There are three things in life you can be sure of: death, taxes, and Motörhead. With a documentary, Lemmy: 49% Motherf**ker, 51% Son Of A Bitch, burning holes in the screen, and a punishing new album shredding speakers across the globe, the devil’s favorite band is having quite a year, unbelievably, their 35th in existence.
The Wörld is Yours roars out of the garage with Born to Lose, as classic a Motörhead trope as speed, sex, and death (preferably from too much speed and sex). Drummer Mikkey Dee’s pummeling double bass footwork underscores Lemmy’s proletariat philosophical musings: Right now / right here / lose your mind / but show no fear / Burn slow / no excuse / so unkind / born to lose. How the band waited 20 albums and 35 years to write a song called Born to Lose is an utter mystery.
Road testing this album, I kept reaching for the volume knob, turning it up by turns through I Know How to Die, Get Back in Line, and Devils in My Head until the drivers of cars I started passing on the freeway were looking kind of scared.
Motörhead has never been a “message” band, but if they ever had a point, it is this: everything eventually fails you except, well, Motörhead. Get Back in Line, especially, showcases just what the band does better than just about anyone else standing: an unrelenting riff, a hypersonic beat, and a bass player that’s big, pissed off, and wired out of his warty skull equals rock.
The trio does not slow down until the fifth track in, Rock ’n’ Roll Music. For any other band, this would be a highlight and probably the hardest song on the album. That’s Motörhead’s curse, they set the bar pretty high—high enough that a boilerplate boogie about rock, just doesn’t make the cut. Maybe Kilmister, et al., are still aiming at illusive, non-existent radio play, a strategy that dogged their 1992’s outing, March or Die. I don’t come to this table, however, looking for subtlety.
No worries though, the boys come slamming back with the next track, Waiting for the Snake, which paints (what else?) a fatalistic picture of the state of modern society.
The album takes an even darker turn with Brotherhood of Man. There’s no way to describe this song other than: Heavy as Fuck. When Lemmy grunts, Now your time has come / a storm of iron in the sky / War and murder come again / lucky if you die, you damn well get off your ass and lock the front door.
Bye Bye Bitch Bye Bye is prototypical Motörhead, and just about the most perfect album closer I can imagine. Philip Campbell, guitarist since 1986’s Orgasmatron (and, Christ, did that really come out a quarter-of-a-century ago?), lets loose with everything he has left, leaving your speakers smoking, and your ears ringing. The way God, or Lemmy, intended.