For Your Listening Pleasure: Black Ice
AC/DC. The very words just evoke images of thousands of rockers, with their arms lifted, banging their heads to some of the greatest classic rock songs ever. The bad part is that these people are from about 15 years ago.
Black Ice, the latest album by the iconic rockers in eight years, was released this week to much fanfare. So I was of course interested in seeing what these guys could come up with, after all, I’ve drank many a beer listening to Back in Black and For Those About To Rock and others. My curiosity is have the evolved from the music that made them icons or did they just go with the tried-and-true route they have for the last 15 years? Hit the link to see what I thought.
The cd opens with the current single, Rock ‘N Roll Train and it is without a doubt the best song on the album. That should warn any true rock fan of what’s to come. If I had to sum up the entire album in one word it would be….dull. I know that the words dull and AC/DC shouldn’t go together, but I can’t help it. The entire album is on the same tempo and rarely changes throughout. There are a lot of forgettable songs too, which is sad considering the album is 15 songs that clock in at 55:38. Black Ice was produced by Brendan O’Brien and Brian Johnson handled most of the lyrical work.
Speaking of those lyrics, why are there four songs with the words Rock, Roll or some combination? Are they afraid that we will forget they are a rock band? Also, in Spoilin’ For a Fight, who are we fighting? It’s like AC/DC is still trying to convince everyone they are hated for their music and are out to let all those nasty critics know that they are true rockers and rebels. Instead it just comes out feeling….well….old.
I have listened to this album at least four times all the way through and have yet to really pick out a song that grabs hold. The guitars are EXACTLY the same on every song, Cliff Williams is content to just hit 8th notes on every song and Phil Rudd on drums sounds like he’s just trying to make a paycheck with the minimal effort on drums. Certain songs had potential but just fell short. ‘War Machine’ opens in a way that I expected a killer riff to start playing and instead got a generic Angus Young, two-note riff. ‘Decibel’ opens with a nice riff and Johnson really gives you a different sound as he doesn’t try to scream but insteads keeps his voice low and smokey. ‘Money Made’ is a nice change of pace from the rest of the generic songs.
In short, I think if you are an AC/DC fan, you will enjoy the album. Brian Johnson calls it “their best album yet” but I beg to differ. Black in Black will forever be known as AC/DC and anything after it is just the band making a living.
Tracks to listen for: Rock ‘N Roll Train, Money Made, Decibel, Big Jack