Iron Fist Special 40th Anniversary Edition
When the lead singer passes, the band either breaks up, or they turn into a nostalgia act. Lemmy (Ian Fraser Kilmister) died back in 2015, but his legacy continues. Today his label reissued his biggest hits, all freshly remastered. This latest product is an impressive collection of 40 tracks, supported by a book and some other tchotchkes. I’m going to focus on the music because I don’t have the book, but I’m sure the print items will be up to the same rock and roll standards.
There’s an impressive collection on the two discs in this Iron Fist set. I’ll open with “Ace of Spades,” Lemmy’s first hit. I ran into it back in the day in an anthology disc of up and coming punkers. This song stood out. It was a different chord structure than punk, and the vocalist sounded like he ate cigarettes for breakfast. This may have been the possible trigger representing the initial split between E chord punks and speed metal hard rock. Like punk, the lyrics stayed pithy and loud, and you wanted to spin it over and over. I find their cover of “Peter Gun” particular fun, it’s an old school spy song that works perfectly in metal. Lastly, there’s the title track “Iron Fist.” Naturally, it’s loud, it’s fast, it’s intimidating as all get out, and the metal style throws a visceral wall of sound with lyrics taking a minor role in the experience, but this tune is backed with all the dark, evil, and satanic fear of the creatures we fear in the dark. Lemmy’s always enigmatic voice is sounding a bit nasal, but it puts him up a key to create a weird harmony.
The two-CD set I’m considering here is roughly split into already issued material from the band’s nearly two dozen released albums, more than a dozen live shows, and their dozens of videos. Did this record send my generation and its immortal soul to hell? Of course not. I ended up in a desk job with health insurance. I’m sure everyone else turned out perfectly fine as well, even after submersion in a litany of “Evil Eyes, the Devil’s grip, flying horses,” and the horror loop of “Can’t go on, can’t stay here.” I love it! Grab a beer, rub on a demonic tattoo, and revisit the glory days of speed metal. Even mom will be tapping her toes by now.