AC/DC – Black Ice (2008)

AC/DC – Black Ice (2008, Columbia)

  1. Rock N Roll Train
  2. Skies On Fire
  3. Big Jack
  4. Anything Goes
  5. War Machine
  6. Smash N Grab
  7. Spoilin’ For A Fight
  8. Wheels
  9. Decibel
  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

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

Producer: Brendan O’Brien

Total Time = 55:30

AC/DC official website

Hard to believe that it’s been 8 years since AC/DC released a new album! Turn the radio to any Rock station at any time and you can bet an AC/DC song is playing…..there, I just did it…..’Highway To Hell’. After many attempts to get started, and rumors flying the band was on permanent hiatus, AC/DC delivered one of the most anticipated albums of the year with the release of BLACK ICE. I was at the front door of my local Wal-Mart on Monday 10/20 for this exclusive release with the band’s latest radio single ‘Rock N Roll Train’ firmly planted in my brain.

So what is really new about the band? Nothing. That is what makes AC/DC great, they never change. Some Rock fans preach how a band needs to grow, to improve on their accomplishments, but the guys in AC/DC are still following their basic formula for strong Blues-based three chord Hard Rock that they’ve had since 1975. Why mess with success? Brian Johnson may be 61 but he still has a strong growling voice, Angus & Malcolm Young still play their guitars with attitude and power, and Cliff Williams & Phil Rudd supply the rhythmic foundation that the songs are built on. What more is needed?

After tearing the cellophane away and hearing the anthemic new single (a song that fits right in with all the other hits), the band moves into the bluesy stomp of ‘Skies On Fire’, a song that sounds like the FLICK OF THE SWITCH era, and the fist-pumping hard rocker ‘Big Jack’, a tune full of meaty chords from the brothers Young. Both songs easily fit alongside ‘Rock N Roll Train’ as possible singles. ‘Anything Goes’ features a more melodic side rather than pure power with Brian Johnson toning down his balls out style for more of a singing style. More power chords are in store when the fist pumping battle cry ‘War Machine’ hits the stereo. This is one of my favorite tracks on the album because it sounds like early AC/DC from the Bon Scott era where the band builds on a simple blues base and attacks with precision. Brian Johnson adds a trace of the sinister Bon style to his straight forward growl while the backing vocals from Malcolm and Cliff  sound like they came straight off HIGH VOLTAGE or HIGHWAY TO HELL.

‘Smash N Grab’ is a mid-tempo blues number with some cool licks from Angus and a smooth delivery from Brian but the best part of this song is the thumping bass from Cliff Williams. A lot of accolades get thrown at Angus, Malcolm and Brian but Cliff Williams has been providing solid bass playing for 31+ years, the guy is as solid as they come. The band continues the Hard Rock flow with the guitar driven ‘Spoilin For A Fight’ and the old school vibe of uptempo rocker ‘Wheels’. ‘Wheels’ especially catches my attention as another potential single or song in the setlist because it’s uptempo, has some serious Angus axework and has that full sound with the rhythm guitar and backing vocals filling the sound nicely. The pace slows down to a mid-tempo groove on ‘Decibel’, a song where things are taken down a notch but still provides that power punch the band delivers so well. It’s another blues rock affair with some of the best Angus leads on the album. Same formula follows for ‘Stormy May Day’, another mid-tempo stomper that retains it’s power with a subtle delivery. Put ‘Decibel’ and ‘Stormy May Day’ together in the same box because they sound close to each other…..then again most people think all AC/DC songs sound the same!

‘She Likes Rock N Roll’ is a little simplistic in the chorus but the guitar riff is very catchy and the bass has a little funkiness to it, definitely a good radio song. Mid-tempo bluesy Rock hits hard on ‘Money Made’ with one of the most simple but catchiest choruses of the album: “Work, work, money made”…..sounds like all I do! Nice simple pounding from Phil Rudd here right up front in the mix with a clean main riff and cool rhythm track, the song just gets the head bobbing and foot tapping. ‘Rock N Roll Dream’ starts off like a ballad (something AC/DC rarely does!) but the main guitar kicks in and the song gets heavier when the chorus arrives. Brian Johnson gives us some actual singing rather than his “go for the throat” style so it’s a different change of pace all around. Not my favorite song on the album but it’s not a bad one either, just average. ‘Rocking All The Way’ sounds like one of those mid-80s AC/DC songs from either the FLY ON THE WALL or WHO MADE WHO albums. It just sounds a bit light and commercial, not enough bite until the guitar solo. The album closer is the title track and it is an strong blues rocker that has the bite that ‘Rocking All The Way’ lacked. Ultra cool riff, solid rhythm guitar and a pounding backline all added to a smooth Brian Johnson delivery…..AC/DC save a good one for the parting shot!

Bottom Line:
Was 8 years worth the wait? Hell yes! AC/DC decided to buckle down and gives the fans an album worthy of standing toe to toe with some of the greats from years past. Sure this isn’t the famed BACK IN BLACK or THE RAZOR’S EDGE from the Brian Johnson era but the band has taken charge and created an album rich in Blues based Hard Rock. I’d call BLACK ICE a continuation of the sound the band had on STIFF UPPER LIP but done better. And the band gives us 15 solid songs! That’s a lot of good music for your buck! I’ve been enjoying this record since I grabbed it the day of release and I can tell right away that this is one of those CDs that is not going to leave my playlist for a long time.

