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Inferno

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Inferno
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Type: Full-Length
Release Date: June 22nd, 2004
Genre: Hard Rock, Heavy
1. Terminal Show
2. Killers
3. In The Name Of Tragedy
4. Suicide
5. Life's A Bitch
6. Down On Me
7. In The Black
8. Fight
9. In The Year Of The Wolf
10. Keys To The Kingdom
11. Smiling Like A Killer
12. Whorehouse Blues


Review by Felix on December 28, 2021.

Six years. Is it really true, already six years? Indeed, the man who seemed to be blessed with the power to live a rockstar life eternally, died exactly six years ago. But a lot of his songs have no expiration date. Fortunately, some of them can be found on Inferno.

Lemmy, Phil and Mikkey offered a few extremely catchy yet absolutely heavy tracks on their album from 2004. The first one I must mention is 'In The Black'. It consists of an ingenious riff, uncouth yet smooth verses and a chorus that jumps into your brain like a parasite that will never leave you again. Lemmy sings like he has always sung and – only the best is good enough – he delivers the second voice as well. Needless to say that the number does not only provide solid heaviness, but also the casual touch that has given a lot of Motörhead’s tracks its special flavour. 'In The Name Of Tragedy' is a bit darker, but it also profits from a fantastic flow, a memorable chorus and its simple construction that invites you to bang your head. I know, it’s no new finding that Lemmy was always an expert in reducing music to its essentials and this song shows once again that conventional song patterns are no indication for a stale overall picture. This is all the more true as the production conveys determination, conviction and muscles. Inferno bursts out of the boxes with lots of self-confidence and so the right frame is set for the songs. Already the voluminous up-tempo opener 'Terminal Show' leaves no doubt that the album gives no reason for concern in terms of the mix.

But Lemmy has more aces (of spades) up his sleeve. His lyrics have always reflected his special view on the world. He delivers his potpourri of angry, cynical, ironic and laconic (“Life is not a TV dinner”) poetry which makes the musically strong songs even more enjoyable. A few times he also reflects on his own past (“Our badge the ace of spades”, “Eat the rich, life’s a bitch”, “Stay clean, be true”). And so he and the other two ruffians create a cool album that avoids almost completely lukewarm stuff. This does not mean that each and every song provides an overdose of excitement. But I guess that no Motörhead tune ever did this after Ace Of Spades – and this is no problem at all, because this band offered other values: permanent reliability, dirty humor, powerful chords. That’s what made them a constant, well-appreciated factor in the metal community.

With this said, the flawlessly produced Inferno is not as apocalyptic as its title indicates, but most of its songs have a nearly perfect flow, a great drive and a compact arrangement. Sometimes the band borders on speed metal ('Fight' is a distant relative of the rapid 'Eat The Gun' from Overnight Sensation), but they also take a trip to bluesy territories (the closer). Of course, a blues song is neither great nor necessary, but if there is a band that has the right to perform such a number, than it’s Motörhead. Every now and then, a song walks the thin line between “okay” and “meaningless”, for example 'In The Year Of The Wolf', but after all, there is no reason to skip a song. Even the somewhat lethargic 'Keys To The Kingdom' spreads a certain charm, although its neighbor 'Smiling Like A Killer' sounds much better: simple, direct, old school, simply Motörhead. Lemmy, we do not know exactly what you have done during the last six years, but we are happy that you and your comrades gave us such a rich legacy.

Rating: 8 out of 10

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Review by Joshua on January 22, 2005.

There are so many bands who fade away slowly, gradually weakening and burning out.

Then there's Motorhead.

Motorhead starts and ends with the same style that's defined them for the last three decades: A timeless blend of edgy rock and roll, traditional metal, and Jack Daniels. They've grown harder and heavier over time, but the basic song structures don't really change. Of course, bands who don't change at all are marked for death, and it seemed Motorhead followed this course on their last few CDs. They'd done nothing really memorable since Sacrifice in 1995,leading listeners to wonder how much of their talent left with Wurzel. However, here's what distinguishes Motorhead from the world's Metallicas and Megadeths: with Inferno, Motorhead incorporate exactly enough style changes to make their trademark style sound fresh and interesting. This is not the re-recorded Ace of Spades. This is a reinvented Motorhead.

Their songwriting has matured. Their music shows a diversity of influences, but retains the trademark Motorhead playing style. Their material is catchier and less anonymous. And Lemmy has managed to scribe some of the most intelligent lyrics since Orgasmatron in 1986, ranging from the serious and thoughtful (‘In the Name of Tragedy’) to the completely hilarious ("Whorehouse Blues"). ‘In the Name of Tragedy,’ has a more deliberate and menacing tempo than anything they've recorded since Orgasmatron. ‘Life's a Bitch’ plays at a rock and roll tempo last seen on ‘Don't Waste your Time,’ from the album Sacrifice. Actually, the tempo sounds remarkably like Little Richard...one of the few rock-and-rollers who looks creepier than Lemmy. Now, compare this to the frontal assault of tracks like Fight’ and ‘Terminal Show,’ energetic thrash and pounding drums, and note that neither one has a weak moment on their new CD.

Well, therein lies the only criticism I can make: Some songs sound a lot like older songs. Of course, one expects that much from Motorhead. One wouldn't expect, though, that they don't sound like Motorhead classics. Rather, they sound like corrections to songs that were just slightly off, mostly from the early 90s. Compare ‘In the Year of the Wolf’ to ‘All Gone to Hell’ from Sacrifice. ‘Fight’ sounds a lot like ‘Burner’ from 1994's Bastards. Compare ‘Life's a Bitch’ to ‘Don't Waste your Time’ on Sacrifice. While they're not "No Voices in the Sky", it's obvious that some of these song ideas germinated years before -- even if they took decades to come to fruitition.

It's been awhile since Motorhead released an album where every song was interesting, memorable, and distinguishable from, well, every other Motorhead song. Infernodoes exactly this. There are no substantive weaknesses. There are no critical flaws. There's some rehashing of earlier material, but if that's not the hallmark of Motorhead, well then, what is? If you've never heard Motorhead before, and you want a stunningly bright, representative sample, then you should pick up Inferno. If you have, it suffices to say that this is Motorhead's best CD since Wurzel left, and you should hunt it down immediately.


Categorical Rating Breakdown

Musicianship: 9
Atmosphere: 8
Production: 8
Originality: 7
Overall: 9

Rating: 8.2 out of 10

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