Saturday, July 22, 2017

Motörhead - Hammered (2002)

There is no real secret that Motörhead is at their best when they just go full on caveman mode when it comes to emotions. Sure, they can write emotional stuff, but it is the songs about booze, sex, and drugs that we know them by, and that we love them for. The same goes for their musical approach, when it is at its simplest, it is usually at its best. We are ultimately quite lucky that this band was not too much into experimenting with their formula.

However, there are albums that they have done that are more moody, that either tries something different or simply reflects what the band is going through at the moment. While I cannot really pin point what was going on with the band during the time they recorded "Hammered" (maybe they were, as the title suggests, drunker than usual?), the music tells a story that something was a little off, something was not quite right.

Not to say that "Hammered" is a bad album, but it is one of the stranger ones in the band's discography. A lot of songs in here are really underwhelming, either trying to be more groovy than heavy, or not going on full speed. It almost feels like the band is trying to hold back, like they might even be a little tired after the steam roller they created previously, and that they took this opportunity to relax a little more.

Now, this is ultimately a Motörhead record, so we obviously do get some true heavy metal here, it just is not in the quantity that we are used to. "Brave New World", "Voices From The War", and "Kill The World" all bring some intensity, and they all are fairly enjoyable songs, but once again, they feel like they are holding back a little, not going full throttle. Actually, we do not get a true mauler until the very end of the album, with the dark "No Remorse" and the crazy "Red Raw". The latter one is definitely much needed, but why is it back here? Please put it earlier in the album so that raw anger can be released before it becomes too much to handle.

It certainly feels like "Hammered" is more of a standard hard rock record, with all of the PG decisions that have been made here and there, and a lot of these tunes are questionable. Like, why does "Down The Line" has such a dull chorus that do not make we want to sing it? Why do we have keyboards in "Mine All Mine" that make it sound like a dated Van Halen song? Why is there a close to two minute spoken word part called "Serial Killer" inserted in this album? And why, oh why, is such a cool title as "Shut Your Mouth" given such a boring structure, one that not even a nice Phil Campbell solo can save?

Speaking of the performance, I cannot tell if the band phoned this one in or not, because they are not given any real chances to shine. There are times in this record where Lemmy cannot hit the right notes with his vocals, something that I have not heard so obviously in a Motörhead record before. And Mikkey Dee, who usually is killing it, does more or less a great job here, but he is not given the material to let out his talents. It feels like Phil is the only one who tries to spice it up with some cool solos, but unfortunately the riffs drown it out, hiding his performances too.

So yeah, this is a very, VERY underwhelming record. It has some nice songs here and there, but close to everything in this record is simply forgettable. I do not really hate any of the music here, but I cannot find it in me to care about it either, because there are so much better material from this band out there. Ultimately, it is a pretty harmless record that clocks in just under 46 minutes, a reasonable length. Fans of the band should give it a shot, maybe there are some songs you can get out from it, but in the grand scheme of things, "Hammered" does not drop the hammer, it could not even pick it up from the start.

Songs worthy of recognition: Voices From The War, Walk A Crooked Mile, Red Raw

Rating: 5,5/10 Serial Killers

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twitter.com/myMotorhead

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Brothers of Metal - Prophecy of Ragnarök (2017)

With macho metal legends Manowar singing on the last verse, it is time to look over the horizon and see if there are any other bands out there who can take over their crown as the most over the top, out of this world metal act of our age. There are certainly several candidates out there that has already lived out quite a career, but I might have found the worthy successors here in Sweden, a little band with the subtle name Brothers of Metal.

Just like Manowar, their sound is built upon epic power metal with grandiose choirs, sing along choruses, and confidence that almost cannot be measured. The only thing that really separates the two bands is that Brothers of Metal lays their lyrical foundation in Norse mythology, which seems really fitting since their town of origin is Birka, a very important city during the Swedish viking era. It is possible that they are not actually from there since the town is pretty small today, but the band live out their characters so much that I can overlook it.

Another thing I have to question is why this band is called Brothers of Metal when one of their singers is obviously a female. I am not complaining here, because Ylva Eriksson does a great job together with Joakim Lindbäck Eriksson and Mats Nilsson on the singing department, but I feel like this is gonna trigger some feminists out there. Oh well, this band does ultimately seem like a brotherhood, with a total of 8 members (three of them being lute guitar players!) cooperating in a great way. With so many minds in play, it can't be easy to create something cool without butting heads (just ask Slipknot about that).

