'Bastards' was Motorhead's first release after the disappointing major label effort 'March or Die' and its title is significant: Bastards was Lemmy's original choice for the band's name, and it's easy to see this album not just as a return to form but as a reboot of the entire Motorhead project. Also significant is that Wurzel was drifting away at the time; his contribution to 'Bastards' is minimal, leaving the band as a three-piece again, finally.
They never put a foot wrong here. The first few tracks are as clinical and eloquent an expression of Lemmy's philosophy as you're ever likely to hear; midway through there is some surprisingly emotional and personal material in 'Don't Let Daddy Kiss Me,' 'Liar' and 'Lost in the Ozone'; and 'Bastards' closes with two stone-cold classics, 'We Bring the Shame' (possibly my favourite Motorhead song) and 'Devils'. These last two are peppered with psychedelic touches that seem to bring Lemmy full circle back to Hawkwind while losing none of the Motorhead crunch.
Everyone is on great form here -- Lemmy's never sung better and even reels off a bass solo, guitar solos are imaginative and never gratuitous, even the more routine tracks like 'Born to Raise Hell' and 'I'm the Man' are fizzing with energy and every performance is as tight and hard as can be.
'Overkill' will always loom large in the Motorhead catalogue and in the history of hard rock generally. But pick up that, 'Bastards' and 'Inferno' -- three albums spanning three decades -- and I think you've got the very best of Motorhead.