Motörhead’s impact on the rock and metal world is incalculable; nearly eight years after the great man departed, the Lemmy-shaped hole in our lives remains vast. None of the following bands can fill it alone, but it gladdens the heart (and deafens the ears) to see Lem’s legacy continue to spread, and his sermon continue to inspire. In that spirit, we here present an overview of the best bands to check out if you miss Motörhead, each one existentially indebted to the timeless ethos, attitude, look, sound and/or style of Mrs Kilmister’s boy.
The charismatic ex-Immortal frontman has fronted Bergen-based tribute band Bömbers since 1996, and since 2015 has brought a fuck-ton of irresistible Motörtropes to bear on his uproarious solo work.
Confirming the suspicion that all black metal frontmen would rather be in Motörhead, Dimmu Borgir vocalist Shagrath took up a guitar to launch Chrome Division’s Doomsday Rock ‘N Roll in 2006. Recent offerings edge more to the accessible melody of Another Perfect Day.
The death’n’roll subgenre was essentially the result of Swedish death metallers realising they wanted to sound as cool as Motörhead. From 1993’s seminal Wolverine Blues, something of the Overkill spirit hung around Entombed’s best work.
Lemmy’s patronage was crucial for Girlschool, the lasses touring and even duetting with Motörhead at the height of their success. Their subsequent career remained steeped in his influence, new LP WTFortyfive? (featuring a cover of Born To Raise Hell) still shot through with vital swagger.
High On Fire
With his riotous riffs, gravelly vox and road-dog commitment, High On Fire fanboys told Matt Pike he’s “the American Lemmy” so many times he started getting anxiety dreams where Lemmy was hazing him; he wrote them into the song Electric Messiah (“He’s playing bass and he’s melting your face”).
Shorty Van Camp is effectively the Belgian Lemmy, doggedly steering this Antwerp trio over 43 years and eight albums - the last three spaced a decade apart. We’re in luck: latest LP Hellfire emerged this year, Shorty’s gruff snarl in fine form.
This enigmatic one-man-band from Cleveland, Ohio have always deployed lashings of Motörheadbanging rock’n’roll among their blackened speed. It’s still not enough for bandleader Athenar, who recently founded the band Whitespade as a wholly devoted Motörclone.
Lemmy was an essential motivator for all of Metallica, but when bass man Jason unveiled his eponymous project in 2013, it was straightaway clear what template he was working to. As well as his own gruff vocals and fast-picked bass runs, the band threw two Motörhead covers into their set.
Nitrogods are among the most devout Motörheadbangers of all, their loving attention to detail so persuasive Fast Eddie himself guested on the German trio’s 2012 debut.
“If there had been no Lemmy Kilmister, there’d have been no Tom Angelripper,” the Sodom frontman opined after Lemmy’s death. Onkel Tom continues overseeing Sodom’s supercharged, war-obsessed rumpus after 40 years.
The London trio’s founding frontman Algy Ward got heartily sick of the “Motörhead’s little brother” tag, picked up after Fast Eddie produced Tank’s rambunctious 1981 debut Filth Hounds Of Hades and took them on tour. There was more to Tank than that, each record yielding tons of armour-plated fun.
One aspect of Lemmy’s influence often overlooked is his playful wit, and there are few rock’n’roll wits more playful than Turbonegro. Motörhead was always a vital touchstone for the Oslo rockers’ self-styled ‘deathpunk’, but with Tony Sylvester they have their own husky, hirsute Englishman ramming it home upfront.
“Like Motörhead but shit,” was this sludgy Hampshire trio’s endearing self-assessment when flyering for an early gig. They got better, but haven’t been seen since 2017’s fatly grooving riff-fest No Forgiveness.
Founded by ex-Angelic Upstarts bassist Evo in 1982, raucous Durham trio Warfare were the only band blessed (or cursed) with a full Lemmy production job, Mr K jacking up the dials on 1983’s blistering din Metal Anarchy. Their full collaboration has just been released in all its ugly glory as The Lemmy Sessions.
Lemmy always said their long hair was the only reason Motörhead were classed as metal rather than punk. Zeke remind us how salient that observation was, the Seattle hardcore vets remaining among the most committed graduates of Lemmy High after 30 years of speedy rollicking uproar.