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MOTÖRHEAD - Ace of Spades cover
4.26 | 79 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 1980

Filed under Heavy Metal


1. Ace of Spades (2:49)
2. Love Me Like a Reptile (3:23)
3. Shoot You in the Back (2:39)
4. Live to Win (3:37)
5. Fast and Loose (3:23)
6. (We Are) The Road Crew (3:12)
7. Fire Fire (2:44)
8. Jailbait (3:33)
9. Dance (2:38)
10. Bite the Bullet (1:38)
11. The Chase Is Better Than the Catch (4:18)
12. The Hammer (2:48)

The 2001 CD version has the following bonus tracks:
13. Dirty Love (Ace of Spades B-side)
14. Please Don't Touch (Johnny Kidd and the Pirates cover - performed by
15. Emergency (Girlschool cover - features Denise Dufort on drums)

Total Time: 45:34

Bonus disc
1. Dirty Love (2:55)
2. Ace of Spades (alternative version) (3:03)
3. Love Me Like a Reptile (alternative version) (4:16)
4. Love Me Like a Reptile (alternative version) (3:31)
5. Shoot You in the Back (alternative version) (3:11)
6. Fast and Loose (alternative version) (3:06)
7. (We Are) The Road Crew (alternative version) (3:24)
8. Fire Fire (alternative version) (2:41)
9. Jailbait (alternative version) (3:33)
10. The Hammer (alternative version) (3:11)
11. Dirty Love (alternative version) (1:02)
12. Dirty Love (alternative version) (3:51)
13. Fast and Loose (BBC session) (4:18)
14. Live to Win (BBC session) (3:33)
15. Bite the Bullet / The Chase Is Better Than the Catch (BBC session) (6:05)

Total Time: 51:46


- Lemmy / vocals and bass
- Eddie Clarke / guitars and vocals on Step Down
- Philthy Taylor / drums

About this release

Release date: November 8th, 1980
Label: Bronze

Thanks to windhawk, progshine for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

"Ace of Spades" is the 5th full-length studio album by UK heavy rock/metal act Motörhead. The album was released through Bronze Records in November 1980. After a couple of slow years (in terms of success) from 1975 to 1977, where a recorded studio (debut) album was also shelved, Motörhead gained a little attention with the release of their self-titled debut full-length studio album in 1977. It wasn´t until the release of their second full-length studio album "Overkill" in 1979 that things really started rollin´ though. In fact 1979 proved to be an especially busy year for Motörhead who also released their third full-length studio album "Bomber" and the shelved album they had initially recorded as their debut. In that version titled "On Parole". Even The Beatles seldom released three studio albums the same year. But Motörhead were on a roll with both the multible album releases and lots of touring, and "Ace of Spades" more than continued their momentum, and ultimately went on to become their most commercially successful release. It was also the first Motörhead release to see a decent distribution in the US, which was handled by Mercury Records.

"Ace of Spades" was recorded in August and September of 1980 at Jackson's Studios, Rickmansworth, England with producer Vic Maile. The band have often since in interviews spoken positively about Vic Maile, who understood how to handle the wild partying band in the studio and make them perform to the best of their abilities, but also for his ability to bring their loud and raw sound to tape without applying too much polish, but still with a clarity where you´re able to hear the details. To my ears it´s not a perfect production and especially the drum sound leaves a bit to be desired, but overall the sound suits the music well. The band sound as savage as on previous releases. The delivery is organic, gritty, and raw, but it shouldn´t be interpreted as if the trio of Eddie Clarke (guitars), Lemmy Kilmister (Vocals, Bass), and Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor (drums) can´t play, because that´s far from the truth.

The original version of the album features 12 tracks and a full playing time of 36:42 minutes. All tracks are blues based no nonsense rock´n´roll played loud and with a filthy attitude. It´s distorted, it´s ugly, and it´s presented in a primal raw form that´s not far from sounding like it was recorded live (which it isn´t). The tracks deal with ladies, sex, gambling, and life on the road, so all in all just your regular rock´n´roll subject matter. It´s the iconic opening title track (which is also one of the fastest and most hard edged tracks on the album) which most people know off this album, but there are several other great tracks featured here like "Love Me Like a Reptile", "(We Are) The Road Crew", and "The Chase Is Better Than the Catch". Not all tracks are equally memorable though, and in that regard "Ace of Spades" is actually not the most consistent quality release by Motörhead, despite it´s now legendary status.

Upon conclusion "Ace of Spades" does deserve it´s prominent place in rock´n´roll history though, as it´s predominantly a high quality release featuring some really catchy and powerful music. Had all tracks been as memorable as the tracks mentioned above, I would have rated this with a 5 star (100%) rating in a heartbeat, but as that´s not the case a 4 star (80%) rating will do.
Motorhead handed off production of this one to Vic Maile, and they've gone on the record as saying that Vic was able to bring out the best in the band - both in terms of the production and in terms of their performance in the studio. I can believe it listening to Ace of Spades. The title track is, of course, Motorhead's most famous song, and the album itself is probably the Motorhead disc which is best known - and it deserves to be, because there's no hint of commercial compromise about it.

Rather than diluting their sound to attain a wider audience, Motorhead simply went into the studio and gave the best performance they could muster, with Maile's production giving listeners the clearest picture yet of just what the band were getting up to. Lemmy's "lead bassist" approach is on full show here, with Fast Eddie's lead guitar striving to keep up - and succeeding wonderfully. In terms of the songwriting, once again careful listeners will realise that Motorhead's customary declaration at concerts that "We play rock 'n' roll" is no empty boast - underpinning many of the tracks are classic rock and roll riffs and song structures, given a blinding, ferocious energy by the metal as hell performances and Lemmy's iconic throaty roar.

If you haven't started exploring Motorhead's discography, this is an ideal place to start; it's the obvious choice, sure, but that doesn't mean it isn't also the best choice. If you already own a Motorhead album or two but don't have this one yet, it's worth a shot. The only downside of Ace of Spades is that it leaves otherwise great albums like Overkill and Bomber in the shade; it's such a good album, even a band as great as Motorhead can't always live up to its standards.
The fourth album that was released by the British heavy metal trio in 1980 was cited as the blueprint of early breeding of power and thrash metal. While it was a breakthrough innovation back then, this album is clearly obsolete in my ears and after couple of listens, I think the excitement is gone and you will find it's hard to look for many standout tracks. Don't get me wrong, this is surely not a bad album, in fact, it's pretty good, but labeling it more than 3.5 stars is just too much in my opinion.

If you take a good listen to each of the tracks presented here, you will find a very close similarity with one another, so we came to an early conclusion that "Ace of Spades" lacks of variety and tends to be a bit monotonous. The title track is one hell of a song which also a classic Motörhead anthem but "Jailbait" is surprisingly better than that one. Other couple of cool songs they made here are "Love Me Like A Reptile" and "Dance", but the rest are mostly generic, average, and forgettable. To sum up, "Ace of Spades" is a decent buy with no horrible tracks inside and a nice reflection of the band's early career.

Members reviews

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