Ace Of Spades


Roadracer Revisited Records, 1980

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Nearly 20 years after its release, is Motorhead's 1980 album Ace Of Spades still their crowning moment?

If you ever want to start a fistfight amongst Motorhead fans, this is the question you should pose. There are so many differing opinions on which of Motorhead's albums are their best that no concensus will easily be reached. I don't propose to settle the argument here; in fact, I find myself more partial to some of the band's more recent works.

But there is no denying one thing: with only a few minor exceptions, Ace Of Spadesmy_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 is a kick-ass album. I remember searching the specialty record stores for a copy of this disc for damn nearly two months in the mid-'80s, and I treated it like the Holy Grail once I had it in my filthy little hands.

This disc is a good portion of any "greatest hits" package that has been assembled for Motorhead. "Jailbait," "Bite The Bullet," "The Chase Is Better Than The Catch," "(We Are) The Road Crew" and the title track all have been featured in some shape, and rightfully so. Once you hear Lemmy Kilmister's bass line that intros "Ace Of Spades," it's like a switch is thrown in your brain.

I could easily fill this review with words of praise for the better-known songs - but there are some tracks that haven't gotten as much attention that are just as deserving. For example, "Love Me Like A Reptile" is a song that only Kilmister could sing and make it sound so natural; this is a track that just as easily could have been a classic - but for some odd reason, was never given the chance.

"The Hammer" is a little better known, and is just as powerful of a track - a speedfreak, in-your-face slamfest that challenges you to remain standing once the carnage is finished. "Fire, Fire" is of the same ilk, and remains one of my favorite "hidden" tracks from Motorhead to this day.

There are a few weak moments, however, that (at least in my mind) challenge a claim that Ace Of Spades is the ultimate Motorhead studio album. "Live To Win," "Dance" and "Shoot You In The Back" just are not of the same caliber that the classics on Ace Of Spades were carved from. One other track, "Fast And Loose," improves as the song progresses, but it does start out weaker than expected. (I think the harmonized vocals in the outro help to seal it for me.)

Even with the less-than-perfect tracks, Ace Of Spades is still an album that must be experienced at least once - and don't be surprised if you can't stop after one listen. Even though a lot of the killer tracks can be found on any of a half-dozen compilations out there, there's still nothing like hearing them in their original environment.

Rating: A-

User Rating: A-



© 1999 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.