One of my first vinyl album purchases was AC/DC’s Back in Black. It was such a huge record I don’t think I knew anyone who didn’t own it. I remember blasting “Hells Bells” and counting the thirteen chimes and rocking to “Shook Me All Night Long” and “Back in Black.”
Today, my daughter’s middle school band plays “Back in Black” with zero air of menace or power, which is sad and funny at the same time. It, at least, generated some interest in AC/DC by her. School of Rock did the same thing with “Long Way to Top (if you wanna rock and roll).”
I remember liking “Stiff Upper Lip” when it came out ages ago, but my days of following anything AC/DC has since disappeared. So, with a mixture of anticipation and trepidation, I listened to the new AC/DC disc entitled Black Ice.
Rock ‘n Roll Train – This is the first single and I think it represents the recent tone of AC/DC, which is to say not quite the crunchy riff stylings of Back in Black or For Those About to Rock. The guitar throughout the album is way too clean for me. Be that as it may, the track sounds exactly like AC/DC, which is also something not consistent.
Skies on Fire – The melody reminds me of a KISS song called Keep Me Coming off of Creatures of the Night. Pretty much a filler track.
Big Jack – Ever wonder how a Rolling Stones song would sound as done by AC/DC? Wonder no more as this track rips Brown Sugar big time. Even the guitar riffs during the stanzas have a Stones feel to them. I like the song, but I can’t help but hear the Stones every time the chorus comes around.
Anything Goes – Ever wonder how a Bruce Springsteen song would sound as done by AC/DC? Wonder no more as this track steals just about every melody style from the Boss imaginable. This does not sound like AC/DC at all.
War Machine – Thank goodness this isn’t a cover of the KISS track. I love this opening riff with a classic AC/DC riff. This is a great track. One of the best on the album.
Smash ‘n Grab – Not much bite here. A minute in and I’m kinda bored. Chorus is uninspiring. Filler track again.
Spoilin’ for A Fight – I wish the rhythm guitar wasn’t quite so smooth. This is a decent track, but it feels a bit vanilla.
Wheels – If you are going to steal a lick, it’s always best to steal from yourself. The Young brothers rip themselves off here by knicking the main riff from “Givin’ The Dog A Bone.” It features a nice bluesy solo.
Decibel – Ever wonder how a ZZ Top song would sound as done by AC/DC? Wonder no more since this sounds exactly like Waiting for the Bus. I actually think the boys from Texas might even have a lawsuit here. I would have made them change the title to Jezebel instead of Decibel and rewrite the lyrics and the main riff.
Stormy May Day – Ever wonder how a Led Zepplin song would sound as done by AC/DC? Wonder no more since this track rips the riff straight off of In My Time of Dying. It might be just different enough though. Very bluesy. I don’t think I’ve ever heard Brian sing in such a normal register before.
She Likes Rock ‘n Roll – This track suffers from the clean guitar. I think it might be a bit sexier with a crunchier guitar. Like most of the album, it really doesn’t sound like a typical AC/DC track. Or, at least, what I think an AC/DC track should sound like.
Money Made – I like this song quite a bit. It has a touch of wry humor that’s been missing from AC/DC. The chorus is catchy. One of the better overall songs on the album.
Rock ‘n Roll Dream – Ever wonder how a Whitesnake song would sound as done by AC/DC? Wonder no more since this sounds exactly like something David Coverdale and Adrian Vandenberg would put together. Very blues based. The break screams Whitesnake to me.
Rocking All the Way – Nothing too special here. Solid track, but is really nothing more than filler.
Black Ice – Suffers mightily by having clean guitars. Very blues based riff. I like the idea of this song and it might be one of the better tracks, but its not a game changer.