Thursday, May 4, 2017

Motörhead - 1916 (1991)

Besides being a competent singer and bassist for Motörhead, Lemmy Kilmister is also a vivid collector of war memorabilia, especially stuff from the two world wars, so there is no surprise that he would eventually take his hobby into his occupation. Do not really know why he chose "1916" as the title though, because while World War I was on full go in that year, it is not a year that has any real significance. Maybe it has to do with something about the title track, but I will return to that later.

Another reason for the title might be that "1916" has a lot of retro feel to it. Motörhead has really put on their thinking caps for this one, offering us a wide spectre of different songs. We of course get some classic Motörhead heavy metal, especially in the beginning "1-2 punch" "The One To Sing The Blues" and "I'm So Bad (Baby I Don't Care)", but there is a lot of new stuff in here that we have not heard from the band before, making "1916" their most experimental album ever. I do not know about you, but the words Motörhead and experimental does not make a very good pairing to me.

Most of these newer songs are simply evidence of Lemmy's early influences of early rock and roll, being fast in tempo, but not really that heavy in sound. It can easily be considered as Motörhead light, but when a song is as groovy and fun as "Going To Brazil", then the light version ain't so bad, especially with lines like "Watching all the roadcrew attacking little girls/Joined the mile high club, goin' round the world/All the booze is free, airline going broke/Here come the lady with another Jack and coke". We also get a tribute to the legendary punk band The Ramones in the song "R.A.M.O.N.E.S", a more punk like song in the right spirit.

It is when the band drags down the tempo where we are going to stranger terretories, starting with the oddly named "Nightmare/The Dreamtime", a very slow and dark song that tries to do what "Orgasmatron" did, but it just does not have the same effect without the riffs. "Love Me Forever" is slightly less original in its approach, both in lyrics and in sound, but that song do at least have some neat guitar playing. Both of those songs comes right after each other, so it creates a middle part that is really tough for the average Motörhead fan to handle.

The title track is also something new from the band, a song without guitars and bass, but with added church organs. The song tells the story of a young 16 year old boy joining the army for World War I, thinking he will end up as a hero for his country. I see what Lemmy is trying to express with this song, and he does so very well, but I just cannot help but feeling extremely bored by this song. It has emotions for sure, but it is so slow and boring, it just does not work for me, giving the album a really sad ending in more ways than one.

So the biggest problem with "1916" is without a doubt the inconsistency in both sounds and quality. There are several interesting ideas from the band, but most of them do not work because of one simple fact, Motörhead was built for heavy metal. Yes, Lemmy and his crew can do other styles, but it is when they let loose and just do their thing that they are in the zone, schooling everyone in the art of metal. "1916" is at the very least an interesting album that definitely stands out, but as far as quality goes, it has a couple of really nice songs, and a bunch of strange ones. As said, an inconsistent effort.

Songs worthy of recognition: Going To Brazil, The One To Sing The Blues, Make My Day

Rating: 6,5/10 Angel Cities

More reviews of Motörhead
Ace of Spades
Iron Fist
Another Perfect Day
Rock 'n' Roll
March Ör Die
Overnight Sensation
Snake Bite Love
We Are Motörhead
Kiss of Death
The Wörld Is Yours
Bad Magic

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