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Motörhead - Iron Fist (Reissue) Award winner

Iron Fist (Reissue)
by "Metal Mark" Garcia at 30 November 2022, 12:56 PM

There’s nothing left to say or write about the importance of MOTÖRHEAD to Heavy Metal, and even to Rock ‘n’ Roll itself. The trio is of the three pillars of Metal, siding with BLACK SABBATH and JUDAS PRIEST in historical importance. This gang is the root of extreme that Metal bears, the pioneers of the mix between Heavy Metal and Punk Rock (besides Lemmy always said that the band was a Rock ‘n’ Roll act). But few remember how “Iron Fist” was received in its own time, but this new reissue (a celebration for the 40th anniversary of its original release) of the album allows us all to a new vision on it. This album came to the world after the successful releases of “Ace of Spades” (released in 1980, and for many fans of the band, one of its finest moments) and “No Sleep ‘til Hammersmith” (released in 1981, and it’s a reference to many bands of how a live album must be), so the fans had great expectations on it.

But for many it’s a disappointing release, because even being as strong as all classic MOTÖRHEAD’s release, it seems that the problems with the original producer (Vic Maile, who worked with the trio on both previous successful albums, left the project in the beginning) and the change of studio had some effects, as Lemmy and Eddie stated on the press, something isn’t working as it must. In other words, “Iron Fist” is a classic, a massive tornado of energy and aggressiveness (the nasty and noise mix between Heavy Metal and Hard Rock influences with Punk Rock adrenaline is impossible to resist to) , but not in the same level of its studio predecessor. As mentioned above, the band changed the producer, so the choice was to have “Fast” Eddie Clarke handling the production (once he produced TANK’s first album) along Will “Evil Red Neck” Reid, and Charles Harrowell as sound engineer and Chaz Harrowell on the mixing. On the sonority, no one can say anything, because it’s abrasive and nasty as the band usually was on those days, but in a cleaner way, defining in a better form what the core of the trio’s music. But as usual for releases of the past, it was remastered, giving a new shine on the songs.

Musically, “Iron Fist” isn’t as inspired as “Ace of Spades” or “Overkill”, but’s an excellent release as well (reminding: MOTÖRHEAD is a legend on its own value, and didn’t grow as it could due the lack of lucky and many problems that followed the band during the 80’s). Songs as “Iron Fist” (a hymn of the band, a masterpiece plenty of energy and speed, with excellent bass guitar and drums parts, and with the personal normal snarls on the vocals), “Heart of Stone” (another fast song with catchy parts and what lovely guitar riffs and solos), “I’m the Doctor” (a slow paced song with many hooks, but not as bitter and filthy as usual of the trio), “Go to Hell” (the melodic side of the band’s music becomes evident, showing the heavy influences of this gang on 80’s Metal), “Loser” (a Rock ‘n’ Blues song with a touch of THE BEATLES on its arrangements), “Sex & Outrage” (another faster and simple song, with the abrasive energy of Punk Rock evident in many moments), “America” (another catchy song with some melodies on the guitars in a better shaped form that in the past releases of the trio), “Shut It Down” (this one is the usual filthy and slow song of the album, with the drums being presented in a good and simple way), “Speedfreak” (and its fast appeal is as abrasive as usual for the trio, but seems as a song that could be better shaped, but plenty of very good bass guitar parts), “(Don’t Let ‘Em) Grind Ya Down” (this one shows very good groove on the rhythms and sharp guitars), “(Don’t Need) Religion” (another pyroclastic and uncompromised song, but in a form that seems that it could be better worked as well), and “Bang to Rights” (a brutal and slow moment as usual, but again the idea that this song could be better worked is clear) support these words.

As an anniversary edition to its 40th birthday, this version of “Iron Fist” brings many bonuses: “Remember Me, I’m Gone” (a 1982 B-side for “Iron Fist” Single, and it’s a song that could be in the album due its energy and hooking appeal), the Demo versions recorded as Jackson’s studio (when the band was working with Vic Maile) for “The Doctor”, “Young & Crazy” (an alternative Version of “Sex & Outrage”), “Loser”, “Iron Fist”, “Go To Hell”, “Lemmy Goes to the Pub” (another alternative version for an album’s song, this time for “Heart of Stone”), “Some Old Song, I’m Gone” (guess what? Another alternative version for a song of the album, this time for “Remember Me, I'm Gone”), “(Don’t Let 'Em) Grind Ya Down” (a different version of the song of the same name), “Shut It Down”, and the instrumental songs “Sponge Cake”, “Ripsaw Teardown” and “Peter Gunn”.

On the disc 2, a live show previously unreleased, recorded at Live at Glasgow Apollo, on 18 March 1982 (some days before “Iron Fist” official release), and maybe these versions for “Iron Fist”, “Heart of Stone”, “Shoot You in the Back”, “The Hammer”, “Loser”, “Jailbait”, “America”, “White Line Fever”, “(Don’t Need) Religion”, “Go to Hell”, “Capricorn”, “(Don’t Let ‘Em) Grind Ya Down”, “(We Are the) Road Crew”, “Ace of Spades”, “Bite the Bullet”, “The Chase is Better than the Catch”, “Overkill”, “Bomber” and “Motörhead” are the last live record with the classic line-up of the band. And they show that the songs of “Iron Fist” work in a better way at a live show (due the energy of the band’s music).

After all, this new release of “Iron Fist” comes in a very good time, and it’s still as excellent as it was back in 1986, when a young future writer heard it for the first time (and bought a copy, and it was the first MOTÖRHEAD’s album I had in my life).

MOTÖRHEAD’s grip, the “Iron Fist!”

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 9

5 Star Rating

Disc 1:

1. Iron Fist
2. Heart of Stone
3. I’m the Doctor
4. Go to Hell
5. Loser
6. Sex & Outrage
7. America
8. Shut It Down
9. Speedfreak
10. (Don’t Let ‘Em) Grind Ya Down
11. (Don’t Need) Religion
12. Bang to Rights
13. Remember Me, I’m Gone
14. The Doctor
15. Young & Crazy
16. Loser
17. Iron Fist
18. Go to Hell
19. Lemmy Goes to the Pub
20. Same Old Song, I’m Gone
21. (Don’t Let ‘Em) Grind Ya Down
22. Shut It Down
23. Sponge Cake (instrumental)
24. Ripsaw Teardown (instrumental)
25. Peter Gunn (instrumental)

Disc 2:

1. Iron Fist
2. Heart of Stone
3. Shoot You in the Back
4. The Hammer
5. Loser
6. Jailbait
7. America
8. White Line Fever
9. (Don’t Need) Religion
10. Go to Hell
11. Capricorn
12. (Don’t Let ‘Em) Grind Ya Down
13. (We Are the) Road Crew
14. Ace of Spades
15. Bite the Bullet
16. The Chase is Better than the Catch
17. Overkill
18. Bomber
19. Motörhead
Lemmy Kilmister - Bass, Vocals
“Fast” Eddie Clarke - Guitars
“Philthy Animal” Taylor - Drums
Record Label: BMG


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