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The Best of Motörhead

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★★★★½
(31 Reviews)

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  • I suppose if OJ can get away with murder a case could be made that Motorhead need another hits package. However, lacking the wily smarts of Johnnie Cochran, I believe I’ll have to side with the prosecution on this one. When Lemmy stands before the jury and slides on that fingerless biker glove, I think the court will have to concur that it does indeed fit. But in all fairness, we’d better hear from the defendants as well. In this case that would be Metal-Is, a subsidiary of Sanctuary Records. The label regrets the lack of a solid anthology that includes their latter day work in addition to such classics as “Ace of Spades” and “Overkill.” To mend that crack in the heavy metal canon they’ve released this two disc set, replete with not only the above-mentioned standards but also such modern charmers as “Snake Bite Love” and “Sacrifice.” In addition, four unreleased live recordings have been unearthed for our collective awe. Dollar for dollar, Metal-Is aim to give the best ‘Head. Alas, “Best Of” falls into that common anthology trap of trying to cover every single release, even when the material doesn’t stack up as the band’s best. A less adventurous song selection could scarcely be imagined: three of the last four albums are represented solely by their title tracks. What’s more, in a frightening act of editorial negligence, the inclusion of not one but three of the band’s collaborations with Girlschool made it past the drawing board and onto the finished product. Disgraceful. Aside from the bargain bin assortment of tracks, there is little else to salvage this rusty heap of “remastered” tunes (“Overkill” seems to bleed a venomous tape hiss), and the live bonuses are mere exercises in superfluity. Granted, Motorhead are a renowned concert draw, but every dirt bag metal merchant under the sun has released at least one live album, which makes the inclusion of yet another concert recording of “Bite the Bullet,” for example, a rather dull enterprise. So whereas the defendants acted with intentions that are admittedly sympathetic, the end result is more or less just plain pathetic. Sure, the fancy slipcase and extensive liner notes add luster to an essentially glamour-less product, but it’s like putting a two-dollar whore in a ten-dollar dress. Counsel advises you keep the dress and find yourself a new girl. Case closed.

    Posted on December 1, 2009