You know Motorhead: they are dirty, heavy, and LOUD. They are justifiably one of the loudest, most brutal and most iconic rock bands that have ever existed. Ace of Spades solidified the band’s position in the heavy metal and general Rock N’ Roll map, landing them a No. 4 on the UK Albums Chart and a Gold status by March 1981, less than a year after its release. More than 40 years after its release and after frontman Lemmy Kilmister’s unexpected and devastating death, Motorhead’s Ace of Spades album remains one of the most well-received and critically acclaimed albums ever recorded by the band Motorhead.
To be honest, no one has made a very successful attempt at classifying Motorhead . Iconic singer and bassist Lemmy Kilmister, drummer Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor and guitarist “Fast” Eddie Clarke successfully carved out a special territory of their own. Their ultra-loud pro-thrash sound is heavier than punk, punchier than mainstream heavy metal, and not quite as dark as thrash. They were satisfied to be called simply a Rock N’ Roll band, and a very loud one, too!
The most signature, easily recognizable song in this album, “Ace of Spades”(it became so popular that Lemmy got sick of playing it every night), makes references to gambling, more specifically the poker game:
The song “(We Are) The Road Crew” was meant to be a tribute to Lemmy and the gang’s roadies. Not all the songs in Ace of Spades have such a melancholic and emotional meaning, though. “The Chase is Better Than The Catch” “Jailbait” and “Love Me Like A Reptile” are shamelessly about one big part of good old Sex and Rock N’ Roll. And there’s nothing to be frowning about that. Motorhead is all about letting the good times roll, and roll they did. (Oh Lemmy)
Ace of Spades has an overall consistent sound, which went on to become the Motorhead signature: bassy, filled with dirty distortion, and lightning-fast. The brutal “Philthy Animal” Taylor lived up to his gorgeous name with his equally fabulous bullet train drum beats. Eddie “Fast” Clarke gave wings to the songs with his glamorous flying solos, while Lemmy did what he was best at: rocking out his bloody amplifier. This trio was the ultimate Three Musketeers of Rock N’ Roll, leaving no room for the audience to breathe with their spectacular swordsmanship.
If you are hungry for the purest form of Rock N’ Roll, Motorhead is your best bet. Ace of Spades is, the way I see it, the go-to album for everyone who needs an introduction to Motorhead, and the most poignant memory for hardcore fans, especially after Lemmy’s passing. One thing is certain: this album has and will continue to win the test of time.
1. Ace of Spades
2. Love Me Like A Reptile
3. Shoot You In The Back
4. Live To Win
5. Fast And Loose
6. (We Are) The Road Crew
7. Fire, Fire
10. Bite The Bullet
11. The Chase Is Better Than The Catch
12. The Hammer
Motorhead Ace of Spades: Album Review
Written by Gin
Feature Photo: By John Gullo | Sofajockey (Own work) [CC BY 1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/1.0), CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
Motorhead Ace of Spades: Album Review article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
Classicrockhistory.com claims ownership of all its original content and Intellectual property under United States Copyright laws and those of all other foreign countries. No one person, business, or organization is allowed to re-publish any of our original content anywhere on the web or in print without our permission. All photos used are either public domain creative commons photos or licensed officially from Shutterstock under license with ClassicRockHistory.com. All photo credits have been placed at the end of the article.