Black IceFeatured review by: UG Team, on october 21, 2008 24 of 25 people found this review helpful
Sound: There's a reason why AC/DC has sold more than 200 million albums worldwide, and it's not a good idea to mess with that formula. No worries - the new album Black Ice has kept things classic. It's true that about 8 years have passed since we've had a new studio release from AC/DC, and in the meantime there was a lot of talk from vocalist Brian Johnson about how Black Ice would show more diversity. He's got a point in many ways, but things never go in a drastically different direction. There might have been some tweaks in terms of the guitar arrangements or even a bigger turn toward the blues, but it's still subtle and won't cause too much of a stir.
With 15 songs and almost an hour's worth of material, Black Ice will keep you entertained for a good while. Every track has the trademark Angus Young chord-driven groove, and there are a few offerings that might be elevated to the status that Back In Black or You Shook Me have reached over the years. Out of all of the possibilities, my bet is on the first single off of the album, Rock N' Roll Train. The track starts out on the mellower side of the rock spectrum, but it is a solid AC/DC offering that will necessitate head bobbing by the end of it all. It might not be groundbreaking or even that far of a stretch musically, but the infectiously catchy chorus makes it all worthwhile.
War Machine has been released as the B-side to Rock N' Roll Train, and it honestly deserves a shot to stand on it's own. With it's initial prominent bass line and eventual grooving riff, it's one of the most memorable tracks on the album. Another standout on Black Ice for very different reasons is Stormy May Day, which features fantastic slide guitar work from Young. When you combine that unique element with Johnson's utterly clean vocal style at the end, you are getting a fresh sound from the legendary band. Decibel is a worthwhile listen as well thanks to it's bluesy lead riff, which is among the best even though it is quite reminiscent of ZZ Top's Waitin' For The Bus.
A good portion of the album is devoted to the sound and style you might expect from AC/DC, and dedicated fans still shouldn't be disappointed. There aren't necessarily any songs that revolve around a machine-gun-type riff (ie, Thunderstruck), but the album is not devoid of excellent solo work, either. Even when a song doesn't sound all that different from past releases, it's still highly listenable. Big Jack does have a familiar style that oozes AC/DC of bygone years, but that's not such a bad thing - particularly when you're ready to sing along with the chorus after one listen. // 8
Lyrics: The lyrics do tend to be a good fit for the musical behind them all. Just as AC/DC's tracks often revolve around a few chords, there are usually straightforward, short, punchy lines that make a good match. Rock N' Roll Train is a fitting example with it's back-to-basics lyrics: "Make a stand; Show your hand; Call in the high command; Don't think; Just obey; I'm like a bird of prey. Complex, over-the-top lyrics would just not work with AC/DC's music, so these short, no-frills lines are an appropriate fit. // 8
Overall Impression: On the whole Black Ice is a fun album that still oozes nostalgia and will undoubtedly satisfy all of the fans who have stuck with AC/DC since 1973. Johnson sounds just as gritty and powerful as he did on Back In Black, while Angus and Malcolm Young do deliver some really nice rhythm-driven guitar layers in the 15 songs. Black Ice doesn't go out on a limb and try that much new, but sometimes you just want an album that rocks. Period. // 8
playinbass1432, on october 21, 2008 6 of 7 people found this review helpful
Sound: It's been eight long years for AC/DC fans. Eight years of waiting, waiting for a new record from the aging rock'n'roll legends Angus Young, Malcolm Young, Cliff Williams, Phil Rudd, and Brian Johnson. With the recent leak of the record, I was not disappointed. The band sound like they're trying again, instead of playing safe with a blues record like "Stiff Upper Lip". Although there are some flat out duds like "Smash n Grab", and "Decibel", this album absolutely floors you upon first listen.
01. The album kicks off with the anthemic "Rock n Roll Train", which opens with a signature AC/DC riff, and after a flam on the snare by Phil Rudd, all hell breaks loose. Pure rock. Things quiet down for a bit and give way to the tangled chordal riff of the verse, and Brian comes in. Then we literally sling shot back into the chorus, which is gang vocals galore, reminding you of something from the "For Those About to Rock" era. The solo is a bit weaker than usual, but the one bad part of this album as a whole is that there are no notable solos... they all sound like pre-solo licks. Listen to "Rising Power" from "Flick of the Switch", and you'll know what I mean. Anyway, after the solo on Mr. Train, we head back into the chorus, then into a bridge section after another verse, with a few little licks dubbed over top. Another chorus rides this one out. Great tune.
02. Skies on Fire is another standout track, opening with a simple drum beat and giving way to a damn twisty little riff, with some awesome vocals here from Brian, who pulls some pretty high notes out of his ass on this one and nails the chorus.