Musically, it is pretty straight forward, with very few twists and turns. The music is most of the time catchy as hell, and they ride the Norse theme really well, even if sometimes they go out of their musical characters, which can be a hit or miss. A hit is definitely in the title track that has an intro that is more fitting in a Castlevania game, but it does pump up the intensity really well. One time it missed though is actually in one of my favourite songs, "The Mead Song". It is a great fun song about drinking, but a lot of the time it feels like they stole a lot of inspiration from the pirate metal band Alestorm (especially in that weird jig towards the end). Not too fitting, but it is fun, so it slides by.

And that is probably the best way I can describe "Prophecy of Ragnarök", it is a fun as hell album that is a little unfocused at times. The band needs some time to develop a stable sound that personifies them, but the foundation is certainly there, and the band knows how to create some great tunes and some good chuckles too. Not only do we have epic creations like "Son of Odin", "Defenders of Valhalla", and "Gods of War", we also have some more atmospheric songs like "Yggdrasil", and some blood pumping songs like "Siblings of Metal" and "Sleipnir" to bring some much needed variety. Yes, the album does get pretty corny from time to time, but it is nothing that you would not expect from an album like this. After all, you are here for the sing alongs, the over the top passion, and possibly the mead too. A very promising debut from the Brothers (+ sister) of Metal.

Songs worthy of recognition: Siblings of Metal, Prophecy of Ragnarök, The Mead Song, Fire Blood And Steel

Rating: 8/10 Sleipnirs

www.facebook.com/brothersofmetalofficial/

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Stone Sour - Hydrograd (2017)

Some time ago, Nickelback singer Chad Kroeger (or as I like to call him, the distant brother of Nicolas Cage), called out fellow hard rockers Stone Sour for being a light version of themselves, but not being able to write a hit song. Of course, this sparked a beef between the bands, especially the lead singers Chad and Corey Taylor, and while the beef itself is something I could not care less about, I just laughed my ass off of the original comment. First off, Nickelback sucks, and if there was a light version of the band, they would not last very long. Second, Stone Sour is nothing like them, they are heavier, and have more context behind their craft. Third, they do know how to write hit songs, just not for the everyman crowd, with some evidence being "30/30-150", "Through Glass", and "Do Me A Favor".

Ultimately, I think the music should do the talking, and with both bands releasing new material pretty close to each other, it is safe to say that Stone Sour won with a huge margin. It should not come as a surprise, but the new Nickelback album is more of the same, very simple, but hollow, songs that just does not leave any impact at all, and with one, maybe two songs that show some decent musicality, but those are always buried underneath a pile of unoriginal shit and pointless ballads.

Now, Stone Sour has not struck pure gold either with their 6th album "Hydrograd", but it is an album that has a lot of good music in it. While it mostly is not something new we are hearing from the band, it is still good quality to the craft that is presented, and a surprisingly steady flow of it as well. Even though it is not another concept album, like the two parter "House of Gold & Bones", it still has a lot of interesting stuff to say and mention (like in "Fabuless", where both Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones are referenced).

We do have a newcomer in the band, Christian Martucci who replaces Jim Root as the lead guitarist, and he does a really nice job actually, delivering some great riffs and solos (like the "La Grange" like solo in "Rose Red Violent Blue (This Song Is Dumb & So Am I)"). But as always, it is Corey who steals the show with his vocals, whether he channels a lighter Slipknot version of himself, or shows off his softer side, he delivers just as good no matter what.

However, it does not seem like the band has learned anything from their last two outings, because just like both "House of Gold & Bones" albums, "Hydrograd" is just too big, containing way too many songs. The album is just over an hour, and if the band would have trimmed it down to around 40-45 minutes, we would have a really awesome hard rock album. Now, it just drags out and does not seem to end anytime soon, over staying its welcome. Some time, Stone Sour need to realize that they play hard rock, not progressive rock.

At the end of the day though, I do enjoy "Hydrograd" a lot, and there are several songs in here that are great. Such songs as "Song #3", "Fabuless", "Whiplash Pants", "Thank God It's Over", and "Taipei Person/Allah Tea" are clear proofs that Stone Sour is not a Nickelback light, they are their own thing and they are pretty damn good at it. Now, if they only could learn how to constrict their material to bite size portions, the albums would be even better.

