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Motorhead's deluxe edition of Ace Of Spades is four hours and 11 minutes of beautiful madness

As you’d expect, the 40th anniversary edition of Motorhead's Ace Of Spades is metallic KO. Metal overload. Over the top. Overkill.

Motorhead - Ace Of Spades Cover
(Image: © Sanctuary Records)

This 40th anniversary reissue of Motörhead’s seminal Ace Of Spades album comprises 73 tracks. That’s 73 grizzled, glorious, gut-busting slabs of full-on rock’n’roll in the tradition of AC/DC, Hawkwind and… no, not the NWOBHM; Lemmy was always too full-on Lemmy to be tagged alongside Def Leppard and Iron Maiden

That’s 73 tracks crammed full of guitarist ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke’s wailing licks, Phil ‘Philthy Animal’ Taylor’s thunderous drums and Lemmy’s stomach-churning bass, his voice yelling: “I can’t hear ya!” and ‘The ace of spades’ over increasingly louder amplification, volume turned way beyond max comfort, amplifiers distended and bleeding. 

Remember how Lemmy had the mic positioned six inches above his mouth, so he always had to reach up? I saw Motörhead perform at Hammersmith Odeon some time around this album’s release, and he broke all four strings on his bass – opening chord.

As great as the original 1980 studio album is – and fuck, man, it is, with hit Ace Of Spades, (WeAre) The Road Crew, Jailbait and all – you ain’t lived until you’ve heard this box set’s two double live albums taken from the Ace Up Your Sleeve tour. 

Demented, distorted, beautiful, blossoming… Not metal, cos Lemmy always hated that word, even though the track Ace Of Spades alone virtually invented thrash metal and Metallica

Listen to Over The Top (Belfast, December ’81) – not a gnarly riff, not a note out of place. Listen to the demented vocals on Road Crew (Orleans, March ’81), Lemmy living every single moment, creating entire mythologies in a single song.

The beautiful madness doesn’t end there. There’s another double album of out-takes and rare tracks including an alternative version of Ace Of Spades that nearly beats the original, the collaboration with Girlschool Please Don’t Touch, of course, a 10-inch featuring previously unreleased 1980 instrumentals, a DVD of live and TV appearances, a tour programme, the Motörhead Rock Commando comic, even a set of five poker dice. 

As soon as I finish listening to Girlschool covering Bomber and the killer instrumental demo of Shoot You In The Back, I’m going to go back and listen to the whole damn thing again, carving a groove in the floor with my head.