Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Bad Magic

To the end, Motörhead was Motörhead and Lemmy was Lemmy.

Released in August 2015, Bad Magic proved to be the final album of  Motörhead. By the end of the year, Lemmy Kilmister, the group's incomparable and legendary frontman, died, ending the band's 40-year run of hard-rocking and aggressive heavy metal.

Health problems plagued Lemmy in his final years, and perhaps his own mortality was on his mind as he penned such songs as "Victory or Die," "Till the End," and "When the Sky Comes Looking for You." Even as he stares death in the face, Lemmy exhibited no regrets and no remorse about who he is.

"In my life, the times have changed. 
I'm still the man I was.
I don't want to hear your fairy tales.
All I know is who I am. 
I'll never let you down,
The last one you can trust until the end, 
Until the end.

The choice to cover the Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil" might seems like an odd choice to include on the album, but the eternal rebellious and bad boy spirit of the track could just as well as describe Lemmy. Plus, Lemmy always insisted Motörhead was a rock n roll band, and he appreciated the greats of the genre, including the likes of Stones, the Beatles, and Little Richard. Interestingly, Lemmy forgoes his trademark raspy croak and actually sings on it.

Elsewhere, Bad Magic is what we'd expect from a latter-day Motörhead album: loud, brash, heavy, fast, and catchy. Even as he winds down, Lemmy retains his no-frills, tough-guy persona and remains defiant against the world, singing songs with such titles as "Teach Them How to Bleed," "Tell Me Who to Kill," and "Choking on Your Screams." Motörhead wants no pity and shows no mercy.

"Tell the world a good word, catch me if you can
Better face it all now, show 'em what you need.
Let 'em come. Let 'em come.
Teach them how to bleed."

Vocally, Lemmy sounds tired. Not enough to scuttle the music, but it's noticeable and forgivable. Fortunately, guitarist Phil Campbell and drummer Mikkey Dee, not mention his own bass playing, pick him up; they still play loud and fast. The production is smooth and crisp, and the songs follow the expected three chords and rocking approach. The album doesn't overstay its welcome.

Bad Magic is a fine album, as found of a farewell as we can expect from the iconic group. Even as they pass into the sunset, Motörhead still sounds like Motörhead and as strong as ever.

Standout Songs
"Teach Them How to Bleed" - Just a bad ass fight song.
"Till the End" - Motörhead slows down, but it's a poignant number.
"Tell Me Who to Kill" - See what I said about "Teach Them How to Bleed."
"Sympathy For the Devil" - A classic Stones number sounds cool as a metal track.

Favorite Moment
The chorus of "Till the End." It's defiant and sad, heavy but tender in its own way.

Album Cover
The band and album name in white letters stenciled across a black background around the Snaggletooth logo. No frills and direct, like the band itself.

Track Order
1) Victory or Die
2) Thunder and Lightning
3) Fire Storm Hotel
4) Shoot Out All Your Lights
5) The Devil
6) Electricity
7) Evil Eye
8) Teach Them How to Bleed
9) Till the End
10) Tell Me Who to Kill
11) Choking on Your Screams
12) When the Sky Comes Looking for You
13) Sympathy for the Devil

Personnel
Lemmy Kilmister - Vocals and Bass
Phil Campbell - Guitar
Mikkey Dee - Drums

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