Released: 2004, Steamhammer/SPV/Playground Music
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
For those who don’t know who the legendary Motörhead are, I strongly suggest a trip to your local record store to purchase some albums from these metal icons. For all of you out there who know these gentlemen, I’m sure now further introduction is needed, so lets go.
INFERNO is Motörhead’s first studio album since HAMMERED (2002). In between these studio albums they released a compilation by the name of HELLRAISER: BEST OF THE EPIC YEARS and a live album called 25 & ALIVE: LIVE AT BRIXTON ACADEMY. The live album was taken from a show in 2000, when Motörhead celebrated 25 years in the business. Both albums came out last year. Now comes the release of their long awaited new studio album called INFERNO.
There have been no changes to the line up, which has been steady for a long time now. However, Steve Vai does make a guest appearance by taking care of lead guitar duties on “The Terminal Show” and adding a guitar solo on “Down On Me.”
The music on INFERNO is hard rock with heavy guitar by Phil Campbell, fast and hard-hitting drumming by Sweden’s Mickey Dee and Lemmy’s characteristic bass play and whiskey-tinged voice. Musically there are no changes and as usual they explore a bluesy and punkish brand of rock ’n roll, as well as heavy rock ’n roll.
I’ve probably said before that Motörhead’s albums have had some ups and downs and that’s possibly ‘cause they’ve always been very productive and released one record a year. Now that they’ve taken more time to create this album, the quality is so much better. I think it was a smart move to wait awhile ‘cause now the standard on all songs is high, something that’s very rare on recent Motörhead albums.
INFERNO contains twelve tracks, with all of the three guys contributing lyrics and music. It was recorded in NRG, Paramount and Maple Studios and mixed in Paramount Studios. Cameron Webb both produced and engineered it and he and the band have done an incredible job with the production and soundscapes.
This masterpiece kicks off with “Terminal Show” and from the very beginning it’s straight-in-your-face Motörhead all the way through. It’s a stunning opener that shows Motörhead is not ready to be counted out, while forcing one to surrender and kneel in front of these legends. Steve Vai pulls off an excellent guitar solo at the end of the song. “Killers”, “In The Name Of Tragedy”, “Suicide”, “Down On Me” and “In The Black” are all typical Motörhead songs with Lemmy at the top of the mix. Mikkey gets the chance to show off that he’s both fast and very technical on drums and Phil also get some space to shine on guitar. “Life’s A Bitch”, “In The Year Of The Wolf” and “Keys To The Kingdom” are bluesy hard rock tracks, which Motörhead normally have a few of on every album. Lemmy seems to be very fond of blues music. On “Fight” and “Smiling Like A Killer” the tempo rises and you can sense some undertones of punk. Mikkey plays really technical and there are a lot of tempo changes. The album closes with a real blues track called“Whorehouse Blues” that’s totally acoustic and without Mikkey. Lemmy plays harmonica and acoustic guitar along with Phil and, even though it’s a surprise ending, it’s a nice finish to a brilliant album.
Motörhead don’t create anything new with INFERNO but it doesn’t matter, ‘cause it’s Motörhead. They deliver a very vital and energetic album with not a single bad track to be found. I have nothing to complain about and I’m sure that fans of Motörhead are going to greet this album with open arms.
Now it’s on to touring and more touring for Motörhead, as they’ve already done some festival shows in Europe this summer. In the winter they’re going to do a headlining tour with label mates Sepultura as special guests.