“We're the Bastards”

By Colonel Angus

Phil Campbell commands a lot of respect.  He was the longest serving guitarist for MOTORHEAD and he is on some of their best records including “Bastards”, “Hammered”, and “Overnight Sensation”.  Right off the bat, I gave this more than a fair listen before writing a single word for this review because someone with such a pedigree of releases deserves more than a casual spin.  I thought “The Age Of Absurdity” was a great release and although there was a bit of MOTORHEAD in the mix, it wasn’t a rip off and there was a fair bit of other influences thrown in. 

 This new disk, “We’re The Bastards”, is also a mixed bag of style yet somehow the whole things works well together.  Sure, we do get plenty of Campbell’s previous band on “Animals”, “Hate Machine”, and “Destroyed” but after spending three decades in said group, he was just as much a part of their sound as Lemmy.  “Born to Roam” and “Desert Song” both have hints of southern rock with the latter even possessing a cool AEROSMITH vibe.  Elsewhere, we get some great straight ahead rockers that have a great stomping swagger to them.  Tracks like “Promises and Poison”, “Bite My Tongue” and “Keep Your Jacket” benefit from that simple approach but they each possess this great rock n’ roll attitude that is missing from much of the music today.  The record closes on what has turned out to be my favorite track from the band.  “Waves” is a bluesy song that builds as it progresses into quite the hard rocker towards the end.  It also contains one of the best guitar solos off the record with its emotional feel that fits perfectly with the rest of the song.

The Campbell family are quite the group.  When I first read about this new venture, I was a little skeptical as nepotism doesn’t always equate to success whether it be business or music.  In this case, thankfully the apples didn’t fall far from the tree and each of the “bastard” sons know their way around the respective instruments.  Todd (guitars), Tyla (bass), Dane (drums), and dad, Phil, are able to create some glorious noise on the more MOTORHEAD-ish material, muster up some serious groove for the rock tunes, and even settle back with some great blues.  Neil Starr is the non-family member here and he does a great job throughout “We’re the Bastards”.  He possesses a natural vocal talent that really shines in a world where we get symphonic vocals or the guttural “cookie monster” style that is prevalent in today’s metal music.  “We’re the Bastards” is a highly enjoyable album and builds on already great catalogue.  I know, this is only their third release but this is quality material and should not be overlooked.