GWR / Profile Records, 1986

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


I discovered hard rock when I was 14 years old... but I never truly tasted hard rock until I was about 15 or 16, when I was listening to Z-Rock in Chicago. I was happily sitting in my bedroom, probably poring over the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue for the 500th time, when this wonderful noise came blaring from my radio. "What the hell was that?!?" I asked out loud to no one in particular, "and where can I hear more?"

In the span of three minutes, Lemmy Kilmister and Motorhead changed my life, thanks to their 1986 album Orgasmatron. When I got the chance to meet Kilmister a few years ago, the CD booklet to Orgasmatron was one of the few things I begged him to autograph (and which I promptly lost during the after-show... I'm my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 still pissed at myself for that). This CD might be 15 years or so old now, but I still get a kick out of it, even if I do know all the chord changes by heart. (I'm reviewing a 1986 version of this album; Motorhead's latest label, Sanctuary, brought out a remastered version with three unreleased tracks recently. The CDNOW link will take you to that album.)

This was the album that Motorhead fans had been praying for after the band's split with Bronze Records. The only full-length album to feature Pete Gill on the drums, along with the debut of twin-axemeisters Phil Campbell and Wurzel, it was a return to form that had been merely hinted at on No Remorse, Motorhead's 1984 best-of. It had been four years since Iron Fist, Motorhead's last studio album (and their last with guitarist "Fast" Eddie Clarke). Would they still have the magic? Could they still kick ass by just strumming their guitars?

Two words: hell, yeah. Orgasmatron, while a short Motorhead album, provides a constant pummelling of the listener which they won't want to have stop.

Oh, sure, you could probably point out one or two weak spots - the rushing of the bridge on "Doctor Rock," "Running With The Driver" and "Nothing Up My Sleeve" not quite being up to the same level as the other tracks - but, in retrospect, that's mere nitpicking on a classic. Even in the one or two "lesser" songs is a lot to celebrate.

There's the one-two Bataan Death March stomp on your spinal chord with "Deaf Forever," the neck-snapping rhythms of "Mean Machine" shake you like a leaf in a typhoon (though the live version captured on The Birthday Party still is superior in my mind), and the eerie title track can still send shivers up my spine.

I could have written this review solely on the hundreds of times I've listened to Orgasmatron, but I pulled it out again and blared it just to make sure I hadn't missed a thing. Indeed, this disc sounds as good today as it did in 1986, and should be one of the first CDs one picks up when discovering all things Motorhead. Orgasmatron was the first Motorhead album I ever bought... and as long as Lemmy and crew keep things going, it sure as hell won't be the last one.

Rating: A-

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© 2002 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 GWR / Profile Records, and is used for informational purposes only.