03. Wow! Well Done! Big Jack is next up, and it's a great tune. It opens with a short jingle on the guitars, then the rest of the band comes in, mowing you over with a wall of sound. Johnson sounds great on this one as well. Some great top string riffing underneath the chorus. Good Stuff.
04. Anything Goes is pretty... different to say the absolute least. It is somewhat reminiscent of Geordie's "Geordie Stomp". I was prepared for this one after all the pop song comments made about it in some of the earlier reviews, but it really isn't that bad. A good song, but just one of the few tastes of variety that one will get on this album. Hopefully this one grows on me.
05. Now, War Machine. I'm sure you've heard it, as it was the second single. It opens with some tight tom work by Rudd, and a steady, throbbing bassline by Cliff Williams. A signature AC/DC chord progression rips right through it, gaining momentum, until we finally launch into the verse. Great tune, but there are better on the album.
06. Smash n Grab is a bit more modern sounding, featuring some pretty strong backing vocals from Malcolm Young and Williams. The chorus is arguably the best part of the song. "Smash... Grab and take it..ahhhahahahahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh." Yeah, I exaggerated a bit on that last part.
07. Spoilin' For A Fight is a bit different as well, sounds like something you'd hear from The Tragically Hip, minus the annoying vocals and everything. Some awesome bluesy licks from Angus throughout.
08. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeellllllllsssss. This is one of the better songs on the album. We start off with some play between Ang and Mal, before Rudd comes in and we go a few bars without Mal, but he comes back in and we shoot into the chorus. Whheeeeellllllls.
09. Decibel is one of the fillers on the album. It sounds a lot like ZZ Top, just better and stuff. Not much notable about this one, a bluesy riff. The song should have been renamed "Jezebal" as pointed out in an earlier review of the album.
10. Stormy May Day is the best song on the album for me. It cuts itself away from usual AC/DC, and opens up with a few little arpeggios. Then, when you think you're listening to "This House is On Fire" #2, Angus delivers some great slide guitar which reminds you of Jimmy Page. The whole song has a Zep like feel to it, and the stomping chorus is no different.
11. We have another gem here in She Likes Rock n Roll. Opening with a riff somewhat reminiscent of "All Screwed Up" with a few nifty little bass fills popped in between. I was expecting more of an epic chorus, but the downright grooviness breaks up for it, with a DIFFERENT drum beat! Who would have thought?!
12. Next up is Money Made, another stroll into Led Zeppelin territory, a bass-driven boogie with an absolutely awesome verse. What a great song. I'm cranking this gem in the car.
13. Now, Rock n Roll Dream. This thing has been under a microscope, since the first reviews of the album back in mid-August. Why you ask? It's nearly a ballad! However, not a synth-laden sapfest like most would expect when they hear the word "ballad". It's pure rock. Don't freak out over this one, I really enjoyed it. It starts out a bit quieter, then explodes at the chorus "I could be in a rock n roll dream... "
14. Rocking All The Way starts with some blues of sorts, oh wait, the whole song is pure blues. Unlike the rest of the album. Reminds you of something that should have been in "Convoy". A very "trucker" song if you will. One to play on the road. some of the, if not the best solos on the album here.
15. The title track, while a great tune, is the most dissapointing song on the album for me. I was expecting something hard and heavy, with gang vocals and a blazing solo. Instead, we get a good blues tune. We start out with some finger picking by Angus, and the rest of the band come in a few measures after. It sounds a bit like "Meanstreak" from Blow Up Your Video. A few minor key changes here after the first chorus. An okay end to album. It makes you think it could have been more epic, because it could have.
In terms of production, this album is ok. The drums and everything are way punchy and audible. Especially Cliff's bass. However, I don't like how O'Brien "thinned out" Brian's voice. But oh well, he's hitting his high notes without straining for the most part, so that makes up for it. Better solos could have made the album a great deal better, too. // 8
Lyrics: Now, the lyrics are just typical recent AC/DC, senseless gibberish with no relevance to anything, therefore, they're awesome. Brian's vocals here are arguably the best he's delivered since "Flick Of The Switch" way back in 1983. He seems more dynamic on this record, switching between registers and making good use of his naturally deep, gravelly voice. Great job here by Brian, and a (like usual) terrible but awesome job by Ang and Mal writing the lyrics. // 9
Overall Impression: This album is the most diverse they've ever done, and it will take a few listens to sink in for hardcore fans. However, it is arguably the best thing they've done since the 80's. Not much else to say other than that, it's a good collection of tunes. A good party album. There's songs for everybody on here. A great change of pace. Well done boys. // 9
Yerjam, on october 22, 2008 4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Sound: I got Black Ice yesterday on the day of release and safe to say, my iPod hasn't been blurring out anything else since - finally, after a long wait, the greatest rock and roll band on earth is back, and what an album to hit back with!
