It’s December and the year is now coming to a close. With new releases drastically slowing down, it’s the perfect time of year to take a step back and jam some of metal’s most classic and influential bands. For the rest of this month, the Ride into Glory team will be looking at some of our favorite songs from metal’s finest artists.
When it comes to bands of this caliber, it’s hard to pick a favorite album let alone a song! It’s not easy to single out one song as “better than everything else they did”, so most of us decided to approach this discussion from a completely sentimental perspective. Asking ourselves: “what is that one song of the band that I have the strongest emotional connection?”, it was suddenly easier than comparing songs as if there can be an objective quality ranking. These bands are titans of heavy metal for a reason and you can expect to read about our personal connections and anecdotes related to them in this series.
It’s time for some fucking Motörhead. We’d love to hear what your favorite tracks from this band are as well and why in the comments below!
I’m so glad to finally get a chance to talk about Motörhead! We tend to mostly cover bands on the more melodic side of the spectrum due to my own personal preference for that type of metal, but I’ll be damned if Motörhead aren’t one of the greatest bands to ever exist. Their signature punky, rock’n’roll infused heavy metal is just iconic to say the least and bad Motörhead tracks are very few and far in between.
Motörhead’s discography is massive and consistent. With that said, Ace of Spades and Overkill are easily my favorite albums of the lot and that’s where I find myself returning time and time again…and yet my favorite song from them is still the title track of Bomber. Now Bomber is a great album in its own rights, but it just unfortunately sits squarely between the band’s finest records. However, the title track has everything I could possible want from Motörhead – it’s a highly energetic track that features one of their most memorable riffs ever. It’s a massive song overall and a perfect way to close an album.
Rhandgar: You may know Motörhead as that legendary heavy metal band from the UK, but a lesser known fact is that Motörhead is also a synonym for consistency in the language of – …alright fine it’s not in any language actually. But “a 40 year long career, 23 full length albums, and not one “bad release” should count for something. Looking at some of the more questionable musical choices other classic bands have made many years into their career, one cannot help but admire and respect Motörhead. Naturally, trying to condense their discography into one single favourite song is not a pleasant task.
Instead of a deep cut or anything, it will be as basic as possible for me in that my pick is “Ace of Spades”. After coming across some of their songs here and there, finally carefully listening to this song and hearing that little twirly riff (you know which one) on a mixed CD some 14 years ago was one of my musical watershed moments and my life was just about to get much louder. The song wasn’t even three minutes long, it came and went as fast as Lemmy screaming he doesn’t wanna live forever. But those two and a half minutes were enough to open my eyes to a fast and loose new world beyond progressive, pretentious, and cheesy 2000s power metal back then.
Nkane92: It is hard to choose one favorite from Motörhead, who have put out great work since day one. The classics and concert staples are well known to most rockers and metalheads, and this one is probably the most well known. It was my personal introduction to Motörhead and most likely for everyone else too. The iconic intro riff that launches the song into high gear, and Lemmy’s signature gruff voice barks “If you like to gamble, I tell you I am your man.” I love driving to this song as it is just perfect for it, but I have to watch my right foot as it is prone to give more acceleration than the speed limit usually calls for. It is gritty and just oozes danger from the speakers. It brings about the image of an old V8 drag racer that screams down the track, threatening to kill you with one wrong move. I cannot help but get excited whenever this song plays and it instantly brings out that reckless and youthful spirit in me, which is why it will remain my personal choice of Motörhead songs.
Overkill (Blondie, Deathofthesun)
Blondie: I’d say that of the major 70s metal bands, Motörhead is the one where their roots in rock & roll are the most obvious of the bunch. It’s there in all of them of course; after all metal started out as a mutant offshoot of rock & roll. Motörhead’s constant bluesiness and swinging locomotive groove has its roots way more in 50s rock & roll than, say, what Priest or even Sabbath were doing at the time. Here it’s rendered as the immortal double bass groove that rolls over everything while that main riff viciously swings around; both are basically unstoppable when matched together. And it remains the definitive use of the fake out ending in a metal song.
