/1998

One thing I've always loved about the British heavy metal band Motorhead is that they're always fun to listen to. The sheer energy of the performances and rather intelligent songwriting (at times), compiled with the hoarse singing of bassist Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister, make Motorhead, quite simply, a fun band to slam my head into the plaster to.

After checking out some of the band's more recent work here on "The Daily Vault," I thought it was time to head back into their early days - meaning a trip into the Pierce Memorial Archives for their 1978 release Overkill. Twenty years after its release, it still is an incredible album that hasn't seemed to age a day (except in the vocal department... we'll talk about that soon enough).my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

If all you know of Motorhead is the material off any of the number of compilation albums out on the market, then you should feel very comfortable with Overkill. From the constant double-bass work of Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor to the tasty leads whipped out of a Stratocaster by "Fast" Eddie Clarke, the title track seems to say everything you're going to need to know about Motorhead in five minutes. Kilmister's vocals are surprisingly smooth, although there are touches of the infamous hoarseness to them. (I've always thought that Kilmister could hold a tune very well; his voice was actually quite good in the early days of Motorhead.)

Fine, you're saying, one track is great... but one track doesn't make for a great album. You're right, and Motorhead backs it up with song after song of vein-popping material. The fancy bass solo on "Stay Clean," the sheer power of "No Class," the "thinking person's metal" of "Metropolis" and "Capricorn," Motorhead constantly offer material that should satisfy even the pickiest metal fan. Even the final track from Overkill, "Limb From Limb," is a tour de force that dares you to try and stop it.

The re-issue of Overkill contains three bonus songs: an original version of "Tear Ya Down" without vocals (different, but I still miss Lemmy), a studio version of "Too Late, Too Late" (a live version appeared on the 1984 best-of No Remorse) and their cover of "Louie Louie" (formerly on No Remorse, it didn't make the cut on the CD due to space restrictions).

What is striking about Overkill is that, with the exception of Kilmister's voice, this album sounds like something that the band could have put out last month. Its freshness is remarkable, especially for a heavy metal album. (While we're on that, this album isn't always really heavy metal; instead, I'd like to call it "hard rock" with an occasional metal bend to the music.)

Whatever you choose to call it, there is one word that best fits Overkill: classic.

1998 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 RoadRacer Revisited Records, and is used for references purposes only.

Rating: A-

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© 1998 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 RoadRacer Revisited Records, and is used for informational purposes only.