Having survived the "Robbo" phase that resulted in 1983's often unjustly derided "Another Perfect Day", 1984's double-LP compilation "No Remorse" introduced the world (by way of four new songs) to another revamped MOTÖRHEAD lineup. Ex-SAXON drummer Pete Gill replaced Philthy Animal Taylor and Brian Robertson was replaced by not one, but two guitarists: Mike "Wurzel" Burston and current member and sensational axeman Phil Campbell. It was this lineup that wrote and recorded 1986's watershed album "Orgasmatron", offering a new and exciting twist to the MOTÖRHEAD sound, albeit without sacrificing one iota of filth or attitude. It is an album that I still believe to be among the group's best, although it becomes increasingly difficult to select a single MOTÖRHEAD album as definitive, as each offers a usually consistent quality standard and a different all-around vibe.
A different kind of production that offered more clarity and a somewhat strange yet appealing guitar and drum sound was given to the album by Bill Laswell, a producer that had worked with non-metal artists like PETER GABRIEL and BRIAN ENO. The mark of a classic album can be attributed in large part to every track offering the listener a memorable experience. Beginning with the album-closing title track, I have no reservations about calling it one of MOTÖRHEAD's finest moments. Hell, to my way of thinking it is the best and most poignant anti-religion rock song ever written. In addition to a sinister feel, hypnotic groove/plod, and pure ugliness of sound, the lyrics are unequivocally among the best (if not the best) Lemmy has ever penned. Here we are 20 years later, and the contempt conveyed through Kilmister's extra-gruff gurgle and the monolithic feel of the track still makes the hairs on the back of my stand up.
Though the remaining eight tracks do not offer anything as epic, each is a righteous ball-buster in its own right. "Deaf Forever" starts the album off by introducing us to Lemmy's peculiar bass bubbling, those dry, choppy riffs, and the Viking drum stomp that Laswell captured so well. These elements, along with the monstrous backing shouts on the verse, still conjure visions of a drunken and hirsute band of pillagers. "Deaf Forever" is one of two classic MOTÖRHEAD anthems on the album, the other of course being the title track.
The song that follows, "Nothing Up my Sleeve", is a straight-ahead slammer with a vintage Lemmy bass intro and some wild and wooly guitar soloing. "Ain't My Crime" boasts one of the band's most catchy (and shamefully underrated) choruses, as well as this defining Lemmy line: "I'm low life born and bred, and I don't give a damn". The stop-start boogie crush and thunderous drumming of "Claw" make it particularly memorable. Closing "Side 1" is the speed-killing tempo and bad ass main riff of "Mean Machine".
"Side 2" begins with Lemmy's ode to the rock and roll lifestyle, "Built for Speed", a mid-paced iron and steel chugger with lyrics that will have you singing right along with Kilmister. A furious up-tempo track, "Ridin' with the Driver", follows then gives way to another underrated (and often-played live selection) monster called "Dr. Rock" that boasts more of Lemmy's tongue-in-cheek lyrical lunacy and a locomotive propulsion (complete with billowing smoke).
This version of "Orgasmatron" comes with three bonus tracks that appeared on an earlier reissue, as well as a 14-song live performance. As for the original bonuses, the live versions of "On the Road", which is basically "Built for Speed" without a developed chorus, and "Steal Your Face" appeared as b-sides on the "Deaf Forever" 12" disc. The alternate studio version of "Claw" comes without those gravelly backing grunts and lacks some of the bombast of the album version.
The live performance (warts and all) from 1984 at The Kerrang Wooargh Weekender in Caister, Great Yarmouth (UK) captures the quartet in its early stages, offering an (at the time) unreleased "Nothing Up My Sleeve", as well as "Killed by Death" and "Steal Your Face" from "No Remorse". Aside from "Heart of Stone", you can probably guess the rest of the set.
So there you have it. If you don't already own the original version (mine is on cassette fer chrissakes) and/or the previous re-release of "Orgasmatron", then this "2-Disc Expanded Edition" is an easy recommendation. Some of us now own all three.