Lemmy Kilmister is as big a metal legend as they come. With his chewed on glass vocals, love of Jack Daniels and the legendary music he has produced all elevates him to the top of the heap. His passing has left a whole within the community and will be sorely missed.
After being kicked out of Hawkwind for extensive drug use, Lemmy formed Motörhead in 1975. Their sound blended hard rock, punk and classic ’50s rock ‘n’ roll and was influential in all genres of music. An extensive catalog, which includes 23 full-length studio releases, is what paved the way for countless bands and cemented their legacy. It is virtually impossible to pick their five best releases, but here are our choices for Motörhead’s greatest achievements.
5. Orgasmatron (1986)
1986 is considered by many to be the best year in metal’s existence. Countless legendary releases moved metal to a place it had never been before. Orgasmatron is one of those albums that helped metal surge to new heights. The first release to feature the guitar tandem of Würzel and Phil Campbell, they were coming off a three-year hiatus between releases.
The band is more pissed and angry here and it presents itself in the music. The first side is a blistering roller coaster that never lets up. The one two punch of “Claw” and “Mean Machine” could be the best in their discography. Lyrically Lemmy is on top of his game as the title track is a brilliant dissertation on religion and politics.
Recommended Track: “Claw”
4. Sacrifice (1995)
Coming off of the success on the heavier than hell Bastards, Lemmy and company continued to up the ante by releasing one of the heaviest albums of their career with Sacrifice. Led by the punk infused title track, the blend of punk and metal is at its absolute finest here.
The smash in the face riffing on “Over Your Shoulder,” “War For War” and “All Gone To Hell” are downright mind splitting. Sacrifice is the last release to feature guitarist Würzel before the band returned to being a three piece. The most consistent and biggest highlight Motörhead released in the later part of their career.
Recommended Track: “Sacrifice”
3. 1916 (1991)
Coming off of a four-year break since their previous release Rock ‘n’ Roll, Motörhead roared back with the catchiest release of their career, 1916. The vocals are some of the most melodic of Lemmy’s career as the focus here is on creating songs that are incredibly memorable.
Classics are sprinkled throughout the release with the infectious “No Voices In The Sky,” the straight up rock and roll classic “Going To Brazil” and the punk tribute to legends “Ramones” all stand out as immortal tracks. The title track is an eerie haunting tale about the Battle of the Somme in World War I that is unlike anything that Motörhead have ever penned, and it’s an unforgettable classic.
Recommended Track: “No Voices In The Sky”
2. Ace Of Spades (1980)
Most casual fans only know the infamous title track to 1980s incredible Ace Of Spades. Even though it is one of metal’s best songs, the album is much deeper. Guitarist Fast Eddie Clarke is on fire and feeling even more comfortable within the band. There is chemistry between the original three that reaches an apex.
When tracks like “Bite The Bullet,” “The Hammer,” “The Chase Is Better Than The Catch” and “(We Are) The Road Crew” are presented on the same album you know we are discussing an all time classic. Motörhead’s most iconic release is also a timeless masterpiece that will always be admired.
Recommended Track: “Ace Of Spades”
1. Overkill (1979)
Motörhead’s sophomore release Overkill is a straight up classic. The track list reads like a best of, as there isn’t a weak point anywhere to be found. From the iconic opening double bass drumming by Phil “Philthy” Taylor the album never lets up. One of the greatest songwriting growths a band has made from their debut.
Not only is Overkill the best release of their phenomenal career, it is also one of the best the genre has ever seen. Besides the classics like the title track, “Metropolis,” “Capricorn” and “Damage Case,” the album really shines on tracks like “(I Won’t) Pay Your Price” and the sludgy “Limb By Limb.” A stone cold classic that should be in every metalhead’s collection.
Recommended Track: “Overkill”
What do you think is Motorhead’s best album?