Songs worthy of recognition: Fabuless, Taipei Person/Allah Tea, Thank God It's Over, Whiplash Pants

Rating: 7,5/10 Friday Knights

www.stonesour.com/
twitter.com/stonesour

More reviews of Stone Sour
House of Gold & Bones Part 1
House of Gold & Bones Part 2

Friday, July 7, 2017

Motörhead - We Are Motörhead (2000)

When Motörhead entered the 21st century, it definitely felt like they thought that Y2K had happened, and rebooted the entire mankind, because the band apparently felt like they should remind everybody who they were, with naming their 15th effort "We Are Motörhead", and filling said album with songs that brings you back to the good old days, when Motörhead was freaking awesome... oh wait, they never stopped being awesome.

Nonetheless, "We Are Motörhead" does remind me a lot of the early era of the band, with straight up rock 'n' roll/metal hybrids that simply kick ass, and while the band has technically never stopped making those kinds of songs, they filled this album to the brim with them. As soon as you start the album, you get hit in the face with one of the fastest motherfuckers you have ever heard in "See Me Burning", where Mikkey Dee just goes fully bananas on the drums, while both Lemmy and Phil tries to keep up with some frenetic riffing. A great kick start to an album, just like in the band's early days.

The album continues with some good variety in the groovy "Stay Out of Jail" and the slow and heavy "Slow Dance". Then, out of seemingly nowhere, Motörhead throws out a cover of "God Save The Queen" by The Sex Pistols. I got so many questions thanks to this song. Why this song? Why in this part of the album? Just... WHY? This is a song that has been covered multiple times, both before and after, and this version does not offer anything new or exciting, it is just a stale cover that kills the momentum of the album. It just does not make any sense to put it in here.

Fortunately, the band gets back to business after that, and just puts out more kick ass tunes. Both "Out To Lunch" and "Wake The Dead" are cool songs, but then we get a curve ball in the shape of the ballad "One More Fucking Time", that surprisingly works well with the rest of the album. It slows things down to a pretty cozy mood, and definitely makes the album more dynamic. It is still one of the weaker songs though, which do say something about the high standard of the record.

The final three songs are also great fun, bringing the album home in the same way it started, with pure speed on the title track. I absolutely love this song because it more or less summarizes the band perfectly, what they are about and what their mission is. I know, this song is more or less a pure carbon copy of "Ace of Spades", both in riffs and in structure, but it is still so god damn intoxicating, and the lyrics are just simply brilliant, stating that the band brings both rock 'n' roll and UFOs, that they are born to kick ass and that they have no class, that they save our souls and mend all broken hearts. Jesus Christ, this is just brilliant.

More or less everything with "We Are Motörhead" is awesome. The tracklist (besides the Sex Pistols cover) is fantastic, the performance is marvelous, the length is just right, and the cover art is so bad ass, might even be my favourite from the band. There is no secret here, the band has always been like this, it is more or less all about the songs that makes or breaks a Motörhead album. The last one, "Snake Bite Love", did not really hit, but this one does, and it rocks the house to the very core. They are Motörhead, and they kick fucking ass.

Songs worthy of recognition: We Are Motörhead, See Me Burning, Stay Out of Jail, (Wearing Your) Heart On Your Sleeve

Rating: 9/10 Slow Dances

imotorhead.com/
twitter.com/myMotorhead

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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

SikTh - The Future In Whose Eyes? (2017)

I honestly do not wanna say this, but my first experience with djent pioneers SikTh was not with any of their original work, but with singer Mikee Goodman's side project Primal Rock Rebellion (which he runs together with Iron Maiden guitarist Adrian Smith). Yeah I know, the bands are quite different in styles, but the unique singing style of Mikee left a really big impression on me, his weird but hypnotizing groovy vocals were something I have never heard of before, and it made me very interested in what SikTh truly had to offer.

That encounter was around 5 years ago, and "The Future In Whose Eyes?" is the first new release of SikTh in 11 years (with a 4 year long break up as the main reason for the wait), which really does not leave me with any real expectations. I have listened to the band's first two albums now, and they are some great aggressive djent metal, but I also know that you simply cannot expect a similar result after such a long wait, and even a change in personnel.

