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Bastards

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Bastards
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Type: Full-Length
Release Date: November 29th, 1993
Label: ZYX Records
Genre: Hard Rock, Heavy
1. On Your Feet Or On Your Knees
2. Burner
3. Death Or Glory
4. I Am The Sword
5. Born To Raise Hell
6. Don't Let Daddy Kiss Me
7. Bad Woman
8. Liar
9. Lost In The Ozone
10. I'm Your Man
11. We Bring The Shake
12. Devils


Review by Felix on January 3, 2021.

Lemmy (R.I.P.) was a challenge. He challenged the laws of ageing, the alcohol industry and academic music fans. He was a thorn in the side of people who thought (with good reasons) that there are better hobbies than collecting Nazi memorabilia. And sometimes he even called on his followers to fight. This was mostly the case whenever he had recorded a ballad. Many of them are really not the shit you want to smoke. 'Don’t Let Daddy Kiss Me' is among these examples for a calm Motörhead song gone wrong. That’s a pity, because it's empathic lyrics are remarkable, but the musical execution sucks. To be honest, it sucks completely and right from the beginning. Lemmy’s voice opens the track and it sounds weak, powerless and odd. Is this the same singer who claims “I am the voice of broken glass”, a line from 'Burner'? Anyhow, 'Don’t Let Daddy Kiss Me' would have been a noteworthy poem, but as a piece of music it belongs in the trash can.

Fortunately, Bastards as a whole deserves a much more positive description. There are probably not many dudes who count this album to Motörhead’s most relevant albums and I do neither, but it definitely shows its muscles. Apart from the terrible ballad, the quartet (yes, quartet) covers the range from good time rockers with piano support ('Bad Woman') over pretty harsh, rock ’n’ roll inspired tracks to speed / thrash metal. The last category is represented by the excellent 'Burner'. Here Lemmy’s vocals really sound like clashing glass, while the restlessly advancing guitars and the hammering drums form an outstanding speedster in the catalogue of the legend. By the way, this song kicks off the best part of the album. The directly following 'Death or Glory' is another intensive, swift number. Mikkey Dee swings the hammers and his comrades at the (bass) guitars do not hesitate to show their fresh, energetic and impulsive side as well. The lyrics of 'Death or Glory' appear as Motörhead’s version of the lyrics of “Sympathy for the Devil”, but with an emphasis on World War II, how could it be otherwise? Finally, 'I Am the Sword' brings the album back on a more rocking yet still heavy track. These three highlights have all that it needs to enrich a Motörhead album; they are compact and avoid useless gimmicks, they sound straight and catchy, they enthuse with directness and the typical Lemmy paradox: this filthy purity that made his band (and himself) to something special.

However, this trio after the somewhat unspectacular opener is not the only reason to enjoy the album. 'Liar', a bone-dry headbanger, grabs you by the collar, no matter whether it is blue or white. I always liked the fact that Motörhead can provide a good mood, but they can be very humourless as well. 'Liar' confirms this thesis with regard to its second part. 'Lost in the Ozone' also reflects a surprisingly serious and thoughtful band. Moreover, the melancholy of the lyrics is underlined by the dragging tempo of this song. I don’t want to say that I was surprised about the fact that Lemmy was a thinking man, but I did not know so far that he also took care about the climate. Religion, World War II, politics, okay – but here he broadened the spectrum.

Apart from the differences in terms of style and tempo, all songs benefit from the voluminous and powerful production. The guitars have an all-embracing sound, the drums are perfectly staged and Lemmy is, well, Lemmy. With all his authenticity, vocal constraints and perpetual unrest. The mid-paced 'We Bring the Shake' with its flawless flow is the final jewel, before the repetitive yet solid 'Devils', carried by a simple yet decent riff, brings the album to an end. It clocks in at 48 minutes, but its impact lasts longer. Or is there anybody out there who does not want to listen to some songs again?

Rating: 7.9 out of 10

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