As stated in other reviews, lead singer Brian Johnson had pointed out previously that Black Ice was going to be a diverse album, trying new things and containing songs which would lean away from the classic AC/DC power-chord, gang chorus romp. Well, whilst there are some not-so typical AC/DC tunes, such as the excellent "Stormy May Day", the majority of the album keeps to the same old tried and tested AC/DC methods - mesmerising power chord riffs, catchy choruses and air guitar-worthy solos. And why the hell not!?
The opener, "Rock 'N Roll Train" is superb. A true show-off of AC/DC's style. The part where the song really shines is it's chorus - it's as memorable as any song off of Highway to Hell or Back in Black. I defy anyone - AC/DC nut or not - to not find themselves constantly humming the chorus for days/weeks after they've heard the song. An instant classic. Next we move onto two real headbangers - "Skies on Fire" and "Big Jack". Again they're in the typical AC/DC style and are great to shout along too.
"Anything Goes" is the first track off Black Ice to show off a new style for AC/DC. Johnson's vocals appear more relaxed, in fact the song as a whole is more relaxed than a typical AC/DC tune. This is one to sing along to the whole way through; I'd be surprised if it didn't become a concert staple. "War Machine" kicks us right back into proper AC/DC mode. I love it. The push-pull riff work between the two guitarists Angus and Malcolm Young is excellent and the backing vocals performed by Malcolm and bassist Cliff Williams are terrific as usual - they sound like a pack of rum-swigging pirates in the background and it suits the song perfectly.
I'm not so sure about the next two tracks - Smash 'N Grab and Spoilin' for a Fight. The only place where "Smash" shines is, again, its gang chorus. The rest just feels like filler. "Spoilin" has an excellent opening riff, very bluesy, but the rest of the song fails to deliver and doesn't really get the blood pumping like an AC/DC song should. The solo stands out however; Angus' use of pinch harmonics and pentatonic scale runs reminds you a lot of Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), like other reviewers have mentioned. For me the next song, "Wheels" also falls into the filler category, not a very memorable tune.
"Decibel" - what a tune! Tasty riff + pirate chorus + rockin' solo = AC/DC! I really like it. "Stormy May Day" is the next song to divert away from AC/DC's typical style; for the first time in the studio Angus Young uses a slide. As such, the song is very bluesy, literally - the lyrics, simple as they are, are quite effective in creating that bluesy mood. Johnson's vocals really shine here too and he really shows how well his gravelly vocals suit bluesier tracks, much like former AC/DC lead singer Bon Scott.
"She Likes Rock and Roll"? Don't get me wrong, a great tune, but it just feels a bit like I've heard it before. Whilst I agree that most AC/DC tunes have that feel about them, this one does especially. The riff is basically a reworked version of "All Screwed Up" from their 2000 effort Stiff Upper Lip. Good tune nonetheless. The next song is a real gem - "Money Made". Great riff work and a damn catchy chorus. One to have up full boot and hack the neighbours off with!
Next we move onto "Rock 'N Roll Dream". I'm not so sure about this track. It's done in a rock ballad-like style, but it's not strictly a ballad (it still has that rockin' edge to it), but still I'm not so sure this suits AC/DC too well. Still, it's good to again see the boys trying something new; maybe it'll grow on me. "Rockin' All The Way", another superb tune! Done in the typical style of course which means the chorus is catchy as hell. It also has a bit of a seedy feel about it, I can imagine it being played in bars and strip clubs very soon!
And finally,we move onto the last track - the somewhat disappointing title track. Johnson's vocals are great here, especially when he goes low in the chorus; this definitely stands out. However, the rest of the song fails to deliver and like "Spoilin' for a Fight" doesn't really get the blood-pumping like a great AC/DC tune should.