And while the sound is not all too far off the previous efforts, "The Future In Whose Eyes?" feels a little more safe in its approach, not as heavy hitting. We do get some neat odd time signatures here and there, but it is all under control, never going fully off the rails.Now, I am not saying that this album does not have crazy moments, it does, but they are fairly few, and they do not stand out all that much too, except maybe "Ride The Illusion" where Mikee really gets his mental on.

But there is no question that this album do contains quality to it, because I think it has a consistency that is quite impressive. All of the songs feel like they belong together, all being groovy and technical, almost quirky in some way too. The groove that this band presents is really intoxicating when done right, and it does not get groovier than in "Riddles of Humanity", where both vocalists (Mikee and newcomer Joe Rosser) go back and forth, creating a rhythm that swayes wildly back and forth.

The rest of the band does a great job too in making this album as good as possible. Graham Pinney and Dan Weller produces a good amount of cool riffs here and there, James Leach goes really hard on his bass, and Dan Foordis just what you are looking for as a drummer in a math metal band, technical as hell. I think it is a good thing that they have taken their time to make this album ever since reforming the band, just to get up to speed with each other and rebuilding that chemistry. The wait was certainly worth while.

I think a lot of fans of SikTh will be very pleased with "The Future In Whose Eyes?", because even if it is not the most stand out album out there (maybe even the "worst" SikTh album thus far?), it still has enough goodness to go around for everyone. The album flows really well from one song to another, even with three spoken word parts that I do not truly understand their purpose in all of this. It is a pretty cool album that digs its own path, looking towards the future with hope in its eyes. Let us hope that the next SikTh album do not arrive in 2028, but instead a little sooner.

Songs worthy of recognition: Riddles of Humanity, Vivid, No Wishbones

Rating: 7/10 Cracks of Light

www.sikth.band/
twitter.com/SikthOfficial

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Motörhead - Snake Bite Love (1998)

Motörhead is a band that is well known for not fuzzing around when it comes to recording a new album. It is in to the studio, write the songs, record the songs, and out, all in a time span of only a small bunch of weeks. While the band has been really effective with this strategy, it was only a matter of time before they would make an album too quickly, regretting some decisions. That album is named "Snake Bite Love", and while it is not a complete wreck, it is most certainly an album that could have used some more time.

Lemmy, Mikkey, and Phil have all openly expressed their disappointment of how this album turned out, and I can absolutely see why. A couple of songs in here are just pure head scratches, fillers that should have stayed at the studio, or even better, the sketch paper. One of these songs are "Night Side", a song with a pretty decent beat, but with an extremely sluggish and boring chorus. With a little more work behind, it might have been a cool track, instead it stands as a clear example that this record was not truly finished.

With that said, there is still a lot to like about this album. The performance is nice, and it does sound like Motörhead from start to finish, with more of their heavier side in it. To be completely honest, it does sound just like any other Motörhead album, just that it has some more inconsistencies than what we might be used to, so it is clear that time was the issue, not the chemistry of the band.

And while some songs are pure filler, we got some really fun tracks here that are both familiar, but also highly interesting, especially in that brilliant first half. The title track is all about the love for snakes (a topic that would be more fitting for Slash to be honest), and expresses it so with some good groovy rhythms, more hypnotizing than Kaa's stare. Then we have "Assassin", a fine song indeed with a really awkward, but also kind of cool, hook, where Lemmy pronounces the title as "Ass-ass-in", making it also sound like he is saying "That's a sin". Not my favourite, but fun none the less.

The best one do comes straight after though, and it is named "Take The Blame". It is one of the fastest songs the band has ever made, so it will certainly get you into a swing within an instant, and the lyrics of the uselessness of politicians is so god damn hilarious. It also slows down two times, but it never loses its edge, not even when Lemmy goes "Blah blah blah blah blah" (literally). As said, the first five songs of this album are pure awesomeness, and just what we want to see from the band.

It is just such a shame that the quality dips quite a lot when "Dead And Gone" enters the stage, sending the album down the gutter. I guess it would have been a little dull if the band had kept going in the same pace throughout the entire record, but if you are gonna change things up a bit, do not temper with the quality of the craft. We get some nice swing in "Don't Lie To Me", and "Better Off Dead" ends the album on an upside, but it is such a drop from the first half that it hurts the album quite a lot, especially when songs like "Night Side" and "Joy of Labour" are so mind boggling, being contenders for the running of worst Motörhead song ever.

