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I didn't think I liked Lemmy or his Motörhead. I wasn't looking forward to this - I have delicate ears you know !

Of course, I'd seen Lemmy as this bumbling idiot on "Never Mind the Buzzcocks", I had heard them on the radio a bit and I knew that they made a really loud noise (usually blasting out from my No 2 son’s bedroom), but that was about it really.

Then I got hold of "Ace Of Spades" on DVD-A and I actually listened to it properly for the first time - well you have to if you are writing a proper review don’t you ?

Main Menu

The Album
It’s ....... intriguing .....  When your ears have settled into picking out the words from the extra heavy duty overdriven guitars and drums (which turned out to be quite easy once I had tuned in to it), not only do the words have meaning, they are quite poignant in their own raucous way. This from “Ace Of Spades” for example :

"You know I’m born to lose, and gambling’s for fools
But that’s the way I like it baby, I don’t wanna live forever"

A sad song about a gambling addiction maybe, or a metaphor for something much deeper and darker, who knows ? The words are a little reminiscent of The Alan Parsons Project's "Snake Eyes", but the similarity ends there. The whole album has a similarly dark feel to it, snakes, loss, murder, guns, cowboys (of course !) etc, and sex - you get into the feel of it very quickly. And just as quickly, you just seem to settle into this dark audio landscape and just accept the bashing that your ears get, cuz they do, on just about every track the levels are very high and with a full 5.1 system this one will rattle windows three streets away.

Another track which particularly got me listening properly was “Live to Win”, almost a throwback from  the Punk era where all the world was against “the young”, and no matter what they did, “the young” had to stand up and make themselves a niche in the world ... But does this sit well with Lemmy, at whatever age he is, still rebelling against the rest of us ? Of course it does. He simply makes whatever subject he wants to sing about relevant to him. Don’t ask me how he does it but every song works for this ageing heavy metal punk.

Playlist

In “Bite the Bullet” we are offered a choice of face value or “read between the lines” meanings : is he simply leaving his girl, or leaving life ? Gonna shoot himself or just walk out on his bird ? I really can’t tell, but the change form major to minor key after the last verse is a bit sinister. Whatever - its bloody good music !

The rest of the album continues in similar veins, with either dead straight, easily understood songs about violence, sex (The Chase Is Better Than The Catch, Jailbait, Fast & Loose etc etc - lots of songs about sex...), drugs (The Hammer - I suspect I’m pushing my luck for a drug reference here !), or good old rock and roll (Dance). One song not in any of the above areas is “(We Are) The Road Crew” dedicated to their roadies, and very well written too - having been a roadie (albeit for a simple folk band) I understood this one much more readily than perhaps some of the others.

Audio Quality
Breathtaking would be the easiest thing to say. The mix is very well rounded, with no singular source dominating. Vocals very clear, yeah I say unto thee, even unto Lemmy’s voice of gravel ! It takes a short time to tune in properly, but underneath all that noise, it’s very good music, honest ! Not much difference between the various soundtrack options, so a good buy here for those with limited equipment as they won’t lose out by not having a full 5.1 system. Also, I have to say here that the album sounded particularly good using Power DVD’s Dolby Headphone setting, into my Sennheiser HD580’s which toned down the force of the sound slightly.

Sample of Lyrics

Extras
Not a lot really. You get a choice of photo gallery or lyrics to go with the songs, and these are paged automatically. There is the usual DVD credits pages and overview about the DVD-A technology, but that’s about it.

Overall
Well, you could have knocked me down with a feather - I liked it ..... Now I've listened to it half a dozen times, and listened properly, it has me, and Lemmy's four tons of gravel voice is firmly embedded in my tortured brain. It almost embarrasses me to say that I shall probably buy some more  Motörhead and after a few pints I suppose I shall get into them as easily. My mum wouldn’t approve though, and I’m nearly as old as Lemmy now !


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