Review of Motörhead: Ace of Spades

Please read Scott Coates selection article of Motörhead: Ace of Spades before reading our reviews below.
Quick Summary: 
Motörhead. Lemmy. Do you really need to read much more than that? Not really, you should go listen now and crank his songs while you read this review of their iconic album. Also, pour a beautiful Jack Daniels (Mmmm….JD…..). Though we differed greatly on this album on our opinions nobody could doubt that this band can get you pumped up. Please read the reviews this month in honour of Lemmy. As always, we’d love to hear your opinion. Leave a comment about your thoughts on this album.
What was cool about this album:

  • It totally rocks and is a very authentic album.
  • It mashes punk and metal brilliantly
  • You can’t help but get energized when listening.
  • Fuzz bass!

What we didn’t find so cool:

  • Ok, it is a bit repetitive.
  • Ok, it can be a little vulgar and Jalibait is a bit disturbing of a subject.
  • Cool lifestyle to read about but you wouldn’t want to live that way.

We have also implemented a rating scale that you will see below in the reviews. All ratings are out of 5.
Our Reviews Average:
Overall opinion: 3
Would we recommend?: 2.5
Influenced our tastes: 2
Worth the hype? 3
Read our full individual reviews below. 
Don’t agree with us? Have a comment or suggestions? We’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment or contact us.

Our Full Reviews

Scott Coates’s Review
Authenticity is powerful and hard to find. Motorhead is perhaps one of the most authentic rock bands I’ve encountered. They look the look, talk the talk, deliver the goods, and there’s no doubt rock and roll was everything to them, 24-hours per day, 365 days a year. Authenticity oozes on every track of Ace of Spades.
There are surprisingly strong parallels with AC/DC in the messages and themes on Ace of Spades, mostly consisting of tales about partying, drinking, women, and the rock n’ roll lifestyle. Except somehow you believe Motorhead meant and lived it a lot more than AC/DC. These guys were the real deal.
You can definitely hear how Motorhead informed the sound of so many other bands, many who achieved greater fame and popularity than Motorhead, but they definitely laid the tracks for a generation of hard rockers to come.
Shoot You in the Back features great underlining guitar licks that could power a dance floor at any rock club. Fast and Loose also has some pretty nice guitar riffs and is classic foot-stomping rock.
(We Are) The Roadcrew is my favorite track on the album and does an awesome job of telling the story of a rock and roll band. There’s no doubt this tells the true story of Motorhead and their crew. Fantastically honestly and it paints a wonderfully loud picture of life on the road.
Lemmy estimated he’d slept with more than 2,000 women and one must wonder how autobiographical Jailbait is? There’s no doubt a bit of jest involved, but this track likely reveals a layer of reality to living the Motorhead lifestyle that ‘The Law’ wouldn’t approve of.
While I likely won’t come back to this album super often, I have a profound respect for Motorhead sticking to their guns, playing and living authentically, and giving us Ace of Spades. This album’s a time capsule of rock and roll and definitely an important piece in the history of the form.
Overall opinion: 4
Would I recommend?: 5
Influenced my tastes: 4
Worth the hype?: 4.5
Darren Scott
Darren Scott’s Review 
Well shit. Lemmy is dead. I am not surprised, just bummed. Being a “youthful” 46 I remember getting into Motorhead a bit in my awesome 80s headbanging days. I loved rocking out to them back then but I will admit I didn’t listen to them much after the 80s. A few years back I picked up a compilation and I also loved watching the Lemmy documentary. I was interested as to what I would think when I went into this selection of the Ace of Spades album after so long.
First of all, since it has been 30+ years since I was really listening to Motorhead my musical tastes have expanded and changed. Almost immediately I was surprised at how much this album sounded just as close to punk rock recordings of the late 70s era as it did to metal pioneers such as Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and AC/DC. The next time you listen to the album, pretend it was released as a punk album and it stands up very well in that genre. I had a blast with this album, here’s why.
Motorhead, not unlike many metal, hard rock or punk bands, knows what it does well and sticks to that formula. Sure, they may not win awards for songwriting, but they rock, and they rock hard. Motorhead lead the rock and roll lifestyle and stayed true until the end.
As for the songs, I think I liked most all of them. Ace of Spades is a classic but I really liked Live to Win as well. These are fun and aggressive songs that make you want to party and slam back about a litre of Jack Daniels! Heck yeah!! If you are looking for gentle, moral music then get the hell off of this review, only Lemmy is here.
I loved every second of this month’s listen and I will be buying and listening more to Motorhead in the future. Thanks Lemmy.
Overall opinion: 4
Would I recommend?: 4
Influenced my tastes: 4
Worth the hype? 4
Scott GregoryScott Gregory’s Review

