With the release of the new Motörhead Cider: ‘Snaggletooth’, The Carouser wants to make sure you know your Overkill from your Another Perfect Day, your Philthy from your Mikkey and your ‘Sex and Outrage’ from your ‘Love Me Forever’. So cast your mind back to 1977, Punk is ruling Britannia, and it has been 2 years since Lemmy Kilmeister was fired from Hawkwind – it is time for the world to hear the filthiest and loudest band in the world- Motörhead. Here’s the best Motörhead albums starting with…
The very first album compiled by the classic Motörhead line-up consisting of frontman Lemmy Kilmeister (RIP), guitarist Fast Eddie Clarke and drummer Philthy Animal Taylor (RIP). This album opens up with the self-titled track ‘Motörhead’, originally recorded and written by Lemmy himself when he was in Hawkwind. This version however is the perfect contradiction to psychedelia- pounding us with sleaze, dirt and speed! The album continues as it starts, with some lesser known Motörhead tracks and a couple of Hawkwind covers. It includes great songs such as ‘Vibrator’ giving any Punk band a run for their money with opposing tracks such as ‘Iron Horse/Born to Lose’ sending us riding into the sunset with groove and melody. It’s not the best classic line-up Motörhead album by any stretch, but a must-have all the same!
“Only way to feel the noise is when it’s good and loud”
Overkill– an album that shits all over any other ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll’ record- a revolution and my favourite ‘Eddie’ record by far! The only way to feel the noise is indeed, when it’s good and loud. So turn it on, turn it up and feel the speed and energy of Philthy’s double pedal in the self-titled track and opener- ‘Overkill’.
This album brings you so much all at once- we have pure speed metal given to us in the form of ‘Overkill’, but then tracks like ‘Stay Clean’ and ‘Tear Ya Down’, written to make your toe nails curl- bringing mid-tempo, sex and groove, we’re even treated with some bass solos from Lemmy himself. This album is no doubt some of Motörhead’s best work musically- which is more than evident when listening to staples such as ‘No Class’ and ‘Damage Case’ where the trio bring us the blues and classic rock. You want it? Motörhead’ve got it- melody, bass, blues, speed, groove, swagger, attitude, denim and cowboy boots- this album has it all.
No Sleep ‘til Hammersmith, 1981
“The Next One’s a Slow One!”
I’ve never really purchased live albums, nor do I particularly like them, but No Sleep ‘til Hammersmith is not just a live album but a collection of some of Motörhead’s biggest and best hits from Overkill, Bomber and Ace Of Spades and two additional tracks from the debut album on the final draft. Fans had waited and waited for this album to be released, and when it was finally released in 1981, it rocketed to #1 in the UK charts.
This live album is everything a live album should be- raw production but with each instrument sounding clear and concise, the crowd doesn’t drown out the band and the band’s vibrant and aggressive nature is apparent from start to finish, as Lem, Philthy and Fast Eddie capture the true atmosphere, creating an illusion which makes you feel like you’re actually there.
No Sleep… can either be the perfect introduction to early Motörhead or a celebration of classic Motörhead for existing fans. The now overplayed ‘Ace of Spades’ is the obvious opener that everyone now knows, sending the crowd into a frenzy. Motörhead continue with ‘Stay Clean’, ‘Metropolis’, ‘The Hammer’ and ‘Iron Horse’ to name but a few. Additionally to the aural stimulation, we get to experience Lemmy’s on stage banter and sarcastic introductions- “This next one’s a slow one!”… Slow for Motörhead, maybe…
It’s unfortunate to say that we’ll never again experience real Motörhead live again, but No Sleep… is the next best thing for sure. Most bands play live, but Motörhead ARE a live band- the fastest, the loudest, the best.
Another Perfect Day, 1983
“Good and Drunk, Back on the Street!”
This is the sixth studio album from Motörhead and an album that I absolutely recommend- with a seriously surprising line-up change for Motörhead fans at the time. Lemmy and Philthy recruited Brian ‘Robbo’ Robertson (best known for his Thin Lizzy work) to bring some additional melody and something “more musical” (as Lemmy stated) to the band… and that’s exactly what it brings.
There’s a whole lot of melody spilling from Robbo’s fingers as he delivers a large dish of soaring guitar solos, which alongside his bluesy riffs, Lemmy’s dirty bass lines and Philthy’s hammering drums, it creates complete and utter heavy metal. Tracks such as ‘Back at the Funny Farm’, ‘Shine’, ‘Dancing On Your Grave’ and ‘I Got Mine’ make you want to don your dancing shoes and show the world that you really can fuck the night away to Motörhead.
Fast, melodic, ferociously beautiful and truly heavy- Another Perfect Day is a stroke of genius. He may have been described as “hard-bloody work” and “mental”, but recruiting Robbo was a bloody fantastic idea.
“I was born with the hammer down, I was built for speed.”
The seventh Motorhead studio album and the first full length to include Michael Burston (Wurzel) and Phil Campbell (also check out the compilation album ‘No Remorse’ which was released in 1984 and includes tracks such as ‘Killed By Death’ and ‘Snaggletooth’ written by Lemmy, Wurzel and Campbell). Lemmy was then in need of 2 new guitarists; he auditioned both the legendary Phil Campbell and the late, great Wurzel- both were too good to choose between, and so he employed both therefore enabling the hefty, distorted and full guitar sound we hear on Orgasmatron.
Motorhead are very good at opening their albums with rampant tracks to draw you in, and ‘Deaf Forever’ does just that. The speed continues throughout the album with songs like ‘Claw’, then mixes in more groovy tracks such as ‘Doctor Rock’ and ‘Ain’t My Crime’; the title track ‘Orgasmatron’ brings a sense of repetitive, political darkness where Lemmy’s raspy, whiskey thirsty vocals supports the steady rhythm section beautifully. Wurzel and Campbell treat us to some seriously heavy riffs and solos which almost touch psychedelia.
Orgasmatron is an album full of short bursts of speed, guts and heaviness- a vital album and one to mark Phil Campbell’s successful future with Motorhead.
Bad Magic, 2015
“Till the End”
You may think that it’s strange to have a current Motörhead release in a list which includes classic ‘70s and ‘80s Motörhead… and you’d be right, however this album marks what would soon be the end of Motörhead due to Lemmy’s untimely death, and so adding it here is a necessity.
Bad Magic– what a time to arrive! Lemmy’s general lethargy is slightly apparent in this album, which is felt mainly through his diction and articulation; something that is easy to forgive being aware of his health at the time. However, when listening to Bad Magic, we can hear the Motörhead sound that we all know and love is still very much alive.
If Motörhead were able to continue touring, I can definitely imagine songs like ‘Thunder & Lightning’, ‘When the Sky Comes Looking For You’ and ‘Shoot Out All of Your Lights’ being played live. Phil Campbell’s bluesy guitar continues to keep us grooving as you imagine him bouncing across the stage, with our beloved Swede Mikkey Dee providing us with his supreme drum fills and maintaining an urgent tempo throughout. Motörhead seemingly still had plenty of fire left in their bellies.
This album is a little cliché and slightly weak- but there’s one thing I’ve always said about Motörhead, and that’s the fact that they have always been one of the most consistent bands when it comes to releasing studio albums and playing live. I don’t tend to listen to many music releases past 1989, but I’ll listen to Motörhead from any decade, any era and always will.