Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Ten Metal Bands to See Before You Die: Motörhead

There has never, never been a more badass band than Motörhead. The only rock stars who can possibly compete, Jerry Lee Lewis and Keith Richards, relish their wildman reputations, but Lemmy, Phil Campbell and Mikkey Dee barely seem to care that it exists. Instead, they tour every year, keep putting out albums and obliterate any room that they stand in.

One adjective that is rarely used to describe metal is "cool," but Motörhead practically defines it. They don't move much on stage, cutting stoic figures, but I've seen the music that erupts from their instruments throw venues from compact clubs to outdoor arenas into a frenzy. Their songs are so consistently singable and thrashable that you'll even be throwing horns to the ones that you don't know. Lemmy, who's practically lived on the road since the 1960s, never misses a step. The little banter he provides, you'll be quoting for the rest of your life.

Even when they're playing songs they've played at every show for the past 30 years, they seem like they're having a blast. Phil and Mikkey complete Motörhead's longest-enduring lineup, and knock out the band's early anthems with more punch than their predecessors gave them. Barely anyone ever copies Lemmy's signature "machine gun bass" move (see above) because nobody could possibly make it look nearly as cool. "We are the first and we just still might be the last/We are Motörhead, born to kick your ass," remarked Lemmy on 2000's We Are Motörhead. It's as close as anyone's come to summing up Motörhead's mighty career, but it still feels like an understatement.

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