If you look in a dictionary next to the word “badass,” you’ll see a picture of the legendary Lemmy Kilmister with a shit-eating grin on his face and a bottle of whiskey in his hand. Motorhead is a band that needs absolutely zero introduction in the metal world. As they’ve been slaying thrash music for 40 years and do it in a way that no other band ever has. Whether it be Lemmy’s battle with his health struggles or the many other problems the band has faced, it’s never slowed them down. Kilmister stared death in the face, laughed and proved that the metal gods still have a need for him on earth. With their 22nd studio album, Bad Magic, we see Motorhead at their best. With a massive flashback sound to their first few albums, boasting some of the best guitar work I’ve ever been privy to, some of Kilmister’s best bass lines and, overall, some of the most cohesive music they’ve ever collectively written.
As “Victory Or Die” comes in and we’re met with Lemmy’s unforgettable vocals, along with Phil Campbell’s insane fret work, we’re immediately treated to a re-energized, youthful version of the 30-year veterans of the metal scene. Motorhead has never been one to take “no” for an answer and they’ve always strived to be the best in everything they do. Whether it be some of the most kind, professional human beings you’ve ever met, charity work or their undeniable prowess as the gods of thrash metal… no one has been able to do it quite as correct or as well as Motorhead. Reflection is the theme in “Thunder & Lightning” as Lemmy tells the tale of the band’s rise to power. You won’t be able to get the main riff from this track out of your head, it’s insanely catchy and Campbell’s solo work in between it all make it perfect. Of course, the center stage always seems to focus on Lemmy’s prowess as a master of the bass. They refuse to drop the 80’s thrash sound and you should love them for it because, for a band who has attempted to keep the same sound throughout the years… they’ve done it beautifully. Never have I been in love with a thrash band more than Motorhead because of this. Of course, what would be the use of a metal album without the mention of the occult, right? Well, Motorhead always has you covered and in spades on that front. For this album, you’ve got the aptly titled track “The Devil.” This album channels the fires of hell and sends them into your ears, telling of temptations of sin and how the devil has your number, each time you think about sinning. It’s definitely a track that grabs you by the throat and is unrelentless from start to finish. What was insanely surprising to me was the ballad-like nature of “Till The End.” This track is easily the slowest, most emotional track I’ve ever heard from the band and shows an entirely different side of Motorhead altogether.
There aren’t a whole lot of surprises on this album, save for the fact that there’s a ballad-like track that will pull on your heart strings. There is a cover of The Rolling Stones classic “Sympathy For the Devil,” which is incredibly well orchestrated, though and falls at the very end of the album, closing it out. They take this track and keep it true to the original but mold it, bend it and shape it to make it their own. I couldn’t imagine a band being able to cover this track, do it this well and make it as successful as it’s likely to be. I’m sure Mick Jagger and his gang have heard it and are incredibly proud of the guys in Motorhead for it. It even brings us out with one of the most insane/intricate solos we’ve heard from Campbell in years!
While there’s nothing groundbreaking about this album, that’s not what Motorhead is known for. What they’re known for is bringing you British thrash metal to you in a way that no other band can. If you’ve ever been a fan of Motorhead, you’ve got to check this album out. It’s youthful, it’s energetic and it definitely shows that, 40 years later, they refuse to slow down or let up even an inch. I would even go so far as to say that this album is the pinnacle of their career! Save for “Till the End,” this album pummels you into submission from start to finish! Pick up your copy of Bad Magic today and allow Motorhead to cast their metal voodoo on you for the 22nd time!