Motorhead – Bad Magic
Release Date: August 28, 2015
When Lemmy Kilmister left Hawkwind in 1975 and founded Motörhead it is doubtful even he had an inkling as to the mammoth impact his new band would have on rock and roll. Lemmy and Motörhead have become iconic symbols of the genre. This month, as the band celebrates its 40th anniversary, Kilmister (vocals/bass), along with longtime guitarist Phil Campbell and drummer Mickey Dee, have released Motörhead’s 22nd studio album, Bad Magic, the follow-up to 2013’s highly successful, Aftershock.
The band waste no time on Bad Magic, crashing out of the gates, pedal down on “Victory or Die” and it almost feels as if the raspy-throated singer is making a declarative statement. The tempo remains steady as Dee propels the band headlong into “Thunder & Lightning”, where Campbell does some tasty solo work. Lemmy and company ease up slightly on the pace for sauntering groove of “Fire Storm Hotel”.
Mickey sets the tone to open the sinister rocker, “Shoot Out All Your Lights” sending a noddy shine back to “Sacrifice” from 1995. There’s a great swing here and template gang vocals on the chorus.
Lemmy remains rock and roll’s recalcitrant reprobate and while he gives a wink to his ailing health–he switched from bourbon to vodka–he still attacks each song like a testosterone-fueled teenager with nothing to fear. That reckless abandon reverberates on tracks like “Electricity” and “Tell Me Who to Kill”. The latter lifted by perhaps the best riffing on the record.
“The Devil” is delivered with sheer menace and a spit in death’s eye, while “Till the End” taps into the band’s more introspective side. Queen’s Brian May adds some fretwork to the former. Motörhead even closes it out with a sleazy cover of the Rolling Stones, “Sympathy for the Devil”, which Kilmister tackles in seemingly autobiographical fashion; trademark sneers and gritty growls. Perhaps a fitting closer for what could possibly be, thought hopefully not, the last of Motörhead‘s studio output.
Bad Magic is exactly what one expects of Motörhead, and it sounds like the continuation of every other Motörhead record that has come before. It is the Lemmy formula reworked into new sequences with new lyrics. There is no such things as a bad Motörhead album, and Bad Magic is yet another slab of attitude-infused, dirty, blue-collar, Motörhead rock and roll. Bad Magic isn’t winning any beauty pageants or showing up at debutante balls. This record is the one you take home after a beer or 20 when the bar closes down.