Like an unstoppable locomotive fueled by booze and speed, Lemmy Kilmister and company are back with a new album that shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. Kiss of Death runs the gamut of heavy metal, rooted in the classic Motörhead sound that’s been carefully crafted over 23 albums. Motörhead started with the intention of being the loudest, heaviest and dirtiest rock’n’roll band around. 29 years later they’re still going strong. Kiss of Death opens with “Sucker,” a full-throttle rocker that sets things off nicely. They serve up some sleazy, swanky 80s rock with “One Night Stand” and “Christine,” while “Sword of Glory” is a quick upbeat track in the classic British heavy metal style. Elsewhere, “Under the Gun” and “Living in the Past” showcase a thick and heavy chugging guitar.
The album’s strongest points are its extremes. “Trigger” is a rager with a fast, hard edge and a blazing melodic guitar bridge that explodes into the sing-a-long chorus. Another track of pure ferocity is “Kingdom of the Worm,” a galloping wall of sheer heaviness that serves as the backdrop to Lemmy’s malevolent, garbled rantings, building up to an absolutely skin-crawling chorus and ending with “Kingdom of the dead / Kingdom of the Worm / All men must suffer.” Lemmy temporarily hangs up his whisky-soaked vocals on the acoustic ballad “God Was Never On Your Side.” Despite using the cleaner side of his voice, Lemmy’s lyrics are just as angry and heretical as ever. The album closes with “R.A.M.O.N.E.S.,” a fast and straightforward punk number paying homage to the legendary NYC outfit that first appeared on 1916.
The rapid-fire hammer-ons of “Going Down” set the stage for allusions to some classic songs from albums past. Only Lemmy could ever get away with singing “You can’t mess with Dr. Rock / That’s right, don’t you even try.” With an album like Kiss of Death to back it up, you just can’t argue with that logic.