Home Magazine Album Reviews Interviews News Featured Musician Genre Seeker SOTW

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

AC/DC: Black Ice

Year released: 2008
Label: Columbia
Official Website: www.acdc.com


1. Rock 'N Roll Train [4:22]

2. Skies On Fire [3:34]

3. Big Jack [3:57]

4. Anything Goes [3:22]

5. War Machine [3:10]

6. Smash 'N Grab [4:06]

7. Spoilin' For A Fight [3:17]

8. Wheels [3:29]

9. Decibel [3:34]

10. Stormy May Day [3:10]

11. She Likes Rock 'N Roll [3:53]

12. Money Made [4:16]

13. Rock 'N Roll Dream [4:41]

14. Rocking All The Way [3:23]

15. Black Ice [3:25]


Everyone's favourite Aussie Hard Rock/Heavy Metal (whichever one you please, really) is back in Black Ice, and this time, they seem to be following the latest trend among bands hailing from the '70s and '80s; that of having a rather lengthy album track time. Not that anyone is complaining about that (*grins*).

First impressions: They are as classic as ever, sticking to their old style faithfully. As old fans might have already noticed by looking at the track names, they are still as obsessed as ever with rock 'n roll. Notice how many times that ubiquitous music term appeared up there in that track list? Yeah, rest assured, that is how much these guys love their style, and they ain't changing their sound just yet. This is a plus point for them actually, because the only way for most old bands to survive now is to stick to their original sound (P.S. Look at Death Magnetic). Speaking of sound, AC/DC strikes me as a hard rock variation of Rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers, and pop punk band Hawthorne Heights. All three of them have something in common, and whether this is good or not, I leave it up to you. Notice how all of them have songs that sound so similar to one another, apart from a few exceptions, that you cannot tell whether the CD has gone on to the next track? Yeah, that is their kind of sound, and I mean every alphabet of it.

Whenever you hear a Red Hot Chili Peppers song, you know it is a Red Hot Chili Peppers song; you just can't seem to name it. Similarly, whenever you hear an AC/DC song, you know it is an AC/DC song, but you have trouble naming it as well. It is thanks to that trademark whiny-and-high-pitched-yet-rock-n-rollish vocals, that we have yet another decent rock 'n roll album today. Seriously speaking, if there were three words to describe this album, it would just be “rock 'n roll”. After immersing myself in Black Ice, I cannot help but resemble the band members themselves when they were naming the songs.

If there was anything good about aging, this is probably it. AC/DC shows us that having an expanding sea of white hair, flabby forearms, and an exponential jump in the number of wrinkles caressing the aged skin are no obstacles in their tenacious quest to continue reminding the world of the existence of their unique brand of hard rock. Rocked their way to dizzying heights of stardom back then, still rocking their way to even dizzier heights of stardom today. Black Ice certainly entombs the undying passion and earnestness of AC/DC's music, for it is stellar but slowly dying with the times.

Take a listen!: A potential single that isn't a single yet, and was also the theme song for the Marvel comic superhero "War Machine" from the 2010 film, "Iron Man 2".

You have probably heard that AC/DC was the epitome of “old school rock”, and with this fifteenth album of theirs, they are still “old school rock” even though we are already well into the 21st century. There are many other newer rock 'n roll bands out there today, ala the Finnish hybrid band, Lordi, and others with a unique brand of rock 'n roll themselves such as Bon Jovi. However, AC/DC will still dominate the old school rock 'n roll scene, for their music just strikes a nostalgic chord deep within those who have lived through the 1980's, and tugs at the heartstrings of new listeners with a déjà vu-like feel. Being the longest AC/DC album to date, Black Ice is definitely worth every dollar if you are a hardcore “old school rock” fan, or a rock 'n roll fan looking to turn back music time by a few decades. With lively & upbeat guitar riffs, coupled with rhythmically-simple & thudding drum beats, what is best about this album is that AC/DC does not lose their rock 'n roll energy along the way. Many a times, bands who write many songs at one go tend to lose themselves along the way, and they always end up having a lackluster closure to a potentially great album. Being a rock 'n roll band, starting and ending rock 'n roll style is perfect for any AC/DC album, as the genre is certainly only worthy of being defined by none other than itself.

Electrifying old geezers: From left to right - Brian Johnson (Vocalist), Malcolm Young (Rhythm Guitar), Cliff Williams (Bass Guitar), Angus Young (Lead Guitar), Phil Rudd (Drums)

Overall, Black Ice is a firm, down-to-earth retro album that will certainly appeal to the masses belonging to the young and middle-aged working class group. Teenage Hard Rock fans would generally like it as well, as every AC/DC album more or less oozes the band's signature style, albeit in a nuanced way as each year flies by. C'mon, even legends of rock 'n roll are not impervious to the cruel stream of time that marches ever onwards without batting an eyelid over the glorious past. It is however, amazing how older music tend to outlast their younger counterparts of the 21st century. AC/DC can certainly be a band you can trust on to fall back to should you get tired of ephemeral modern rock hits.

As their name implies, AC/DC never fails to electrify.

Above: A train's ticket that is worth dying for, and the very first single off "Black Ice".

Verdict: 8.8 / 10

No comments: