Motörhead’s still göt it

After the release of its 20th album, the music world’s favorite umlaut is back.

Martina Marosi

âÄúThe World is YoursâÄù

Artist: Motörhead

Label: Motörhead Music / EMI Music Services

The albumâÄôs title grandly declares that âÄúThe World is Yours,âÄù but the lyrics to MotörheadâÄôs 20th studio album read like a hate letter to the listener, all sung with front man LemmyâÄôs guttural vocals, which his fans have come to know and love.

After a brief, throttling drumroll, âÄúThe World is YoursâÄù roars to life with âÄúBorn to Lose,âÄù a four-minute pounding of frenzied guitar and unabashed vocal abrasion that leave absolutely no holds barred on setting the tone for the rest of the record.

Creator, frontman and songwriter Ian Fraser Kilmister, better known as Lemmy, is MotörheadâÄôs single mainstay since its birth in 1975. Sustaining fame and a diehard fan base for 30 years running, Lemmy has managed to maintain a fresh anger and, even at the tender age of 65, still refuses complacency.

The true nature of the cover phrase, however, surfaces in track sevenâÄôs âÄúBrotherhood of Man,âÄù where Lemmy wails, âÄúWe put our faith in maniacs/the triumph of the will âĦ We are disease upon the world.âÄù From what Lemmy sings about manâÄôs many foibles, we are responsible for the dismal state of international affairs, rather than being offered a leadership position.

The lyrics, though candid and brash, contain the loving touch of enigma âÄî just enough to keep the diligent listener interested âÄî rather than solely banging his or her head along in joyous amusement.

The nod to âÄúThe Triumph of the WillâÄù calls to mind Leni RiefenstahlâÄôs iconic Nazi propaganda film of the same name, and Lemmy may have borrowed âÄúThe World is YoursâÄù from the original 1932 âÄúScarfaceâÄù courtesy Howard Hawks, in which the phrase appears as a flashing sign.

The history peppered into the album is no coincidence, however, and itâÄôs worth noting that Lemmy is an active collector of World War II memorabilia.

Track sixâÄôs âÄúWaiting for the SnakeâÄù is of course another metal thriller which portends doom. However, it has a promising heavy and slower opener which is used as a refrain later in the song. These brief, intermittent departures from MotörheadâÄôs typical guitar-driven urgency make âÄúWaiting for the SnakeâÄù the highlight of the album.

Recently, Lemmy was made the subject of an eponymous documentary, shot by two superfans over the span of three years. Released this Tuesday, the film is a portrait of MotörheadâÄôs ineffable badassery with interviews from family, friends, former bandmates, musical peers and admirers testifying as such.

Featuring the praises of rock music heavyweights like Ozzy Osbourne, Slash, Alice Cooper and literal heavyweight wrestler Triple H, âÄúLemmyâÄù is a tribute documentary made in the style of an extended âÄúBehind the MusicâÄù special which builds, rather than dismantles, the legend.

âÄúThe World is YoursâÄù fits nicely within MotörheadâÄôs typical repertoire. LemmyâÄôs unchanging demeanor manifests itself through the decades-running consistency of his musical style. As he declares, âÄúIâÄôm in love with rock âÄônâÄô roll/If thatâÄôs all there is/It ainâÄôt so bad.âÄù The romance with rock is clearly far from over, and the album serves as further confirmation of LemmyâÄôs total disinterest in reinventing himself.

While this general stagnancy in creative exploration is a recipe for disaster when it comes to most musicians, it would seem that for this cultural icon, itâÄôs a formula for success.

2.5/4 Stars