Album Review: Motörhead – “Under Cöver”
There’s no denying that the world of rock ‘n’ roll definitely felt a whole lot emptier that cold December day in 2015 when we woke up to find out that Lemmy had passed away; not least because I think most of us were convinced that much like Keith Richards the guy was in fact immortal. It’s an over-used phrase in music, but Motörhead really were one of the most influential bands of the late ’70s – at the time, rock music was sinking into a bloated swamp of prog pomposity and tedious Jimmy Page wannabes widdling through ten minute guitar solos to aircraft hangar size arenas with zero atmosphere. Lemmy, Philthy Animal and Fast Eddie took the energy of the nascent punk movement and welded it to a rock sensibility, helping metal to evolve and paving the way first for the late ’70s wave of new Brit metal groups like Iron Maiden and Saxon, and then for the thrash metal movement that followed a few years afterwards.
This covers compilation is pretty much a case of the Motörhead vaults being cleared out to put a full stop on the story, and, y’know what? It pretty much does what it says on the tin. The cuts here are pretty much what you’d expect and there’s a good chance you’ll have a few of ’em in your collection already (all but three of the tracks have been previously released) but they’re still good fun to listen to with the quality varying from good (their two Stones covers Sympathy For The Devil and Jumpin’ Jack Flash are both good solid stuff) to below par (their take on the Pistols’ God Save The Queen unfortunately hasn’t got any less messy since your correspondent first heard it twenty odd years back).
Other kindred spirits featured include Judas Priest’s Breaking The Law, The Ramones’ Rockaway Beach and Twisted Sister’s Shoot ‘Em Down, all of which are competent versions. The big surprise is a version of Bowie’s Heroes (the newest track on here recorded during the sessions for the band’s final album Bad Magic) which definitely takes on a bit of extra significance when you consider that Bowie and Lemmy passed away within a couple of weeks of each other, and may well bring a bit of a lump to your throat. I was actually surprised as well to find out that Hellraiser was an Ozzy Osbourne cover, as for some reason I’d always had it down as being a Motörhead original (it turns out that Lemmy and Ozzy co-wrote it, but the latter put his version out first).
There’s also a nice sense of full circle with the version of Metallica’s Whiplash which closes the album, as it was hearing Metallica’s takes on Damage Case, Overkill, Stone Dead Forever and Too Late Too Late on their Garage Inc covers album all those years ago that first made this writer curious to check out Motörhead in a bit more detail than Ace Of Spades.
Not really an essential album, if you're one of the few people reading this who's just starting out with Lemmy and co then it almost goes without saying that you're best off starting with Overkill, Bomber and Ace Of Spades. However, for all of its "does what it says on the tin" characteristics, it's definitely not a bad listen and is a fitting tribute to the great man. RIP.