AC/DC - 2008 Black Ice
ALBUM: Black Ice
SERIAL: 88697 38378 2
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
LINEUP: Brian Johnson - lead vocals * Angus Young - lead guitar * Malcolm Young - rhythm guitar, backing vocals * Cliff Williams - bass, backing vocals * Phil Rudd - drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Rock N Roll Train * 02 Skies On Fire * 03 Big Jack * 04 Anything Goes * 05 War Machine * 06 Smash N Grab * 07 Spoilin' For A Fight * 08 Wheels * 09 Decibel * 10 Stormy May Day * 11 She Likes Rock N Roll * 12 Money Made * 13 Rock N Roll Dream * 14 Rocking All The Way * 15 Black Ice
BackgroundEight years between albums is an eternity, but if there is one band who can get away with it then it is certainly AC/DC, who at this point of their career are entitled to do anything they please. Still I was a young man of 23 when 'Stiff Upper Lip' was released.. Regardless the band have made up for this lengthy span with 15 new tracks, the most of any album in their 35 plus years. Given the long wait I couldn't help but wonder if the band might recreate the steaming boogie of the Bon Scott years, the hard rock muscle of 'Flick Of The Switch' or even the good time rock and roll of 'Blow Up Your Video'. On those counts the answer is 'no, vaguely and yes'. You have to take what you can get from the legends and while not their best by a longshot, 'Black Ice' is everything fans have come to expect from the band, which is all they wanted in the first place.
The Songs'Rock n' Roll Train' is the opener and was the predictable lead single off the album, with it's 'Back In Black' era riffs and a trademark big hook, but somehow not as addictive as 'Hard As A Rock' or 'Stiff Upper Lip', the first singles off the last two albums eons ago. 'Skies On Fire' sets the tone for a majority of the album, plodding blues at an often excruciating pace, this track itself reminiscent of the 'Stiff Upper Lip' album. 'Big Jack' is my pick as the track of the album, a hard rocking cut about notorious Jack 'who's really got the knack' and 'always has your back'. The riffs are at their most solid here and its the most explosive track by a mile, AC/DC at their best. 'Anything Goes' toys with a style of riff I've never heard from the band, and it's all rather uneventful overall. 'War Machine' is an ominous rocker and a clear live choice one would imagine, heavy as you like, with Angus on top form. 'Smash n' Grab' doesn't live up to the title, rather laboured sadly with the heaviness toned way down. 'Spoilin' For A Fight' recalls the 'Ballbreaker' era, with a glorious hook well over the top. The opening riff of 'Wheels' is 'Giving The Dog A Bone' all over again and probably took the band five minutes to conjure up, even sounding like 1981 all over!
The opening riff of 'Decibel' is lovably cornball and this has shades of the 'Fly On The Wall' sound, only less raw, but Johnson's vocal delivery is so sleazy you'll be laughing out loud as he sings about 'standing proud' for the 50th time! That let's you know he wrote the lyrics this time around. For a minute during the opening bars of 'Stormy May Day' I thought AC/DC were covering Led Zeppelin's 'Nobody's Fault But Mine', with a rarely heard slide guitar riff dominating another sluggishly paced track. There's a bass riff during 'She Likes Rock N' Roll' that you might not believe once heard and this is is vintage stuff, especially when Johnson sings about 'making the grade' and the band chants the chorus. Things get even more ludicrous with the chorus of 'Money Made', sung like a football anthem, with Johnson using the lyric 'making the grade' for the second consecutive track! This is genius. Taking a radical turn is 'Rock and Roll Dream' where Johnson sounds a bit like David Coverdale during the opening minute, which is sedate by AC/DC standards. It kicks in eventually, but is a change of pace for the band with it's stop and start structure. 'Rocking All The Way' offers more traditional melodies and guitar work, by the numbers, but the title track is a heavy duty rocker, ending the album nicely, with some interesting chord changes and an explosive Angus solo.
In SummaryA good effort from the lads, maybe a few tracks too many but at least they are trying to repay the long suffering fans with just 4 studio albums since 1988! Call me foolish but I wouldn't mind hearing the band speed things up from time to time, sadly at no point during the entire album is there anything resembling a fast rhythm, its either mid paced or grindingly slow. But the riffs are there, the brilliant lyrics also and a sense of fun. It's AC/DC as you've always known them for the most part, without ever tearing your face off. Hopefully it won't be 8 years until the next album. We might all be gone by then.
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dangerzone October 08 2008 2385 reads 8 comments Print