Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister is a living legend. An untouchable icon. But Lemmy and his Motörheads didn’t always have ace albums. In fact, across Motörhead’s storied–we’re talking almost four decades–career, the monoliths of metal have had some real stinkers. While we implore you to check out Lemmy in our February 2014 issue (click HERE) we’re also calling out Motörhead at the bottom of their respective game. Think we’re right? Think we’re wrong? Hammer out your opinion in the comments section below.
5. Motörhead — Rock ‘n’ Roll
“Eat the Rich” was a MTV staple if memory serves correct. Not a bad tune at all. Same with the title track. But the rest of album is flat, uninspired by the excesses of the late ’80s. It’s Motörhead alright, but with tracks like “All for You” and “Stone Deaf in the USA” it’s hard to believe. Maybe the only redeeming value, apart from “Eat the Rich”, is the Petagno cover art.
4. Motörhead — Snake Bite Love
Just as We Are Motörhead felt rehashed, Snake Bite Love is all-too formulaic. The ’90s and the early aughts weren’t too kind to Lemmy, really. He was treading water, pedaling the Motörhead bike. Snake Bite Love, with its terrible name in tow, felt like a dive bar album, a place deemed both cool and trite by the “edgy” cock rockers like Sea Hags, Davy Vain, and Sleeze Beez.
3. Motörhead — We Are Motörhead
Although We Are Motörhead is largely Lemmy returned, it’s album that feels rehashed. It’s as if Lemmy needed to write another Motörhead album and did so right quick using previous successes as a blueprint. It’s marginally worse than Snake Bite Love. That isn’t saying much, however. True, Phil Campbell’s growling licks feel genuine, but they’re merely facsimiles of previous greatness.
2. Motörhead — March ör Die
1992 was a weird year for the ‘Head. The fact that they chose to cover Nugent’s “Cat Scratch Fever” was one thing, but the “I Ain’t No Nice Guy” tune with Slash and Ozzy is borderline cock rock balladry. Lemmy and crew put a lot of faith into that track, too. March ör Die looks to have teeth, but ultimately is Lemmy’s attempt to hit the radio waves, his croak surprisingly tamed and neutered.
1. Motörhead — On Parole
A lost album. A record label unsure of its commercial viability. On Parole is an odd album, even for the day. Recorded across 1975 and 1976, Motörhead hidden debut sat shelved for three years. But that’s neither here nor there. Lemmy’s famous bawl is in its infancy here, but musically On Parole is uneven, its blues/punk/rock construct flailing pretty much at every turn. Hey, maybe United Artists were right.