Monday, February 20, 2017

Motörhead - S/T (1977)

I might go fully sacrilegious here, but fuck it, because I know that Motörhead was Megadeth before Megadeth. Because just like the thrash band, Motörhead was spawned after an infected break up, this time between Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister and Hawkwind. To shorten things up, Lemmy was arrested for drug possession, which gave the band the perfect excuse to kick him out. Lemmy then created a new band, one that he initially wanted to call Bastard, but eventually settled with Motörhead, because it was the name of the last Hawkwind song he wrote and it sounded cool.

The song itself is just what we would hear from the band in the future. It is fast, catchy, and contains some wacky lines like "Fourth day, five day marathon/We're moving like a parallelogram". There is one thing though that separates this song, and this album, from its future brethren though, and that is the heaviness factor. Just like with Judas Priest's debut record, "Rocka Rolla", "Motörhead" is more rock and roll than metal, an album made by a band that is just starting out, and have not fully evolved its sound just yet. "Motörhead" is not the only song that was originally written for Hawkwind, we also got the groovy and bluesy "The Watcher", and the more traditional "Lost Johnny", two songs that are fine additions to this album.

But then we dig deeper into the "newer" songs, and the Lemmy influences are showing its ugly (or beautiful?) face. With a title like "Vibrator", Lemmy brings us just what we expect from him, a song about a woman's favourite tool. The song could have been a little heavier, but the lyrics are simply brilliant, sure to give you a good laugh or two. And then we have "White Line Fever", which is about cocaine. Pretty interesting topics, especially considering this album was released in 1977.

The songs hold a nice quality still to this date, and are really enjoyable, but seen as a whole, "Motörhead" is an uneven production wreck that is some times hard to comprehend. The volume goes up and down, and the rough exterior might give it character, but hides a lot of good stuff in the process. I believe it is at its best on both the title track and the "Overkill" predecessor "Keep Us On The Road", but it is obvious that the band does not get a fair chance to display their full power.

I also wanna state that ending with a cover of the famous Tiny Bradshaw cover "The Train Kept a-Rollin'" is not a very original move (maybe it was back then, I don't know, but it has been covered several times over the years by The Yardbirds, Aerosmith, and others), and while it is well done, only utilizing the faster section of the original, I do not think it adds all to much in an album that technically already has three Hawkwind covers. So a good fun listen for sure, but not necessary in any way.

Overall though, I think Lemmy, drummer Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor, and guitarist "Fast" Eddie Clarke does a good job, bringing us an energetic lightning bolt that is very rough around the edges, but still has a lot of charm. Even if this is an early rendition of what would eventually become the Motörhead we know and love, it is still a nice rock and roll album that is not afraid of showing what it is made out of, being in your face from the start. So not a fully brilliant start to Motörhead, but a good one nonetheless.

Songs worthy of recognition: Motorhead, Vibrator, Keep Us On The Road

Rating: 7/10 Watchers

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