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Iron Fist 40th Anniversary Vinyl Box Set

Review by Gary Hill

Apparently I'm in the minority as someone who loved this album from the day I bought it, and that was the day it was released. I don't understand why it wasn't always regarded as one of Motörhead's best albums. Certainly it's among the most aggressive rock they've ever done, and the sound to me is just classic.  I'm happy that the rest of the world is catching up to me on this.

This new 40th Anniversary, three-LP set is so great. In fact, it's impressive enough that I've done one of our MSJ Bonus videos for it. We get the album on the first record, with the other two containing demos and live recordings. It's all well worth having, but it says the live stuff was a radio broadcast, it sure sounds like a bootleg recording, and as such the recording is less than optimal at times. The package also includes an informative booklet attached that talks about that period of the band and has some great photos. I can't recommend this set enough, really. Then again, I was always sold on the album.

You can see that bonus video right here:

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 6. More information and purchase links can be found at:
Track by Track Review
Side A
Iron Fist

They fire out fast and furious with this screaming title track. I still say that this is one of the most aggressive and great songs Motörhead ever did.

Heart of Stone
Not losing a step, they pound out with another fast-paced and powerful stomper here. yet, it still has a catchy chorus. The guitar solo is on fire, too.
I'm the Doctor
A more shuffling rocker, this is another scorcher.
Go to Hell
I love the chorus on this song. The tune is angry, hard rocking and so tasty. The riffing is absolutely classic, too.
This is classic Motörhead and another powerhouse tune.
Sex and Outrage

We're back into more furious zones here. This is powerful, angry and so strong.

Side B

I've always loved this song, too. It's another that's screaming hot. It has some of the coolest riffing of the album. It also has a catchy chorus.

Shut It Down
Here we get another trademark Motörhead screamer.
You would expect a song bearing the title "Speedfreak" to be fast, right? Well, this doesn't disappoint. It's a fierce screamer that works really well. I love the instrumental work on this. In fact, I'd say that this might have some of the best musical passages of the album.
(Don't Let 'Em) Grind Ya Down
I love the message of this song. It is all about standing tall in a sea of forces meant to bring you down. The cut starts with drums, and the band fire out from there in a trademark Motörhead jam. This does earn a parental advisory.
(Don't Need) Religion
The lyrics on this one are also a big selling point for me. That said, the main riff on the intro and breaks sounds a lot like "Cat Scratch Fever" to me. The verses don't have that vibe, though. Still, this song really rocks well.
Bang to Rights
This is another fiery stomper that is trademark Motörhead.
Side C
Jacksons Studio Demos (October 1981)
Remember Me, I'm Gone

There is nothing inferior about this song. It's a pretty standard Motörhead stomper, and that means it's very good.

The Doctor
I like this demo quite a bit. It's more bass oriented, and less edgy, but the song still works well like this.
Young & Crazy (Alternative version of Sex and Outrage)
This version might lose a little crunch, but not much else. It's still very strong in this version.
I'd consider this take of the track to be just about equal to the one that made the album. It holds up nicely here.
Iron Fist
This take on the title track is pure fire.
Go to Hell
I love the percussion heavy mix on the instrumental section on this. The cut is another that works very well in this alternate recording.
Side D
Live at Glasgow Apollo, 18th March 1982
Iron Fist

The title track leads things off on this live recording. There are definitely some issues with the recording, but it can't tamp down the energy and power of the band.

Heart of Stone
This thing is fierce and furious and just so strong.
Shoot You in the Back
Another classic, this definitely suffers from the recording quality, but the performance was great.
The Hammer
They don't let up on the speed or intensity one bit. The noise gets to this one a bit, though. Also, there is a fluctuating thing that lingers even after the song, a rising and falling effect on the recording.
We get that rising and falling issue on this song, too. The performance is strong, though.
That tape artifact is front and center on this cut, too. In fact, I'd say it's worse on this one than it was on the previous tracks, really marring the performance. The tape also muffles later.
Side E
Live at Glasgow Apollo, 18th March 1982

The recording here is quite a bit better than on the previous few songs. This is performance is pure fire.

White Line Fever
Here we get another driving rocker that works really well.
(Don't Need) Religion
They put in a killer rendition of this track here, and it doesn't suffer too much from the recording quality.
Go to Hell
Another that screams with power and passion, this rocks like crazy, and fares pretty well recording-wise.
I like this one quite a bit. There is a dropped back section with just drums and vocals, and the whole tune rocks out well.
(Don't Let 'Em) Grind Ya Down

A little noisier here, this still works well. The ferocity comes through with style.

(We Are The) Road Crew
Always a favorite for me, this song does get swallowed up in noise to some degree.
Side F
Live at Glasgow Apollo, 18th March 1982
Ace of Spades

You can't have a Motörhead show without this one. This is fierce and screaming hot. The recording quality on this is better than on some of the rest.

Bite the Bullet
This is another ferocious Motörhead screamer. It's not one of my favorites of this live performance, but the recording is pretty good, and the song has its charms. It runs straight into the next one with no break.
The Chase Is Better Than the Catch
I've always been a big fan of this song, and they put in a great live performance here. The recording quality works pretty well, too. Those two things make this one of the highlights of the live set for me. The drop back section that focuses on the rhythm section works so well here. too. That's another bonus.
There is a lot of tape hiss between the tracks here, but once the band fire out into the fast and furious song is clears up to some degree. That said, there is some definite distortion on this thing.
This early Motörhead stomper gets a great live telling here. While I've always appreciated this one, it's never been a personal favorite.
A song that Lemmy originally did with Hawkwind, I've always been a big fan of this one. This live performance is great, and the recording does it justice.
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