Overall, the album keeps to the same methods AC/DC has used since the 70s, and the thing is; it still sounds fantastic! A few tracks divert away from this style, and the majority of them succeed in doing so. // 9
Lyrics: There's really no point in trying to analyse lyrics for an AC/DC tune is there? At the end of the day, it's Acca Dacca! No-one expects mind-blowing lyrics that take a long think about to decipher - take "She Likes Rock 'N Roll". It's about a girl who likes rock and roll (duh!?) - simple as. My point is, the lyics match the music and vice versa. AC/DC is built around a simple rhythm section and power chord-driven riffs which don't suit the kind of lyrics you'd hear in something like "Stairway to Heaven". In the words of Malcolm Young, "People can go out and hear REM if they want deep lyrics; but at the end of the night, they want to go home and get f--ked! That's where AC/DC comes into it." (Source: Wikiquote)
As for singer skills, Brian Johnson is excellent. His voice sounds in much better condition than it did for the last album "Stiff Upper Lip" - he can screech like a man on fire, but can also hit those low notes for a more seedier tone. A big thumbs-up has to go to the backing vocals however, excellent work by Malcolm Young and Cliff Williams. Their gang choruses are what make an AC/DC song an AC/DC song and they even make the filler easy to sing along too. // 9
Overall Impression: Overall, Black Ice isn't a bold political statement, it doesn't throw much else new into the ring of rock music, it doesn't try to be anything it isn't. What it is is an AC/DC record. You see the name on the cover and you know you're gonna get an album that'll really rock, and it does. Once again the thunder from down under has delivered a classic. To finish off, here's a quote from Angus Young to round off the review:
It's just rock and roll. A lot of times we get criticized for it. A lot of music papers come out with: 'When are they going to stop playing these three chords?' If you believe you shouldn't play just three chords it's pretty silly on their part. To us, the simpler a song is, the better, 'cause it's more in line with what the person on the street is. (Source: Atlanta Gazette, May 1979) // 10
Rocker_94, on october 22, 2008 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: I really like this album. Well worth the long 8 year wait. After 30+ years, AC/DC never really changed their style, but every album still has a different sound to it. When the band members say their songs belong together as an album, not individually, it's true. Every song flows nicely one into another. They have their similarities, but they're all different from one another and what we have heard in the past. What Brian said was also true, this album does show how versatile they can be. One thing we haven't heard before is Angus use a slide. Listen to Stormy May Day. It's a great song. It's definately AC/DC, but different. Another one is Rock N Roll Dream. It starts out kinda slow, then picks up a little. Another different one would be Anything Goes. It's a really good song too. The band sounds awesome in here. You hear Cliff a lot in here, Phil is steady as usual, and you just have to love the sound of Angus's SG and Malcolm's Gretsch. Brian sounds the best he has in a while, and I'll get to that shortly. // 10
Lyrics: Before I start, I'd like to say something that's a little disapointing. Remember how a few years ago, Brian had said he was working on the lyrics for the first time since Blow Up Your Video. Doesen't look like that made the cuts. On the CD booklet, under the song list, you see something that has been truly familiar since the 1990s: 'All Songs Written by A. Young and M. Young'. Speaking about the lyrics, it's the same thing as usual. Sex, Drugs and Rock N Roll. Simple, yet great. Even though Brian didn't write the lyrics, he sounds on top of his game on this one. I haven't heard his voice this good since The Razor's Edge. Hopefully it stays that way for the Black Ice World Tour. // 10
Overall Impression: I've said this already, and I'll say it again: I love this album. If it were stolen or lost, I'd be really mad since I just bought it yesterday. Every song on it is good, so there's no use in naming them all. I think the one I like the least would be Decibel. It sounds like a filler, but still belongs. If you were expecting Back In Black, forget it. I don't think we're ever going to see an album like that ever again. I'd put it in the same category as the Razor's Edge, but better. One little complaint is about Angus though. His solos are way shorter on this one compared to the other albums. They still sound good, but certain solos feel like they could have been extended a little. I'll still give it a 10 out of 10. I cannot wait until they go on tour again, and we won't wait long. // 10
TheFrog, on october 23, 2008 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: This, for me is the best AC/DC album since Back in Black. Realistically, it was never going to match the multi million selling masterpiece, but it has come closer than any other album after Back in Black.
It's typical, but more modernised AC/DC I think. But it is not by any means too modern. I'd liked to have seen more face melting guitar solos simalar to 'Shake a leg' or 'TNT' But overall, it is excellant. The on;y thing I think what this album is missing is a real good blues song. Like the Jack, or Down Payment Blues, anyway, it's been worth he (very long) wait!
Lyrics: Angus and Malcolm's lyrics are dreadful -face it- but they suit the style of the band. But to be honest, to sum the lyrics up, it dosn't take very long- infact it takes three words- sex, drugs and rock n roll! Brian is singing really well- on rock n roll dream, especially. Infact, you woudn't have guessed that he was 33 when back in black was released, and that he's 61 now! // 8
Overall Impression: Overall, this is the 2nd best album for AC/DC with Brian Johnson. (after back in black of course) and I think it will be the last, or penultimate album for AC/DC. But if this is the last album, they will be leaving rock n roll on a high They've had 8 years, so it's their longest album to date, so I've picked the 'best' 5 tracks from it.
