Sanctuary Records has released a vinyl box set for the 40th anniversary of Ace of Spades by Motörhead
Alrighty!!! What we have here is a massive box set that tips its dusty cowboy hat to one of the greatest records ever made, 1980’s shining jewel Ace of Spades by the almighty Motör fucking Head.
It’s true that these speed freaks went on to release more solid jammers before Lemmy’s untimely demise in 2015, but sadly they never touched the brute force, spit, rage and sheer velocity pressed into these vinyl grooves again.
The real question remains, though, for those of us who have already bought this record at least twice (I for one am guilty): Do you really need this pricey artifact taking up valuable real estate on your record shelf? Of course you do! I can say without question that this 40th anniversary is probably the nicest box set in my collection. If you were nimble and picked up the 40th anniversary edition of Motörhead’s 1979 box set (released last year, natch), you know the love that went into the design of the box and the sheer amount of goodies on display — and dare I say Ace of Spades actually expands and offers up even more.
Weighing in at an impressive 6.85 pounds (yep, I weighed it, what of it?!), this is packed to the gills with all the good shit that will get any ardent fan of punk or metal drooling. Let’s start off with the fun stuff that’s reserved for the real geeks. Once you get past the bullet-belt wrap and lift the lid of the box, you’re greeted with an envelope that holds a period-correct reprint of the Motörhead fan club comic book, a reprint of the 1980 Ace Up Your Sleeve tour program and a 40-page book bound in faux leather telling the story of the making of the record. Most importantly is the 10” vinyl of instrumental demos stuffed in a manila envelope. It’s jaw-droppingly good.
After that, this box really delivers the goods with a double record gatefold containing songs that are only now seeing the light of day as well as more rare and unreleased demos of the songs leading up to Ace of Spades. These demos are still in embryonic form so comparing with the finished versions is a great glimpse of their songwriting process. The newly half speed mastered version of the original record boasts far more bass thump and a detailed brightness that never fatigues. And to bring it all home is two double gatefold live sets from Belfast and Orleans in 1981 and a DVD that includes a new 5.1 mix of the record as well as live shows from ’80 and ’81 and period-correct TV appearances and interviews.
Considering this is now 40 years old, it’s amazing how much wallop this can still deliver while truly remaining timeless. The sobering fact that, much like the original line-up of the Ramones, the three outlaws that made this record are no longer with us is staggering. Even if you already own an original copy, this deep dive into this important record will have you just as thrilled as you were the first time you heard it. For those of you who have never drunkenly screamed out “You know I’m born to lose and gambling’s for fools/But that’s the way I like it I don’t want to live forever” in a crowded bar, may I suggest you crack a can of Special Brew, chop up a line of some cheap crank, find this on your music platform of choice and never look back. ■
For more about the Motörhead Ace of Spades vinyl box set, please visit its Discogs page.
See previous editions of Hammer of the Mods here.