Motorhead’s 1982 album, Iron Fist, is among the more important entries in the band’s expansive catalog of studio recordings. The band’s fifth album, it was the last that featured the band’s original lineup of front man Lemmy Kilmister, drummer Phil “Philthy Animal” and guitarist Eddie Clarke. It was also a presentation that has come to be known as one of the band’s more controversial records. That is because of the back story of its production. Originally produced by Vic Maile, its production would eventually be completed by Clarke. The discussions on the changeup have shown different thoughts and explanations on what happened, but even Kilmister himself said in 2000 of the record, that it was among his least favorite albums because of the production. Now four decades after the album’s release, it has received another re-issue, its second following one re-issue in 1996 through Castle Communications and a second in 2005 through Sanctuary Records. This latest re-issue comes through BMG. It is accented by two discs of bonus content and new liner notes. This will all be addressed shortly. While the bonus content featured in this new re-issue anchors its presentation, the production of the original album really does prove somewhat problematic, proving Kilmister right. It will be addressed a little later. The various platforms on which the record has been made available are of their own note and will also be discussed later. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of this re-issue. All things considered they make the 40th Anniversary re-issue of Motorhead’s Iron Fist an interesting presentation that most of the band’s fans will find worth adding to their libraries.
BMG’s new 40th anniversary re-issue of Motorhead’s Iron Fist is a presentation that casual fans and the band’s most devoted fans will find worth adding to their libraries. The presentation here is anchored by the bonus content featured with the re-issue. The bonus content is being marketed as being previously unreleased, but that is not entirely the case. Some of the bonus content featured here was previously released in the album’s 1996 Castle Communications re-issue of the album. Among the bonus content carried over from that re-issue are ‘(Don’t Let ‘Em) Grind You Down’ (Alternative Edition) and ‘Young and Crazy’ (Alternative take of ‘Sex & Outrage’). ‘Lemmy Goes to the Pub’ (Alternative take of ‘Heart of Stone’) is also included here, carried over from the Castle Recordings re-issue. ‘Same Old Song, I’m Gone’ (Alternate take of ‘Remember Me, I’m Gone’) is also here along with ‘Remember Me, I’m Gone,’ which was also a Castle Recordings bonus track. The previously unreleased content comes primarily in the form of the instrumental tracks, ‘Spongecake,’ ‘Ripsaw Teardown’ and the ‘Peter Gunn’ theme song. That track is quite interesting in itself. The amped up take on the popular song is a fun, rocking composition that stands out strongly on its own positives. The same can be said of ‘Spongecake.’ The gritty sound of the bass and guitar together alongside the drums gives the song such a great garage punk sound and style that anyone will appreciate. When it, ‘Peter Gunn’ and ‘Ripsaw Teardown’ are considered together, the trio of instrumentals make for plenty of engagement and entertainment in their own right. When they are considered along with the other previously released bonus tracks, that collective makes the bonus content all the more a positive for this presentation.
Another bonus that comes with the album’s new re-issue is a “media booklet” that comes with plenty of liner notes and pictures. Sadly the booklet was not included with media copies of the re-issue so that item cannot be examined.
While the bonus content that accompanies the album’s latest re-issue is important to its presentation, being the likely difficulty in finding the previous re-issues, the overall presentation is not perfect. As noted earlier, Kilmister noted in an older interview that he was not overly happy with the final product that was Iron Fist because of the production. In listening to the original album that is part of the overall presentation, the production is questionable. Klimister’s vocals are washed out in comparison to the instrumentation. It honestly sounds like his vocals were recorded at a distance while the instruments were quite airy in their own right. Simply put, the production here is less than perfect. The thing is though, as questionable as the album’s production is, it serves, to a point, as a historical point for the band. It shows the band’s growth in terms of that aspect of its records. So again, while the production is hardly perfect, hearing the problems with this item makes for more appreciation for how far the band came over time following that record’s release. It is clear that the band learned an important lesson from the album’s production, and in turn improved from one record to the next in this aspect.
Knowing that the production of the album itself does not doom the record, there is still one more item to examine here. That item is the overall availability of the re-issue. According to information on the band’s official web store, it is available as part of eight separate packages. Among those packages is the presentation of the re-issue in a 2-CD set with media book, a 3-disc vinyl set with media book, 2-CD/media book set with t-shirts, and even a complete deluxe set that includes the re-issue on both vinyl and CD, as well as the t-shirts and media book. The deluxe set is listed at $253 while the simplest package (the 2-CD set) is listed at $20. The vinyl set is listed at $60. The 2-CD set with media book and t-shirts is listed at $79. This is all important to note in that even with shipping and handling, that means most audiences who are likely to buy one of these sets, will pay less than $100 for the complete set. What’s more, the 2-CD set without the tour t-shirts averages at $22.23 through Target, Walmart, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble Booksellers. Amazon and Target each list the 2-CD set below that average at $19.79, so even with shipping and handling, the final price will still be just over $20. By comparison, shipping and handling for the 2-CD set with tour shirts will average slightly more, closer to $30. The bigger picture is this: Most audiences are likely to purchase the 2-CD or 2-disc vinyl set. That set comes with the media book, so audiences will not break the bank on the most basic presentation whether through Amazon or Target. Meanwhile, audiences who are maybe more devoted will be just as open to paying higher prices. So again, in the end, the wide variety of packages through which the re-issue is available doe prove to be just as positive as the re-issue’s bonus content. Keeping that in mind, those two items and even the historical importance of the album’s production make this re-issue a presentation that plenty of Motorhead (and rock fans in general) will find worth owning.
BMG’s brand new re-issue of Motorhead’s Iron Fist is an interesting presentation from the company, which has also re-issued records from the likes of Sepultura, Saxon, and Overkill in the past year or so. Its interest comes in part through its bonus content. Most of the bonus content was previously released, unlike how it is being marketed. There is also some previously unreleased content. Having all of that content in one place makes for its own appeal. The production of the album itself is questionable, just as Kilmister had said so many years ago before his passing. At the same time, that production does serve an important historical purpose, so it is still important in its own right. The widespread availability of the re-issue in terms of various packages (and the outlets through which it is available) rounds out the most important of the re-issue’s elements. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the re-issue’s presentation. All things considered they make BMG’s re-issue of Iron Fist a work that most Motorhead fans and rock fans in general will find appealing.
Iron Fist is available now. More information on BMG’s latest Motorhead re-issue is available along with all of the latest Motorhead news at: