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AC/DC – Rock or Bust [Review]

MI0003796875

AC/DC – Rock or Bust
2014, Columbia Records
Buy the album

1. “Rock or Bust”
2. “Play Ball”
3. “Rock the Blues Away”
4. “Miss Adventure”
5. “Dogs of War”
6. “Got Some Rock & Roll Thunder”
7. “Hard Times”
8. “Baptism by Fire”
9. “Rock the House”
10. “Sweet Candy”
11. “Emission Control”

Band:
Brian Johnson – Lead Vocals
Angus Young – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Stevie Young – Guitar
Cliff Williams – Bass, Backing Vocals
Phil Rudd – Drums

Producer: Brendan O’Brien

Wow. Despite the major success of Black Ice, which proved the world that AC/DC was still commercial force to be reckoned with and just as popular as ever, the band has had some tough times lately. Firstly, it was announced in September 2014 that founding member & rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young had permanently left the band and retired from music as he is battling dementia in addition to recovering from lung and heart operations he’s had in recent times. It was initially reported in the spring that he was taking a break from the band, but in the fall it was made official that he has retired.

Despite this, the band decided to continue on. I really assumed that if one of the Young brothers ever had to leave the band for whatever reason, then the band would retire. I kind of admire Angus for wanting to continue on. Apparently, all of the songs for Rock or Bust were already written by Angus & Malcolm by the time it was first announced Malcolm was taking a break. I figured this would at least delay recording but their nephew Steve Young stepped in to play rhythm guitar on the album and he is now Malcolm’s official replacement. Steve is no stranger to the band; he filled in for Malcolm on tour in 1988 while Malcolm was dealing with alcohol issues.

But it if that wasn’t enough, just before the release of this album, longtime drummer Phil Rudd’s house was raided in November 2014 and he was charged with “attempting to procure a murder, threatening to kill, possession of methamphetamine and possession of cannabis”. The attempt to procure a murder charged was dropped but as of this writing he is still facing the other charges. It is not known at this time whether he is still a member of the band but recent band photos have not included Phil Rudd. Angus seems willing to give Phil a chance to deal with the charges but has stated someone will be drumming for them when they go on tour in the spring of 2015.

This is the first “new release” of a vinyl album I’ve ever bought. While I have a decent size CD collection, these days I mostly listen to music digitally. When I saw that this album wasn’t up on Spotify and that it was $10-13 for either the digital album or the CD, I figured I might as well pay another $10 for the vinyl/CD bundle. I ended up buying this at Barnes & Noble of all places. I think all vinyl releases should include a CD copy. So now I have a vinyl copy, a CD copy and a copy burned to my computer/iPod. The vinyl cover is 3D lenticular artwork and features the AC/DC logo breaking through. The packaging is well done. One sleeve for the CD and booklet featuring photos, one sleeve for the record. It all has an old school look to it. They even used the old Columbia Records logo.

So how does the music fare? Well, it’s AC/DC. If you like AC/DC, you’ll like this album. We already know they have a formula and they’re going to stick with it. I’ve spun Rock or Bust a number of times already (it’s easy to do when the album is only 34 minutes long) and I definitely like it. I don’t think it’s as good as Black Ice, but “Rock or Bust”, “Play Ball” and “Miss Adventure” are very good tunes with the first two definitely having that classic AC/DC feel to them. “Rock the Blues Away” is another good one that I can see going over well in concert. With further comparison to Black Ice, I think Brian Johnson’s voice actually sounds better on this album.

While the album may not go down as an all-time classic in the band’s catalog, it’s certainly a “good” album that beats out stuff like Stiff Upper Lip and the band’s output from ’83-’88. If Rock or Bust is to be the last album the band ever records in the studio (I’m assuming there will be a live album to chronicle the Rock or Bust world tour), then it’s a strong note to go out on.

And, hey, selling 500,000 copies and going gold in the U.S. within two months of being released is good note to go out on as well. Not bad for a rock band in their fifth decade, especially considering the state of the music industry.