Top 5 Tracks are
01.Rock n Roll Train: this is the best song on the album. It has a typical AC/DC riff, a great chorus, but why don't they call it runaway train? Answer: AC/DC have used the words Rockin' or Rock n Roll in the titles of over 15 of their songs, so, it's not unusual! It's also one of only handful of tracks that has a guitar solo in it on black ice...
02.War Machine: killer riff. And some good drumming at the start. A load of people say that AC/DC songs all sound the same, (such as Live Wire, and It's a long way to the top), which is the case with war machine & rock n roll train. Even so... great song!
03.Smash n Grab: smash, grab, take it, whiiiiillllle yyoooouuu ccccaaannnn... sort of gets stuck in your really, when you listen to it.
04.Rock n Roll Dream: another AC/DC song with rock n roll. And it's a ballad! the words 'AC/DC' and 'ballad' are like 'electricity' and 'water'- when they mix, something really nasty happens. Not in this case. This is in the territory of songs like 'You Shook me all night long' where Brian Johnson actually sings in a singing voice, rather than screaming in a singing voice if you know what I mean.
05.Stormy May Day: this song is a strange one- it has a Lynyrd Skynyrd style slide riff and no guitar solo- at all. Nevertheless, it is a great track, don't be fooled!
If I lost it, yup, I'd buy it again. But I would pay an extra 5, for the special edition, it's not worth it. // 9
angusheeyaa35, on october 23, 2008 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: After an anxious 8 year wait, AC/DC return with their 15th studio album, 'Black Ice'. The much anticipated addition to the band's catalogue has been produced by Brendan O'Brien, and the sound of the album may be described as conservative, without being too adventurous; this may not be a bad thing, though. Several different styles have been employed by the Young brothers throughout the 15 song, hour long album. One example of this is the use of slide guitar by Angus in the tune 'Stormy May Day'. While it isn't the best example of proficient slidework by a guitarist in the history of the world, it compliments the song very well.
For the remainder of Black Ice, two different styles have been composed; the mid-tempo hard rock the group is renowned for, and the slow, bluesy crawl first seen on 'The Jack' from the High Voltage album. "Rock 'N Roll Train" and "Wheels" are my favorite exponents of the hard rocking rhythm seen on the majority of the songs, while "Decibel" reflects the crawling blooze contingent. // 7
Lyrics: Brian Johnson has allegedly taken over the pen and paper as lyricist on this album. The lyrics are typical AC/DC; sex, booze and rock 'n roll. Johnson shines with his vocals, however. Opting for more of a crooner role, Johnson 'sings' the tunes, rather than letting rip with his signature scream. This results in a pleasant listening experience, and may result in more outsiders to join the AC/DC loving family. Hats off to Brian. // 8
Overall Impression: No one is waiting for another Back In Black or Highway To Hell. Black Ice isn't in the same league as these giants, nor does it try to be. This one has been penned as a safe, reliable addition to the band's catalogue, reinforcing AC/DC as a constant force in Hard Rock. Some may be disappointed the band has not stepped out of the box to produce a harder, rawer rock album reminiscent of the 70's. (I include myself in that category). Maybe the next (and possibly final) album by these giants may be a final, explosive hurrah. Maybe... Black Ice does contain enough quality material to be an enjoyable listen, however. My pick of the songs would be; Rock 'N Roll Train, Big Jack, Anything Goes, Wheels and Money Made. A solid effort from the matured, precise machine that is modern day AC/DC. // 7
presidentjlh, on october 28, 2008 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: The sound is exactly what you'd expect from AC/DC: Pure, unadulterated rock 'n roll. That is what makes them such a popular band even to this day. Songs like "Rock 'N Roll Train", "War Machine", "Big Jack", and "Wheels" have that good old anthemic quality to them. In this album, though, AC/DC does slightly (very slightly) tinker with the formula. "Anything Goes", "Stormy May Day", and "Rock 'N Roll Dream" have a few different sounds to them, however, they all fit into the formula. I especially like the sound of "Rock 'N Roll Dream": It's slow and haunting, yet, it still is classic AC/DC, almost like the great Bon Scott track "Ride On". Other songs, like "Decibel", "She Likes Rock 'N Roll", and "Black Ice", are wonderfully bluesy and would not be out of place at a good old Kansas City blues club. I'll have some ribs with that, thank you very much. // 10
Lyrics: For the most part, the lyrics are what you'd expect from the Brian Johnson era: Generic, yet fun to sing along to. There are some notable exceptions, however:
"Rock 'N Roll Dream" is probably the most notable one. Yes, the title is quite lame, however, the lyrics are actually quite memorable, especially when Jonna sings the word "round" and you hear it echo many times, it was one of the best parts of the album, it was quite enjoyable.
