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Kiss of Death (Sanctuary)

Recent reissues of Motörhead's mid-'80s albums (Another Perfect Day, Orgasmatron, and Rock 'n' Roll), with contemporaneous live concerts as bonus discs, are nice reminders that these reprobate rockers never lost a bit of power. Indeed, the current lineup -- together since '92 -- is one of its fiercest, each album offering at least three or four new classics.

Kiss of Death is mostly up to the high standard the bandmates have set for themselves, packed with amps-to-11 guitar riffs and Lemmy's black-humored, seen-it-all lyrics. The trouble is that this time out, the band seems to be obviously rehashing old ideas, which was not the case with 2002's Hammered and 2004's Inferno.

The album's centerpiece, "God Was Never on Your Side," is the most obvious offender. Structurally and lyrically, it's an inferior reworking of "I Don't Believe a Word," from 1996's superb Overnight Sensation. The faster songs -- particularly album-opener "Sucker," the brutal, churning "Living in the Past," and the almost Helmet-esque "Be My Baby" -- are as gut-punching as any in the band's back catalog, but the lyrical themes (sex, disdain for government, the horrors of war, sex) are starting to seem a little shopworn. Still, how many other 60-year-olds do you see releasing albums every two years, in between relentless touring?

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