Monday, August 21, 2006

CD Review: Motörhead's Kiss of Death

Here's a track-by-track review of Motörhead's forthcoming Kiss of Death album (Sanctuary Records). The disc hits stores Aug. 29.

“Sucker”

Fading in with a few seconds of feedback, the band launches into a relentless power-metal gallop that doesn’t let up for nearly three minutes. Very much in the vein of “Ace of Spades” and “We Are Motörhead,” “Sucker” proves that you don’t have to get slower as you get older.

“One Night Stand”

The album’s first metallic boogie track, “One Night Stand” is a hard-hitting cut that celebrates the decadence of the rock & roll lifestyle and the art of the pickup. Singer-bassist Lemmy Kilmister sounds as hungry as ever while drummer Mikkey Dee beats the skins and guitarist Phil Campbell flails the strings.

“Devil I Know”

To every yin, there must be a yang. So it is with “Devil I Know,” which details what ensues the morning after a “One Night Stand”. Lemmy sings, “Ain’t gonna change a thing/Ain’t gonna change my ways/I don’t care where you been/I don’t care where you go/Going back to the devil I know.” Goodbye to romance, for sure . . . Of special note is the solo, which opens with some very deep tones from Lemmy for a few bars before Campbell doubles the harmony a few octaves higher. Nice touch.

“Trigger”

This is the album’s most NWOBHM moment. It sounds like Campbell doubled his leads in the studio to give it some of that two-guitar attack so prominent in the music of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, et al.

“Under the Gun”

Lemmy once famously sang that “The Chase Is Better Than the Catch.” Well, “Under the Gun” allows Lemmy to have both. And he’s obviously a happy man for it - he implores his beloved, “We all live under the sun/But we don’t have to live under the gun.” Alice in Chains fans will be pleased to note that bassist Mike Inez lends his low-end skills to this track.

“God Was Never on Your Side”

The first (and only) bona fide attempt at a ballad on the album, “God” is a very dire and serious track that nearly feels like an epic but doesn’t quite make it. It both opens and closes with acoustic guitar before the full-on electric barrage commences. This lyrically hard-hitting track highlights Lemmy’s deistic beliefs with lines like, “Let the sword of reason shine/Let us be free of prayer and shrine/God’s face is hidden, turned away/He never has a word to say.” Features some ripping lead work from Poison guitarist C.C. Deville of all people!

“Living in the Past”

With one of the most powerful grooves on the record, “Living in the Past” is an extremely tight number. It also boasts the “youngest” vibe on the album (think “The Game,”) and would probably appeal to the wrestling-fanatic fanbase the band has cultivated over the last several years. Props to Campbell for his fantastic street lethal guitar solo.

“Christine”

One of the most immediately catchy tracks on the disc, “Christine” is another metallic blues boogie written about Lemmy’s pursuit of the opposite sex. Thematically it calls to mind Kiss’ “Christine Sixteen.” Seems like this would have been a more logical choice for C.C. Deville to guest on, but I like the band’s counterintuitive logic in sticking him where they did.

“Sword of Glory”

This is a very timely track considering all the fighting in our world. The tune boasts a catchy refrain (“Soldier, soldier”) that has the potential to turn into a cool call-and-response thing in concert. A great song with an even better message that lyrically is very much in sync with Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” or “Wicked World.” My favorite solo of the album comes on this track. Witness as Campbell morphs himself into Iron Maiden’s Adrian Smith at his prime.

“Be My Baby”

A very puzzling song – it wants to boogie, but it’s just too sinister to cut a rug. The lyrics seem to address the perils of the Internet and youth culture in general. Again, it sounds like Campbell is double-tracking his solos to give them a fuller, richer tone reminiscent of the NWOBHM movement.

“Kingdom of the Worm”

This is perhaps the most intense track on Kiss of Death. It takes quite a few listens to really understand what’s going on. Along with “God,” this is the other number that attempts some big, adventurous songwriting. Lemmy’s vocals almost sound incantatory during several parts, like a chant. Kudos to producer Cameron Webb (Monster Magnet, Social Distortion) for adding that element of mystery to this unique track.

“Going Down”

The last proper track on the album, “Going Down” aims to end Kiss of Death on a buoyant high note. It’s a simple ode to the pleasures of rock & roll, and it features a refrains that opens with “You can’t mess with Dr. Rock/So don’t you even try.” The song’s main riff – which is used in the intro, chorus and outro – is really early ‘80s inspired. “Going Down” is a pleasant, if overly simplistic, way to end the album.

“R.A.M.O.N.E.S.”

At one minute and nineteen seconds, this is the shortest, punkiest cut on the album and it’s listed as a bonus track. Of course, it’s a reprise of a tune that originally appeared on the band’s celebrated 1991 album, 1916. A bit late for Ramones nostalgia perhaps, but Motörhead always mosh to the beat of their own drum.

5 comments:

Metal Mark said...

Sounds good. A friend said he has an extra promo copy of this for me so I won't have to buy it.

fred charles said...

Awesome. I'm really looking forward to this one!

David Amulet said...

Except for that "God Was On Your Side" and the last "track," you make this sound like a very good album. I think I'll pick it up.

-- david

Rhodeislandrock said...

Good review, I'm looking forward to the release next week.

T-_Bone said...

I need to pick this us ASAP.