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