Twenty studio albums and various live albums into their career, it’s only Lemmy who remains from the “classic” Motörhead line up, but in many ways, that’s all you need. On 2010’s ‘The World Is Yours’, Lemmy, drummer Mikkey Dee and guitarist Phil Campbell (celebrating seventeen years together – Motörhead’s longest serving line-up) add little to their back-catalogue with regard to new ideas. However, this far into a career which has stuck almost rigidly to Lemmy’s original musical vision, they’re preaching to the converted. If you didn’t get the Motörhead ethos by now, you never will. And if you are someone who doesn’t get it, it’s likely Lemmy doesn’t care.
Recycling an already familiar title, ‘Born to Lose’ opens with a solid riff from Phil Campbell and it soon becomes clear very quickly that this isn’t a re-recording of an earlier Motörhead number. The riff may be decent, but it’s Mikkey Dee’s drumming which provides the moments of real greatness. Here, Dee pulls out all the stops, delivering something worthy of “classic” early Motörhead. His kit thunders out of the speakers with a great amount of power – spending so many years playing the intro to ‘Overkill’ must have left its mark. The guitar riff from the opening bars is replaced by something more rudimentary during the verses, but makes a timely return on the chorus sections. Campbell’s featured solo is full of wah-wah goodness and features a decent level of aggression. Meanwhile, the rhythm guitar riff placed underneath beefs things up further by delivering something reminiscent of ‘Mars: The Bringer of War’ from Gustav Holst’s ‘The Planets Suite’.
‘I Know What You Need’, ‘Devils In My Head’ and ‘I Know How To Die’ are archetypal examples of the sound which made Motörhead world famous. Although short on surprises, Lemmy, Dee and Campbell sound as tight as ever on these tracks – the furious solo on ‘I Know How To Die’ is possibly one of the album’s best and there’s a catchy edge present on ‘Devils In My Head’ thanks to a great shout along chorus.
With most Motörhead discs, there’s a slower, chugging number and ‘Brotherhood of Man’ offers one of their most threatening. Over a brooding riff, Lemmy recounts the fate of a world ravaged by war; a corrupt place where everyone has blood on their hands and murder is law. Lemmy’s vocal delivery steps down from its usual shouting croak and drops to an even lower register. In an almost spoken word delivery and Lemmy growls his way through some incredibly heavy lyrical content. A mid-section picks things up briefly as Dee sounds as if he’s gearing the band up for Campbell to deliver a killer solo, but after a couple of bars, the band drop back into the main riff in time for Lemmy to deliver the last verse. Naturally, Campbell squeezes in a solo at the close, but it’s quite understated. The chugging riff and doomy vocal are the big draw here – and this ‘Orgasmatron’ inspired number really hits it’s mark.
Lemmy and co sound at their most enthusiastic when they’re let loose upon a couple of numbers which are less influenced by hard rock and metal and lean farther towards old style rock ‘n’ roll. ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Music’ does exactly what it says on the tin, with Lemmy rasping his way through a number which borrows a musical aesthetic from very early AC/DC. It ends up sounding unavoidably like Motörhead, of course (especially on the choruses), but there’s a sense of fun delivered with a slight arrogance that’s often absent elsewhere. ‘Bye Bye Bitch Bye Bye’ takes the love for such rock ‘n’ roll tendencies to a whole new level as Motörhead speed their way through something which sounds like Status Quo’s take on Chuck Berry’s ‘Bye Bye Johnny’, but played with twice the aggression, served up with some mildly distubing misogyny. While Motörhead can often be accused to recycling tried-and-tested musical formulas and lyrical ideas, the energy behind this number proves the sparks of brilliance are still very much there.
Measured up against a few of their other 21st Century releases, ‘The World Is Yours’ may not match the greatness 2004’s ‘Inferno’, or deliver it’s songs at the blistering speed of the best moments of 2000’s ‘We Are Motörhead’, but it’s almost certainly as good as ‘Kiss of Death’ or ‘Motörizer’. The unconvinced are likely to remain unconvinced, but for the dedicated Motörfan, there are more than enough gems here.