Highlights: “Rock or Bust”, “Play Ball”, “Rock the Blues Away”, “Miss Adventure”

Metal Excess Awards 2012

Despite 2012 being a year where a number of major classic rock acts reappeared with new albums (KISS, Van Halen, Aerosmith), I was slightly disappointed with the rock scene overall. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that I’ve listened to less music in 2012 than I have compared to the previous 5 years or so. Whether it’s because I’m getting too old or getting too busy, I didn’t sit down and listen to or write about as much music as I have since I started this blog a few years back. I haven’t been paying attention to the world of hard rock & heavy metal as I should have. Forgive me. Maybe I can make up for it in 2013.
Anyway, here’s my contribution to the millions of “Best of 2012” lists that are already all over the internet!
Best Albums of 2012
As I said, 2012 didn’t seem like an incredibly bright year for rock releases but that doesn’t mean I’m knocking some of the cream of the crop. Rick Springfield (of all people!) delivered a classic album that I just had to give the #1 spot based on how much I played it. My Darkest Days had yet another incredibly strong release. Other than Hess at #7, the rest of the top 10 is made up of veteran artists who know how to get the job done.
1.Rick Springfield – Songs for the End of the World
2. My Darkest Days – Sick and Twisted Affair
3. KISS – Monster
4. Van Halen – A Different Kind of Truth
5. Aerosmith – Songs from Another Dimension!
6. Adler – Back From The Dead
7. Mollo/Martin – The Third Cage
8. Hess – Living In Yesterday
9. Slash – Apocalyptic Love
10. Dokken – Broken Bones
11. Great White – Elation
12. Richie Sambora – Aftermath of the Lowdown
13. Jorn – Bring Heavy Rock to the Land
14. Jack Blades – Rock ‘N’ Roll Ride
15. Trixter – New Audio Machine
16. Lita Ford – Living Like a Runaway
17. Crazy Lixx – Riot Avenue
18. Hinder – Welcome to the Freak Show
19. Million Dollar Reload – A Sinner’s Saint
20. The Morning After – Legacy
21. Heart – Fanatic
22. Accept – Stalingrad
23. Papa Roach – The Connection
23. Zerokings – Kings of Self Destruction
24. Primal Fear – Unbreakable
25. Fozzy – Sin and Bones

Missed Them in 2012…

These are releases from 2012 that I’ve heard some songs from but I haven’t listened to the entire album yet. I wouldn’t have felt right trying to place them on the list without having heard the complete album. Look for reviews of these albums soon.

* Danko Jones – Rock and Roll is Black and Blue
* Black Country Communion – Afterglow
* L.A. Guns – Hollywood Forever (from what I’ve heard, this probably would’ve made my Top 10)
* Jettblack – Raining Rock
* The Last Vegas – Bad Decisions
* Ian Gillan & Tony Iommi: WhoCares
* Overkill – The Electric Age
* T & N – Slave to the Empire
* Lynch Mob – Sound Mountain Session EP

Best EP/Compilation/Cover/Singles

The “everything else” category.

1. Richard Marx – Christmas Spirit
2. Dio – The Very Beast of Dio, Vol. 2
3. Rod Stewart – Merry Christmas, Baby
4. John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John – This Christmas
5. TSO – Dreams of Fireflies (On a Christmas Night) EP
6. Dee Snider – Dee Does Broadway
7. Buckcherry – “Gluttony” [single]
8. Motley Crue – “Sex” [single]
9. Wildstreet – “Easy Does It” [single]

Most Anticipated in 2013

Judas Priest:   Slated for sometime in 2013, this is easily the most anticipated album for me. I’m looking forward to and hoping Priest will deliver a classic sounding metal album and forget about overblown concept records. It’s just a shame KK Downing isn’t along for the ride but I think having some young blood in Priest might actually help push them to be heavier, harder and faster. The same thing happened when Scott Travis joined the band. I’d still love to see Downing come back at some point though. Why not have six members of Judas Priest?

Buckcherry – Confessions (Feb. 19): The lead single “Gluttony” has already been released and I’m really enjoying it. These guys do not disappoint.

