Saturday, July 22, 2017

Motörhead - Hammered (2002)

There is no real secret that Motörhead is at their best when they just go full on caveman mode when it comes to emotions. Sure, they can write emotional stuff, but it is the songs about booze, sex, and drugs that we know them by, and that we love them for. The same goes for their musical approach, when it is at its simplest, it is usually at its best. We are ultimately quite lucky that this band was not too much into experimenting with their formula.

However, there are albums that they have done that are more moody, that either tries something different or simply reflects what the band is going through at the moment. While I cannot really pin point what was going on with the band during the time they recorded "Hammered" (maybe they were, as the title suggests, drunker than usual?), the music tells a story that something was a little off, something was not quite right.

Not to say that "Hammered" is a bad album, but it is one of the stranger ones in the band's discography. A lot of songs in here are really underwhelming, either trying to be more groovy than heavy, or not going on full speed. It almost feels like the band is trying to hold back, like they might even be a little tired after the steam roller they created previously, and that they took this opportunity to relax a little more.

Now, this is ultimately a Motörhead record, so we obviously do get some true heavy metal here, it just is not in the quantity that we are used to. "Brave New World", "Voices From The War", and "Kill The World" all bring some intensity, and they all are fairly enjoyable songs, but once again, they feel like they are holding back a little, not going full throttle. Actually, we do not get a true mauler until the very end of the album, with the dark "No Remorse" and the crazy "Red Raw". The latter one is definitely much needed, but why is it back here? Please put it earlier in the album so that raw anger can be released before it becomes too much to handle.

It certainly feels like "Hammered" is more of a standard hard rock record, with all of the PG decisions that have been made here and there, and a lot of these tunes are questionable. Like, why does "Down The Line" has such a dull chorus that do not make we want to sing it? Why do we have keyboards in "Mine All Mine" that make it sound like a dated Van Halen song? Why is there a close to two minute spoken word part called "Serial Killer" inserted in this album? And why, oh why, is such a cool title as "Shut Your Mouth" given such a boring structure, one that not even a nice Phil Campbell solo can save?

Speaking of the performance, I cannot tell if the band phoned this one in or not, because they are not given any real chances to shine. There are times in this record where Lemmy cannot hit the right notes with his vocals, something that I have not heard so obviously in a Motörhead record before. And Mikkey Dee, who usually is killing it, does more or less a great job here, but he is not given the material to let out his talents. It feels like Phil is the only one who tries to spice it up with some cool solos, but unfortunately the riffs drown it out, hiding his performances too.

So yeah, this is a very, VERY underwhelming record. It has some nice songs here and there, but close to everything in this record is simply forgettable. I do not really hate any of the music here, but I cannot find it in me to care about it either, because there are so much better material from this band out there. Ultimately, it is a pretty harmless record that clocks in just under 46 minutes, a reasonable length. Fans of the band should give it a shot, maybe there are some songs you can get out from it, but in the grand scheme of things, "Hammered" does not drop the hammer, it could not even pick it up from the start.

Songs worthy of recognition: Voices From The War, Walk A Crooked Mile, Red Raw

Rating: 5,5/10 Serial Killers

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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