"Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons" (Motorhead Music; 2016)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

After Lemmy died, and with him, Motorhead, I was seriously concerned as to whether Phil Campbell would continue to play rock'n'roll. I really had no basis for this; I'd only interviewed Phil once, and exchanged a few e-mails with him after, so the thought was all in my head. Still, Phil had been in Motorhead with Lemmy for over thirty years and the loss of such a legend, not to mention (in Phil's case) a bandmember and friend, must have been brutal.

So I was thrilled when I discovered that Phil would continue with one of his side bands, Phil Campbell's All-Starr Band. And I was even more thrilled when they dumped that silly name and went with Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons. I had seen them perform on Wacken in 2016 (thanks to YouTube) and i was impressed with what I saw. It was basically a show full of cover songs but it worked, Phil looked like he was having fun, and the band rocked.

But would we ever get some original music?

The answer is yes. Which brings us to the self-titled five-track EP, "Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons."

Let's get the obvious out of the way first. Don't try and compare this band to Motorhead. If you're looking for something that sounds like Motorhead, go back to the Motorhead catalog, there's plenty of it, and find something there. Nothing will ever compare to Motorhead.

That being said, Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons' EP still took me by surprise. Despite the fact I'd seen the Wacken footage and was impressed by it, I still didn't know what to expect from Phil's other band. I mean, the band consists of Phil, three of his sons, and vocalist Neil Starr and family bands are often the stuff of disaster.

There was no need to worry here. This EP kicks some serious ass. It's loaded with solid riffs, catchy hooks and, of course, incredibly blistering leads. Vocalist Neil Starr can really belt out the words, the songs are (with one exception) powerful hard rockers and Phil's mind-blowing fretwork is, as always, a highlight.

Of the five tracks here, four are fast-paced, heavy rockers that will have you banging your head violently, especially the opener, "Big Mouth," and the driving "No Turning Back." The final track, "Life in Space," is a softer number with bluesy vocals and calmer guitars. Still, a great track.

The bottom line here is this: The world is better with Phil Campbell out there still making music, and it looks like Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons might be the perfect vessel for him to do so. My only problem with this EP is just that: It's an EP. I'm ready for some more original music from these guys and I hope it won't be too long before we get it.

Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons: Phil Campbell - guitar; Todd Campbell - guitar; Dane Campbell - drums; Tyla Campbell - bass; Neil Starr vocals.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2016 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 18 Dec 2016 12:46:21 -0500 .