"Snake Bite Love" might end up as one of the most inconsistent Motörhead records to date, with very high peaks, and very low valleys. The time might be the cause of this, but I know the band can pull one better out of their ass, or simply just take it easy and take some more time on it. Still, I do enjoy this album, the first half kicks a lot of ass, and the album cover is pretty dope, so it can skate by pretty easily. It attacks like a cobra, but tries to smother you like a really old and weak python.

Songs worthy of recognition: Take The Blame, Dogs of War, Snake Bite Love

Rating: 6,5/10 Assassins

imotorhead.com/
twitter.com/myMotorhead

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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Steel Panther - Lower The Bar (2017)

Okay, this review might come out more as a rant, but I really do not care, anything goes here on FaTG anyway. The reason so is that Steel Panther is a band that has talent and all, but they do make me sick to my stomach. And no, it is not because of their filthy lyrics or the fact that they are emulating one of the uglier part of the metal family tree, glam metal. They are sickening because they are a one trick pony, and they seem perfectly fine with it. I would not be bothered with that if that trick was not... this.

So for those of you who don't know Steel Panther (you lucky ignorant fools), they are an American glam rock band that brings you back to the happy 80's, where fluffy hair do's and neon bright clothing was highly popular, being the perfect chick magnet and the ultimate thrash metal fan repeller. They do some modernizing with the sound, but it still sounds like it would fit nicely in with bands like Poison, Ratt, Quiet Riot, and Twisted Sister. It is nostalgia to the max.

However, the band has another gimmick that takes all of this one humongous step further because this band is all about partying, drugs, alcohol, and most importantly, sex. Not too much unlike any other metal band at that era you might say, but trust me, no other band is as filthy as Steel Panther. In this, their fifth album that is entitled "Lower The Bar", they sing about all kinds of meaningful subjects, like taking the "other" entry, getting blow jobs, taking a shameful walk, and a kind of boomerang that I am pretty sure that the Aborigines never have heard of.

Once again, I do not mind the band singing about this, the problem is instead the way they present the lyrics, and how they deliver them. Their deliverance is below the belt, ALL THE TIME, no break what so ever, and it is often so obvious that it is more cringe than fun. The comedy here is just dumb, there is nothing smart or witty about it. Straight on below the belt comedy can be funny too, but I prefer it when it is in small doses.

Take a band like Motörhead for example, who does this with more finesse and wittiness. You often do not really know that they are singing about sex until you really focus on the lyrics, which makes it way more funnier when you know there is some thought behind it. The same can be said in the cover art for "Sacrifice", where they perfectly hid a genital somewhere in there, just as a fun side gag. Now, this might be unfair to compare the two bands, since Steel Panther is all about this image both on and off the stage, but their humour wears off on me really quickly, which is direct suicide for an album that is trying to get my approval.

And it is such a shame, because the band does have talent all across the board, but since it seems like they are not taking themselves seriously, I cannot them seriously. Guitarist Russ "Satchel" Parrish lays down some great licks and solos, while Ralph Saenz performs some great vocals (when you ignore the lyrics obviously). The biggest strength of the band though is that they nail the 80's vibe perfectly. This album feels like it was ripped straight from the 80's, and that we are waiting for their call, asking us to bring it back. It just sucks that it is diminished by their outrageous image.

I have given Steel Panther a good number of chances to show that they are more than just a filthy one trick pony, but they have disappointed me enough times now to make me realize one simple fact, that I will never understand, or even like, this band. They got their share of fans, which is good for them, but they will always be a band that you either love or hate, and it all comes down to the lyrics. As for "Lower The Bar", it is just another album with dumb subjects in a perfectly fine glam metal sound, and I guess the album title do make some kind of sense, because they did actually lower the bar when comparing to previous efforts (which is not really saying all too much). So if you have, for some reason, enjoyed the band in the past, this will be up your alley, but for me, there is only one reasonable thing I can do with this record, flush it down the toilet.

Songs (barely) worthy of recognition: Goin' In The Backdoor, Wrong Side of The Tracks (Out In Beverly Hills)

Rating: 2/10 Poontang Boomerangs

steelpantherrocks.com/
twitter.com/Steel_Panther/

Friday, June 16, 2017

Motörhead - Overnight Sensation (1996)

Take a good look at that boring cover art, what does it tell you? Besides from the obvious parts, that it is boring, unimaginative, colorless, and boring, there is something, or rather someone, missing. You guessed it, we are missing the beloved mascot Snaggletooth, who for the first and only time is not in a Motörhead album cover (and for those who say that he is not present on "Ace of Spades", look closer please). While all of the band members tries to evoke the same furious attitude that the untamed beast possesses, Phil, Mikkey, and Lemmy (minus the mutton chops) just are not good enough replacements.

