Almost two years ago, the rock world lost one of its great icons when Motorhead front man Lemmy Kilmister died from cancer. When he died, that effectively put an end to one of the musical universe’s greatest acts. That meant no more new Motorhead music. Earlier this month though, Motorhead Music–the band’s own label–released a new collection of covers from the band to satiate audiences in the form of Under Cover. The 11-song record presents a rarely heard side of Motorhead that itself is certain to entertain listeners. This is just one of the compilation’s key elements and will be discussed later. The acts whose songs are featured here are collectively just as important to discuss as the songs themselves and will be discussed later. The album’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements. Each element is important in its own right to this compilation’s overall presentation. All things considered, Under Cover proves to be a record that is an entertaining new offering for Motorhead’s most devout fans.
Motorhead, with the passing of front man Lemmy Kilmister almost two years ago, may not be actively recording new music anymore. With the release earlier this month of the band’s new covers compilation Under Cover, the band’s most devout fans were given an entertaining new release from Motorhead even if it is not a collection of new Motorhead music. That statement is supported in part through the songs that make up the collection. Considering that Motorhead, throughout the course of its life, was known for up-tempo blues-based rock that was tinged with some punk elements, the songs featured in this compilation show that the band was just as talented handling other styles of rock as its own brand. That is proven clearly in the band’s cover of David Bowie’s hit song ‘Heroes,’ which comes early in the record’s run. Bowie’s original work bears more similarity to works from perhaps Paul McCartmey than Motorhead. Yet, even in its slightly amped up take on the classic tune, Motorhead does Bowie’s classic justice while adding its own rock touch that is certain to get praise even from Bowie’s most devout fans. The band’s take on The Rolling Stones’ ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ is yet another song featured in this record that shows the real reach of the band’s abilities. Once again, the band largely stays true to its source material, while also adding its own respectable hard rock elements. The expert balance of those two elements here will put a smile on any longtime Rolling Stones fan just as much as any Motorhead fan. Much the same can also be said in examining the band’s take of another Rolling Stones standard, ‘Sympathy For The Devil.’ Those three songs alone show clearly the band’s reach. Of course that is not to discount the band’s covers of Ted Nugent’s ‘Cat Scratch Fever,’ Rainbow’s ‘Starstruck,’ and The Ramones’ ‘Rockaway Beach’ as well as the album’s other songs. Those covers show in their own way the band’s reach, though they are much closer to Motorhead’s style than the previously noted works. Keeping this in mind, the bands whose works are featured here are just as important to note as the songs themselves.
Listeners will note that of the album’s 11 total songs, seven were crafted by British acts—Judas Priest, The Sex Pistols, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Rainbow and Ozzy Osbourne. The other four songs come from American acts—Ted Nugent, Metallica, Twisted Sister and The Ramones. That in itself is certain to create its own share of discussion. Obviously Motorhead was itself a British outfit, but it could easily be argued that such an emphasis on its counterparts presents its own history lesson to listeners. It shows the reach of the British hard rock scene between the 1960s and 1990s versus that of the American hard rock scene. To that end, the acts featured here in themselves serve as a starting point on rock’s history on both sides of the Atlantic. That might not have been the manifest intent with such a lineup, but it definitely will create those discussions. On another level, it shows the band’s interest in so many different parts of the rock community at the time. Judas Priest was hard rock while the Sex Pistols were more punk (again, showing Motorhead’s roots). Rainbow was more of a progressive style hard rock while The Rolling Stones were that blues-based influence that Motorhead always added to its own music, too. In the same breath, Metallica’s Whiplash shows where Motorhead perhaps got its harder almost thrash elements. When this is all taken into account along with the influences from the other featured bands, Motorhead’s roots become even more evident. In other words, the bands and songs featured in this compilation form a solid foundation for the record. They collectively serve as a starting point for discussions about music history and about Motorhead’s history. Both by themselves and together, they do plenty to make this record enjoyable and are not the record’s only key elements. The album’s sequencing adds its own enjoyment to its presentation.
Under Cover’s sequencing is an important to note in examining this record because of its ability to maintain the album’s energy from beginning to end. The album starts out full throttle with the band’s cover of Judas Priest’s ‘Breakin’ The Law’ and keeps the energy flowing just as highly as it launches into its cover of The Sex Pistols’ ‘God Save The Queen.’ Even as the album progresses into the band’s cover of ‘Heroes,’ the energy still maintains itself even here. Given, it isn’t as high as in the album’s first two entries, but still keeps moving. The energy picks right back up as the album takes listeners through the band’s covers of Rainbow’s Starstruck’ and Ted Nugent’s ‘Cat Scratch Fever’ before pulling back again with two straight Rolling Stones covers. From there on out, the energy picks right back and stays stable right to the album’s end even with the change in the songs’ styles. Keeping this in mind, it is clear that plenty of time and thought was put into the record’s sequencing. That time and thought ensures listeners’ engagement from beginning to end here. That is because the record’s energy never lets up too much at any one point or even gets too high. When this is taken into account along with the collective value of the record’s songs and their associated bands, it adds that much more depth to the collection. That being the case, the whole of those elements make Under Cover a collection that will appeal not only to Motorhead’s fans from start to finish but to rock fans in general.
Motrhead’s recently released compilation record Under Cover is a collection of songs that will appeal both to Motorhead’s fans and to rock fans in general. This is the case even though being a compilation record, it does not necessarily break any new ground in the way of compilation records. The songs and bands featured on this record serve collectively as a solid starting point for plenty of discussions both on Motorhead’s history and on rock history. They also do plenty to ensure listeners’ maintained engagement and entertainment. The record’s sequencing does much the same. All things considered, these elements make Under Cover a collection that while not exactly new to the compilation realm, is still entertaining in its own right. It is available now in stores and online. More information on Under Cover is available online now along with all of the latest Motorhead news at:
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