In my less-sane moments, I contemplate writing a series where I review every Motörhead studio album, of which Motörizer is the nineteenth. I usually come to my senses quickly, but it says something about the quality of Motörhead’s output over the past thirty-plus years that I would even consider such a brain-melting project.
One reason I would think about attempting something as insane as that is that I’m not sure Motörhead has ever put out a bad album. Some mediocre ones, sure, but I have yet to hear one that didn’t offer at least a couple of Motörclassics and some decent filler. And several are flat-out excellent.
If Motörizer falls short of being excellent, it comes frustratingly close. It’s got most of the elements that make a classic Motörhead album (or as non-fans might say, the same album for the umpteenth time)–furious guitar, bass, and drums; Lemmy’s favorite lyrical themes (war, religion, his own bad self, Motörhead); and the thing that has always set them apart from the hundreds of speed-metal bands they have spawned–hooks.
Motörizer seems to be a conscious sequel to one of their all-time greats, 1991’s 1916, from the cover art, to a song title (“Teach You How to Sing the Blues” v. “The One to Sing the Blues”), to an emphasis on martial themes. And a comparison to that classic shows where Motörizer falls short. 1916‘s production was varied and textured, necessary to keep things interesting when so many songs are built on a similar template. Motörizer‘s songs sound great one or two at a time, but a lack of creativity behind the boards causes them to blend together over the course of the album, and it doesn’t help that the production is so dense that the songs don’t get a chance to breathe. There is no filler on 1916; Motörizer doesn’t have any truly weak tracks, but it’s a couple of ass-kickers away from being complete. In its title track, 1916 has an unforgettable finale. Motörizer ends with “The Thousand Names of God,” a great track that still leaves me feeling like it should lead into one last song.
But all that feels like nitpicking. No one thirty years ago would have expected the Mighty Lemmy to still be alive today, much less still laying waste to civilization and eardrums. Yet here he stands, with a solid new album only one removed from Motörhead’s last classic, 2004’s Inferno.
Hail to the king. Long may he reign.
“Rock Out” (Sadly, this censors the song’s best line, “Rock out–with your cock out! Impress your lady friends!”):