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AC/DC - Black Ice

Columbia Records (SONY) - October 20, 2008

by Trent McMartin

AC/DC Black IceAlthough the overt sexism of their past albums have been scaled back slightly on the group's latest, Black Ice, the band does revert to it's second most used lyrical subject -- unabashed love of rock and roll. Look at these song titles -- "Rock 'n Roll Train, "She Likes Rock 'N Roll" "Rock 'N Roll Dream" and "Rocking All the Way". I mean, these guys are now in their sixties and they profuse their love for rock 'n roll as much or more so than they did in their twenties. Except, unlike in their twenties and thirties, Malcolm and Angus Young can't write the killer riffs that epitomized such classic albums as Highway to Hell and Back and Black. Sure, the guitars are loud and heavy but the riffs don't payoff. And Brian Johnson shrieks way too much, and with each year, it gets more painful to listen to (and I'm sure for Brian, painful to sing). Pearl Jam producer Brendan O'Brien offers up a hands-off approach here, intervening little. And it's that lack of direction that has really hindered the band's progress and songsmanship over the past fifteen years. I'm still waiting for a proper follow up to 1990's The Razor's Edge, but sadly, if recent history indicates, the next attempt won't be released until 2016.


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