"War Machine" and "Big Jack" are the two double entredre tracks. When I first heard about there being a song called "War Machine" in the album, I thought, "Oh God, AC/DC's gone political."
Fortunately, that is not the case.
What "War Machine" and who "Big Jack" is, well, listen to other AC/DC songs like "Fire Your Guns". The object in question is a... cannon, of sorts. The two songs' lyrics revolve around these double entredres quite well and are beneficial to the songs. "Black Ice" has great lyrics, almost reminiscent of "Problem Child" is their content, Brian Johnson sings things like "I'm gonna rip it out", "gouge out your eyes", and "When the devil come a callin', I ain't gonna be around." Great stuff. The only problem is that Jonna's voice is still not pre-Blow Up Your Video levels. Of course, I doubt that they'll ever reach that point again, but still, it is of note. His voice has greatly improved though from where it was in Stiff Upper Lip, he does have a little more "umph" to it. // 9
Overall Impression: This is AC/DC's best album since "Flick of the Switch" (Which I honestly believe is an extremely underrated album that you must listen to.) However, it is no "Back in Black". Of course, I didn't really expect another "Back in Black". BiB is AC/DC's masterpiece, it's impossible to top, especially at this point in their careers. That being said, "Black Ice" is an excellent album. It easily surpasses the crap that is being played on the radio these days. Buy it, it is a must for any AC/DC fan, in fact, it's a must for anyone that likes rock music, or even just music. Best songs: "Rock 'N Roll Train", "War Machine", "Rock 'N Roll Dream", and "Black Ice". // 9
Reviewer Jordan, on november 11, 2008 1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sound: AC/DC is the greatest known band on earth. They are very successful and talented. They have many great albums, although many albums have no good songs on it at all. Almost all albums have only 2 or 3 songs that are acually worth listening to. they sometimes have creativity, like the album Back In Black, but some are not worth buying. They aren't your average rock band. Angus Young shows great work in his solos, I just wish I could say the same about his verses, choruses, etc. I can admit a few other songs are GREAT in everything, like Back in black, Thunderstruck, Dirty deeds, Hells bells, and Highway to hell. // 7
Lyrics: Brian johnson has one of the most unique singing voices I have ever heard! that's not a bad thing either. he sounds a little like Pantera's voice, just in Rock form instead of metal. His lyrics show a lot of creativity, and match the songs very well. I think he's a great icon for AC/DC. His singing style is independant. he is a unique singer and his voice matches no one! // 7
Overall Impression: Black Ice matches many of their albums, but none of any other artist. The new song Rock and roll train is very creative and I could say, one of the best! the album alone is not very great, other than that one song. I think you would be better off buying that one song off itunes and putting it on your ipod or burning a disc, unless you enjoy having original copys, like me. If I lost this disc, I would not replace it. if someone offered me a decent price I would sell it right now. // 6
angus_young_32, on january 09, 2009 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: I've read lots of negative reviews about this album on Amazon and on other sites. I simply don't understand. Many people slam this album because it is 'overmixed and it sounds the same as all the other albums.' That is what people don't understand. AC/DC never HAS and will NOT change their way of playing music. When I read reviews online before I actually bought the album, I was a bit apprehensive about several songs on the album, namely ANYTHING GOES and ROCK N ROLL DREAM. Once I heard those songs, I knew I was wrong to believe those reviews. To a tough AC/DC listener (a fan who's been listening to them since the beginning), those songs DO take some time to get used to. It took me a few listens to adjust my preferences to accomodate ANYTHING GOES, because that IS one of the more brisk, snappy AC/DC tunes. It's not much more like hard rock, it's more upbeat, more bright sounding. It's a brilliant track nevertheless. As for Rock N Roll Dream, I don't understand at all. AC/DC did take half a step out of their dominated rock territory, but don't all artists do? Any real fan that this is not an AC/DC ballad. If you want to hear a ballad by AC/DC, go listen to their song 'Love Song'. Rock N Roll Dream is inspirational. Brilliant. It shows us that the boys also have a new side to them: it's darker, but still amazing.
I'm going to lay out the tracks one by one now:
01.Rock 'n Roll Train: the first single from the album. Before I heard this song on the 'net, my breath was held up and my head was pounding. Thoughts were churning in my head. I was wondering, what was this song going to be? I mean, this would be the first new AC/DC material after a wait of 8 YEARS. This song did not disappoint. Classic AC/DC chords, an awesome solo, and the classic gang-chorus. Couldn't ask for more.
02.Skies On Fire: Phil is the first to start on this track. Some solid tom work, and then the rest of the band kicks through the door and comes in. Brian's voice is phenomenal on this track. Great lyrics.
