Sound — 7
The release of Phil Rudd's debut solo album "Head Job" probably would have been better received back in August 2014 as a cohesive hard rock effort, not to mention the first new album to surface from any member of AC/DC outside of the band. Yet this wasn't exactly the case; most of the hard rock and metal universe were paying attention to Phil Rudd, but instead of focusing on the album the drummer was instead under the public eye for taking "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" a little too seriously and was placed under arrest for drug possession and allegedly threatening to kill. Nearly two years of legal complications resulted in the reappearance of Chris Slade from AC/DC's "The Razors Edge" to take Rudd's position behind the skins, and with Axl Rose currently at the helm of the band and Cliff Williams' retirement exactly where AC/DC's future lies is anyone's guess. However now Rudd's solo album "Head Job" is getting a second shot with a re-release, which allows for fans to stand past the controversies that surrounded its initial pressing and appreciate the hefty performance found throughout. "Head Job" is a really solid album and well worth a listen.
In all honestly there are some resemblances to AC/DC found throughout the album, but if you had to pick one comparison to this album it would most likely be Motörhead. Aside from Rudd on drums/vocals and Geoffrey Martin on guitar, bassist/vocalist Allan Badger has quite some grit in his pipes and definitely has a Lemmy Kilmister attitude to his singing style. Every song has that 4/4 time signature that Rudd is so well known (and sometimes criticized) for straying next to through the bulk of his career as a drummer, and most of the songs are mid-tempo and stick close to a four chord melody. It doesn't sound as strong as when AC/DC or bands like Airbourne stray upon that same chemistry, but any metal fan will be able to get lost in the grooves of songs like "Lost in America," which is essentially a lost Motörhead track, and the swinging feel of "Sun Goes Down." The band finds this working chemistry and don't bother much with changing things up - "Crazy" conjures some Dire Straits qualities in the guitar playing, but that's about it - so what we're left with is a pretty enjoyable eleven songs meant from racing down the highway or grabbing a pint. "When I Get My Hands on You," "Repo Man" and "Bad Move" are probably the songs every fan expected to hear when word got out that a member of AC/DC released a solo record, and understandably so, but that doesn't take away from the rebellious overtones found throughout the album and the raw rock attitude that finds it's way to the surface here.
Lyrics — 8
While touring with AC/DC for numerous decades, Phil Rudd said prior the release of this album that people would always approach him asking to hear the drummer belt out a tune or two. Rudd says he turned them down ("...I'm a drummer") but that didn't stop him from taking the chance to hit up the mic on "Head Job," and if there was ever the right time to lay down some vocals it's your first solo record. Rudd has a solid voice and definitely works well into the mix, however the real props have to go out to bassist Allan Badger on this one. If there was ever a voice to emulate, Lemmy had one of the best in heavy metal and you can definitely hear a lot of his influence throughout this record through Badger's singing style. There's certainly some blues elements unique unto him thrown into his performance as well, which helps keep the momentum heading forward on this record.
Overall Impression — 7
Phil Rudd's first solo record "Head Job" is really a worthwhile hard rock album that suffered a poor release and reception. If it wasn't for the controversies that surrounding Rudd two years ago and had there been some more work in pushing the album, "Head Job" would have more than likely gotten a fair shot. And why wouldn't it have; it's a record that stands up to the expectations and surpasses with some good collaborative efforts. A solid album, well worth the second release.