Heavy metal as a music genre may seem like just a lot of noise to many people, but there are millions of fans worldwide who will disagree with that sentiment. To those fans, the British rock band Motörhead have been an icon of the genre for decades now, and it is quite a milestone for fans of the legendary band that their iconic album, Ace of Spades, completes 40 years in 2020.
Ace of Spades was the first Motörhead album to be released in the USA, and was the band’s fourth album overall. Of course, the lead singer of the band, Ian ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister, sadly passed away in 2015, but his legacy is alive and well, and Ace of Spades is the best example of that. Kilmister formed Motörhead back in 1975, with their first album Motörhead coming out in 1977, and then two albums being released in 1979, Overkill and Bomber, which had firmly catapulted them to the top of the heavy metal listings in the UK. The decision to release Ace of Spades in the US was thus an ambitious attempt to widen the group’s appeal and fan base across the pond, and it worked spectacularly.
Lenny was extremely fond of gambling, and that can be seen in the lyrics of the title track and of course the title itself. It is then perhaps fitting that today, Motörhead serves as the inspiration for various casino slots on many websites. One of the most popular and famous of those games is named after the band itself, created by the game developer NetEnt, and players can listen to some of the band’s most iconic tracks while playing this game, which also has various icons related to the band serving as symbols on the reels. In fact, Lenny has joked that he was more into slot machines than card games, but unfortunately lyrics about spinning fruit are not too appealing, so it is quite a tribute for there to be a popular slots game based on the band in existence today. The lead single from the album, which is the title track, was released a month in advance of the album’s release, earning the band a lot of publicity and also getting them several appearances on TV, including on Top of the Pops, where the song was as high as number 15 in the charts.
The album itself has a number of superb tracks, and arguably paved the way for the likes of Metallica and Anthrax to come later into the space. It is absolutely relentless in terms of its tempo from start to finish, with the drumming particularly prevalent on Love Me Like A Reptile, where it speeds along in accompaniment to Lemmy’s sharp vocals. There is a superb guitar solo in there towards the end as well, which combines with the rest to create a superb metal song which has stood the test of time, and is still one of the most popular ones from the album after the title track. The band’s ability to bring metal into the public sphere and make it popular can be seen by the fact that this album reached number 4 on the UK album charts – and we are talking about the general album charts, not a specific metal one. Competing with other much more popular genres and musical groups and coming out on tops shows how Motörhead were able to bring metal into the mainstream, and a large part of it was down to Ace of Spades, which was definitely their greatest album, and is probably one of the greatest heavy metal albums of all time.