“You know I’m born to lose, and gambling’s for fools,
But that’s the way I like it baby,
I don’t wanna live for ever”
It’s with a heavy heart I review this album. While no big fan of Motorhead, I know how influential Lemmy was to not other musicians, but to entire genres of music. He was one of those artists that fused the old with the new and came out with something new, original, and destined to be copied by many.
Ace of Spades, a sampling of lyrics above, was the titular track of what’s considered Motorhead’s best album. You may have noticed in other reviews I have a soft spot for really innovative or just plain powerful baselines. This album doesn’t disappoint on both fronts. Lemmy plays base aggressively, frantically, and if you watch it’s more like guitar work than bass. Amazing.
Ace of Spades has a loose feel to the bass, while Jailbait seems to tighten up and thrum. Both songs are just so, for lack of a better term, sonically dense, and just fill the air. Honestly, the only thing that I don’t like about Motorhead is Lemmy’s vocals, which is clearly a matter of taste. Do I think he sounds like a heavy metal/punk front man? Sure. It just wasn’t my cup of tea when it came to the heavier side of the British heavy scene. I was more of a Johnny Rotten kinda guy. Anyway.
Could you imagine if a song like Jailbait was made today? Ha! “You’re jailbait and I just can’t wait.” Very poetic. This is definitely a throwback to another age, but, with its AABBCD lyric structure, aforementioned bass, and rollicking guitar, you can’t help but walk around the office singing it… under your breath.
The Hammer really appealed to me instrumentally with all the drops on the bassline throughout the piece. Very cool. Lyrics are pretty straightforward. Blah blah angel of death, blah blah I’m evil, Stop! Hammer time! Sure, it might seem pretty tame today. I think I had the same feelings about some of the tracks off the AC/DC album we reviewed, but we’re not exactly turning to metal for Shakespeare are we?
Please Don’t Touch! ERMERGERD! I could have hated the rest of the album (I didn’t) and this song would have made it completely worth the time invested. The only thing I love more than bands taking songs from my youth and smashing them is people taking songs from my mom’s youth and doing the same! This album could be recommended just off Ace of Spades and this song. If you’re going to skip the album because you’re just not into metal, Lemmy, or anything in between, look up this song at least!
Overall opinion: 4
Would I recommend: 3
Influenced my tastes: 1 (4 for influencing the people that influenced my tastes)
Worth the hype: 2 (It doesn’t age well)
alain-dupuisAlain Dupuis’ Review 
I remember hearing Motorhead for the first time when the professional Wrestler Triple H started using “The Game” as his entrance music. It was aggressive song for an aggressive sport, so of course it appealed to me instantly, but I never bothered to explore the rest of the Motorhead discography. So, what do I think of Ace of Spades?
I found that all the songs sounded pretty much the same. They followed a formula of fast n’ loud, which is fine. (It wouldn’t be Motorhead otherwise.) But, it made it difficult for me to really identify those one or two songs off the album that really stood out to me as great vs. what might have been recorded as a filler track.
I liked:
I really liked Love Me like a Reptile. The little bit of harmonization in the chorus was enough to make the song memorable to me.
The guitar solo in Live to Win was pretty awesome.
The overall energy of the album was fun. Kept me nodding along, and wondering which songs would make it onto my workout playlist.
I didn’t like:
Jailbait. Really dude? The lyrical content is pretty gnarly. Was that acceptable back in the day? I feel like you’d get put on some sort of government watch list if you released this song today. At the very least you can bet there’d be some serious Twitter wars.
Actually, I found the lyrics in most of these songs are pretty simplistic, and feature lots of repetition. Not exactly making anyone feel smarter. It certainly aims to appeal to the lowest common denominator
As previously stated, the songs all sound basically the same to me. Fast and loud and shouty and repetitive.
Final thoughts
I feel like any track off this album would be at home in a video game. (Particularly one that features skateboarding, or snowboarding, or high-speed driving.) Ace of Spades just has that frenetic energy and machismo approach to music that makes it appealing.
I liked this album much more overall than I enjoyed AC/DC’s Back in Black, both of which were released a few months apart back in 1980.
This isn’t particularly deep or cerebral music, but I don’t think it was intended to be. It was meant for meatheads to headbang to while throwing back beers and having a good time. Listening to it does get me pumped up though, like all of a sudden I wanna participate in extreme sports.
‘Scuse me, I have some backflips to do. “HARDCORE PARKOUR!”
Overall opinion: 3
Would I recommend?: 3
Influenced my tastes: 2
Worth the hype? 3
Greg-JorgensenGreg Jorgensen’s Review
Nothing like the death of an iconic singer to make you appreciate a band all over again. It’s even stranger when the singer in question was never an icon to me, nor was the band even familiar. I had always grouped Motorhead into sort of a second-rate metal club – bands from the 70s and 80s that were notable but who never really made the big time, like Megadeth, RATT, Whitesnake, and Winger. The only familiarity I had with them was hearing the chorus to Ace of Spades in high school. Beyond that, I knew nothing about them. I was a bit shocked to read they have released 23 studio albums – only 6 less than the Rolling Stones!
Ace of Spades opens with a bang, the titular song jumping down your throat with a full-throttle roar, which is great. Without even really slowing down, we’re into Love Me Like a Reptile, which mirrors Ace of Spades in its energetic shredding. Then Shoot You in the Back comes up and…it’s great too, but wait…is this the next song, or is Love Me Like a Reptile just really long? No, it’s definitely a new song. Boom, up comes Live to Win…man, all these songs sound really similar.
Repeat until the end of the album.
Not that that’s a bad thing. In our preview reviews for Back in Black almost all of us said that AC/DC does the same thing over and over, but we don’t mind because it’s so awesome. But for me, Ace of Spades didn’t have the powerful hooks or sheer power of an AC/DC album that made you want to pump your fist in the air. On top of that, the vocals on almost every song sounded like it was being held back a bit, like some type of aural Instagram filter had been applied to tone things down. Maybe it was my headphones? Nope, I moved over to some AC/DC and was rocking hard right away.
The one standout for me was Please Don’t Touch because it was a slight departure, an almost goofy rhythm. If I closed my eyes I could almost hear Lemmy off to the side going “Heh heh heh…” in time with the chugging guitars and backing vocals.
WsKFbvVI liked the album and wouldn’t at all complain if it came up on rotation again, but I prefer hard rock with a bit more bite. That being said, it’s hard to argue against the cultural impact and peer influence of Lemmy and his band…especially when there’s been this badass toy made of him.

