'Ace of Spades Boxset' Review: Motörhead's 40th-anniversary collection of iconic 1980 LP is a must-have for fans
If you're a fan and collector of all things Motörhead, mark your calendars because this news is nothing short of epic. The legendary heavy metal group has announced a brand-new box set for their iconic 1980 album 'Ace of Spades', dropping on October 30.
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of 'Ace of Spades', Motörhead is delivering the exciting project, which follows after last year's critically-acclaimed anniversary editions of the seminal 'Overkill' and 'Bomber' albums. The original US version of 'Ace of Spades' contained 12 tracks, and now, the new box-set has shot up to a total of over 70 tracks, including 11 alternative versions of hit songs, 7 demos, tracks from the 2005 deluxe edition, instrumentals, some 42 previously unreleased songs and much more.
The box set is being presented in new deluxe editions with hardback book-packs in two-CD and triple LP formats. There are a multitude of gems to treasure and keep your ears and hands full for years to come. Some features will include a DVD compilation of rare TV appearances, a previously unheard concert from the 'Ace Up Your Sleeve' tour, the story of the album, along with previously unseen photos. Additionally, the album will be released as an ultimate fan, collector edition 'Ace Of Spades' box set, which puts together a trove of era-specific content and the previously unreleased tracks. Even a 40-page book that tells the story of 'Ace of Spades' through never-before-seen interviews, a comic book, and poker dice that you can play on the game board within the box set lid, have been added in for good measure.
A single review wouldn't suffice in covering all that the new box-set has to offer, so we'll put up some points about the alt versions and new songs.
Heading straight to the alternative version for the classic self-titled track, the song appears more gritty and thrashy (one of the attributes of Motörhead many fans have loved over the years) with the tempo slowed down a bit. The drumming is wettened by splashier cymbals, there's dirtier padded reverb on Lemmy's vocals, and the guitar solo has been uncaged, more brutal, and extended longer than the original version.
Similar can be said for the high-octane 'Fast and Loose', although the guitars' quality is richer and gut-kicking. In tracks like 'Jailbait Alternative Version', noticeable differences are more in the recording quality. The original carries a punchier tone as opposed to the alt which widens the reverb to a more arena sound.
If you're a metal fan who, the previously unreleased instrumental demos are epic to zone out to with a pair of earphones. If your ears have gotten accustomed to the sounds of the vocals, the demo instrumental for 'Shoot You in the Back' can feel void of a key component, but the track lets the spotlight fall on the pure power of the music. It can change the way you think about the band, which may intrigue hardcore fans to new Motörhead discussions.
Check out the complete list of features for the massive 'Ace of Spades Box Set' below:
The 'Ace Of Spades' album, half-speed mastered and created from the original master tapes.
Two double-live albums of previously unheard concerts from the 'Ace Up Your Sleeve' tour.
'A Fistful Of Instrumentals': A 10” EP of previously unreleased, instrumental tracks from 1980.
'The Good, The Broke & The Ugly': A double album of B-sides, outtakes, and rare tracks.
'Ace On Your Screens': A DVD compilation of rare TV appearances from 1980-81, a live concert from 1981, and a 5.1 audio mix of the original album.
'The Ace Of Spades Story': A 40-page book telling the story of Ace Of Spades through previously unpublished interviews with the people that were there. Includes never before seen photos and memorabilia.
The 'Ace Up Your Sleeve' tour program
The Motörhead Rock Commando comic.
A set of 5 poker dice that can be played on the game board inside the box set lid.
All encased in a classic Wild West dynamite box.
A limited-edition 7" reproduction of the Dutch 'Ace Of Spades', with a previously unreleased instrumental version on Side B (while stocks last!)
The 'Ace of Spades' release 4 decades ago was a phenomenal moment in rock and roll history, garnering a loyal following of punk/metal fans and landing a spot on Rolling Stone's '500 Greatest Albums of All Time.' The album was the first record by Motörhead to hit the US and has continued to impact global culture and inspire listeners around the world and bands who would follow in their steps to carry the same attitude, full-throttle speed and energy in their music. As an a press statement aptly states, "'Ace of Spades' is ground zero for thrash, speed metal, and punk/metal crossover," and the box-set comes highly recommended and a certain must-have.