My Darkest Days (fall): These guys have released two of my favorite albums from the last few years and are already writing for a follow up to last year’s Sick and Twisted Affair with a new studio album in the fall. I’m hoping the recent departure of guitarist Sal Costa wouldn’t delay the release.

Avenged Sevenfold: No timetable for a new album other than 2013. The band is supposedly going to begin recording this month.

Motley Crue: Another “sometime in 2013″ release. The question is — LP or EP? Vince Neil has mentioned it will be an EP and that’s more in line with what Tommy Lee has stated he’d like for the band to release from now on. Nikki Sixx has been referring to the next Crue release as an “album”, so I guess we’ll see. The single they released in the summer (“Sex”) was decent and seems to fit in with the modern rock turn Crue has taken since 2005.

Black Sabbath: Originally meant for 2012, all kinds of legal issues and drama have slowed this one down. Pretty stupid if they don’t end up pulling Bill Ward in but I’m interested just because I’m a fan of Iommi & Butler. In fact, bring back Ward and get rid of Ozzy and I’d feel even better about this reunion album. My preference is still for Iommi & Butler to form a new band with either Tony Martin (long shot), Jorn Lande, Ian Gillan or Glenn Hughes.

Megadeth: I dunno… Megadeth is one of my all-time favorite bands so I’m always interested but with each release I’m finding less and less to like. Yes, they are getting heavier and faster. Perhaps they are the heaviest and fastest they’ve ever been but Dave seems to be forsaking melody to do it. Seems like he’d rather go off on political rants and conspiracy theories than write memorable songs.

AC/DC: One of those bands that myself & radio have played out to the point where I’m kinda numb to them. But, Black Ice was far better than I ever imagined it could be so I’m definitely interested in new music. This past spring Malcolm Young said a new album would be out in a “year or two”. Here’s hoping it’ll be released in 2013.

Tom Keifer (spring) – I’m a big fan of Cinderella. People have been asking for a new Cinderella album for over 10 years now. I’m not sure why Tom would decide to a solo release instead but I’m not going to complain.

Deep Purple: Ian Gillan said they were planning a new release. Hopefully they follow through!

Anthrax: I think it was Joey Belladonna who stated in interview this past summer than they wanted to release something new in 2013.

Hardcore Superstar – C’mon Take On Me (March 1)

Black Veil Brides – Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones (January 8): I surprisingly enjoyed their last album. Looking forward to hearing whether they’ve kept the same sound or going even more glam/power metal than before.

Crashdiet – The Savage Playground (late January)

Bon Jovi – What About Now (March 26): I’m not a fan of the lead single, “Because We Can”. I actually haven’t been a fan of the last few albums either but I was optimistic because I liked all four new songs they released with the deluxe version of their latest greatest hits compilation. I can’t help but get excited when a new Bon Jovi album is coming out but I would not be surprised if this album was only good for a ballad or two.

AC/DC – The Razor’s Edge

AC/DC – The Razor’s Edge [Remastered] (2003, Columbia Records)
Original Release: 1990, Atco Records

1. “Thunderstruck” … 4:53
2. “Fire Your Guns” … 2:54
3. “Moneytalks” … 3:46
4. “The Razor’s Edge” … 4:23
5. “Mistress for Christmas” … 4:00
6. “Rock Your Heart Out” … 4:07
7. “Are You Ready” … 4:10
8. “Got You by the Balls” … 4:30
9. “Shot of Love” … 3:57
10. “Let’s Make It” … 3:32
11. “Goodbye & Good Riddance to Bad Luck” … 3:14
12. “If You Dare” … 3:18

Band:
Brian Johnson – Lead Vocals
Angus Young – Guitar
Malcolm Young – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Cliff Williams – Bass, Backing Vocals
Chris Slade – Drums, Percussion

Producer: Bruce Fairbairn

Even though The Razor’s Edge was a commercial success and critical success (for the most part), I STILL say it is one of AC/DC’s most underrated albums. People like it but they don’t like it enough as far as I’m concerned! It’s a near perfect album and for years it was my favorite AC/DC album until I recently re-listened to Highway to Hell.

