MOTÖRHEAD – Bad Magic
Certain things can’t be killed… cockroaches, climate change, and Motörhead. The veterans weather any health concerns thrown at bassist/vocalist Lemmy to release another studio album with "Bad Magic", a 13 song effort with 12 originals plus a closing cover of The Rolling Stones’ "Sympathy for the Devil". The formula doesn’t vary much from previous records – the band intertwine a mix of those punk-infused straight ahead rockers like "Thunder & Lightning" and "Electricity" with numbers that may be a little catchier, controlled, and definitely dig back into the roots of rock ‘n’ roll for "Fire Storm Hotel" or "Teach Them How to Bleed".
Guitarist Phil Campbell always injects tasteful lead breaks into this material- cognizant of the root notes and melodies of the song on display. The Lemmy whiskey and coke roar may be more vodka and orange juice oriented, but it’s still full of spunk and youthful spirit right out of the gate with "Victory or Die" but can be sensitive when the trio decide to churn out the bluesy ballad "Till the End". Drummer Mikkey Dee has always been one of my favorites through the years – classy, firm and knowledgeable, the opening drum sequence to "Shoot Out All of Your Lights" aurally delightful in a double bass, snare, and cymbal syncopation exercise for the ages.
Motörhead excels at getting down to business and not overstaying their musical welcome – as only one track outside of "Sympathy of the Devil" reaches past the 4 minute mark, which is a testament to leaving excess elements on the cutting room floor. And even their closing cover would make Mick, Keith and the boys smile – a little rhythmic conga orientation comes into play during the first portion, while Phil’s slithering lead work carries the underbelly of Lemmy’s snake-charming vocal parts.
"Bad Magic" is another killer platter – 40 years and still delivering the goods, one can only hope they make it to a 50th anniversary this strong.