The second anniversary of Ian Fraser Kilmister’s passing is coming very shortly. Ever since that sad event, no previously unreleased studio material from Motorhead has emerged as yet. Last year saw the release of the band’s 13th live album recorded just a few weeks before Lemmy died and this autumn we get a collection of cover versions the group recorded in the space of more or less 23 years between drummer Mikkey Dee‘s joining the band and Lemmy’s passing. The compilation does not include the cover versions made prior to that, possibly due to lower sound quality. Perhaps they will be released as a separate CD?
The track list includes 11 rock classics written by such giants as The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Judas Priest, Sex Pistols, The Ramones or Metallica. What comes to attention already after the first hearing, is that each of the songs (maybe with the exception of “Jumpin’ Jack Flash“) sounds as if it was written by Motorhead. This would prove the theory saying that the Stones may be the oldest rock and roll band but Motorhead were indeed the “rockandrollest” of them all.
Be it “Breaking The Law” by Judas Priest (the lack of all the high notes originally sung by Rob Halford doesn’t offend the ear at all), “God Save The Queen” by The Sex Pistols or Metallica’s “Whiplash“, Lemmy’s spluttering voice and bass, Phil Campbell’s guitar sound and Mikkey Dee‘s drumming leave no doubt as to who we are dealing with. Only in Rainbow’s “Starstruck” did Motorhead‘s leader settle for singing the choruses leaving all the verses in the capable hands (or rather larynx in this case) of Saxon’s Biff Bifford. The band’s rendition of David Bowie’s “Heroes” is a true highlight on the album proving Lemmy could actually SING (just listen to his backing vocals).
Since we have mentioned the Swedish master drummer (often referred to by his late Boss as “the best drummer in the world”), this album proves once again how excellent a musician he is. There is no crazy stuff in the style of “Sacrifice” here. What we get, though, are: great dynamics, power and perfectly clean sound and articulation. I dare say that Mikkey Dee is the Jeff Porcaro or Vinnie Colaiuta of hard rock. Worth a listen, even if it is only for that reason.