ALBUM REVIEW: Motörhead – Bad Magic: Seriously Bad Magic

Reissues of albums are a funny thing especially in the modern age. If you bundle a track on the end you have to be certain that the audience cannot get it elsewhere. So what you end up needing to sell is something fresh and interesting by a well loved artist. Needless to say that MOTÖRHEAD meets this requirement. Their newest album entitled Bad Magic: Seriously Bad Magic brings a whole new album’s worth of live tracks, and new unreleased songs in addition to the original album.

The core part of the album starts strong with Victory Or Die before going through a solid display of what made MOTÖRHEAD legends. Fire Storm Hotel for instance is groovy, bluesy and distinctly hard rock. And it is here that I have to recognise that there’s no particular need to describe the music here. The original release was in 2015, it will have been played on national radio, in bars, clubs, at gigs, there’s been covers, probably used in soundtracks. A band like MOTÖRHEAD doesn’t drop an album that remains under the radar, the last album by a band like MOTÖRHEAD is circling the heaven’s unaware of even the concept of radar. You’re on a website dedicated to rock and metal. You know who MOTÖRHEAD are, you know they played Rock’n’Roll.

The main album ends on a cover of THE ROLLING STONES’ Sympathy for the Devil, which is fantastic. Lemmy’s voice relates the almost folk-like qualities of the lyrics in an incredibly apt way, like sitting in a pub while listening to the old boys in the corner spin their yarns. This is followed by a cover of DAVID BOWIES’s Heroes. The instrumentation here is largely spot on with it having almost the same feeling as the original but feeling slightly muted in its vocals. I have to say that a band like this saying that “could be heroes, just for one day” is incredibly touching in its modesty. 

Then we have the two unreleased tracks Bullet In Your Brain and Greedy Bastards. The former is pretty standard MOTÖRHEAD fare, which isn’t to say bad but definitely feels like it could fit on to any of the band’s previous releases. The latter track however starts with a clip of Lemmy talking about politicians; particularly on how they don’t keep promises, and how they’re liars and a slightly more laid back intro. Lyrically this might be my favourite thing on this album. 

The way we treat the world we have is criminal and cruel, We steal the air we breathe and that ain’t cool, You really want to see your kids choking in the air, Greedy bastards, you don’t even care”

These words hit especially hard in the light of several notable politicians and parties backing out of agreements that would help the current climate crisis, and of course things like the tragedy that has just occurred in East Palestine, Ohio. I suppose this is a quality of a good sentiment, one that is capable of being alarmingly prescient. 

The album’s second half is a live album from the performance at Fuji Rock Festival in 2015. The CD contains a number of the band’s greatest hits including The Chase Is Better Than The Catch, Ace Of Spades, We Are Motörhead, and Overkill. The rest are slightly deeper cuts that are pleasant to hear but are not especially obscure. This live recording, like so many of the one’s I’ve ended up reviewing here, has made me reconsider my former stance of “Not being a person who enjoys live albums”. Instead the band have driven the final nail into the coffin and I must say that whilst this isn’t the most clear recording in the world, it’s the most MOTÖRHEAD recording. It’s loud, everything louder than everything else. I didn’t get to see MOTÖRHEAD live, but having turned this up to full blast it’s hard to feel upset about that.

This is a great album and is definitely worth considering to buy even if you have already bought the original release. It hits all the right spots and would be a great introduction to the band for anyone who is looking to get into them.

Words: Jacob McCrone

Rating: 9/10

Bad Magic: Seriously Bad Magic will be out 24th February 2023.

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