Fortunately, these guys do not work as models, their job is delivering some kick ass heavy metal, and "Overnight Sensation" is not much different from any other Motörhead album. The only real difference is that the band at this point in time has reverted back to a three piece band, after Würzel left between this album and "Sacrifice", so they did not replace him, and just went on with it like this until the very end. To be honest, I do not notice any major difference, but that could be because the band is still as even as always, that one less cog does not stop the machinery from rolling on.

The sound does sound a little heavier than usual though, displaying some really tough songs here and there. Starting with "Civil War", this song sets the tone instantly with its loud drums and ultra heavy guitar riffs, showing that these guys are not getting softer with age. And it is not the only really heavy song in here, it is in good company with "Shake The World", "Eat The Gun", and especially the excellent "Them Not Me", a song that blends both speed and heaviness with great success, but thanks to Lemmy's characteristic vocals, it sounds like he is singing "Enemy" instead of "Them Not Me", which ultimately sounded kind of weird, but still cool in some odd way.

Don't fear though old time Motörhead fans, this song still contains a good amount of classic Motörhead, with both speed and catchy choruses, just like it should be. "Crazy Like A Fox" is standard stuff all around, it is just a groovy ass song with a kick ass chorus, and a really nice delivery. Oh, and it does have a harmonica solo too! "Broken" is another one that has more of the classic sound in it, a nice rhythmic song that is easy to like, and so is "Murder Show" with its groovy groove.

"Overnight Sensation" is certainly not an overnight sensation, it is a really stable album that may be a little bit heavier than the average Motörhead record. It got a good pack of enjoyable songs, and the performance is nice as well, but we are reaching the point in our discography review series in which we almost expect these sort of things from the band. This is nothing new, it is quality work that does not really add anything different to the legacy. So at the end of the day, I am a little split, because this is a good album, but it might be one that I will not remember further down the road. Oh well, it does its job, and it does it real good, it is the least you can expect.

Songs worthy of recognition: Crazy Like A Fox, Broken, Them Not Me

Rating: 7/10 Murder Shows

imotorhead.com/
twitter.com/myMotorhead

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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Tankard - One Foot In The Grave (2017)

There are a lot of likenesses between the American big 4 of thrash, and the German big 4 of teutonic thrash, because even if the sounds are fairly different, we still got 4 different personalities within each group. We got the famous group that steals most of the headlines (Metallica and Kreator), the underdog that always works in the shadow of the headliner (Megadeth and Destruction), the heavier alternative that has a core audience of their own (Slayer and Sodom), and then we have the oddball of the groups, the one that you cannot really take seriously, but still love them no matter what. The Americans have Anthrax, and the Germans have the drunken maniacs known as Tankard.

Say what you want about Tankard, but you cannot deny that they are pretty persistent, thrashing and drinking their way in over 30 years without losing a beat. The quality these guys put out may not be as prolific as in the hey days, but it is still of great quality, and their 17th record is no different, even if the title "One Foot In The Grave" would suggest that they are almost at the end of their rope.

Listening to the title track, it is from a different perspective the band sees it from instead. Yes, they realize that they are not any young bucks anymore, but just because they have reached a certain age, they will still rock out, drink beer, and head bang, with or without any pension or leather diapers (eww...). It is classic Tankard humour at its finest, and while they are not singing a hell of a lot about beer and partying in this record, it still got that gleam in the eye that melts your heart.

I do have to admit though that the Germans are taking on a bit more serious issues in this record, which is not something new per se, but it still feels pretty off. Take "Arena of The True Lies" for example, a fairly laid back track with some neat riffs and interesting flow, talking about how we are more and more engulfed in the internet and its skewed media view. I like it better in the opening track "Pay To Pray", a song about religious cults stealing your wealth, but unlike "Arena...", it delivers a more direct punch and some catchy lyrics (and a nice build up at the beginning as well).

And the band is at their best when they are turning up the speed, heading in head first into the battle. I just love the title "Don't Bullshit Us!", and it delivers what you would expect, a mauler that does not take shit from anyone. "The Evil That Men Display" and the previously mentioned "Pay To Pray" are two other great fast pieces that certainly spices up the album well, and the final song "Sole Grinder" has its great speedy moments too, however I feel like the silence and the... bar chanting(?) at the end takes away a lot from the song, and gives the album a weird ending.