This album is “ate up” (as they might say in the south) with anthems. “Thunderstruck”, “Fire Your Guns”, “Moneytalks”, “Are You Ready”… So catchy, such great choruses you’d think Mutt Lange was back working with his old buddies and in the producer’s chair! Not that Bruce Fairbairn is any slouch. He’s had his share of producer’s credit for really catchy rock as well (Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Poison). Anyway, these songs are just classic AC/DC that ranks up with any they’ve ever done, in my opinion.

The lyrics are as fun and naughty as ever. A special nod goes out to “Mistress for Christmas”, one of the best song titles ever and it really appealed to me as horny teenager.

By far, the best song of the bunch is “The Razor’s Edge”. If anyone wanted to try to argue that AC/DC is evil, they should cite this song as an example. It just sounds so evil and dark, I love it.

When I first bought this album, I got it on cassette. After the AC/DC remasters came out in 2003, I was tempted to buy it but I never pulled the trigger. I finally used a Best Buy gift card I had leftover from Christmas ’09 to give me a reason to finally pick this one up on CD.

Essential AC/DC.

Highlights: “Thunderstruck”, “Fire Your Guns”, “Moneytalks”, “The Razors Edge”, “Mistress for Christmas”, “Rock Your Heart Out”, “Are You Ready”, “Let’s Make It”

www.acdc.com
www.myspace.com/acdc

AC/DC – Highway to Hell

AC/DC – Highway to Hell (1979, Atlantic Records/Atco Records)

1.”Highway to Hell” … 3:26
2.”Girls Got Rhythm” … 3:23
3.”Walk All Over You” … 5:08
4.”Touch Too Much” … 4:24
5.”Beating Around the Bush” … 3:55
6.”Shot Down in Flames” … 3:21
7.”Get It Hot” … 2:24
8.”If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It)” … 4:32
9.”Love Hungry Man” … 4:14
10.”Night Prowler” … 6:13

Band:
Bon Scott – Lead Vocals
Angus Young – Guitar
Malcolm Young – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Cliff Williams – Bass, Backing Vocals
Phil Rudd – Drums

Producer: Robert John “Mutt” Lange

Forget about Back In Black, THIS is AC/DC’s greatest album!

I owned this one on cassette years ago. I had a CD player but I also still had a tape player and being a high school kid with no job, I went for the cheaper format picking it up for $6 or $7. I don’t have a tape player anymore but I was so familiar with this album that it took me over 10 years to finally upgrade to CD and I only did that after finding a copy for $5 at a used record store. It’s always hard to re-purchase an album when there’s so many albums out there that I’ve never heard and want to buy!

Anyway, yes, I believe this is AC/DC’s best. That other AC/DC album is great but I’ve always felt it was incredibly overrated and have never understood why Highway to Hell isn’t at least put on the same level with it. Everything I’ve heard from AC/DC previous to album was more of an oddity. They had some great songs and albums but they were also kind of quirky. With the help of producer Mutt Lange, they streamlined, became heavier, the Brothers Young became riff masters and Bon Scott’s final album performance turns out to be his best.

“Touch Too Much” is one of my favorite AC/DC tracks of all time and it’s hard not to get fired up over “If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It)”. “Highway to Hell” is a song I was never hugely into. It’s good but isn’t even close to being the best song on this album. I always thought “Beating Around the Bush” was a funny song title.

On a down note, the band and the song “Night Prowler” came under fire in 1985 when the L.A. serial killer known as the Night Stalker (Richard Ramirez) was caught and it was revealed he was a huge AC/DC fan and “Night Prowler” was one of his favorite songs.

