Motörhead - Overkill review


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Band: Motörhead
Album: Overkill
Release date: March 1979

Disc I
01. Overkill
02. Stay Clean
03. (I Won't) Pay Your Price
04. I'll Be Your Sister
05. Capricorn
06. No Class
07. Damage Case
08. Tear Ya Down
09. Metropolis
10. Limb From Limb
11. Too Late, Too Late [reissue bonus]
12. Like A Nightmare [reissue bonus]
13. Louie, Louie [Richard Berry cover] [reissue bonus]
14. Tear Ya Down [instrumental version] [reissue bonus]
15. Louie, Louie [Alternate version] [Richard Berry cover] [reissue bonus]

Disc II [Deluxe Edition bonus]
01. Louie Louie [single A-side] [Richard Berry cover]
02. Louie Louie [alternative version] [Richard Berry cover]
03. Louie Louie [alternative version 2] [Richard Berry cover]
04. Tear Ya Down ["Louie Louie" B-side]
05. Tear Ya Down [alternative version]
06. Tear Ya Down [instrumental version]
07. Too Late Too Late ["Overkill" B-side]
08. Like A Nightmare ["No Class" B-side]
09. Like A Nightmare [alternative version]
10. Louie Louie [BBC Radio 1 John Peel Session '78] [Richard Berry cover]
11. I'll Be Your Sister [BBC Radio 1 John Peel Session '78]
12. Tear Ya Down [BBC Radio 1 John Peel Session '78]
13. Stay Clean [BBC Radio 1 In-Concert '79]
14. No Class [BBC Radio 1 In-Concert '79]
15. I'll Be Your Sister [BBC Radio 1 In-Concert '79]
16. Too Late Too Late [BBC Radio 1 In-Concert '79]
17. (I Won't) Pay Your Price [BBC Radio 1 In-Concert '79]
18. Capricorn [BBC Radio 1 In-Concert '79]
19. Limb From Limb [BBC Radio 1 In-Concert '79]

The only way to feel the noise is when it's good and loud.

It's rare that one band can have such an impact on a genre and music in general but when those one-of-a-kind bands make their mark, it is one that is felt like an earthquake. Soundtracking this analogy is the opening drum salvo that opens up one of the most iconic albums in metal by one of the most prominent and influential artists off all time; I am of course talking about Overkill by Motörhead.

Most people go straight to Ace Of Spades when the subject of Motörhead comes up; while it may be the most prominent record produced by the band, if it wasn't for the two immediately preceding releases it's doubtful that it would even exist. The merging of the worlds of metal, blues and punk was anathema before Motörhead came along; with their amps turned up to full volume, and the blues rock-on-speed and don't give a damn attitude resonating through the speakers, it gives fans of all three disparate sounds a common meeting ground.

Overkill saw the power trio of "Philthy" Phil Taylor, "Fast" Eddie Clarke and Lemmy make their second record together as a single entity and start a run of four albums that would come to set the bar for metal long after. While people may argue over whether the 'classic' or 'final' line-up was the better unit, there is at least agreement that both were capable of producing amazing music.

Is all this not just hyperbole? Well, sure, I may be very generous with my choice of words, but listen to "Overkill" and it will all make sense; those propulsive drums that blast out of your speaker, do they sound familiar to you? While double bass drumming was nothing new in 1977, it sure as wasn't as prevalent or popular as it was before Motörhead popularised it. So, such praise seems appropriate for such an influential album.

From start to finish you have a near-on flawless runthrough of the some of the best bastardised blues, filtered through metal stylings that make for essential listening. Picking a favourite track is up to personal taste given the consistent level of quality that permeates this record; sure, there are tracks like the title track and "Damage Case" that need to be heard for any would-be metalhead, but there is strength in depth. For my two cents, I find "(I Won't) Pay Your Price" and "Tear Ya Down" to be the highlights on the record, two tracks that sit on their pounding rhythms with bursts of lightening coming from Clarks's guitar to make for great listening.

Comments that Motörhead had little variation both miss the point that a winning formula doesn't need to be fixed but also overlook the fact that their records are diverse, and Overkill is no exception. To take just three examples, place "Overkill" next to "I'll Be Your Sister" and "Metropolis" and you will find yourself listening to three different variations of the blues. Unless you have extremely high levels for what counts as diversity in your ears, then you will notice that the band aren't repeating themselves.

Of course, no album is perfect and Overkill is no exception; truth be told I've never clicked with "Capricorn" the way other fans of the band have, with it being an enjoyable track but the weak link in a cast iron fence for me. "No Class" is infamously a track that borrows very heavily from ZZ Top's "Tush"; while both tracks are great, the similarity does take "No Class" down a notch. These two issues aside, however, you have a very solid album.

Do yourself a favour and give this record a listen, I doubt you will be regretting your decision anytime soon.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Production: 9


Written on 10.11.2020 by Just because I don't care doesn't mean I'm not listening.


Comments: 2   Visited by: 23 users
10.11.2020 - 20:36
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
I would say this about Iron fist.
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
14.11.2020 - 00:32
Those opening drums on Overkill is probably the standout moment in the Motorhead discog for me; never been a band I've loved a full album of, but Overkill (along with perhaps Bastards) is probably the one I would go to if I had to stick one front to back.

I don't actually mind Capricorn at all, but for a similar tone I do think it gets overshadowed by Metropolis

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