Deathofthesun: It was tempting to just quote the opening lyric of the song and leave it at that, but in the interest of not being quite so lazy, here we go. It’s hard to think of a time when Motörhead weren’t a favorite, spanning over two-thirds of a lifetime to date. There might be songs across the discography that do particular things better, there might be songs that shine brighter on No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith or The Birthday Party, but if it comes down to which single song of theirs I can point to and say, “That’s the one,” it’s “Overkill.” Favorite song, favorite album, favorite lineup, favorite discography.
Love me Like a Reptile (Metantoine)
Hard to choose one song from Motörhead, really since they’re so consistent. I automatically went to 1916, perhaps one of my favorite albums from the band, “The One to Sing the Blues” is an outstanding opener and the title track is a great sorrowful ballad. Regardless, I had to go back to Ace of Spades and I picked “Love Me like A Reptile”. It’s the song I think about when I think of Motörhead. It’s sleazy, uncompromising, catchy, fun and heavy. Simple but incredible. Still, this album is so dope that you could almost any songs from it and you’d have top tier Motörhead.
The Hammer (No ‘Sleep Til Hammersmith) [Brandon Corsair]
I always liked good live versions of songs, and the live version of The Hammer really encapsulates everything I love about that era of Motörhead. Sleazy, punchy bass, a great vocal performance from the man himself, and an extremely energetic performance take one of the band’s best songs that pushes it to something even better. I’m not sure why this one sticks with me so much given how many other killer songs that Motörhead wrote over the years, but it does, and I’m sure you’ll understand if you hear it.
Mean Machine (Dzorr)
Orgasmatron might have come in a difficult period of Motörhead’s career and lacked the original three piece line-up, but it’s easily my favorite album by them. At a time when thrash metal was booming in the underground and reaching what many consider its peak year (1986) – Lemmy and the crew were undeterred and pushed through an absolute monster of an album. While there are so many bangers on this record, “Mean Machine” feels the closest to the first couple of albums; just a great, no thrills fasted paced tune that verges on speed/thrash. Riff after riff accompanied by Lemmy’s snarly vocals and while Pete Gill may not be Philthy, he gives it all in this track. Besides being such an intense track, it goes to show how staying true to your roots was always a winning formula for the band – whether it was 1979, 1986 or the 2000s.
Sweet Revenge (Quorton)
There is something ironic about my favorite Motörhead song being a slow one – the band is known for their speed and energy after all. For me, however, what makes Motörhead is the very dirty alcohol loaded bluesy metal and “Sweet Revenge” is exactly that. The fascination for this track comes from the thick, smoke filled sickly atmosphere it evokes. This is a song written from the perspective of a killer taking his revenge on the victim. The riffs are unnerving, the bass is menacing, and the delivery of Lemmy is genuinely scary, considering he describes in details the delight he feels while murdering: “I’m too busy with the knife, I don’t hear you laughing, my dismembered friend”. Motörhead has better known and more iconic songs, but the chills down the spine one can get from the metal version of a murder ballad is what makes “Sweet Revenge” my favorite one.
Lost in the Ozone (Xeco)
Having such a long string of good releases, it’s inevitable that some of Motörhead’s albums get overlooked – simply because there’s so many to check out. Nineties Motörhead is damn special though, and “Lost in the Ozone” is a great showcase for the band. This is Motörhead at their most melancholic, moody, emotional, yet the heaviness and power are ever present. It puts the POWER in power ballad. It really shows Motörhead aren’t all about speed rocking tunes. They also managed the mellow, melodic sound without losing the grit and force of metal. Are the lyrics a metaphor, or just a fantasy story? Whatever the case, they hit hard and match the greatness of the music: “Alone upon the cruel sea, forsworn and cast away. I turned my face to god, but his face was turned away.”