Motörhead’s Aftershock shows off Lemmy’s voice

Their 21st studio album is uncompromising and often undertaken at a hell-for-leather tempo.

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Motörhead Aftershock UDR ***

It’s often said that rock ‘n’ roll is a young man’s game, but clearly someone forgot to tell Motörhead’s Lemmy Kilmister. He has type two diabetes, was fitted with a heart defibrillator earlier this year, and will turn 68 in December, but unlike so many of his rock star contemporaries, he still prefers life in the fast lane to a stroll on the golf course.

Aftershock is Motörhead’s 21st studio album. Clamorous, uncompromising and often undertaken at a hell-for-leather tempo, it seems business as usual until you attend to Lemmy’s lyrics. “The desert sings for bones,” he growls starkly in Knife, while a stoic, valedictory tone pervades the pulverising opener Heartbreaker. “Time to get away from here / you won’t see me shed a tear,” reports our gnarly, unsentimental host. There are no ballads as such, but the Jimi Hendrix-like Dust and Glass does pause to take stock, Lemmy actually singing the lyrics rather than spitting them out like broken teeth.

He has said that he isn’t ready to hang up his Rickenbacker bass just yet, and on this evidence, nor should he.