"March Ör Die", Swedish juggernaut Michael Kiriakos Delaouglou (or as he is more commonly known as, Mikkey Dee) joined Motörhead and was one of the main reasons to the band's return to form. Mikkey himself is a guy who likes to do things thoroughly, so when he found out that the rest of the band did not rehearse, like at all, he instantly booked a time to do so. Initially, that plan failed (Mikkey was the only one to show up in their first "meeting"), but Mikkey eventually got his wish, and Lemmy himself stated "We have never sounded this good!". Do not believe me? Go to a Scorpions concert, meet up with Mikkey and find out yourself (and give him a thanks for all his hard work too while you are at it).
So with some nagging and practicing, "Bastards" came out sounding like good old Motörhead. It is fast, loud, and simply kick ass. It still got some of the more mature themes that we saw from the last two releases, represented mostly in the dark ballad "Don't Let Daddy Kiss me", a song about child abuse. Even with that down moment (feeling wise, the song is great), "Bastards is definitely an album that is gonna lift your spirit, especially if you have not been too high on the last couple of efforts.
The power in this record is simply astounding, and there is lots of it, plenty for all listeners. "Burner" is pure fury, very fit for Mad Max and Furiosa to blast while they are riding away from The Immortan Joe (worst dictator name ever). Or maybe they would prefer "Death Or Glory", because it is classic Motörhead at its best, with punk influences and killer riffs and all. While no other song can match those two, we still get some groovy ass rock 'n' roll in "We Bring The Shake", "Bad Woman", and "On Your Feet Or On Your Knees", making sure that "Bastards" keeps its momentum from start to finish.
Do not believe though that the band has made a full 180 back to their roots, because we still got some retro rock in this album, and not surprisingly, it is some of the weaker stuff in this record. It is also unfortunate that most of them lies in the middle of the record, giving "Bastards" a fairly chewy part that is not hard to get over, but drags down the tempo a bit. "Born To Raise Hell" is just a poor AC/DC rip off (even the title sounds like it was stolen from the Australians), "Liar" is extremely simple and dull, and while "Lost In The Ozone" is kind of interesting, I think it would have made more sense if Black Sabbath would have made it. No offense Lemmy, but that song does not suit you all too well.
But even with some miss steps here and there, I love the performance that the band brings to the table. It is powerful and passionate, filled with an energy I have not seen in some albums. They are really giving it their all, which makes the lesser songs really enjoyable too. The riffs of Phil Campbell and Michael "Würzel" Burston are fantastic, Lemmy's bass is pounding harder than ever, and Mikkey brings a whole new level of madness to the table, making this one of the better band performances from Motörhead.
So looking back at the discography, "Bastards" is truly a sleeper album, one that is mixed in with a lot of underwhelming brethren, making it fairly easy to miss. But bland cover art and bad surroundings aside, "Bastards" is just balls to the wall great, showing an attitude that is easy to admire with all its tenacity. A new born band is here, ready to take over everything once again with its loud aggressive style, taking down every bastard they see.
Songs worthy of recognition: Death Or Glory, Burner, Don't Let Daddy Kiss Me, Bad Woman
Rating: 8/10 Devils
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