AC/DC - 1983 Flick Of The Switch


ALBUM: Flick Of The Switch
LABEL: Atlantic
SERIAL: 80100-1
YEAR: 1983
CD REISSUE: 1994, Atco, 7567-92448-2


LINEUP: Brian Johnson - lead vocals * Angus Young - lead guitar * Malcolm Young - rhythm guitar, vocals * Cliff Williams - bass, vocals * Phil Rudd - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Rising Power * 02 This House Is On Fire * 03 Flick Of The Switch * 04 Nervous Shakedown * 05 Landslide * 06 Guns For Hire * 07 Deep In The Hole * 08 Bedlam In Belgium * 09 Badlands * 10 Brain Shake


AC/DC have sold more than 200 million albums worldwide, including 69 million albums in the US. As the boys wrap up their final pugnacious platter with producer Brendan O'Brien and audio engineer Mike Fraser, I thought it would be fitting to pull out a couple overlooked gems from AC/DC's Glory Daze.

For those who prefer the Bon years, I recommend 1978's 'Powerage' for overall consistency. For the Johnson era, it's got to be 'Flick Of The Switch'. I've always had a warm place in my heart for this release. perhaps it's because this was the album AC/DC were supporting when I saw my first concert (AC/DC, October 1983, The Forum; opener Fastway) or maybe it's because it's one of the few AC/DC slabs that didn't get played to death on US radio.

By 1983, AC/DC were on top of the world. At that time, the band had sold over 20 million albums and had risen above tragedy following the death of Bon Scott. On 'Flick of the Switch', AC/DC produces the album themselves, ditching 'Mutt' Lange, who worked on the band's prior three records.

What AC/DC may have lacked in production skills was made up in terms of kick ass rock-with a sound and energy as subtle as a wolverine hopped up on crystal meth!

The Songs

All the songs here are great, and IMHO this surpasses 'For Those About To Rock', and even parts of the almighty 'Back In Black'.

The scorching opener, 'Rising Power' kicks off the album in classic AC/DC fashion. 'This House Is On Fire' is another no frills fist in the face, and one of their best singles from the Johnson years IMHO.

The two following killer cuts, 'Flick Of The Switch' and 'Nervous Shakedown' continue in the same manor attempting to grab you by the nape of the neck with their sonic savagery and refusing to let go.

Living up to it's name, 'Landslide' (definitely not the Fleetwood Mac cover) is another ferocious rocker which moves along just like it's title. The menacing riffage of Angus Young here is superb, and proves yet again, AC/DC never deviated from their mission to rock. That's just side one!

Side two opens up with chugging bombastic riffing from Angus into a skull splitting rhythm - 'Guns For Hire' is a blast. It's no wonder it was the opener on the corresponding tour (sadly never played since).

'Deep In The Hole' is good as well, but my personal favourite AC/DC anthem has always been 'Bedlam In Belgium.' An ass kicker if there ever was one and perhaps one of their most overlooked classics.

'Badlands' is a close second with it's fist banging swagger and Johnson's raspy vocals which at time sound like he's masturbating with a cheese grater!

The closer 'Brain Shake' is another relentless rocker showcasing an album of fearless decibel terrorism from the 'thunder down under'!

In Summary

The album was self-produced by AC/DC and reached #4 in UK and #15 in the US. Though considered a disappointment when released, the overall rawness and energy heard on 'Flick Of The Switch' has never been duplicated by AC/DC before or since.

Although unlikely, it would be awesome if AC/DC would close out their career with this kind of intensity!

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    This has always been my favorite AC/DC album. I can't possibly estimate how many times I've listened to it. It's one of the grittiest, hardest and rawest albums ever recorded, by any band.
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