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'Bad Magic'
(UDR Music/Motörhead Music)
Out Today

Steve Göldby

steve goldby


Studio album number twenty-two from the greatest rock'n'roll band in history. Not the greatest Heavy Metal band - the greatest rock'n'roll band and there's no dispute about that.

They have come to define modern rock'n'roll and even transcended it to many degrees, they've influenced some of the biggest names in heavy music today who all speak of Lemmy in reverential terms; without Motörhead there would have been no Metallica. Bass player Rob Trujillo said that, not me.

They've been a total constant throughout life for people of my generation and you simply cannot imagine life without them. Not that you'd want to of course. They're the ultimate road warriors, they've got the ultimate rock'n'roll attitude and they are more than for real. Motörhead for life. Motörhead forever.

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When you hear Motörhead's music for the first time, it changes you for good. They've made more classics than you'll find in the Royal Albert Hall on Proms week and their music will outlive pretty much all of today's rock offerings and 'Bad Magic' is a more than worthy addition to the catalogue.

Produced at NRG Studios with long-time producer Cameron Webb, 'Bad Magic' came together after a couple of years which saw Motörhead enjoy their most successful international era in over two decades off the back of their last release, 'Aftershock'.

It's the very first time they have ever written and recorded an album live in the studio and Lemmy's own personal performances on 'Bad Magic' rank as some of the most wide-ranging and unique he has delivered in years.

And to my ears, this album features more of Phil Campbell's influence than has ever been heard on a Motörhead album before, which seeing as he is currently playing better than at any point in his whole life, is a very good thing.

"Don't speak of time gone by,
Don't even try,
My memories are skulls and vultures in the sky..."

Album opener 'Victory Or Die' sets the tone for the whole opus. It's a bombastic slab of the hardest rock around and it will mash your head and pummel your senses. Move over pretenders - this is the real thing and it's an excellent live set opener too.

'Thunder & Lightning' continues the assault in fine style - it's a furious track, brimming with relentless pace and power and once you're past these two tracks, you know you are onto the best album Motörhead have produced in years, certified by the dirty blues of 'Fire Storm Hotel' which is followed by the call to arms which is 'Shoot Out All Of Your Lights'.

Queen's Brian May makes a guest appearance on 'The Devil', adding a scintillating solo on this thunderous Motörstomper that carries one of the most unforgettable Motörhead riffs ever, while 'Electricity' contains some of Lemmy's most profound lyrics on the album. Here's the official video for 'Electricity'.

'Evil Eye' spits and snarls yet contains a memorable melody while 'Teach Them How To Bleed' simply leaves you breathless with it's relentless pace. This track is like being on a speedball doing 150mph down the M1. The wrong way.

'Till The End' sees Lemmy taking a philosophical stance as the pace drops for this slower, bluesy number that will become a Motörhead staple for many years. That melody will grip you and leave you wanting more and you get more with final three tracks proper, 'Tell Me Who To Kill', 'Choking On Your Screams' and 'When They Sky Comes Looking For You'.

The first of those three tracks will leave you totally breathless either side of Phil's solo while 'Choking...' will make you sweat and boogie-tastic 'When The Sky...' is a perfect album closer which is almost catchy in places. That's Motörhead catchy; could there be any other way from the ultimate rock'n'roll band...

There were a few raised eyebrows when it was revealed that there would be a cover of The Rolling Stones' 'Sympathy For The Devil' on the album and it's the very final track and it works well. As with all the cover versions they have taken on, Motörhead put their own take on it and don't just do a cheap copy of the original. After all, they are Motörhead and they ARE rock'n'roll.

After 40 years of an exceptional career the spirit of Motörhead lives on with 'Bad Magic'. It will live on always, no debate about that.

"Life on the road isn't easy, my friend
You can remember, you can pretend
All of your dreams can really come true
All of your nightmares are waiting there too..."

Don't believe in miracles and I won't even try,
I know the law, I know how to die.

Lemmy, 2010

Motörhead were honoured by the Los Angeles city council on Wednesday. Council member Jose Huizar, who is a big Motörhead fan, introduced the band members and said the following: "We are here today to honour Motörhead's 40th anniversary. It's about honouring music in the city of Los Angeles and Motörhead's place in that history. This year signals the 40th year of Motörhead's triumphant existence, something which will be celebrated throughout the rest of 2015 and 2016. They will tour the world once more and show that if it's too loud, you're too old.

"Throughout the 40 years, this is a band that stuck to its artistic guns and has never been interested in musical fads and trends, the kind that happen in every generation. Motörhead has chosen to lose themselves in their music. Lemmy and company have stayed true to their own vision and execution of incredibly mesmerizing and thundering, feel-it-in-your-gut rock and roll."

Couldn't have put it better myself. Here's a video of the ceremony.

'Bad Magic' Tracklisting:
1. Victory Or Die – 3.09
2. Thunder & Lightning – 3.06
3. Fire Storm Hotel – 3.35
4. Shoot Out All Of Your Lights – 3.15
5. The Devil – 2.54
6. Electricity – 2.17
7. Evil Eye – 2.20
8. Teach Them How To Bleed -3.13
9. Till The End – 4.05
10. Tell Me Who To Kill – 2.57
11. Choking On Your Screams – 3.33
12. When The Sky Comes Looking For You – 2.58
13. Sympathy For The Devil* – 5.35

*The Rolling Stones cover

Motörhead/Saxon/Girlschool UK tour dates January 2015/16

Saturday 23rd: Newcastle City Hall*
Sunday 24th: Glasgow Clyde Auditorium
Tuesday 26th: O2 Apollo Manchester
Wednesday 27th: Swindon Oasis
Friday 29th: London Hammersmith Odeon
Saturday 30th: London Hammersmith Odeon
*Saxon will not appear in Newcastle.

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