There's something comforting about Lemmy continuing to record. The Motörhead frontman has cheated death and, almost just as improbably, irrelevance. The band has never wavered in their approach of producing relentlessly pumping high octane rock as loud as can possibly be performed. The formula works so why mess with it?
Aftershock, the band's 21st album, begins with a customary jolt. "Heartbreaker" is vintage Motörhead. Hard-charging down-strummed riff that leads to a pre-chorus that nestles right on the razor's edge. This all gives way to Lemmy impossibly in-tune spewing of the song's title. The band dives headlong into their roots with "Lost Woman Blues". At 67, Lemmy should not be able to continue to thrash like this. He has had incredible support over the last 40 years. Over half of that time, Mikkey Dee has been one of metal's greatest drummers. Guitarist Phil Campbell is hardly a slouch either, turning in a breakneck riff in "End Of Time".
"Do You Believe" tells us that rock and roll is what Lemmy believes in. That is abundantly clear. The one true misstep comes when they take the proverbial foot off the throttle in "Dust and Glass". All is forgiven by the time you get to "Queen of the Damned" as the trio hammers through the just over two and a half minutes with reckless abandon. "Knife" is a bid of a slower number but it is certainly no less heavy. There's just enough room in between thundering chords to breathe. The album's entire final third just roars triumphantly.
With the recent health scare that befell Lemmy over the summer looming, the bassist recently told Classic Rock Magazine, "It was nothing. I'm over it." A diabetic with a heart defibrillator, the man has already beaten the odds a million times over. With a lifestyle as tumultuous as his music, it would be nice to think he still has a ways to go. That wouldn't really be keeping with the tradition of Motörhead, though. No band has ever been so determined to burn out before fading away while avoiding disintegration. Aftershock (which comes out Oct 22) is a worthy chapter in the group's legacy. Hopefully, it's nowhere near the last.