In these uncertain times, thank goodness for reassuring constants: mom’s home-cooked meals warming the belly, the Red Sox not winning a World Series… and Motorhead frying eardrums.
Like the Ramones, Motorhead does one thing, and does it extremely well, again and again (in this case, a take-no-prisoners amalgamation of speed/punk/metal). Forget reinventing the wheel, Motorhead just wants to ride the sucker fast ’til it crumbles into dust. And Hammered does the job nicely. Indeed, there’s something downright life-affirming about 56-year-old “Lemmy” Kilmister, Motorhead bassist and founder, rocking out as loud as a midnight missile attack.
Hammered continues the 25-year-old group’s tradition in admirable style. All the trademarks are here, most notably Lemmy’s thundering bass and gnarled croak of a voice juiced along by Phil Campbell’s thick humbucker tones peppered with wah and flanged solos. Standout tracks include “Voices from the War,” Lemmy’s thoughtful rumination on the fate of history’s dead soldiers; “Shut Your Mouth,” which cribs from the band’s classic “(We Are) The Road Crew” while managing to pummel with just as much intensity; and “Red Raw,” which ups the m.p.h. rating to the delight of all speed metal heads. The highlight, meanwhile, might just be the boogie-fried “Dr. Love,” which indicates repeated listening to mid-’70s ZZ Top.
Conclusion: Hammered is mandatory on-the-job listening for all 18-wheel truck drivers. It’s further proof that on the Mount Rushmore of Heavy Music, Lemmy’s beautiful mug shines bright as ever.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s July ’02 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.