AC/DC – Black Ice

AC/DC – Black Ice (2008, Columbia Records)

Track Listing:
1. “Rock ‘n’ Roll Train” … 4:21
2. “Skies on Fire” … 3:34
3. “Big Jack” … 3:57
4. “Anything Goes” … 3:22
5. “War Machine” … 3:09
6. “Smash ‘n’ Grab” … 4:06
7. “Spoilin’ for a Fight” … 3:17
8. “Wheels” … 3:28
9. “Decibel” … 3:34
10. “Stormy May Day” … 3:10
11. “She Likes Rock ‘N’ Roll” … 3:53
12. “Money Made” … 4:15
13. “Rock ‘N’ Roll Dream” … 4:41
14. “Rocking All the Way” …3:22
15. “Black Ice” … 3:25

Brian Johnson – Lead Vocals
Angus Young – Lead Guitar
Malcolm Young – Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals
Cliff Williams – Bass, Backing Vocals
Phil Rudd – Drums

Produced by: Brendan O’Brien

AC/DC has joined the “exclusive” club by releasing this album domestically only through the mega retail chain that is Wal-Mart. A lot of people gripe about exclusives, but to me, it only ensures the band and their album is going to get proper promotion. A retail chain isn’t going to sign an act and then not push them. And when that retail chain behind you is Wal-Mart? Hoo-boy. Journey and Eagles have both had incredibly successful runs with Wal-Mart and now you can put AC/DC in that same “win” category: #1 debut on Billboard and 780,000+ sold (coming only second to Lil’ Wayne in terms of first week numbers in 2008).

The set up at my local Wal-Mart was something to see. They pretty much had their own AC/DC store. All types of AC/DC clothing, plus their whole catalog on display (with plenty of copies of Black Ice, of course) and the Rock Band edition of AC/DC. To me, this is just great. It’s hard for big name veteran acts to sustain momentum outside of first week sales, but “Rock ‘N Roll Train” has been accepted on rock radio and I’m sure Black Ice will continue to sell very well because I don’t see Wal-Mart dropping the promotional push anytime soon.

I would actually like to see other veteran acts go exclusive, it seems to be the only way they can get a fair shot at success in a world full of music mediocrity that seems content to chew up and spit out younger, newer acts with little regard for the legends that still make quality music.

On to the music…

I knew this album was going to have SOMETHING to it just by hearing “Rock ‘N Roll Train” and “War Machine” weeks before the album’s release. Both songs, especially “Rock ‘N Roll Train”, are classic AC/DC and would fit right at home on Back In Black. The old saying that “AC/DC always sounds like AC/DC” is true and while some consider this complacency or laziness, I’m just fine with it. As long as the songs are good, who cares? Just consider their entire catalog one really long album and you’ll be fine. I’ve also seen one review that turn this album into an excuse for bashing the second half of AC/DC’s career by saying they’ve become too polished. BAH, I say! BAH! No, this album is not raw or dirty like their earlier stuff, but again… Good music is good music.

There is some filler here, but overall, I gotta say it’s one of 2008’s best releases and the guys have deserved all the success this album has already enjoyed. From the opening of “Rock ‘N Roll Train”, you go “oh yeah– THIS is AC/DC!!!” I don’t know how it compares to their last album, Stiff Upper Lip (2000), because by the time that was released, I was burned out on the band, but it’s definitely much improved over 1995’s Ballbreaker. And yes, the years 1995 and 2000 are the last two years to host an AC/DC album.

“Train” is definitely my favorite song, but “Rock ‘N Roll Dream” is really catchy and shows the band branching out and reminds me a bit of Rainbow. “Big Jack” has really grown on me and is another fine innuendo-laced AC/DC song. “Anything Goes” is a really upbeat song that gives me flashbacks of The Darkness (though Angus’ playing is certainly recognizable). Overall, a great effort from a timeless band and I can’t imagine AC/DC fans being disappointed with AC/DC 2008.

By the way, the album was available with the red logo (which is the standard cover), yellow (limited edition), white (limited edition) or blue (deluxe edition, the “deluxe” part being lyrics). Blue was gone and I wasn’t even aware there was a “deluxe” edition, and I ended up picking yellow, which I think is the best of the covers.

Producer Brendan O’Brien, has produced numerous albums for Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen, Stone Temple Pilots, The Offspring, Rage Against the Machine, Incubus and… Yes, even Jackyl’s debut.

Highlights: “Rock ‘N Roll Train”, “Big Jack”, “Anything Goes”, “War Machine”, “Smash ‘N’ Grab”, “Spoilin’ for a Fight”, “She Likes Rock ‘N’ Roll”, “Rock ‘N’ Roll Dream”, “Black Ice”

Posted on October 31, 2008, in AC/DC, Collection and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Have you checked out the Australian band Airbourne?
    They’re being compared to AC/DC in every review I’ve checked so far.

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