Motorhead - Ironfist
Now don't get me wrong - I'll start this off with a disclaimer that I like Motorhead's style a lot (as if this wasn't already obvious from the previous reviews) and I guess everything they ever did was unabashedly great. At the very least, you can't say that Motorhead ever did filler because they either did no filler or everything they ever did was filler, and in the latter case these reviews become useless in the first place.
However, have pity on the poor little guy who occasionally listens to other music than lightning speed thrash-metal. See, it was pretty hard for Motorhead to ever top Ace Of Spades: that was, after all, where they got the heaviest, the fastest, the raunchiest, the most uncompromising they ever could really pull out of their systems. And after you reach this kind of, er, 'artistic peak', there's no way to go but (a) down or (b) sideways. Most of the really talented artists usually choose sideways, because it's always fun to try your forces at something new when you've reached your top at the old. Not Motorhead. What could they do, release a cocktail lounge jazz album? Or an LP of world beat music? They had their tough guy image to support, after all, and so Iron Fist follows faithfully in the steps of Ace Of Spades. And for the first time, I'm disappointed. If there's at least one entirely new riff on here, please tell me what it is, because I hear at least one or two "elder" songs in each of the numbers on here. And it's not like Motorhead really gave a damn either. The title track consciously rips off 'Ace Of Spades', but comes off slightly less convincingly (maybe because of the lyrics - the pseudo-Satanic bullshit of 'Iron Fist' sure ain't no match for 'that's the way I like it baby, I don't wanna live forever'). And just like Ace Of Spades, the entire record is just a sequence of fast steamhammer-like songs with maybe just a couple relatively slower numbers thrown in - guess whenever 'Philthy Animal' got way too tired of annihilating his drum set, they were reluctantly ready to give him this tiny break. I'm really not sure of what to say about the musical merits of Iron Fist. If I'm not mistaken, on some songs Lemmy puts a lot more fuzz on his bass than he used to before; check out the beginning of '(Don't Need) Religion', for instance. This certainly adds to the overall heaviness of the songs, but that's about the only real 'advance' on the album. Otherwise, it's just a question of how much you really enjoy Motorhead, I guess. I personally don't see no difference between playing Ace Of Spades twice in a row or alternating it with Iron Fist; frankly, I guess I'd prefer doing the former. Saves you extra money, too. I guess one thing that's somehow 'advancing' is the lyrics: ever so often, Lemmy decides it necessary to issue a formal "fuck you bastards" statement, and this LP has more of those than I've ever seen previously. '(Don't Need) Religion', in particular, is pretty straightforward and pretty violent, and I guess it was a rather brave position to issue the song right smack dab in the midst of the conservative onslaught in the early Eighties. After all, let's face it, not many rock stars have got lines as obvious as 'don't need Jesus Christ Superstar' in their lyrics. John Lennon had some of these, and now Lemmy Kilmister of all people. Heh. Not that I would ever agree with the bluntness of that statement, of course, but whatcha want, it's Lemmy. Ever read one of those fabulous Kilmister interviews? Now there's a guy you wouldn't really wanna argue with! And then of course there's all that populist trash like '(Don't Let 'Em) Grind You Down'. I wanna write a movie scenario where a guy goes to a Motorhead concert, hears the song, and then, inspired by the communicative process, proceeds to kick the shit out of his boss. Maybe in my next life... who knows. Hope the actual song isn't forgotten by that time. And I guess the "Big Artistic Statement" on Iron Fist is 'America', Motorhead's answer to 'Back In The USA' of sorts. 'America, fast cars, America, the girls, the fuss, America, don't make no fuss, America, get on the bus'. That's the lyrical genius of Lemmy. Hey, don't tell me you really were expecting a modern day John Milton. You weren't. I know that. There's a whole bunch of bonus tracks on the new CD issue, too, but this time you're not gonna get any freaky Girlschool collaborations, just more of your basic headbanging. It all amounts to seventeen tracks of prime Motorhead material, and truthfully, all you really need to extrapolate it on everything else is the last track, the two-minute instrumental 'Young And Crazy' which perfectly sums up all of the aspects of Motorhead music (except for the vocals, of course). It kinda sounds like your basic pattern - you take it, change one chord and get yourself a different Motorhead song. Aw what the heck, don't change anything at all, just give it three different names. Oh yeah, one of the bonus tracks is called 'Lemmy Goes To The Pub'! Imagine that! A pub! And I thought Lemmy only visited the House of Lords! My, what shocking behaviour.