Style: Heavy Metal
Release Date: 3 May 2019
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Now that every member of the classic Motörhead line up is jamming somewhere on the other side of the veil, it's especially good to see a third Asomvel album because it's as close as we're ever going to get to new Motörhead.
I honestly thought about not mentioning Motörhead in this review because Asomvel are surely fed up of the comparison by now and anyone who's heard them have no chance of not noticing for themselves, especially when lyrics are based on quotes by Lemmy, like the "if it's too loud, you're too old" basis for Railroaded.
I decided to keep it in because they aren't just clones and they fill that gap in many ways. Sure, they sound a lot like Motörhead, but the comparison goes a lot deeper than that.
For one, the first thing that leapt out after a few moments of the opening title track is how high Ralph's bass is in the mix. It's unusual in today's production climate but it sounds great and there are some fantastic moments, like towards the end of Smokescreen, where that bass weaves in and out of the guitar of Lenny Robinson to great effect. I do miss power trios where the bassist plays like his instrument is a lead.
For another, they write songs about generic topics but bring them character nonetheless. Most genres of metal have their go to subjects that never stay far away from lyrics but Asomvel couldn't give a monkey's. Lemmy wrote about whatever came to his Jack Daniels addled mind and that led to songs as vague but as universal as anything in rock music. Asomvel nail that tradition with songs like True Believer and Smokescreen, which may well be the, erm, truest Motörhead songs not written or recorded by Motörhead.
For three, they play with passion and energy like there just isn't anything better to do in life than play rock 'n' roll. I don't think there's another band on the planet right now who sound like they don't do anything else at all. They sound like they live and breathe this stuff and they'll carry on living and breathing it until the end.
And, for four, they're so damn reliable. The best thing about this album is that there isn't a duff track anywhere to be found on it. I've listened in entirety three times now and not one of these songs is getting old. Sure, I keep hearing bits of old Asomvel tracks here but they become new ones. Was that Full Moon Dog in Reap the Whirlwind? Frankly, I don't care. It's a new song, however reminiscent it is.
It's worth saying that none of these tracks stand out from the crowd the way that early classics like Kamikaze or Full Moon Dog do, but I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad thing. It means that there's no obvious single but I think any of these songs could be a single. It also means that, when we come back to this, it's not going to be to listen to this song or that one, it's going to be to listen to the whole frickin' album.
I honestly can't remember the last time I heard another album on which my favourite track is always the one I'm listening to at any moment in time, only to promptly become the next one as soon as it's done. Perhaps, if you really twisted my arm, I'd plump for Payback's a Bitch but I might give you a different answer in ten minutes time.
Lemmy, Philthy and Fast Eddie are dead. Long live Asomvel!