No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith


Bronze Records, 1981

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Motorhead's 1981 live album No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith has been called one of the best live albums ever released. If it's not the best, it's got to be up there somewhere - and the re-release combining it with the live EP The Golden Years from 1979 makes it all the better.

Recorded mostly on the Ace Of Spades tour, bassist/vocalist Lemmy Kilmister, guitarist Fast Eddie Clarke and drummer Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor grind through a good number of their classics to that point. And while you're bound to think of one or two songs you think should have been included, there's no doubt you're going to walk away from this disc a happy camper. (Since I wrote this review, yet another re-release - a newly-remastered version, with additional tracks - has come out.)my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

From the opening thunder that is "Ace Of Spades," Kilmister and crew pour everything they have into their instruments, pulling no punches along the way. With tracks like "Stay Clean," "Metropolis" and "No Class" getting their just due on the concert stage, Motorhead solidify their reputation as a killer metal band. (And if their music isn't loud enough for you, the bellow from one of the road crew members at the start of "(We Are) The Road Crew" should blow out what's left of your eardrums.)

Disappointments? I can count only one: "Capricorn," a track that just doesn't seem to translate well to the live arena. Admitedly, this one is very much a mood piece (or a, aah, "mood alteration" soundtrack, if some of you catch my drift), so personal preference is going to vary on this one. I just don't happen to like it.

Fortunately, on my re-release CD from a few years back, this minor disappointment is tempered with the inclusion of five more tracks, including the rarer track "Over The Top", which was never included on any first release of an album to the best of my knowledge. The killer cover of "Leaving Here" kicks it into levels previously unheard by mankind, as does the original "Too Late, Too Late". Rounding things out are an okay "Stone Dead Forever" and an absolutely amazing "Dead Men Tell No Tales".

Now, I can easily count Motorhead's later live release The Birthday Party as one of my all-time favorite live albums (and, now that I found the video of the show, it only solidifies that opinion with me), but I still love No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith, and it rightfully belongs on your shelf if you like Motorhead in any capacity. Chances are, once you wrap your ears around this one, you're going to come out of the experience loving the band.

Rating: A-

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© 2000 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 Bronze Records, and is used for informational purposes only.