Back in 1982, Motorhead were riding a wave of success. After their seminal Ace of Spades album took them to the top of the heavy metal tree in 1980, they then scored a number one with one of the greatest live albums ever released – No Sleep ‘til Hammersmith in 1981.
How do you follow that? The pressure was on the three amigos to come up with another album. The recording of the album that would become Iron Fist began with Ace of Spades producer Vic Maile at the helm. As time went on though, the band decided that guitarist Fast Eddie Clarke should take over as producer (Clarke had recently produced Tank’s debut album).
Clarke took over as producer reluctantly and the band holed themselves up in Morgan studios and Ramport studios in London. The album was released in March 82 and did reasonably well, getting to number six in the UK. Unfortunately, it was to be the last album with the ‘classic’ line up of Lemmy, Philthy Animal Taylor, and Clarke. The stage show of the tour became Spinal Tap esque with a giant fist that was meant to open up but it malfunctioned more than it functioned! Clarke left the band, and he was replaced by Brian Robertson (Thin Lizzy), that’s another story!
Jump forward 40 years and we have an anniversary edition of Iron Fist along with unreleased demo tracks and a full live concert from the Glasgow Apollo in 1982. The Iron Fist album was always a bit patchy, and you can tell that some of the tracks were simply thrown together. There are some great moments though, the title track is still as powerful as ever, Heart of Stone has always been a favourite of mine, and (Don’t Need) Religion grooves like a bastard! I always loved that album cover art too, that metal fist is umm.. metal as fuck! The band did look a bit daft with the whole leather, studs, and swords bit though. It was the eighties after all…
The demo tracks are an interesting listen with some alternative versions of tunes that ended up on the album. The band are as tight as a duck’s backside and it’s fantastic to hear in insight into the recording of the album. Lemmy Goes to the Pub is an early incantation of Heart of Stone and its alternative lyrics are hilarious! ‘You never buy a bastard drink’ ha ha…
It’s not surprising that the best part of this anniversary release is the live concert. It’s raw, rowdy, greasy, sloppy, and of course, fucking loud!! Motorhead always sounded better live, the production of the early albums was always a bit hit and miss, I suppose that’s what we love about them though… they certainly never conformed to any norms. All the classics are here, Bomber, Overkill, Ace of Spades, We Are the Road Crew, Capricorn.
The 40th anniversary release is being presented in new deluxe editions. There will be hardback book-packs in two CD and triple LP formats. The original album is remastered, and we get the story of the album and many previously unseen photos. There’s also a limited edition, blue and black swirl vinyl version of the original standalone album.
You know me!! Play it fucking louder than everything else!
Author: Kenny Kendrick