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Motorhead - 2004 Inferno

ARTIST: Motorhead
ALBUM: Inferno
SERIAL: SPV 085-69742 CD
YEAR: 2004


LINEUP: Lemmy - bass, vocals * Phil Campbell - guitars * Mickey Dee - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Terminal Show * 02 Killers * 03 In the Name of Tragedy * 04 Suicide * 05 Life's a Bitch * 06 Down On Me * 07 In The Black * 08 Fight * 09 In The Year Of The Wolf * 10 Keys To The Kingdom * 11 Smiling Like A Killer * 12 Whorehouse Blues


Since 1993's 'Bastards' there arguably hasn't been a more consistent band in any genre than Motorhead. Every album has been as good as the last, efforts like 'Sacrifice' (1995), 'Overnight Sensation' (1996) and 'We Are Motorhead' (2000) eclipsing anything from the bands commercial glory years of the early 80's, especially in terms of heaviness and songwriting. 2002's 'Hammered' was a slight let-down, but 'Inferno' has corrected that, the veteran act still delivering the goods after all these years. The threesome of Lemmy, Campbell and Dee have been together for a decade and solidified themselves in my eyes as the definitive Motorhead lineup, with an attack that almost shames the famed 'Fast' Eddie Clark and 'Philthy' Phil Clark era combination. More amazingly is the fact that Lemmy is still conjuring up metal this heavy at the age of 59. There's something to be said for that!

The Songs
Steve Vai makes a much heralded appearance on effective opener 'Terminal Show', providing a distinctive solo amidst Campbell's barrage of riffs. Comparing it to anything is senseless (but necessary) as it's the same classic Motorhead sound since time began, but still sounds fresh and destructive. That said, 'Killers' recalls the 'Sacrifice' era, raw production, but still clear enough to decipher the intimidating wall of noise. This relentless beginning continues with 'In The Name Of Tragedy', Lemmy's voice seemingly not affected by the age process, although his ears must be shot by now. Nice solo from Campbell too, Wales' finest outdoing Vai easily. 'Suicide' takes me back to the early 80's almost, recalling 'Ironfist' in a distant way minus the rampant speed, but retaining the basic heaviness. Always the old fashioned rocker, Lemmy adds the usual bit of metalized rockabilly in the shape of the crunching 'Life's A Bitch', in the vein of past tracks like 'Don't Waste Your Time' and 'Don't Lie To Me'. 'Down On Me' has the feel of 1998's 'Snakebite Love' album, upfront metal, but somehow not entirely enthralling. Every Motorhead album must contain at least one thrasher, 'Fight' being the inclusion this time. Needless to say it works, Motorhead at their fastest are still a harsh proposition. I have to admit this did remind me of Saxon's 'Nighthunter' melodically speaking, inadvertent of course as only a few people have ever heard that. Matters dwindle slightly with the plain 'In The Year Of The Wolf' and 'Keys To The Kingdom', which offer little melody and speed. 'Smiling Like A Killer' offers both those in larger doses before the bluesy 'Whorehouse Blues' ends things in a near sombre manner.

In Summary
Obviously the album drifts off towards the end, but the opening eight tracks are Motorhead at their best, making this another success. Reviews have been good for the album and for a band ignored for some years it's justified. I still regard 'Sacrifice' as Motorhead's best of the last ten years, but this pushes hard. One can only wonder where Lemmy's determination to continue this war comes from. For a man of 59 to still be creating metal of this calibre is a first, and it proves the old adage that age doesn't have anything to do with it. That Steve Vai would guest on a Motorhead album in 2004 indicates the esteem in which they are held. It's been twenty seven years since Motorhead's debut and they're just getting better. Lemmy at 70? He'll still be here, but will we?

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#1 | Jokerdean on March 13 2006 18:38:03
I think this is Motorhead's best release in 20 years....IMO.
a must have!Cool

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