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Bomber

United Kingdom Country of Origin: United Kingdom

Bomber
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Type: Full-Length
Release Date: October 27th, 1979
Label: Bronze Records
Genre: Hard Rock, Heavy
1. Dead Men Tell No Tales
2. Lawman
3. Sweet Revenge
4. Sharpshooter
5. Poison
6. Stone Dead Forever
7. All The Aces
8. Step Down
9. Talking Head
10. Bomber


Review by Rosh on March 19, 2021.

The New Wave of British Heavy Metal in the early 1980's is commonly thought to be the point at which this loud and larger than life genre of music began to gain steam and become much faster and more aggressive, but one need look no further than the early work of Motörhead (okay, punk is important in the equation too) for a sense of where the increased focus on speed came from. In early 1979, Overkill was released and its title track is to this day considered an indispensable influence on speed metal, and in 1980 the band would release the not even remotely overrated Ace of Spades which was the recipe for sheer badassery. And yet, the more balanced and paced Bomber, seems to be the band's most overlooked early album - a shame, because it's the most essential Motörhead album for my money. However, having been released in October 1979, it was sandwiched between their two most popular albums. Despite this, it doesn't really matter to me that Overkill came first, because Bomber was still ahead of its time for 1979 and showed enough songwriting progression from Lemmy and co. to be an extremely worthy follow-up album not even a full year later.

Herein, though, lies the disadvantage of releasing more than one album in such a short span of time. One or more of them is likely to be overlooked, and it just so happens that the two more canonically important albums overshadow the one that is the most varied and consistent of the bunch. Like I said above, there's a great deal of fully realized songwriting chops on display on Bomber; it's got plenty of hooks which are usually just a few simple notes or power chords like in the main riffs of 'Lawman' and 'Sharpshooter', not to mention the main bassline of 'Stone Dead Forever'. I feel that it's overall a bit riffier fare than on Overkill, both on these balls-out tracks and on slower ones like 'Sweet Revenge', which is much more involved than the bluesier songs Motörhead had done up to this point like 'Capricorn'. However, it never reaches Sabbath levels of emphatic riffiness (which defined heavy metal music in general), therefore still lending the music the looser, more rock 'n' roll feel that makes this band feel so charming and timeless.

Bomber is also really well-paced, and I love that. Side A is pretty much flawless since it's got kind of a valley structure; 'Dead Men Tell No Tales' is really energetic and inspires the listener with a good message about staying clean (if nothing else I always sing "but I don't care for lies!" to myself), but then the album gradually slows down before picking up again on 'Sharpshooter'. 'Poison' might be slightly less memorable than the first four songs, but there's really nothing truly bad I can say about that song, either. Side B is honestly even better, though - I especially like 'All The Aces' and 'Talking Head', since they're the prime examples of satisfying deep cuts for full-album listeners. In fact, whenever I include "Traditional Heavy Metal" bands on my playlists to break up the Grave, Incantation, and Bolt Thrower, I'll usually throw 'Talking Head' into the shuffle. Finally, you get an awesome burst of energy to close out the album with the titular 'Bomber', which showed Lemmy's interest in history as much as women and having a good time. This is definitely an album where I prefer the older CD pressings without the bonus tracks. The live songs and B-sides are cool on the Sanctuary reissue, but this album feels complete as it is, clocking in just under 37 minutes.

So that's all I have to say about Motörhead's third album. It's their best early album because it has the most variety and no filler at all. Ultimately a pretty humble album, it's nothing the average rock or metal fan won't get down with even if they do prefer Overkill or Ace of Spades. For me though, this album is a desert island necessity because it's feel-good kinda stuff and that's generally not the music I gravitate towards. And yet, there's not a ton that I have to say about this album, because it's rock 'n' roll, nothing more and certainly nothing less!

Rating: 10 out of 10

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