And even if the classic stuff is the ones that works the best, I still hear a lot of interesting new stuff in this album, Tankard is certainly not sitting on their asses and relying on their well used techniques. Guitarist Andy Gutjahr is trying more epic melodies in several places in this record, especially in "Secret Order 1516", a personal favourite of mine that just feels right, with its neat premise, cool instrumentation, and harmonizing chorus. A sure stand out that shows that Tankard is still evolving, even if it is not in a revolutionary way.

Ultimately, "One Foot In The Grave" is Tankard to the core, it is a fun thrash experience that goes perfect together with some friends, and a lot of beer. While this album may not be the most intoxicating one during the German's massive career, it definitely serves its purpose, holding a quality that is quite astonishing considering how old these guys really are. They may be close towards being buried, but be sure that they will keep on rocking and drinking until Death himself knocks on the door, telling that it was the salmon mousse that killed them.

Songs worthy of recognition: Don't Bullshit Us!, Pay To Pray, One Foot In The Grave, Secret Order 1516

Rating: 8/10 Sole Grinders

www.tankard.info/
twitter.com/tankardofficial

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Motörhead - Sacrifice (1995)

We are on the 12th album in the Motörhead discography review series, and so far I have felt that it has been fairly easy to classify albums into a specific mood, or a certain personality trait that just makes sense. "Sacrifice" however, is a different story. It is not that this album lacks personality, it is just that it confuses me of what that personality really is. My best guess (judging by the cover), is that it is an album that reeks death over any nation, collecting souls while blazing fast, heavy, and loud metal as the sound of the apocalypse... while also doing some oral necrophilia (WITH THAT MAGNIFICENT TONGUE!).

There really is only one thing we need to know about "Sacrifice" though, and that is if it sounds like a Motörhead album, which not surprisingly, it does. It is actually more of the older Motörhead, the more care free and less serious band that we got to know in the beginning. You will not find any emotional ballads here, only good old fashioned fun, which means sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, something that is perfectly displayed in the 2 minute song "Sex & Death", which the band apparently just threw together in a short time at the end of recording.

"Sacrifice" was a little hard to truly take to my heart in the beginning though, for various reasons, one being that I think the songs just does not stick with me all that easily. The album certainly has a good pack of songs, and the opening title track is a stellar song with some fantastic instrumentation (especially Mikkey Dee's drumming is mesmerizing), but they just did not stick with me for very long. They were fine and all, but left me with little impressions. Another problem I have with this record is that it is so short, only 36 minutes long, despite containing 11 songs. It really flies by if you are not paying attention, and is over before you know it.

It does give me more chances to listen to it though, and after a while, it did grow on me, even if it did not become a giant or so. And as stated before, there are some neat little songs in here that does not go to history as some of the finest Motörhead songs, but they do their job really well. They help making "Sacrifice" a really smooth experience all the way through, either with some fine tuned groove ("Over Your Shoulder" and "All Gone To Hell"), some good old 50's swing ("Don't Waste Your Time"), or pure brute force ("War For War" and "Order/Fade To Black"). And while the lyrics do not leave all too many impressions, there is still some laughs to be had as always, like in "Dog-Face Boy", a song about Phil Cambpell (wonder if he knows that...).

I ultimately think that it is the instrumentation in "Sacrifice" that deserves the most credit, another example on that the band has stepped up their game since the arrival of Dee. Some riffs in here are just extremely memorable, like in "Over Your Shoulder" and "All Gone To Hell", driving the songs just the right way to make them better, a good effort from both Campbell and Würzel (who makes his last appearance). Mikkey himself does another great performance as well, pummeling on in his own pace.

So in the end, while "Sacrifice" was kind of hard to get into from the start, I eventually budged to its pressure and felt its heavy glory all over me. It is still too short and it is missing a true stand out song, but the collection of good reliable songs more than make up for it. Basically, this is a Motörhead album. It is even, fast, loud, heavy, and witty, just the way you would want it.

Songs worthy of recognition: Sacrifice, Over Your Shoulder, Dog-Face Boy

Rating: 7/10 Orders

imotorhead.com/
twitter.com/myMotorhead

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March Ör Die
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