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Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers: The Rise of Motörhead by Martin Popoff Review

The one Motörhead song that everybody knows is “Ace of Spades” and this is the line-up power trio that created it. The early days of what has been a forty year wall of sound are as expected: drinking, fighting, speed, but anyone even casually familiar with the band will find no surprises.  Instead, this is a comfortable collection of harmless reminiscences.

Focusing on the classic lineup of Lemmy Kilmister, Phil Taylor and Eddie Clarke and reading the transcripts of beer-laden late night conversations with your best mates, it’s like having a seat at the bar and hearing Lemmy and the others tell and retell all the old stories. We get the scoop on Lemmy’s last days with Hawkwind and the early days of the London scene where Motörhead’s speed and arrogance are respected by punks and aspiring headbangers equally. There is a generous level of detail on the making of each of the albums in those early years too. There are no insights or shocking reveals here, but good fun because as Lemmy makes it clear:   “We are Motörhead and we play rock’n’roll.”

Martin Popoff’s Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers: The Rise of Motörhead is being published on May 9th, 2017.

 

Book Review: Birthrights by J. Kyle McNeal

“But as ages slipped like grains through a sieve, the borders failed. Dragons, the fearsome spawn of the Maker, Steppe, were the first of the other races to reach the Land of Anon. Thus, like ants drawn to ripened fruit, Man, the race created by Jah, arrived. Men stumbled, parched and pitiful, from the desert sands and washed ashore like drift from the ocean.”

Epic Fantasy should stay with you, just as the feculent odors of the town of Dung cleave to its residents in J. Kyle McNeal’s debut Birthrights. But in Book One of The Revisions to the Truth series, the fantasy dissipates a little too quickly.

From the opening scene on a bloody battlefield, where decisions are made that will affect generations to come, I hoped to be pulled in deeply. The storyline, which revolves around two young men “entangled in a world of treachery” who must question all they know to be true and forge a path into the unknown, is well thought out but lacks the dramatic and emotional intensity necessary for the subject matter.

Instead, the novel reads like a young adult novel, with more focus on the two main characters’ identity issues (how they fit in, how they can prove themselves, whether they will get the girl), than the immediate crises at hand. And while that may be understandable taking into account the young lead characters, other older characters are treated similarly. For example, when the most powerful figure in this world, the First Lord of the Council of Truth, visits the Cache, a top level brothel, he is practically giddy with anticipation.
McNeal writes “When the knock finally arrived, Artifis tensed, his fingernails scraping rhythmically against the ridged bed cover. The first moment of introduction was his favorite of the experience. “Come in.” His voice cracked like a teenager’s.”

Other love scenes were equally awkward.

What I desperately craved reading this novel was grit. I wanted to be lost completely in this world and feel for these characters, but their lack of complexity and individual voice prevented a stronger connection. What kept me reading were the eloquently written and beautifully detailed background history and lore at the start of each chapter. Here was evidence of McNeal’s skill as a world-builder. My hope is that as these characters mature in the following books in this series, McNeal becomes more consistent. Bring the tension and the grit.

General-DC Comics

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