Since the incredibly out of character 3 year gap between Motôrhead’s “The World Is Yours” and “Aftershock”, Lemmy and the gang have returned to form just 2 years later with their next offering of rock ‘n roll anthems. While the band’s frontman is unfortunately not holding up too well with the live performances these days, “Bad Magic” proves that he isn’t slowing down when it comes to writing great songs. As you might have already imagined, this album sounds like Motörhead. The band didn’t sell out or change their sound after album 2, album 12, and they aren’t doing it now with album 22.
The biggest concern coming into this record would be how Lemmy’s voice is holding up. Though I’ve seen some negative comments about his vocals, I’m not hearing anything bad on this record. He still utilizes an incredibly gruff, largely unmelodic tone in his singing. Obviously his range has decreased since the early records, but relative to “Aftershock” and other recent Motörhead albums, his performance on “Bad Magic” is par for the course. I saw the band back in 2011 and was a bit surprised at how shaky Lemmy’s bass playing looked, but he’s in fine form here, and even plays quite a few impressive licks. Of course, the immense power of drummer Mikkey Dee keeps the band charging forward at a rapid pace, but the star of this album is guitarist Phil Campbell. This album has many of his best lead guitar performances, as there are a ton of solos and most of them display some serious shredding.
Because Motörhead is so consistent with their general sound, the quality of each album usually comes down to how memorable the songs are. Fortunately, “Bad Magic” is quite possibly the strongest Motörhead album in years in this regard. The 1-2 punch of “Victory or Die” and “Thunder & Lightning” kick things off at a rapid speed metal pace and are two of Motörhead’s stronger tracks of the last decade. Immediately after this, the band slows down for something a little more rocking and bluesy with “Fire Storm Hotel”. Subsequent to this song, the band continues offering standard Motörhead tunes, with other highlights including “Electricity” and “The Devil”. "Till The End" is a ballad, and not particularly out of character given some of their other work, but it's nice to change up the formula for a song on each album. For a band that needs to do absolutely nothing and will forever have every metal fan’s respect, Motörhead keeps on delivering the goods!
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"Victory or Die"
"Thunder & Lightning"
4.1/5 or 82%.
Written by Scott