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For all his grizzled, warty countenance and poster-boy-for-the-speed-counter-culture lifestyle, Lemmy Kilmister’s greatest asset has always been his witty, wry wordplay, and on Aftershock he’s kicking against the pricks in rude form.

Essentially a heavy blues album, Aftershock plays to every strength in the ‘Head arsenal, from Mikkey D and Lemmy’s impossibly tight grooves, the heavy metal pounding that owes as much to punk as it does to the late ‘60s wave of garage and heavy rock bands, and all underpinned with the swing and hooks of Lemmy’s beloved Beatles and ‘50s/’60s pop’n’roll.

This is the key to the extraordinary success of a band who, on the face of it, are a belligerent old school heavy metal band: there’s always more going on under the dermis, layers of melody and power that precious few bands can achieve, let alone a three-piece.

The band career down the tracks like a runaway train on End Of Time, and play their purest blues since one-album-only guitarist Brian Robertson forced them to do Hoochie Coochie Man in ’84. Elsewhere they revisit the Overkill era with the belligerent Death Machine, Lemmy has a near-croon on the Metropolis-like ‘Head-ballad Dust & Glass, and with six of the 14 tracks under the three-minute mark, you’ll walk away feeling punchy, ears ringing.

Without a doubt, Aftershock is a mighty beast that may well be the best Motorhead album since the 22 year-old 1916..

Rating: 4 stars


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