AC/DC - Power Up

edited September 2021 in year-2020

Overall a good effort from the lads, without really setting the world on fire. After repeated plays, it's certainly grown on me.

AC/DC - Power Up
ALBUM: Power Up
LABEL: Columbia
SERIAL: 19439744632 (CD: USA, Europe)
YEAR: 2020
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List

LINEUP: Brian Johnson - vocals * Angus Young - guitar * Stevie Young - guitar * Cliff Williams - bass * Phil Rudd - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Realize * 02 Rejection * 03 Shot In The Dark * 04 Through The Mists Of Time * 05 Kick You When You're Down * 06 Witch's Spell * 07 Demon Fire * 08 Wild Reputation * 09 No Mans Land * 10 Systems Down * 11 Money Shot * 12 Code Red

RATING: Score=75%


One of the more pleasant surprises of this otherwise dismal year, was the announcement of a new album by AC/DC, one that had been rumored for some time, following reports of the band recording in Canada in 2018. I'm sure I wasn't the only one who thought the band was done for good, especially after the death of Malcolm Young and the tour featuring Axl Rose a few years back.

Thankfully, the lads have reunited (including Phil Rudd) and have seen fit to inflict 12 new tracks of vintage AC/DC on the weary public, a rare delight if ever there was one.


The Songs

If you've heard anything the band has done since 'Black Ice', then you'll know what to expect here. Granted AC/DC have always maintained their classic, identifiable sound, but it hasn't had the same impact as the output from the 70's or 80's in my opinion.

Both 'Realize' and 'Rejection' have a bit more meat in the riffs than most of the tracks, making me wonder what particular time frame these songs are culled from. The rest of the album is amiable at best, with 'Demon Fire' offering a bit of speed and some riffs that have the essence of old. Everything else is just there, plodding along like you'd expect any latter day AC/DC album to do.

Allegedly this is a selection of leftovers from 'Black Ice,' so it's not too surprising. That's not to say there aren't highlights, with 'Code Red' containing some nice buildup to the chorus and 'Kick You When You're Down' as cornball as the band has ever been melody wise.

Some tracks drag, especially 'No Man's Land,' really pushing the drawn out, slow blues approach. The opening riff of 'Wild Reputation' has a touch of the 'Fly On The Wall' period. The lyrics to 'Money Shot' are as hilarious as you'd expect with a title like that. How's this for a sample? 'Doctor, what's the antidote? Lady, just try the money shot, best taken when hot.'

The Angus Young guitar solo here is the best on the album, fiery and recalling past glories. Sadly there just isn't enough of it on offer throughout the album.

In Summary

Overall a good effort from the lads, without really setting the world on fire. After repeated plays, it's certainly grown on me. Any AC/DC is better than none and they've sacrificed none of their trademarks here. To AC/DC it doesn't matter what year it is, they'll never change and that's something to appreciate. Will it be their final shot? It's hard to say, but it's nice to know that some things never change.


Shot In The Dark (Official)

Through The Mists Of Time (Official)

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    The first two tracks sound like titles from an abandoned grunge album from 1994. Still 'Shot in the Dark' sounds good to me, could easily be off the 'Stiff Upper Lip' effort. Hopefully they rock a bit harder this time around, something they haven't done since the 80's. Given the rudeness of titles like 'Money Shot' 'Code Red' 'Wild Reputation' and 'Code Red,' there's still hope.
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    Code Red? That sounds like a rude Germanic thrasher in the vein of Sodom. We can only hope that be the case, man. I'm looking forward to hearing those first two grunge sounding tracks as well. Yeah, they gotta be rejects from 94, when for a brief moment they lost faith in the boogie and flirted with some Alice In Chains type sludge. 'Me be rejected, boogie ain't respected. I reach for gun, ain't gonna live no more like a bum'.
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    'me eyez
    they realize
    that life be a lies
    goodbye Jack
    it time for me to dies'

    Yeah, the grunge era didn't work, Brian just ain't get them lyrics down gloom enough for the hipster grunger.
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    'Through the Mists of Time' is a lost 37 minute prog rock effort from 1973 from what I gather. Back in the days when the band still fancied themselves as Split Enz or prog era Dragon.
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    'system be down
    is no work around
    me look on ground
    try to find pound'

    Systems Down is Brian's attempt at capturing the mass unemployment of the mid 80s Thatcher years. But he couldn't get the lyrics down right and eventually gave up, resorted to tried and tested ham like 'Back In Business' and 'Send For The Man'.

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    Comments have been merged from an earlier thread.
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    DaveTDaveT Buenos Aires, Argentina
    I like Alun's review, very good points and far from the excessive hype I'm reading almost everywhere else.

    I liked the album upon first listen, but my interest decayed with further listens.

    'Through The Mists Of Time' has a well-crafted melody.
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    edited November 2020
    Interestingly enough I wrote this review almost two weeks ago and I really haven’t bothered with this album since.
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    edited November 2020
    Yeah, same here, broski. I listened to it a few times over a couple of days, but my initial enthusiasm for the first three or four songs soon gave way to apathy once I realised my mind kept on tuning out during the second half of the album. It was that mid paced groove they've been plowing for over a decade which was the culprit - it was just too mind numbingly repetitive to sustain my interest over the long haul. Gimme the crude metal scorch of 'This Means War', or the strident boogie ethos of the 1970s, any day of the bloody week.
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    I've read at least a dozen reviews saying this is the best album they've done since 1990. I can't figure that one out. It isn't a patch on 'Ballbreaker' or 'Stiff Upper Lip' in my estimation and I even thought those albums were far too restrained.
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    AC/DC fandom is as demented as Iron Maiden's.
    Funny that, I met this dude online the other day who says his favourite band of all time is Megadeth. He got offended when I told him that they hadn't released a decent album since 1990.. Lol
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    DaveTDaveT Buenos Aires, Argentina

    AC/DC released an official video for the song 'Through The Mists Of Time' today. Added to the Video section of the review.

    The video shows the band embracing their past with pride. Bon Scott pictures, gigs at Donington and River Plate stadium; all are here plus more.

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    Your comment made me realize I haven't listened to this album since I wrote this review.

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    DaveTDaveT Buenos Aires, Argentina

    Neither have I since a few days after the release, Alun; but that song Through The Mists Of Time was my favorite off the album.

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    It was definitely something different from the lads melody wise. That said I had to revisit it to recall exactly how it goes. It's not a bad album overall, but I haven't really changed my opinion on it.

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    PatrickHemmingPatrickHemming Tampa Florida
    edited September 2021

    I made one helluva good playlist featuring the best songs from the three Brendon O’Brien produced AC/DC albums. I thought it was a nice late career surge that I honestly didn’t see coming after being underwhelmed with Stiff Upper Lip.

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