MOTORHEAD - OVERKILL (1979)
And then there was metal. You can certainly make the case that Black Sabbath or Iron Maiden was more central to the popularization of metal as it moved into the early 1980s. But no one was more perfect than Motorhead. Because no one was more metal than Lemmy.
He wrote brilliant songs, played a ferocious bass, and couldn’t sing at all. Lemmy assembled Motorhead after he was fired from Hawkwind, and Overkill was the band’s second album. The songs give plenty of space to Fast Eddie Clarke’s roaring guitar and Phil Taylor's machine gun drums. But Lemmy’s voice is always a dominant presence.
The album does not let up for a moment, from the pulse-pounding title track through to the grinding blues closer “Limb to Limb.” Of course, there is variation within the theme, whether it comes from borrowing a ZZ Top riff for “No Class” or doing a Dee Dee Ramone countdown (in German, no less) on “Tear Ya Down.” They can flirt with funk or get a little bit spacey, but Lemmy’s bass always pushes past any possible pretense.
I could have easily chosen their follow-up, Ace of Spades. But that came out in 1980, and I’m not doing the ‘80s today. That’s for next time.