Overall opinion: 3
Would we recommend?: 3
Influenced my tastes: 0
Worth the hype? 4

Motörhead: Ace of Spades

Ace_of_Spades_Motorhead_album_coverI was in the beginning stages of writing up another selection for January when I read that Lemmy Kilmister, lead singer and ringleader of Motorhead, passed away. There were few musical icons as well established, admired, and entrenched as Lemmy, who was truly a rock God among musicians. There was no one else like him and will likely not be another father figure of hard rock like him again. He talked the talk, walked the walk, and drank the drink. It was who he was – period.
While looking at Motorhead albums online and listening to some tracks, I realized I don’t remember ever listening to a Motorhead album from start to finish. I’m about 30 years overdue, so this month’s pick is Motorhead’s seminal Ace of Spades in honor of The Man.
While this was the band’s fourth release in the UK, it was their first in North America, hitting stores in November 1980. They were clumped into what was referred to as the ‘New Wave of British Heavy Metal’, but Lemmy always insisted they were simply Rock n’ Roll. Their sound influenced countless hard rock bands, including Metallica who credits them for much of their sound.
Pour a Jack Daniel’s (Lemmy’s favorite), turn it up real loud, and strap in for Ace of Spades.
RIP Lemmy – it’s no doubt quite a bit louder wherever you are!

Other Albums Considered