The legendary Motörhead are a band that need no introduction to fans of hard rock and heavy metal and their influence on the music we love truly cannot be measured.
However, popular opinion generally finds their 90’s output pretty much ignored by all but the most avid Motörheadbangers; subsequently written off as being inferior to what came both before and after it.
Here at Worship Metal we think it’s high time that this period received the attention it so richly deserves….
Motörhead – 1990 to 1999 – The Lost Decade:
The relative commercial failure of 1987’s Rock ‘N’ Roll saw Lemmy take himself off to the sunnier climes of the sunset strip and this move seemed to reinvigorate the whole band.
1991’s 1916 found our feisty foursome rattling off some insanely good motörheadbangers. From the opening “The One To Sing The Blues” to the likes of “Going To Brazil” and “No Voices In The Sky” – alongside the amphetamine fuelled, filling-loosening rush of “R.A.M.O.N.E.S” – this was Motörhead doing what they do best….playing full tilt rock and fucking roll!
That’s not to say that on 1916 Motörhead were a one trick pony. Throw in the melancholy balladry of “Love Me Forever”, and the poignant near poetry of the title track, and you have a record to match their earlier classics.
A band in the middle of a crisis? Absolute pish! 9/10
March Or Die (1992)
Maybe we spoke too soon!
Looking to build on the success of 1916 came what is the only real turd in the Motörhead catalogue. The problem with March Or Die is not so much the quality of the song writing but more the sound they went for.
Pete Solley was back behind the desk for his second album in a row and, unfortunately, this time he robbed the band of their raw power and added an unnecessary level of gloss. Aside from the opening “Stand”, a cover of the Nuge’s “Cat Scratch Fever” and the introspective “I Ain’t No Nice Guy”, this album really hasn’t got much going for it.
“Hellraiser”, with its clean bass lines just sounds safe, “Jack The Ripper” fails to live up to its potential and the title track should be a menacing brute along the lines of “Orgasmatron”, but sounds lifeless in comparison.
Motörhead normally roared like a lion….not meowed like a neutered house ca!. 5/10
A year on from the misfire of March Or Die – and with Mikkey Dee finally behind the kit – Motörhead set about laying to rest the ghost of that preceding album.
Misson accomplished. It’s clear from the first minutes of “On Your Feet or On Your Knees” that the band sound reinvigorated, pissed off and up for a scrap, “Burner” takes no prisoners while “Don’t Let Daddy Kiss Me” highlights just what a fantastic lyricist Lemmy was, as he tackles the heartbreaking subject of child sexual abuse with intelligence and sensitivity. Meanwhile “Born To Raise Hell” has Motörhead operating at their rambunctious best, while “We Bring The Shake” and “Devils” finish the album on a high note.
With Bastards, Motörhead showed the doubters that they were nowhere near a spent force. 9/10
The second and last album to feature the line up of Lemmy, Phil Campbell, Mikkey Dee and Würzel, Sacrifice is a better album than it has any right to be….especially given the ‘issues’ Würzel’s behaviour and subsequent departure caused the band.
Kicking off with the pile driving title track, this is a solid Motörhead album with the likes of the menacing “War for War” and “Order/Fade to Play”, offset by the full tilt boogie of “Don’t Waste Your Time” and the chugging “In Another Time”.
In the grand scheme of things, Sacrifice remains a decent but not outstanding album. 7/10
Overnight Sensation (1996)
Another year, another Motörhead album, and if Phil Campbell was nervous about being the sole guitarist, then it didn’t translate to the music….as Overnight Sensation was an absolute peach of a release!
Overnight Sensation is the sound of a band full of confidence and taking no prisoners. From the rampaging “Civil War” and “I Don’t Believe a Word” to the lead heavy grooves of “Love Can’t Buy You Money” the band were on fire. Meanwhile, Lemmy again showed the world what a clever lyricist he was on the pithy title track and the apocalyptic “Shake The World”; which is so damn heavy it feels like you’ve been punched repeatedly in the kidneys by Mike fuckin’ Tyson.
With this album the line up of Campbell, Dee and Lemmy showed just what a formidable team they were.
Motörhead at their essential best. 9/10
Snake Bite Love (1998)
For their sixth and final album of the decade, Motörhead reverted to a more overtly rock n roll sound than they had embraced for some time.
To be honest some of it works and some of it just seems to a little uninspired….but it’s not all bad news! “Love For Sale”, “Snake Bite Love” and “Don’t Lie To Me” saw the band fully embrace their rock roots whilst the mid paced “Joy Of Labour”, “Assassin” and “Dogs Of War” had Motörhead indulge in the more metallic fare that they were clearly masters of.
All in all, Snake Bite Love is not a bad album as such but has a tad too much filler to make it essential. 6/10
For most of the 90’s Motörhead couldn’t get arrested if they tried, mainly due to a lack of interest from the great and the good in the music press. However, rather than wallow in self pity they churned out a set of six albums which, for the most part, stands up to the best they released over what was a fantastic career.
If you’ve bypassed this decade of the band we strongly suggest you rectify this mistake immediately……if you do, you’ll be discovering some great music from one of the greatest bands in the history of heavy music!