Since the very sad demise of the infamous Mr Lemmy Kilmister late in 2015, I’m sure many devoted Motorhead fans were asking themselves “What’s next?”
Ex Motorhead axeman Phil Campbell may well have offered up a glimpse of the future with his new 5 piece outfit PHIL CAMPBELL and the BASTARD SONS, and the release of the self-titled debut 5 track EP. The band is made up of himself and 3 of his sons, Todd, Dane and Tyla, along with the only non-family member, vocalist Neil Starr.
I have a feeling this EP will divide opinions right down the middle? Fans of Motorhead and Campbell will either love it or hate it.
I’ll set out by saying, if you are expecting a true homage to Lemmy or Motorhead, you’ll be sadly disappointed. The EP is a collection of beautifully produced rock songs, but offers up a very eclectic mix of genres, not just between tracks, but within every song.
The CD opener “BIG MOUTH”, starts off with an alternative-rock style intro which then descends into a more classic rock sound. This pattern continues to weave in and out the entire song, the only exception being the solo which dances with a more upbeat standard rock theme.
Second song “SPIDERS” is definitely the standout number for me. Neil Starr delivers an exceptional vocal on this one, and the whole southern doom feel to the track works incredibly well. The mesmerizing solo in brilliantly executed and ups the ante big time!
The next track “TAKE AIM” has a distinctly Grunge element to it, and takes you back to the original days of the Seattle, early 90’s sound. This is certainly the case in the first section at least, before settling down to a more Sabbath sounding feel in the middle, before returning to a grungy end.
Fourth song “NO TURNING BACK” is an obvious hat tilt to MOTORHEAD. Indeed, from the very start it delivers a well tried and tested old school Rock ‘n Roll backbeat and classic Motorhead riffs to die for. Definitely more up tempo than the previous numbers and albeit missing the distinctive Lemmy vocals, it will hit the spot for some Motorhead fans. There is no doubt Starr can boast great vocal ability, but Lemmy he is not, and it would have been very interesting to have heard Mr Kilmister’s take on it?
Lastly we are left with an unexpected ballad “LIFE IN SPACE”. Not a lot to be said about this one really. It does have a slight tinge of ALTER BRIDGE mixed with a bluesy rock edge. Certainly nothing to write home about, but again a well-produced sound and an opportunity to showcase Starr’s softer vocal side.
All in all a great start for this new band, and hopefully they’ll continue to grow and develop their own unique style as time goes on. More than worthy of a listen if you get the chance.
Review by Helen Westby