Motor Sister – Ride (2015)

The idea to put together Motor Sister came in 2013, when Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian wished for the band Mother Superior to reunite and play at his 50th birthday. And, he wanted to join them onstage for that gig. Ian’s wife, singer Pearl Aday, contacted Mother Superior singer and guitarist Jim Wilson, who agreed immediately. The line-up was then completed by bassist Joey Vera (Fates Warning, Armored Saint) and drummer John Tempesta (The Cult, ex-White Zombie).

Inspired by the song Little Motor Sister, the band fulfilled Ian’s wish and played at his 50th birthday party on December 31, 2013 under the name Motor Sister. On that very evening, the band decided to record and publish the 12 songs that they played live.

The band received very positive reactions, which reached Mike Faley, A&R at Metal Blade, who offered Motor Sister a deal. This led the way for a two-day recording session with producer Jay Ruston, where the entire album got recorded. The band’s debut album Ride was released on March 6, 2015, and has jokingly been described as ‘a newly-recorded Greatest Hits album’.

My 2 cents about the album

I love Motor Sister’s Ride. There is not one song that does not have its legitimacy of being on the album. The music can be depicted as 44 minutes and 50 seconds of pure and raw rock, with a brilliant production that highlights the earnest musicality of its band members. I would go as far as describing Motor Sister a supergroup, given its members’ experience and achievements.

Jim Wilson’s lyrics are clever and bring a warm classic rock touch to the songs. Nothing too deep, but there’s no need for epical lyrics in this context. Furthermore, they lead the listener through a easy-to-follow storyline that is sustained by a conceptually stringent sound-production throughout the album. For me, that is exactly what I look for in a rock album. No big sound or production changes from one song to the other.

Scott Ian’s and Jim Wilson’s guitar sound is heavy & clear and carry all songs. John Tempesta drumming is exactly what the songs ask for and the grooves motivate the listener to nod along. However, as it has been noted by, “The basslines, performed this time around by Joey Vera of Fates Warning and Armored Saint, still contain that blues rock sentience as interdependent melodies – which can be heard best in “Devil Wind” – but in most cases, they lie at the bottom of the mix, and it takes extra flexing of the eardrums to hear the great bass activity in songs like “This Song Reminds Me of You,” “Beg Borrow Steal,” “Fork in the Road” and “Doghouse.” Motor Sister may be the metaly relative of Mother Superior, but had more care been given to the bass, they could’ve had their cake and ate it too.”

Being a bass player myself, of course I like loud bass sound, but in this context I didn’t feel it was not loud enough, since my focus went to the guitar work. But that is obviously very subjective. Kudos have to go to Pearl Aday for her beautiful harmonies.

All in all, I can recommend this album to anyone who likes harder classic rock tones with grown-up attitude. Definitely one of my favourite albums this year.

Album’s grade:
Lyrics 7/10
Musicianship 10/10
Production 9/10
Concept 10/10
Total grade: 9/10

Sebastiano Mereu

YouTuber + host of the #FHTZ online music show with co-producer @simonkurt + marketing & digital content producer + university lecturer