Under Cover, released on the 1st of September, is a collection of covers recorded by Motorhead throughout their career for various tribute albums. It is the second release since the death of the legend Lemmy Kilmister (Ian Fraser Kilmister) following on from the live album, Clean Your Clock which was released in June.
A global icon and rock and roll phenomenon, Lemmy passed away on the 28th of December 2015 having changed the music world forever. There isn’t much you can say about Motorhead that isn’t already known. If you can hear, you have heard them and there is a damn good chance you have admired and desired Lemmy’s “live life your own way” attitude that he kept throughout his life. Under Cover is a nod from Motorhead to many of the band’s personal favourite songs and bands.
How awesome is that – Motorhead like your song enough to cover it. What a cool feeling that must be. The weird thing is though, many of the artists would have listed Motorhead or at least Lemmy as an inspiration. You listen to Motorhead, you watch Lemmy and think, I am going to get involved in this. You make some music, release it and it does quite well then, one day, Motorhead cover your track because they like it. What an immense feeling that must have been. As Mikkey Dee, the Motorhead drummer, recently said to Revolver – “We’d never record a song we didn’t like. No Fucking Way!”
On to the album then. Under Cover has 11 tracks on it and is around 42 minutes long. It is jam packed full of top, top quality rock songs sung in Lemmy’s inimitable style and with Motorhead’s punk attitude and rock and roll sound. There are 11 tracks in total with covers of songs from Judas Priest, Metallica, Rainbow and the Rolling Stones and many more. Possibly the real showpiece though is a cover of David Bowie’s Heroes. A special track as it was the last song ever recorded by Motorhead and is more poignant as David Bowie also passed away a mere 2 weeks later. So the full track list is –
1 – Breaking the Law – Judas Priest
2 – God Save the Queen – Sex Pistols
3 – Heroes – David Bowie
4 – Starstruck by Rainbow (featuring Biff Byford)
5 – Cat Scratch Fever – Ted Nugent
6 – Jumpin’ Jack Flash – Rolling Stones
7 – Sympathy for the Devil – Rolling Stones
8 – Hellraiser by Ozzy Osbourne (originally co written by Lemmy, Ozzy and Zakk Wylde)
9 – Rockaway Beach – Ramones
10 – Shoot ’em Down – Twisted Sister
11 – Whiplash – Metallica
It is great fun to listen to and it is also great to still get to hear Lemmy and Motorhead music coming out. The covers of Whiplash, Breakin’ the Law, Sympathy for the Devil and Heroes really stand out. They are all done in Motorhead’s style but mostly stay true to the sound and feeling of the originals. These aren’t complete reworkings, they are tributes. There are little touches like on Whiplash where the “we are Metallica” line has been amended to enable them to rhyme in “we are Motorhead”. The tone is obviously all Motorhead with a deeper, bass heavy sound and of course we switch vocal tones to Lemmy’s gravelly sounds.
The only bit I am not too keen on is the cover of Ted Nugent’s Cat Scratch Fever but that is probably because I am not overly familiar with the song. Otherwise it is a thoroughly enjoyable listen. It doesn’t feel gimmicky in any way. Instead sounding like what it is, Motorhead playing other people’s tracks and making them their own.
Under Cover is out now and can be picked up from all the usual stores and streaming services like Apple Music, Spotify and Google. You can also pick it up from the links below. Make sure you like and follow Motorhead on their website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Despite the band no longer recording new music, there is still a lot of regular news and updates and plans for more releases.
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Under Cover by Motorhead (Silver Lining Music)
The Final Score - 8/10