Pity the gladly submissive rock consumer, always in the market for a proper ass kicking. Where's one to turn in 2004, with so much tight denim and retro-riffage being proffered, and nary a well-aimed boot? Somewhere back there in the primordial pavement is the answer, and it goes by one name only, sans hyphens: metal. This is Motörhead's trade. Others have preened, leaned on irony, gone pop and pushed to silly extremes, but like calloused old craftsmen, Lemmy Kilmister and his flanks deliver the tried and true in its utilitarian form: namely, uncooked riffs just this side of generic, a trestle-like rhythm section, and hot-rod-to-Hades imagery. Ironically, it's Kilmister's easily caricatured vocals that could make Motörhead's metal palatable to a metalphobe: Compared with the operatic style it subverted and the dry hacking it influenced, his laryngitic train wreck sounds downright earthy. And after all, we just want to be beaten silly, not annoyed to death.


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