03.Big Jack: what can I say about this? Right from the first two notes hit (B5 and E5)you can tell you've got a skull-crushing song ahead of you. The verse is simply astounding. Classic AC/DC lyrics and the Young brothers obviously don't want to take any prisoners. What let me down about this track, though, is the chorus. After the amazing intro and verse, the chorus is a big turn-off. The chorus goes in the style of Anything Goes. But the song is still stupendous.
04.Anything Goes: ah, here we go. This is my least favorite track on the album. It's not really POP style, but more upbeat, more... er... I don't quite know how to put it. It's a pretty good song, but it did take me quite a few listens for it to grow on me.
05.War Machine: starts out with Phil and Cliff, pumping up the audience with a tight bassline and some strong tom beats. Then some oddly-placed chords, then the sheer evil of the song sinks in. What we've got here people, is a real destroyer. It's mean sounding. And the backup vocals up Cliff and Malcolm make the song just more badass. War-machine!
06.Smash N Grab: this song starts with a kind of more sleazy, dirty, apprehensive sounding intro. Makes me think of driving through the bad part of town, at night, seeing the night residents coming out. Then the verse comes in. The lyrics are inspirational here as well. Telling you the story of how people take advantage of you when you can't defend yourself. Then the chorus. Simply brilliant. "Smash, grab, taaaake it! Aaaaaah, aaaaaaah, aaaaaaaaah!" You've got to hear the song to appreciate the sheer awesomeness.
07.Spoilin' For A Fight: an opening riff reminiscent of a ZZ Top song I can't remember, but still, this is one of my favorites. This is the song to listen to when you need to get pumped up. It gets your blood flowing, it makes you want to go and have a freakin' GANG WAR! Angus's solo on this is one of my favorite of all time.
08.Wheels: I think this song is more reminiscent of the Highway to Hell album. That said, it's left to you to know that this song surely must rock. And rock is what it does. A funky, cool intro riff and then Brian kicks in, telling you the story of a woman that gets you goin'. The chorus is also in the badass 'gang' style. I'm listening to this track right now.
09.Decibel: oh, wow. Here's what you've got to do. Drive home late at night, when all the lights are on, when the traffic is gone, and you can't see shit outside. Turn this track on. I swear, as soon as you hear Angus playing that rough intro riff, you know that you'd keep driving all night just to listen over and over to this song. Why does this song rock? It just does. Something about it just makes it amazing.
10.Stormy May Day: ah, something different. That doesn't mean anything. Angus is the highlight of this song, at least in the intro. This song is a standout from ALL OTHER AC/DC songs, because it's just so damn good and because Angus plays slide guitar on it. Apparently, slide guitar can also kick my ass, because it did. Raging lyrics, a greasy, tumbling riff and minor chords? I'm all for it.
11.She Likes Rock N Roll: I agree with everyone on this. This should going to replace 'Girls, Girls, Girls' as the stripper anthem nationwide. A sharp, awakening riff in the beginning. Sexy, slinky classic Angus licks are spread generously throughout, among the tasty lyrics. Just makes you wonder, who's the girl? Amazing song, a definite standout.
12.Money Made: this song doesn't have a solo. Now that I've notified you of that, I can now safely say that this song flat-out rocks, just like all the others. From the beginning, you automatically start tapping your foot to Malcolm's riff. And once Angus kicks in, you know that we have a winner! Lyrics are really good here, and some great chords in the verse.
13.Rock N Roll Dream: I've already said in the first paragraph what I think of this song, but I'll say it again. It's a really great song, but for some hardened AC/DC listeners like myself, it WILL takes some listens to actually learn to really, really like this song.
14.Rocking All The Way: sounds like it should be a Christmas tune, right? Wrong! This song sounds like it should be from Stiff Upper Lip, because it's really got the feel of the blues in it. Any blues is a-okay with me, because I really like it. This song has some serious pump-up factor. When Brian is screeching that two women is trouble and telling you about a woman comin' your way, you know you've got classic AC/DC on your hands.