Highlights: “Highway to Hell”, “Girls Got Rhythm”, “Touch Too Much”, “Shot Down in Flames”, “If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It)”, “Love Hungry Man”, “Night Prowler”

www.acdc.com
www.myspace.com/acdc

AC/DC – For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)

AC/DC – For Those About to Rock (We Salute You) [Remastered] (1994, Atco Records)
Original Release: 1981, Atco Records

1. “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)” … 5:44
2. “Put the Finger on You” … 3:26
3. “Let’s Get It Up” … 3:54
4. “Inject the Venom” … 3:31
5. “Snowballed” … 3:23
6. “Evil Walks” … 4:24
7. “C.O.D.” … 3:19
8. “Breaking the Rules” … 4:23
9. “Night of the Long Knives” … 3:26
10. “Spellbound” … 4:30

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

Producer: Mutt Lange

I know the 2003 remastering is available at Walmart for $7 or $8, but besides having a digipak, I don’t really see what the difference would be from this 1994 remastering. I saved a few bucks at a used record store and picked this one up for $5!  I’ve had my eyes on this album for years. I’ve always thought the cover was very interesting as well as song titles like “Inject the Venom”, “Evil Walks” and “Night of the Long Knives”.

Though I burned myself out on AC/DC years ago, since the release of Black Ice I’m slowly coming around again and I’m interested in picking up their post-Back In Black offerings. Though I didn’t plan it this way, what better place to start than with this album, the follow up to Back In Black?

Though Back In Black will always and forever be viewed as AC/DC’s masterpiece, For Those About to Rock is more than up to the challenge of following that legendary release. This isn’t an album that stands in the shadow of the previous release, this is an album that casts its own shadow, in my opinion. I find it really funny not many critics at the time of this release agreed though. There are a few entertaining reviews floating around online (like the one from Rolling Stone) where this album is trashed as an uninspired effort. I just don’t see it that way at all!

It’s really hard for me to compare this album to Back In Black just because that album has lost all impact for me, but certainly the concert staple title track can compete with anything from that album. The rest doesn’t reach out and grab immediately, there’s a slower groove throughout the album, but it’s all still very satisfying. “I Put the Finger on You” is another one of my favorites from this album. Mutt Lange was back in the producer’s chair for this album (his last with the band) and it is not hard to imagine “I Put the Finger on You” or “Spellbound” as Def Leppard songs, with a few tweaks here and there.

Essential AC/DC and I’m glad I have some new (to me) AC/DC music to listen to!

Highlights: “For Those About to Rock We Salute You”, “Put the Finger on You”, “Let’s Get It Up”, “Inject the Venom”, “Evil Walks”, “Breaking the Rules”, “Spellbound”

www.acdc.com
www.myspace.com/acdc

AC/DC – Back In Black

AC/DC – Back In Black [Remastered] (2003, Epic Records)
Original Release: 1980, Atco Records

1. “Hells Bells” … 5:09
2. “Shoot to Thrill” … 5:14
3. “What Do You Do for Money Honey” … 3:33
4. “Given the Dog a Bone” … 3:30
5. “Let Me Put My Love into You” … 4:12
6. “Back in Black” … 4:13
7. “You Shook Me All Night Long” … 3:28
8. “Have a Drink on Me” … 3:57
9. “Shake a Leg” … 4:03
10. “Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution” … 4:12

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

Produced by: Robert John “Mutt” Lange

In keeping with my initial intent to catalog and comment on all of my albums and not necessarily review, this one’s going to be short and sweet because there’s not really much to say about this album that hasn’t been said a millions times by millions of other people. I do think it’s a tad overrated, but it is still a classic and should be in every rocker’s collection. I mean, it has sold over 22 million copies in the United States alone and a whopping worldwide total of 49 million. If you don’t own this already, don’t you think it’s time you do?

This was one of a handful of albums I listened to extensively the last year or two of high school. I was just discovering the rock & metal scene and AC/DC was one of the first bands I fell in love with and I walked home many times from school playing this one in the ol’ Discman! I was fascinated and tinkled pink by “Given the Dog a Bone” at the time.

I originally had an older issue of this on CD for years, but when I was a member of Columbia House Music, they shipped this to me by accident, so I ended up getting to keep it PLUS they took the charge off my account. Pretty cool!

