CD Review: Motorhead – Bad Magic

CD Review: Motorhead – Bad Magic
All Access Rating: A-

Motorhead - Bad Magic 2015
Soldiering on despite increasingly alarming health issues, Lemmy Kilmister leads Motorhead on another balls-to-the-wall, rock 'n' roll escapade, this one called Bad Magic. Keenly aware of his own mortality, Lemmy – with a little help from his friends  – seems intent on going out in a blaze of glory, releasing one fireball of an album after another.

The formula doesn't change. Taking pride in being gritty, fast and ugly, as they always have, Motorhead again goes straight for the throat, and on the UDR release Bad Magic, Lemmy and cohorts Phil Campbell (guitars) and Mikkey Dee (drums) are addicted to the speed of blazing anthems "Victory or Die," "Thunder & Lightning" and "Electricity." It's as if they feel the Grim Reaper hot on their heels, as they race through a more melodic "Evil Eye" and blacken the earth with a scorching "Teach Them How to Bleed," hardly ever stopping to catch their breath.

While the deteriorating effects of age are creeping into his vocals, Lemmy's vile snarl is still vicious and mean, free of any studio or computerized enhancements that might add a synthetic and dishonest youthfulness that would send any Motorhead follower worth his salt into a disillusioned rage. Focus instead on the dogged grooves and hooks of "Fire Storm Hotel" and "Shoot Out All of Your Light" –the latter a powerful squall of dizzying guitars – and get blown away by the big, high-impact chorus and churning riffs of "The Devil." To top it all off, Motorhead brings their leaner cover of The Rolling Stones' "Sympathy For the Devil" back to the street, a rather faithful version that's even tougher than the original. Aside from a fairly standard and lugubrious, if still smoldering, ballad in "Till The End, there's nary a misstep on Bad Magic, where Campbell's solos and leads are absolutely searing and Dee's beat factory working furiously to keep up with orders. Sticking to what works with determination and editing out the fat, Motorhead still has that old black magic.
– Peter Lindblad

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