Motorhead, ‘Aftershock’ – Album Review
They say life’s only guarantees are death and taxes. But when it comes to loud, fast and deliciously toxic rock ‘n’ roll, there’s one more thing that discerning mere mortals have been able to rely on for nearly 40 years: the mighty Motorhead.
Still, all this was recently put into question by health issues afflicting the band’s inimitable and seemingly indestructible leader, Lemmy Kilmister. Thankfully, it doesn’t seem like he’ll be vacating his reserved stool at the Rainbow Bar & Grill anytime soon. And there’s nothing better to shut down that pesky health-scare narrative than Motorhead’s 21st album, ‘Aftershock,’ which builds on the hot streak of its predecessor, ‘The World Is Yours.’
On raging tunes like ‘End of Time,’ ‘Going to Mexico,’ ‘Queen of the Damned’ and ‘Paralyzed,’ the somewhat reluctant speed-metal godfathers crank out face-ripping blasts of double kick-drum nastiness (powered by the indefatigable Mikkey Dee) like no one else. But ‘Aftershock’ devotes a lot more time to backing up Lemmy’s persistent claim that, at the end of the day, Motorhead are just a rock ‘n’ roll band, thank you very much.
Those classic rock trademarks come through loud and clear on the opening ‘Heartbreaker,’ the ‘50s-tinted ‘Do You Believe’ and the groove-driven ‘Silence When You Speak to Me.’ And then guitarist Phil Campbell steals the show with leads you can whistle to on stunners like ‘Coup de Grace’ and ‘Crying Shame,’ before getting his blues on for the uncharacteristically laid-back highlight ‘Lost Woman Blues.’
The ominous dissonance of ‘Death Machine’ will likely take fans back to band favorites like ‘Metropolis’ or ‘Like a Nightmare.’ Coupled with the band’s reliable trademarks, especially Lemmy, who’s in fine lyrical form throughout, ‘Aftershock’ ranks as one of the Motorhead’s best albums — warts and all, just the way Motor-bangers like it.