15.Black Ice: okay. This song is a bit... er... I don't quite know how to put it. This song isn't your classic AC/DC rock 'n roll. This is... more... different? It's a bit intimidating, which makes it good. It's got a really weird riff that sound incredibly cool and easy to play, but at the same time it kind of sets you on edge. Still, it's a good song to close the album. // 10
Lyrics: The lyrics on this album generally don't make sense overall, therfore they're awesome. They fit into the songs perfectly, seamlessly. But then again, when you're listening to gut-busting, skull-crunching, brain-smashing rock 'n' roll like AC/DC, you don't give a damn about the lyrics. What really struck me about this is Brian's voice on this album. In some tracks, Brian screams as loud as you think is possible. You begin to think that that's all he can do. But in other tracks, like Decibel or War Machine, he goes low and deep. This album gets a lot of criticism for Brian having a bad voice. Oh man, people are so wrong on this. His voice is amazing on Black Ice! I don't mean "amazing" as in "good". Brian's voice is like a shrapnel laden limb being thrust through your chest on this album. It's hardly a voice; it's more of a sound, like another instrument. And that's just the way to go with it. Brian's not trying to fool anyone on Black Ice. He's not trying to "sing" per se. Most of those old blues guys didn't either. Brian does what they all did: Growl and spit. He just sounds bad, grizzly-mouthed. You can smell the cigarettes and whiskey on his voice; you can hear the history of rocking out perhaps too hard, like on Flick of the Switch. You hear a man. A primitive, rocking MAN that's squinting and bending over. And he rather implode than not give 100% of his machismo. He totally embraces his ruined voice and uses it for all it's ragged worth. Somehow it just makes the album sound meaner, more kickass. This is the closest Brian ever came to sounding like an underground act. There's no pretense here. There's no nonsense. It's perfect. // 10
Overall Impression: Ever since I got the album (I bought the Deluxe Edition), I don't even think of Black Ice so much in terms of a collection of songs; it's more like one giant song that keeps kicking your ass. AC/DC prove on Black Ice that just because they're middle-aged, it doesn't mean they'll get all tasteful and change their style. There is almost nothing I don't like about this album, and to specify, it took me some time to get to like anything goes. Apart from that, the entire album is very, very good. If this album was stolen from me, I'd find the mofo that did it and bash his head through the wall. If I lost it, I'd definitely go buy another copy, without a doubt. I'd recommend this album to anyone who appreciates music that incorporates guitar. Black Ice. Ring ring, we have a winner! // 10
The Exodius, on march 03, 2011 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: The latest AC/DC album has come across differently, As compared to earlier albums. AC/DC has been know to sound Raw, and Live. As opposed to single recording studio work. Black Ice has definitely had some computer touch ups, to improve quality, but has not altered the the actual recording. It's also noticeable that everyone except Brian Johnson has written an intro for a song. It has also played heavily on using stereo mode, and this has come to affect the sound, But in a positive way. My Dad bought the album for me on launch day, and a friend has given me an internal booklet, signed by Angus Young Himself. I gave this to my Dad, Who now has the booklet framed on His office wall. // 9
Lyrics: The lyrics have come across as mesmerising and cut a deep mood into you. They have been worked into the music very well, and fit like so. Brian keeps to the pace and tone of the music very well and has recorded his own backing vocals for the song. The lyrics Actually make sense, unlike a lot of things these days. So I was pretty pleased. Brian hasn't lost it. None of them have. // 8
Overall Impression: I feel that Black Ice is a pretty essential album to own, Meaning that it is one that everyone should have. It would be worth replacing for the sheer quality and pride of it. Some of the songs that have hit me as particularly good were Skies On Fire, Anything Goes, Smash And Grab, Wheels and She Likes Rock And Roll. They all have a certain tone to them that will make you smile when you first hear them. The only thing that I dislike about the Album is that you could almost pass it off as a new band. This isn't the AC/DC that I grew up with, nor is it my favourite album. I think that the album itself is a worthy contender, and that if it wasn't AC/DC, it still would have sold as well as it did. // 8
0GibsonLesPaul0, on march 04, 2009 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: AC/DC's new album was impressive consindering that they have been tossed aside from the "new music" talk. The recording technology has improved a lot since their last album, so that helps a lot with the sound and static. The most impressive thing that I noticed was that Cliff Williams (bassist) was much easier to hear. And I liked tthat. There was also not as much static in the background as well. // 10
Lyrics: The lyrics are great. A little on the bad side, but that's what hard rock and metal is all about! The lyrics goes hand in hand with the music. Brian Johnson's voice isn't so much singing as it is screaming... Sort of like both. And that just makes it AC/DC. His skills are great considering that he has to get that screaming/scratching sound and get the vocals on pitch. // 10
Overall Impression: It is one of the greatest albums of AC/DC... But aren't they all? Don't let the Wal - Mart endorsement discorage you. Just because some big "Box" store supports a hard rock/metal band doesn't that it sucks. Here are my favorite songs of the album:
01. Rock 'N Roll Train
02. Skies On Fire
03. Big Jack
04. Anything Goes
05. War Machine
06. Smash 'N Grab
07. Spoilin' For a Fight
10. Stormy May Day
11. She Likes Rock 'N Roll
12. Money Made
13. Rock N Roll Dream
14. Rocking All the Way
15. Black Ice
Or you can just say that I like all of them. // 10