Motörhead have been one of the most energy inducing acts in heavy metal since their inception over forty years ago. However, the years have taken their toll on Motörhead leader Lemmy Kilmister. From cancelled shows to singing the wrong words to some three+ decade old songs, Lemmy’s health has been greatly in question. Have you seen the video recently from Austin, Texas where he had to leave about three and a bit songs in, and he sounded just terribly ill when he addressed the crowd. It was painful to watch. Still Motörhead continue to put out new albums, and we all expect Motörhead to be completely bringing it on their recently released album Bad Magic.
Well, you can certainly say Motörhead brought some more fast paced and rowdy heavy metal. More of the same if you listen to any other Motörhead released, especially of the last couple of decades or so, so that’s really nothing new. Lemmy’s singing on the other hand doesn’t cut it for much of Bad Magic. I hear it right away when he yells the opening words to the opening track Victory or Die, he already sounds out of breath.
Mind you there are songs on Bad Magic where the fatigue in Lemmy’s voice doesn’t take away from some good high energy performances, like Thunder & Lightning and I must say Mickey Dee’s drum performance on Shoot Out All of Your Lights is one of his best performances since his earliest days with Motörhead. The dark and angry The Devil is a standout track thanks to its raw evil attitude. I also enjoy the darkness of Evil Eye. The low evil sound makes for a good substitute for Lemmy’s voice which also helps Choking On Your Screams not suck. However, I can’t help but find Fire Storm Hotel, Electricity and Tell Me Who To Kill to be two very generic tracks with good energy, but not much else. I should note that Lemmy’s voice doesn’t actually sound too bad in most of these songs, which is a bright side.
There are times I’ll admit when Lemmy doesn’t sound bad, like even though I find Tell Me Who To Kill to be generic, his voice doesn’t sound too bad. I can’t say much bad about the sound of Bad Magic‘s ballad Till The End. Motörhead have a handful of ballads, some good some not bad. Till The End falls under the not bad category. Lemmy’s put more effort in to past ballads, but I do hear a passion in his vocal delivery. I think the song would have sounded much better as recent as five years ago, but it’s still a standout track. Teach Them How To Bleed and the surprisingly upbeat When The Sky Comes Looking For You are two songs that would have also been much better as recent as five years ago, but the fatigue is just to evident and takes away too much energy.
I’m a huge Motörhead faithful, so I try to look at the bright side of this. But the more I think about it, the more I think this should be the end. They aren’t even the same Motörhead who released Aftershock (read my review of that here) a couple of years ago, even though I feel I went to easy on reviewing that album. Oh how I so desperately want them to prove me wrong though. Bad Magic falls under the worst of Motörhead twenty+ albums. The fact that they end it with a cover of one of my least favourite songs of all time, The Rolling Stones classic (I cringe at calling it that) Sympathy For The Devil doesn’t help my opinion. I mean hearing Lemmy attempt that song is interesting, and I suppose it’s a bit of an improvement on the track, though it stays quite true to the original, it’s inclusion doesn’t help my opinion.
Motörhead will continue to go out and try to rumble stages all over the world. I don’t think they should, but you’ve gotta admire Lemmy‘s dedication to play until it kills him. Unlike many of Motörhead’s past albums, which aren’t just fast paced heavy metal songs but rather have songs of substance, like the classics Overkill and Bomber to later albums like March ör Die or Bastards, and even Aftershock to an extent, Bad Magic is too much of the same for the band, with above mentioned factors making it a little bit less than that. Motörhead faithfuls should definitely get Bad Magic, I mean I spoke to one about it and he said he loves it, though I don’t see what there is to love, but for people who have for whatever reason never listened to the band, please do not start here. And if you haven’t seen them live, I recommend you do now because I don’t know how much longer they will be playing, and from what it seems, they still put on a high energy show.
“Shoot Out All Of Your Lights” – The music is the most killer on the album. You hear Mickey Dee and Phil Campbell bringing it as hard as they ever have, and Lemmy valiantly trying to keep up. It shows how Bad Magic can rock, and it shows some strong points and some of the weak points in Lemmy’s vocals.
6.5 (Out of 10)
|1.||“Victory or Die”||3:09|
|2.||“Thunder & Lightning”||3:06|
|3.||“Fire Storm Hotel”||3:35|
|4.||“Shoot Out All of Your Lights”||3:15|
|8.||“Teach Them How to Bleed”||3:13|
|9.||“Till the End”||4:05|
|10.||“Tell Me Who to Kill”||2:57|
|11.||“Choking on Your Screams”||3:33|
|12.||“When the Sky Comes Looking for You”||2:58|
|13.||“Sympathy for the Devil”||5:35|