Highlights: All of it.

www.acdc.com
www.myspace.com/acdc

AC/DC – Live

AC/DC – Live (1992, Atco Records)

1. “Thunderstruck” … 6:34
2. “Shoot to Thrill” … 5:21
3. “Back in Black” … 4:28
4. “Who Made Who” … 5:15
5. “Heatseeker” … 3:37
6. “The Jack” … 6:56
7. “Moneytalks” … 4:18
8. “Hells Bells” … 6:01
9. “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” … 5:02
10. “Whole Lotta Rosie” … 4:30
11. “You Shook Me All Night Long” … 3:54
12. “Highway to Hell” … 3:58
13. “T.N.T.” … 3:47
14. “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)” … 7:18

Band:
Brian Johnson – Lead vocals
Angus Young – Guitar
Malcolm Young – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Cliff Williams – Bass guitar, Backing Vocals
Chris Slade – Drums, Percussion

Produced by: Bruce Fairbairn

Fantastic live release that holds two distinctions in my collection: it’s the first live album I ever bought and it’s also the first AC/DC album I ever bought (picked it up at Target of all places too!).

There’s always going to be a special place in my heart for this album. It’s one of the first big albums in my life. One of the first that I played constantly from beginning to end, with many of those plays coming during lunch period at high school and on the walk home from school. For a time, it catapulted AC/DC towards the top of my favorite bands list.

I ended up burning myself out on the band and the album (and the AC/DC albums that this one inspired me to pick up). Despite being way too familiar with the album now, it’s still a classic live release that every AC/DC fan should own, in my opinion.

There is a two disc version (featuring 23 tracks) that was released a month after this version was. I had bought the album in the late 90s, but I wasn’t aware of the two disc edition and was pretty ticked off when I found out about it. I would’ve rather held out for that version!

The album was recorded during the 1990-1991 The Razor’s Edge tour at various locales.

Highlights: “Thunderstruck”, “Who Made Who”, “Moneytalks”, “Hells Bells”, “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap”, “Whole Lotta Rosie”, “You Shook Me All Night Long”, “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)”

www.acdc.com
www.myspace.com/acdc

METAL EXCESS Goes LIVE!

In honor of the Judas Priest/Whitesnake/Pop Evil show on July 15th and Def Leppard/Poison/Cheap Trick show on July 24th that I’ll be attending (both at the DTE Energy Center in Clarkston, MI), for the next two weeks I’ll be reviewing nothing but live albums. The plan is five album reviews a week, plus a concert recap.

Here’s the rundown:

Week 1
Aerosmith – Classics Live!
Halford – Live Insurrection
KISS – Alive
KISS – MTV Unplugged
Megadeth – Rude Awakening

Concert Review: Judas Priest/Whitesnake/Pop Evil @ DTE Energy Center 7/15/09

Week 2
AC/DC – Live
Bon Jovi – One Wild Night: Live 1985-2001
Cheap Trick – At Budokan
Poison – Great Big Hits: Live Bootleg
KISS – Alive II

Concert Review: Def Leppard/Poison/Cheap Trick @ DTE Energy Center 7/24/09

Check back Monday to see what album I kick things off with!

AC/DC – Ballbreaker

AC/DC – Ballbreaker (1995, East West Records)

1. “Hard As A Rock” … 4:31
2. “Cover You In Oil” … 4:32
3. “The Furor” … 4:10
4. “Boogie Man” … 4:07
5. “The Honey Roll” … 5:34
6. “Burnin’ Alive” … 5:05
7. “Hail Caesar” … 5:14
8. “Love Bomb” … 3:14
9. “Caught With Your Pants Down” … 4:14
10. “Whiskey On The Rocks” … 4:35
11. “Ballbreaker” … 4:31

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

Produced by: Rick Rubin

There was a time when I was a HUUUUGE AC/DC fan. They were one of the first bands I got into alongside Poison, Bon Jovi and Guns N’ Roses back when I took a real interest in music in my teens.

My first AC/DC album was Live, and then I went on a spree ordering up when I could from Columbia House Music & BMG Music, in addition to find what I could around town. This was one I picked up in town and I was initially unsatisfied with what I heard.

