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Motörhead – ‘The Lost Tapes – The Collection Volumes 1-5’

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Review by Paul Monkhouse for MPM

Without doubt, Motörhead were road dogs, their constant touring legendary and it seemed like from their inception in 1975 until the sad passing of rock god Lemmy in 2015 that they were always somewhere in the globe, laying waste to another town or city.

When the three-piece wrecking crew first emerged, jaunts around the UK would span over a month and so it continued, the band’s ferocious reputation as one of the best live bands out there won over countless hours up and down the highways and byways. As such, the vaults must be full of recordings from these shows, the seminal ‘No Sleep ’til Hammersmith’ being the first of sixteen live albums recorded over their monstrously long thirty tour history.

Digging into the archives, ‘The Lost Tapes – The Collection Volumes 1-5’ brings to life five recordings from shows ranging from 1984 right up to 2008, the band exposed in the full and filthy glory. Whilst nothing could quite match the eardrum bursting, retina scorching experience of seeing the band live, this selection has enough ragged charm and energy to light up small cities before tearing them apart, piece by bloodied piece. Central to everything, Lemmy’s unmistakable growl and bass playing as he turns his Rickenbacker into a rhythm guitar, is the very epitome of high voltage rock ‘n’ roll, the man exuding both charisma and threat at the same time. Fiercely intelligent, the lifestyle he so enjoyed balanced hedonism and razor-sharp lyrics, all wrapped up in the most glorious noise any outfit could ever produce.

On the earliest recording, from Heilbronn’s ‘Christmas Metal Meeting’ in late ’84, Mr Kilmister saw the line-up completed by former Saxon drummer Pete Gill and guitarists Phil Campbell and Wűrzel, the four-piece on molten form. ‘Iron Fist’, ‘Stay Clean’ and ‘Heart of Stone’ come in on a tsunami of sound, the twin guitars adding bite and harmony to the snarling beast and favourites like ‘Killed By Death’ and ‘Steal Your Face’ boil with a lacerating power that threatens to reduce the speakers to matchwood.

Fast forwarding eleven years, Wűrzel had left the band in the intervening time and former King Diamond drummer Mikkey Dee had replaced Gill at the rear of the stage. The Motörhead we see here at this show at Madrid’s Sala Aqualung are tougher, leaner and meaner than ever, the guitar a little more feral and Dee’s drumming elevating the whole thing to another level as he blitzkriegs his kit with the most violent yet precise barrage. A double album, this captures every last note and against expectations, actually opens with ‘Ace of Spades’, the much-appreciated return of ‘Orgasmatron’ is here and a rampant run through of ‘Silver Machine’ makes an appearance during the set. This is a world of pain to love and something to turn up loud and annoy the neighbours.

Another double, the band are on equally rumbunctious form at their Norwich show recorded in 1998, a phenomenal ‘Bomber’ kicking off the mayhem. Favourites old and new appear with ‘Too Late Too Late’, ‘Going to Brazil’ and the anthemic ‘Born To Raise Hell’ amongst many highlights, the mix putting the listener in the heart of the action. Constantly shifting, 2000’s ‘Live in Malmo’ shows the band yet again switching up their set and the two discs show the locomotive that is Motörhead running at full speed. Throwing in a teeth-rattling and snarling take on ‘God Save The Queen’, pure, filthy rock ‘n’ roll leaks out of every groove, Lemmy, Phil and Mikkey blast through the set with a conviction and force that few on the planet could match. A small misprint in the inner sleeve attributes the show to the previously covered Madrid gig but this tiny detail takes nothing away from the firepower on display here as the band wage war on eardrums and sanity across the globe.

The final disc covers the band’s penultimate show at Download 2008, their set on the day placed between Disturbed and Judas Priest. Eschewing greatest hits but grabbing some deeper classic cuts along with a sprinkling of newer numbers, this was an untouchable display by the legendry outfit in front of a crowd that stretched as far as the eye could see. Showing no compromise or altering their set to please the masses, this was the band at their most bloody and with Thin Lizzy’s ‘Rosalie’ being given the ‘head treatment and the guest appearance of Wűrzel for ‘Ace of Spades’ and ‘Overkill’ this show was one for the history books.

Brilliantly packed to look like quality bootlegs and featuring a sticker in the set, this eight-disc box is a must have not just for Motörheadbangers but for anyone who loves their rock ‘n’ roll loud. Often imitated, never bettered, this is one band whose music with continue to deafen and thrill in equal measure for generations to come. It’s a hell of a legacy and one that ‘The Lost Tapes’ adds new and vital bone-rattling chapters to, the hope of more to come a tantalising one. Just add Special Brew and a Jack Daniels chaser

See below for full details of the The Löst Tapes releases and be sure to visit www.iMotorhead.com for news and updates! A must for all motorhead Fans.

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