Kiss of Death

rating icon 8 / 10

Track listing:

01. Sucker
02. One Night Stand
03. Devil I Know
04. Trigger
05. Under the Gun
06. God Was Never On Your Side
07. Living In the Past
08. Christine
09. Sword of Glory
10. Be My Baby
11. Kingdom of the Worm
12. Going Down
13. R.A.M.O.N.E.S.

At 61 years old, Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister isn't about to go out of his way to win over those few, pathetic, soulless bints who don't like MOTÖRHEAD. The band has a well-worn groove, and they've settled into it, releasing a string of albums over the last decade so consistent, it's easy to forget sometimes how uniformly kickass they are. Sure, we can argue about a couple production choices here and there, and once in a while Lem coughs up a lyric even he can't make cool (that "in the zoo, in the zoo" bit in "Snake Bite Love" still induces laughter years later). But overall, the band has been like a tank since — well, arguably since 1993's "Bastards" — and they show no sign of slowing down with "Kiss of Death".

Whether your idea of the perfect MOTÖRHEAD is the band's more aggressive, hard-driving material (see "Sucker", "Kingdom of the Worm") or the more good-time, boogie-woogie stuff ("One Night Stand", the positively bubblegummy "Christine"),you'll be in hog heaven here. There's a sinister, minor-key snarl to the riffing on even the most upbeat songs, which gets positively grimy and devilish on the rollicking "Under the Gun". And if you like Lemmy's occasional penchant for dramatic balladeering, "God Was Never On Your Side" will slot in next to "Don't Believe a Word" and "One More Fucking Time" in your personal band favorites.

In short, "Kiss of Death" is a bit short on surprises, but it does cover all the bases you'd want from a modern-day MOTÖRHEAD record. The amazing thing is how, this far into their career, the band still sounds as interested as they are — working with the same basic formula, it'd be easy for things to hit a rut. Sure, "Kingdom of the Worm" may come off like a slightly easier-to-play "Assassin", and "Sucker" has "we need a new show opener" written all over it. But the songs are still compelling, and they make for a great listen, one that pushes all your MOTÖR-buttons just fine, bound to be toward the top of the list when history finally tallies up all these post-1990 platters.

The last couple songs do sag a bit, and it's inexplicable that the band ends the record with "bonus track" "R.A.M.O.N.E.S." yet again. (I respect THE RAMONES, and MOTÖRHEAD's friendship with them, to the utmost. But can we just admit that the song is a throwaway, and it doesn't need to keep popping up?) But there's enough meat on the bones of "Kiss of Death" to keep even the pickiest fan satiated, and a few of these songs (I pick "Sucker", "Devil I Know" and maybe "Living In the Past") will likely end up set-list staples.

Bottom line: it's MOTÖRHEAD. They deserve your coin, and they'll have more fun with it than you possibly could, so cough it up!

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