Retrospective: Motörhead’s “Iron Fist” Three Decades Strong

By Aniruddh “Andrew” Bansal

Today, April 17th 2012, marks the 30th anniversary of the release of Motörhead’s fifth studio album “Iron Fist”. For most fans, this is a special album, for more reasons than one. It was not only an excellent follow-up to the iconic “Ace Of Spades” album, but also ended up being the final album recorded by the classic lineup of Lemmy on bass & vocals, “Fast” Eddie Clarke on guitar, and Phil “Animal” Taylor on drums. Even though the current lineup has done wonders over the past two decades, the lineup that released those first five albums will always be etched strongly in the fans’ memory. I can only imagine how hard and challenging it must have been to come up with an album that would carry forward the legacy of past masterpieces such as “Motörhead”, “Bomber”, “Overkill” and “Ace Of Spades”. Despite the fact that “Iron Fist” was ‘badly produced’ by Lemmy’s own admission, the quality of the songwriting alone was more than sufficient to deem the album successful.

Just like the previous two albums, this one also starts out all guns blazing, with the title track itself. A quintessential Motörhead tune, it sets the tone perfectly and from then on the album never fades away, even for a single moment. Even though the title track is the most popular tune from this album, and remains the only one to be included in present day Motörhead set lists, there are tons of other gems on here that are often overlooked. Tunes like “Heart Of Stone”, “I’m The Doctor”, “Loser”, “Sex & Outrage” and “Speedfreak” certainly do not lack in rock ‘n roll goodness, and are right up there with the best Motörhead songs of all time.

Besides the legendary music, I can’t think of too many album titles that are more ‘metal’ than Iron Fist. But interestingly, Lemmy couldn’t come up with an album title at the time, and finally ended up using one of the band’s aliases under which Motörhead had previously performed, “Iron Fist and the Hordes from Hell”. This was shortened to Iron Fist, and that became the album title. Ironically enough, it makes sense that Lemmy couldn’t come up with a better name at the time, because in the thirty years since the album’s release, no one else has, not even Lemmy himself. And to add further to the album, the cover artwork is once again fantastic, as is the case with all Motörhead album covers.

All in all, “Iron Fist” provides a fitting finale to Motörhead’s much celebrated classic lineup, and just like the band, this album will forever stay strong.