Thursday, October 23, 2008

AC/DC's Black Ice: What Did You Expect?

Black IceI've been on something of an AC/DC kick ever since snippets of their newest, Black Ice, started hitting the tubes. Truth be told, it's only over the past few years that I've started to appreciate the band beyond the perennial favorite Back In Black. Sure, "Thunderstruck" will probably always be my favorite tune by them (who are we kidding; it's the best song they ever wrote), but it's rather impossible to put in a classic album like Highway to Hell and shut it off. It's one foot stompin' good tune after another.

So the answer to the big question, "Is Black Ice a worthy addition to their catalog?" is a yes. As per the course for an AC/DC album, it blasts forth immediately with the crush of "Rock N Roll Train" and "Big Jack," then settles in nicely via their unique brand of pop courtesy of "Anything Goes". Angus Young's leads slash like a knife through Malcom's tight rhythms and sound renewed. Fear not: it's an AC/DC record.

Sure my wife's comment about "Train"( "That's 0ld sk00l.") is beyond apt, since the band hasn't really changed much since 1980. Would it hurt Phil Rudd so much if he played a drum fill every so often? If Malcom used a guitar effect? Hell, I'd be appreciative if they could at least get back the really big drum sound of the For Those About to Rock album.

Initially, regardless of the relative strength of the songs, like others I was about to dismiss the album as nothing more than "just another post-Flick of the Switch AC/DC album". Enter oddity: Black Ice is a beastly 55 minutes long, so for the crazy among us, it does invite some deeper examination. In my opinion, no AC/DC album should push past 40 minutes, so this can initially be a bit tough to take. But after a while you realize that at the midpoint, when most current AC/DC material begins to falter, this album gets some extra juice in the tank. It's hard to not smile during Angus's slinky Led Zeppelin slidework on "Stormy May Day", or Cliff Williams's funky bass on "She Likes Rock N Roll". It's touches like these that make one realize, "Hrm, maybe this band has evolved."

So for a big taste of the old, and maybe just a hint of new, take the surreal experience of visiting the "Rock Band AC/DC Store" within your local Wal-Mart, and grab a copy of Black Ice. Hell, at under $10 for the rest of their catalog, pick up a ton of their other discs el cheapo while you're at it.


Anonymous AJB said...

Phil Rudd doesn't play fills - ever. He's one of the most self-effacing drumemrs in history. Solid as a rock, and never garnishes the music.

2:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i buy most acdc records just coz the early ones were so good... and lo and behold... this is first really decent one in a long time.... some great music well played... some really good grooves, good production... BJ's voice muccch better.
my favorite songs :
big jack,
stormy may day,
rock n roll dream

5:52 PM  

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