Artist:  AC/DC
   Title: Black Ice
   Label: Sony BMG 

So here we are, 14 studio albums down the line , this, their first in 8 years, and the thing is “ Black Ice “ could well be their last as a certain thing called Age is swiftly creeping up behind them, but the only thing on fans lips is… has the 8 years in waiting been worth it ?  

Well, the opening track and first single “ Rock n Roll Train “ is like putting on your favourite jeans n' t–shirt, it feels so good ! That guitar riff everyone into rock music knows is Angus Young, the recognisable drumbeat of Phil Rudd, and of course those growling vocals of ‘Wor’ Brian Johnson, which seem to have lost just a bit of its screech that makes him sound better for it. Typical ‘DC and the perfect way to kick it all off.   “Sky On Fire” is a slightly slower track, with its stuttering guitar and simple drum pattern which is quite easy on the ear for a change, before the tempo is upped another notch or two on “Big Jack“, the much loved, fists in the air, chant along type of song that is a must for the fans that will go down a storm on their up coming world tour. The intro says it all!  

Probably the most surprising song of all is the lightweight “Anything Goes”, that has a flashback feel to a younger Johnson and his 70’s band Geordie, a bit more radio – friendly than the rest, which shows how well producer , Brendan O’Brien ( of Pearl Jam fame ) has done. Say no more then!!!  
Again the riffs keep a-coming with “War Machine”, whose intro has a bass-line that rattles your fillings, before the hip-twitching guitar takes over, then the backing chants from the band fill out the song in force, not overpowering Johnson's voice, but making their presence felt all the same. Think of “Let Me Put My Love Into You” from “Black In Black” and you’ll get my drift.

Its about now that the quality of Johnson's voice hits home, and for a bloke his age, 61 to be precise, on “Spoiling For A Fight”, with its spoken beginning, the ball-busting growl he spits out above the music around him is a joy to behold. Just how long can he keep it up, ‘cos even I was clearing my throat for him at times!  There’s one definite thing AC/DC are masters of and that’s their boogie rock riffs that they are so associated to, so as “Wheels” begins its journey  , you hear said riffs ooze out of the speakers, with the story of how a certain young girl will have an effect on you if you get involved with her. Hmmm… 

As “Decibel” begins, as a slow styled rocker, it turns out to be what would be classed as 2the album filler”,  just a routine track they’ve done down the years, where as “Stormy May Day” has a great slide guitar from the start that lifts the song out to make it that bit better than it would be without it. 

Now is it just me, or do this lot like writing songs with “Rock n Roll” in the title! They use the term 3 times on this album, the opener, “She Loves Rock n Roll”, with its staggered guitar groove that brings in another soon to be fans favourite chanter, and also “Rock n Roll Dream”, that is so laid back its almost horizontal, nothing like you’d expect from the band as often as they should, and again proving the quality in the vocal department. 

The album is brought to the end by the title track “Black Ice”, another boogie rock trademark that has kept them at the top for so long, yet sadly I cant bring myself to say “and long may it last”, though hopefully there may just be one more album left in the band, and not an 8 year wait either!

On a good note though, “Black Ice” took over the top of the Album charts on its first week of release, showing that real music will always be better than the usual rubbish that litters the airwaves, and I bet I wasn’t the only rock fan with a rye smile on my face that week!

P.S. The cover of the album comes in three different colours, Gold, Silver and Red. Take your pick!   


Review by: Bob

Tracklisting:

  1. Rock n Roll Train
  2. Skies On Fire
  3. Big Jack
  4. Anything Goes
  5. War Machine
  6. Smash n Grab
  7. Spoilin’ For A Fight
  8. Wheels
  9. Decibel
10. Stormy May Day

11. She Likes Rock n Roll
12. Money Made
13. Rock n Roll Dream
14. Rocking All The Way
15. Black Ice

                  

 

All content copyright of The Mayfair Mall Zine unless otherwise stated.