Sunday, February 26, 2017

Motörhead - Overkill (1979)

With an album name like "Overkill", certain expectations comes naturally, like it being over the top bat shit crazy or simply just mindless and endless solo masturbation. I would not say that Motörhead created any of those two types here, but saying that "Overkill" is a modest album is not true either. Released in 1979, this was a big step from the self titled debut record, being both faster and fiercer than its predecessor, and the true start of what Motörhead was going to become in the future.

All you need to understand the band's evolution is to listen to the opening duo of "Overkill" and "Stay Clean", two fantastic songs that was regulars in the band's setlist until the very end. The self titled track is a brilliant track in itself, having three identical intros where Phil Taylor revs it up with his double bass, Lemmy intervenes with some bass riffs, and Eddie Clark taking it home with some nice guitar riffs. Sure, the original studio version is kind of tame, but it is still an awesome song that only gets better when played live. "Stay Clean" is not much worse either, relying on a groovy and heavy main riff and a simple as hell chorus. No wonder these two became fan favourites, together they create one of the best opening "one-two" punches in metal history.

So those two are obviously the main event on the record, but "Overkill" still has a lot to offer besides them. Most of the songs are kept under the three minute mark, making the album a fast 35 minute behemoth that contains 10 songs, 5 on each side of the LP. And just like the A side, the B side has an impressive duo to start it all up, a groovy pair known as "No Class" and "Damage Case". Both of these are so damn groovy, almost impossible to sit still when they are on.

However, this album shows a surprisingly great amount of variation, even if we are still mostly treated with the typical Motörhead stuff. "Metropolis" and "Capricorn" are more reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix type of psychedelic rock, which surprisingly works quite well. And while the lyrics are not as vile as in the last album, it still has some grit to it, and some... unsettling and weird phrasing, like the following

I'll Be Your Sister, be your lover yeah
Be your mother, if you need somebody
If you need someone to love
I'm the one you should be thinking of
If you need somebody, I'm your hand in glove

WTF was that all about??? Lemmy, you creepy bastard, are you suggesting a "Hetero-sexuals-playing-lesbian-family-members" relationship? Once again, WTF???

Okay, scratching off that mind blowing craziness known as "I'll Be Your Sister", "Overkill" is a fantastic album that may have its limits in both production and performance (especially on the self titled track), but it is one groovy, kick ass record that took the band to the next level, and set them up for what would be an amazing year for Motörhead. Does it still hold up today? Both yes and no, it is really enjoyable, but it has some bruises here and there. Nonetheless, "Overkill" is still a great album with a kick ass setlist and a band that was only at the beginning of their journey, ready to take over the world one album at a time.

Songs worthy of recognition: Stay Clean, Overkill, No Class, Damage Case

Rating: 8,5/10 Capricorns

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