I guess after hearing Back In Black, Highway to Hell, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap and The Razor’s Edge I was expecting something amazing. Well, Ballbreaker was quite a downer for me at the time, but I’ve matured enough that I can now appreciate the album for what it is: a decent AC/DC album. It does nothing wrong, but doesn’t really do anything particularly great and this album (and AC/DC burnout in general) is why I decided to skip out on their next release, Stiff Upper Lip.

There is one true standout though that conjures up the AC/DC of old: “Hard As A Rock”. And is it me or does “The Furor” seem really similar to “The Razor’s Edge”?

Highlights: “Hard As A Rock”, “Cover You In Oil”, “The Furor”, “Burnin’ Alive”, “Hail Caesar”, “Love Bomb”, “Ballbreaker”

www.acdc.com
www.myspace.com/acdc

The Top 10 Albums of 2008 (#1-5)

Before we get on with the conclusion of the Top 10 (#6-10 found can be found here), let me first say that outside of the #1 spot, there were no clear cut rankings. I spent the last month listening to each and every 2008 release once a day in order to accurately judge where they should be ranked.

Okay, not really, but it was pretty tough deciding who went where, especially when getting down to the cream of the crop…

1. Guns ‘N Roses – Chinese Democracy

Well, this was a no-brainer for me. Is it bloated? Full of ego? Overproduced? Sure. But through all of that, there’s no filler. Regardless of who the public thinks should be a member of GNR and what GNR should sound like, this is a great hard rock album. The fact that I spent the last 7 years listening to most of these tracks (in some form or another) and still play this almost every day in my car to and from work just goes to show how powerful the whole album is. It’s completely epic, UYI sessions to the extreme and I love it.

2. Edguy – Tinnitus Sanctus

Edguy came late in the year and vaulted over everyone to earn the No. 2 spot in my eyes. I’m a big fan of Edguy’s change in style and Tinnitus Sanctus continued the hard rock catchiness and huge choruses found on Rocket Ride.

3. Whitesnake – Good to Be Bad

After hearing the new tracks from Whitesnake’s Live: In the Shadow of the Blues, I knew David was going to give the world a great hard rock album… and he did! This is quite possibly Whitesnake’s best release, it stays true to the Whitesnake sound, and I’m still playing it these days. The band is powerful and so is David’s voice. Just a shame Whitesnake doesn’t carry as much cloat as a band like AC/DC because Good to Be Bad definitely deserved a wider audience.

4. Metallica – Death Magnetic

Funny thing is, this album may have ranked higher had it played in my car, where I tend to do most of my music listening (it’s a 20 minute drive to work at the least, depending on traffic). For some reason, it skips in my car’s CD player, so I was restricted to listening to it in the home, where I’m often distracted. Great album though. I’m still not sure where I’d rank it in the band’s catalog, but easily their best since the Black Album and possibly even better. Metallica just can’t win with fans these days though, because I’ve seen some serious trashing on this album as well.

5. AC/DC – Black Ice

Well, they did it! One of the most successful releases of the year and AC/DC definitely earned it with Black Ice. AC/DC is a great band, but I had grown tired of them quite some time ago. This album pulled me back in.

Now that we’ve talked about the best…

Most Disappointing Releases of 2008

Def Leppard – Nine Lives

I’m okay with Def Leppard abandoning the “Def Leppard sound” for the most part, but I just can’t get behind this album. 1970s glam cover album YEAH! was definitely an influence here, but it didn’t influence them to rock. “Nine Lives” was a great Leppard-esque rocker, but the rest was a huge letdown.

Alice Cooper – Along Came a Spider

Not bad, but definitely one of Alice’s least impressive albums. There’s just nothing special about it. Just to show how little of an impact it made on me, I only remembered it after posting this article! Again, my gripe was that it just didn’t rock out enough.

Don’t forget to check out what these great sites thought of this year’s releases…

All Metal Resource
Bring Back Glam
Hard Rock Hideout
Hair Metal Mansion
Heavy Metal Addiction
Heavy Metal Time Machine
Imagine Echoes
Layla’s Classic Rock
The Metal Minute
The Ripple Effect
Rock And Roll and Meandering Nonsense
Rock Of Ages

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