AC/DC - Black Ice (2008/Columbia)

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The australian rock 'n'roll icons are back with a new studio album; their first in eight years. Entitled "Black Ice" , the album was produced by Brendan O'Brien, known for his collaborations with (among others) BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, BOB DYLAN and PEARL JAM. The band line-up is the same as on the classic "Black In Black" album, namely Brian Johnson (vocals), Malcolm Young (guitar), Angus Young (guitar),Cliff Williams (bass) and Phil Rudd (drums).

 

Speaking about "Back In Black", it's been almost 30 years since it's release, quite a long time. So how has the AC/DC sound changed since then? Not much, and with a band like AC/DC you wouldn't except it to have either. The boys deliver the same no-nonsense, straight ahead blues-oriented hard rock as always. And

 

they do it well too: "Black Ice" is filled to the brim with catchy riffs, sing-along choruses and of course Angus Young signature guitar solos. The overall sound and production is also quite similar to that of "Back In Black" and some of their other early 80's outputs. It doesn't sound like the album was recorded in 2008, which is a good thing in my opinion.

 

So what about the songs? "Rock 'N' Roll Train" is the album opener and was the first single choice; deservedly so. A classic AC/DC rocker for sure, and one that could have suited fine on any of their classic albums. On a track like "Anything Goes" they try a new, more commercial approach, with questionable results. Elsewhere "Wheels" and "Spoilin' For A Fight" stick out as highlights, with killer riffs and choruses. I also like the title track that comes at the very end.

 

A minor complaint is that the album contains 15 tracks in total, which perhaps is a little too much. I wouldn't categorize any of the songs as "bad" (although "Anything Goes" comes pretty close), but the quality varies and with 9-10 of these tracks this would have been a stronger and more consistent release.

 

All in all, though, a great comeback album and a must have for every fan of straight forward hard rock, and of course, AC/DC.

 

KIM PALMER

 

 

80 / 100

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