Yer Metal Is Olde is a recurring thing that we’re using to fill up space while we scramble around looking for reviews of new material that is worth reviewing. The idea was spurred on by the swath of amazing and classic records that are turning 10, 20, or 30 this year. It’s crazy to think that all the stuff that we worship is really as old as it is. Time moves quickly, but these classics never seem to lose their shine. Still, their enduring quality doesn’t change that your favorite metal is fucking old.
The notion seems ridiculous today, but thirty years ago, Motörhead‘s career was assumed to be over. Their Another Perfect Day album, the first with ex-Thin Lizzy guitarist Brian Robertson, had alienated fans with its more melodic approach. The following tour had not exactly gone well either, resulting in the departure of both Robertson and drummer Phil Taylor, leaving Lemmy as (briefly) the only member of the band. Predictably, the band’s record label was preparing the final nail in the coffin: a greatest-hits record, which would effectively end the band’s contract while squeezing every last dollar out of the back catalog. According to his autobiography, Lemmy got wind of these plans and immediately hijacked the project for his own ends – namely, to début the new line-up of Motörhead. The result is the now-essential compilation No Remorse.
Depending on the version you pick up, No Remorse includes as many as six brand new songs (that’s almost an album’s worth, for fuck’s sake). One of them is a little tune called “Killed By Death,” a classic in its own right and a staple of the band’s encores for decades now. “Snaggletooth” displays the sleaze and speed Motörhead is known for, and “Locomotive” is an (even more) coked-out take on the double bass assault of “Overkill.” There’s also two songs that are both called “Under The Knife,” which makes no sense at all. Overall, the new tracks proved that Lemmy’s new band (guitarists Phil Campbell and Wurzel, and drummer Pete Gill) could easily compete with the classic version.
The previously-released cuts are nothing to fuck with either. Lemmy’s tracklist includes most of the Motörhead standards – he gets “Ace Of Spades” out of the way immediately, as well as “Jailbait,” “Overkill” and “Stay Clean.” A lot of the old songs appear as live cuts (mostly from No Sleep Til Hammersmith) rather than the definitive studio versions. Various collaborations with Girlschool and Wendy O. Williams appear too, as well as rare b-sides such as “Steal Your Face” and the vastly underrated “Too Late Too Late.”
Surprisingly, there’s also a couple songs from Another Perfect Day here. Lemmy has always defended this album from its detractors, and he’s right, it’s hardly the sell-out move that everyone thought it was (that honor goes to 1992’s March Or Die). Regardless, “Shine” and “Dancing On Your Grave” are damn good songs, and they hold their own against the Eddie Clarke-era material. Over the years, Another Perfect Day has been re-evaluated and somewhat accepted by Motörhead fans, and No Remorse probably played a big part in that.
Lemmy might be more renowned for his drug intake than his business acumen, but No Remorse is strategically brilliant. Its status as a “best-of” meant that it was easily and cheaply found (when I was a young headbanger, Columbia House was practically giving this thing away every month). It touches on all the essentials, while including enough deep cuts to turn the average greatest-hits-buying poser into a die-hard fan in about 70 minutes. It is exactly those die-hards that have kept Motörhead on the road for the last three decades, and I’d imagine a lot of them, myself included, got their start with No Remorse.