If you're reading, you know Motorhead, the diesel fuel of the hard rock engine. Over the Top centers on the classic lineup which included, of course, the great Ian Fraiser ("Lemmy a Fiver") Kilmister, Phil ("Philthy Animal") Taylor, and "Fast" Eddie Clarke. Subsequent incarnations actually made better records, but the grass-killing intensity and cranium-splitting adrenaline of the Motorhead depicted here left an indelible stain on the history books. Named for one of Clarke's earliest numbers, Over the Top sums it up, and the record swings violently. Yet these scraps, squeezed out between nightly gigs, lack the cohesive class of more mature Motorhead. Sure, the patented dirty groove winds through "Same Old Song I'm Gone," the Girlschool single is a corker curio, and the lyrics of "Louie Louie" are actually decipherable, but much of this ruckus really only calls out to completists. Many of these ditties suffer from bleached production or a lack of any studio finesse whatsoever. The road cuts demonstrate Motorhead's dominance as one of the most devastating and consistent live acts of all time, but note that Over the Top is intrinsically for avid fans and not the first headache you're likely to feel the necessity to spin. Plus, the thing clocks in at only 36:47, not giving much Motor for the money. Nitpick: Being as this release is for experts, the linear notes could use track detailing along with the generalist essay (And everybody knows Motorhead didn't write "Train Kept-a-Rollin.'").
AllMusic Review by Doug Stone