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Gift Guide: Motörhead

Ace of Spades 40th Anniversary (Sanctuary)

By Tim Stegall, December 4, 2020, Music

Forty years gone since Ace of Spades cracked skulls. British trio Motörhead (1975-2015) modified definitive rock & roll with all of punk's fury, but none of the politics save for a libertarian (libertine) streak. Heavy metal keyed into this to synthesize speed metal.

By the time their fourth full-length issued forth in 1980, gravel gargler and bassist Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister, guitarist "Fast" Eddie Clarke, and drummer Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor had, with their ever-refining base blueprint, joined hallowed company: Ramones, Cramps, AC/DC, for starters. Their ultimate distillation alongside "Motörhead," the album's title track quickly became the classic lineup's signature tune. Factor in thick production and socially irresponsible instant standards "Love Me Like a Reptile" and "Jailbait," and you have The Definitive Motörhead LP.

Sanctuary Records celebrates twice: A 3-CD set with a bound book that contains the remastered album, instrumental backing tracks, alternate takes, and demos, plus a brutal live performance from Belfast on Dec. 23, 1981, then a deluxe 7-LP/10-inch EP/DVD box with a Motörhead Rock Commando comic book reprint and Ace of Spades board game. As half-speed remastered from original tapes, the album booms three-dimensional now. The live shows, with a second originating from France that same year, emanate more bloodthirsty than definitive live document No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith, with hilarious between-song banter between Taylor and Lemmy.

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