Aftershock marks Motorhead’s 21st studio album since the band’s humble beginning in 1975. Staying true to their roots, Aftershock champions the band’s consistent track record by delivering their signature, hard and heavy sound – which is more than can be said about some of Motorhead’s peers.
Although Aftershock fails to introduce new musical concepts or an obvious evolution in sound, Lemmy Kilmister, Phil Campbell and Mikkey Dee have managed compose the album in a way that refines their old-school punk rock style. Possibly influenced by Lemmy’s recent health scare, the lyrics are penned in a more patrimonial manner and take a nostalgic, almost philosophical, tone.
Opening track, ‘Heartbreaker’, is an instant reminder that Motorhead havn’t deviated from their old ways, and incorporates intense power chord riffs that lay the foundation for Lemmy’s grainy vocals. Predictably steady tempos and transient guitar solos keep the focus on the distorted sounds that construct the heaviness of the tracks.
Songs such as ‘Coup De Grace’, ‘End of Time’ and ‘Paralyzed’ are perfect examples of the mortal frustration and sentimentality enlaced in Aftershock. Though the music is grungy, the lyrics are what alter the tracks’ direction from head-banging to forced introspection.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, ‘Going to Mexico’, ‘Do You Believe’ and ‘Queen of the Damned’ are enriched with the original Motorhead essence and comprise the rock-anthem tracks of the album. With fast-paced tempos and upbeat guitar riffs, Lemmy alters his sound into the vocal equivalent of a mudslide; this change in vocals is especially apparent in ‘Dust and Glass’ as well as the bluegrass-esque track, ‘Keep Your Powder Dry’.
Understandably, the band refrains from deviating too much from what their fans expect and this has embalmed them in a timeless sense; however, ‘Lost Woman Blues’ integrates deep-rooted blues themes and is heavily influenced by the era of Hendrix, ultimately revealing the longevity of Motorhead.
Aftershock may not garner much admiration from newer generations, but loyal listeners that have followed Motorhead’s impressive musical career can attest to the fact that none of their albums have ever been produced with public preference in mind. Ultimately, Aftershock provides an affirmation that Motorhead still knows how to do it and do it really well.