Favorite Songs: ‘Rock N Roll Train’, ‘War Machine’, ‘Black Ice’, ‘Big Jack’, ‘Wheels’, ‘Money Made’

New Release Monday: AC/DC – Black Ice & No Bull DVD

Today is the big day! The U.S. release of AC/DC’s new record…..BLACK ICE! I went out to Wal-Mart right after I dropped my daughter off at school, by 8:30 it was mine! There was a ton of AC/DC product and promotion all over the store and the new album was well-stocked, as was the rest of the band’s catalogue…..they had EVERY album. That doesn’t usually happen in a Wal-Mart.

AC/DC – Black Ice (2008) – $11.88: Can’t beat the sale price but it’s Wal-Mart…..the most evil of big corporations! I’m in a Union (UFCW – United Food and Commercial Workers) and Wal-Mart is something I stand against. I don’t shop there at all but, like the new releases from The Eagles, REO Speedwagon and Journey, it’s the only store in town to buy BLACK ICE! Anyway, I wanted the red lettered cover but I only saw the silver and yellow….. I grabbed the silver.

AC/DC – No Bull (The Director’s Cut) DVD – $10: I passed on this DVD earlier in September because it’s a Wal-Mart exclusive and because I wanted to compare the original release to this re-release. When I grabbed the BLACK ICE disc, I couldn’t help noticing the price point for this DVD, 10 bucks is a great price, too good to pass up. It’s been a tough year for music DVDs, I’ve only bought a few this year so I figured I would treat myself.

AC/DC Week

This week is dedicated to AC/DC!

It’s been 8 years since AC/DC released a new album but BLACK ICE is finally available Monday! To celebrate the new album, it’s all AC/DC this week. I’m going to celebrate both eras of the band but I grew up with the Brian Johnson era so there are going to be a couple more reviews from his tenure, including BLACK ICE…..

Here’s the week’s schedule:

Sunday: AC/DC Mixtape

Monday: New Release Monday – BLACK ICE and High Voltage (1975) album review

Tuesday: Highway To Hell (1979) album review

Wednesday: For Those About To Rock We Salute You (1981) album review and Videos

Thursday: Fly On The Wall (1985) album review and Videos

FridayBlack Ice (2008) album review and Videos

Saturday: My thoughts on AC/DC

AC/DC – North American tour announced for BLACK ICE

From Bravewords:

AC/DC have announced their North American tour schedule in support of their new album, BLACK ICE. It is as follows:

October
28 – Wilkes-Barre, PA – Wachovia Arena
30 – Chicago, IL – Allstate Arena

November
3 – Indianapolis, IN – Conseco Fieldhouse
5 – Auburn Hills, MI – Palace of Auburn Hills
7 – Toronto, ON – Rogers Centre
9 – Boston, MA – TD Banknorth Garden
12 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden
13 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden
15 – Washington, DC – Verizon Center
17 – Philadelphia, PA – Wachovia Center
19 – East Rutherford, NJ – IZOD Center
21 – Columbus, OH – Schottenstein Center
23 – Minneapolis, MN – Xcel Energy Center
25 – Denver, CO – Pepsi Center
28 – Vancouver, BC – General Motors Place
29 – Seattle, WA – KeyArena
30 – Tacoma, WA – Tacoma Dome

December
2 – Oakland, CA – Oracle Arena
6 – Los Angeles, CA – The Forum
10 – Phoenix, AZ – US Airways Center
12 – San Antonio, TX – AT&T Center
14 – Houston, TX – Toyota Center
16 – Atlanta, GA – Philips Arena
18 – Charlotte, NC – Time Warner Cable Arena

According to Billboard.com, tickets will go on September 20th via Ticketmaster and www.ACDC.com.

AC/DC – Black Ice (2008) release date and first single confirmed

Read the review of AC/DC – Black Ice

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From Bravewords.com:

A reliable in-house BW&BK source has confirmed that AC/DC’s forthcoming album will in fact be called BLACK ICE. It will be released on October 27th. The new single, ‘Runaway Train’, will be released in late August. A mammoth world tour will start in America in November.

BLACK ICE is AC/DC’s first studio album in eight years. It was recorded in Canada at Bryan Adams’ studio under the production guidance of Brendan O’Brien. It will be the band’s 15th studio album. Their last album was STIFF UPPER LIP in 2000 but the band maintained a profile with DVD.

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Other reports online have the new AC/DC album being sold as a Wal-Mart exclusive along the lines of similar promotions done with The Eagles, REO Speedwagon, & Journey. No further information is available on this connection with Wal-Mart but as the release date gets closer, more information will be officially released. Bravewords is usually on the mark with official news so watch their page closely…..

— Steve

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7/23/08
Just another quick heads up…..of course nothing is completely official until the band says so. When AC/DC issues their press release, I will post it here at HMA. If any of the information turns out to be different, I will amend all related posts with links to the official information. The good news is that AC/DC has a new record coming and a tour being planned…..that’s a good thing!

— Steve

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8/18/08

Another update…..the album cover and tracklisting have been confirmed for BLACK ICE. Check out the post here:

http://hardrockheavymetal.wordpress.com/2008/08/18/acdc-black-ice-album-artwork-revealed/

— Steve

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10/24/08

Read the review of AC/DC – Black Ice

The album review is up and Black Ice is also October’s ALBUM OF THE MONTH.

— Steve