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Album Review: Motorhead – ‘Iron Fist (40th Anniversary)’

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Review by Paul Monkhouse for MPM

Following the solid gold run of ‘Overkill’, ‘Bomber’, ‘Ace of Spades’ and ‘No Sleep ‘til Hammersmith’, ‘Iron Fist’ had a lot to live up to.

Seen as a disappointment at the time and subsequently slated by the band, it was the last album to be recorded by the classic line-up, ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke having left the band shortly after its release and marked the close of that particular chapter. With this

40th anniversary deluxe edition giving the perfect opportunity to reassess the album we can once again dive into the world of one of the dirtiest rock ‘n’ roll bands that ever existed.

A lot of the blame for the dissatisfaction at the time was aimed at the production, Clarke having taken the seat from long term collaborator Vic Maille for this outing. Whilst this initial release was certainly a little
slicker sounding than previously albums, you can’t hide that raw edge that the trio had and their punky spirit is never far from the surface.

It looked like business as usual on the titular opening track, ‘Iron Fist’ a roar of speed soaked riffs pushed on by the blitz of bass and drums as Lemmy’s Jack Daniels ravaged voice starts growling the lyrics. Listening back, four decades on, even with the levels of brutality that some of the more modern bands have achieved, you can’t help but be thrilled by the raw, untamed power of the band and as tracks like ‘I’m the Doctor’ and ‘Go to Hell’ assault your eardrums it’s incredible to think just how visceral their effect was then.

Even when Motorhead eased off the gas with the comparatively more traditional hard rock sound of ‘America’, one of the album highlights, there’s still a naked urgency and Lemmy’s lyrics nail the atmosphere every time.

Whilst all this musical blitzkrieg is going on, it’s always seemed that Mr Kilminster’s wordsmithery has been much underrated and whilst his prose may not reach the poetic heights of Marillion’s former frontman Fish, there’s still a huge amount of craft and class here. Sure, you may have the balls-out raucous anthem of Speedfreak but tracks like (Don’t Need) Religion and the defiant (Don’t Let ‘Em) Grind You Down speak to the heart rather than just the body-shaking good times.

Overall, ‘Iron Fist’ is a great, full pelt release from the London based legends and the extras make it an even more vital purchase. Along with alternative takes, demos and different songs (including their take on
‘Peter Gunn’, the main riff stolen elsewhere for ‘…Religion’) on the second disc, a three CD set is available that adds a truly wild live recording from Glasgow Apollo on their 1982 tour that captures their blistering,
teeth-rattling and deafening shows perfectly. 

Whether you go for the two or three disc set, what you’re getting is pure metal madness from the masters. Motorhead will always be Rock ‘n’ Roll and no-one did it better.

LP AND CD TRACKLISTING

Original Iron Fist album
Iron Fist
Heart of Stone
I’m the Doctor
Go to Hell
Loser
Sex and Outrage
America
Shut It Down
Speedfreak
(Don’t Need) Religion
Bang to Rights

Jackson’s Studio Demos October 1981
Remember Me, I’m Gone
The Doctor
Young & Crazy
Loser
Iron Fist
Go To Hell

CD & Digital Bonus Tracks
Lemmy Goes to the Pub
Some Old Song, I’m Gone
(Don’t Let ‘Em) Grind Ya Down (Alternate Version)
Shut It Down
Sponge Cake (Instrumental)
Ripsaw Teardown (Instrumental)
Peter Gunn (Instrumental)

Live at Glasgow Apollo 18/3/82
(Previously unreleased)
Iron Fist
Heart of Stone
Shoot You In The Back
The Hammer
Loser
Jailbait
America
White Line
(Don’t Need) Religion
Go to Hell
Capricorn
(Don’t Let ‘Em) Grind Ya Down
(We Are The) Road Crew
Ace of Spades
Bite The Bullet
The Chase Is Better Than the Catch
Overkill
Bomber
Motörhead

WATCH A NEW VIDEO FOR A PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED, DEMO VERSION OF ‘IRON FIST’ PLUS PREORDERS & EXCLUSIVE MERCH BUNDLES HERE – https://motorhead.lnk.to/ironfist40thPR

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