Motörhead - Bad Magic (Cover Artwork)


Bad Magic (2015)


40 years, 22 albums, and one legendary metal band led by a frontman so popular, Ian Fraser Kilmister is known by just a single name: Lemmy. Take a moment to revel in such accomplishments and longevity, the ability to want to get on stage and write new music year after year, keeping fans interested. Bad Magic is the latest addition to the Motorhead catalog, 42 minutes of their signature speed metal, heavy metal, and hard rock sound. Do all Motorhead albums kind of sound the same? Does the band continue their never-stop-rocking schtick over and over again? Are they too stubborn to change their image for the love of rock stardom? Yes, and thankfully so.

From the starting line, “Victory or Die” throttles through the fast lane, shifting between nearly overheating guitar riffs and the chorus' cruise control delivery of, “What did they say, what have we learned, what do we know?,” questioning a series of death defying scenarios evoked in the rest of the lyrics, ultimately conveying that the real victory is continuing to live, with just one other option. “Thunder and Lightning” follows as a reflection about living on the road, taking note of how the pleasures have outweighed the difficulties, though happenings of both were, and are, plentiful. These themes of death and reflection remain a focal point throughout the album.

Devilish storytelling takes place in tracks like “Fire Storm Hotel” and “Tell Me Who to Kill,” where the grim reaper tries to do his job between a blaze of guitar solos. “Shoot Out All Your Lights” shows off a machine gun rattling of drumming, a total ripper full of fast strumming and much welcomed backing vocals shouting, “die!” and “fight!,” which would certainly send shivers down your spine if the hooks were heard live. “Choking On Your Screams” is the highlight of this hellacious-themed group of songs; a low, gravely warrant reading, buried under brimstone; the loosely wound soloing and shredding acting as human turmoil with no escape. A reminder the devil will always get his due.

“Till the End” may be the best cut off the album, overall, and it stylistically strays away from the rest of the songs. A meaningful, metallic ballad of a recklessly lived life, discussing the few people through the years who have remained friends, paying respect to those loyal, making life better, especially when things weren’t easy. It’s this kind of reflection that creates a bit of a somber note, yet a certain bit of cautious filled pride shines through in the chorus, “All I know is who I am, I'll never let you down. The rest will give you trust until the end.” While Motorhead has been unbreakable, the song recognizes the band, too, will come to an end, the hardest part is not knowing when. Until then, however, victory.

The album concludes with paying homage to one of the (if not the) greatest rock bands of all time, a full-on metal cover of The Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil.” The track finishes Bad Magic on an extremely fun, high note, combining the work of two bands full of so much hard living, you’d swear they signed a deal with the devil to last this long. Though a pact with the prince of darkness is doubtful, because after listening to album number 22, one thing still remains true: Lemmy is god.