1 December 2014

AC/DC - Rock Or Bust

The word 'legends is used a little too lightly at times; there is a lot of bands who claim to be legends and they are just really pretenders to the throne.  AC/DC are not one of these bands, they are the real deal and have paid their dues to make.  They have toured all over the planet, released some of the most memorable albums, also released some duff material (do not kid yourself, all bands have a rough patch), lost some members and over the last few years have entered some sort of renaissance period if I am honest.  Just by doing what they have always done, which is solid rock music.  They do not like to be called metal - I was warned by Mr Richardson, who wanted to do this blog not to call them metal, but there is a metal element to their albums; they do not have to agree, but it is there.  Anyway, this is their sixteenth album in total (their fifteenth to be release internationally).  It is also their first without Malcolm Young, possibly the last with Phill Rudd on drums after his strange behaviour and maybe even the last ever.  All in all, AC/DC is a band much like Motorhead; you do not expect them to change the world, all you want is a kick-ass album.  I will be honest I do not have the highest hopes, it does have a solid producer in the form of Brendan O'Brien (who was all ready to replace Phill Rudd when he failed to turn up for the recording of the album for ten days straight).  I just want a good record and after all of the recent distractions, I hope that this is what they deliver.

The opening track is also the title track "Rock Or Bust", the formula is kept very simple, no fucking around, it is just an all out rock classic in the making.  It will more than likely be the opening number when band do tour the world, it is a much better track for me than "Rock N Roll Train" from their last album 'Black Ice'.  It is in the same vein for me as their classic "For Those About To Rock, We Salute You".  It does have something similar to "Rock N Roll Train", I would be foolish to deny this, but the more basic blues feel of the number is more appealing to my tastes.  Second song is the first track to be release from the album called "Play Ball"; it is a typical tongue in cheek song, it is short, snappy and to the point - it is wonderful, just stupid and dumb in some ways; the party has not ended on this number, but my deity the party sounds so fun!  It is a simple rock tune that just keeps a steady pace, has a brilliant riff and guitar solo that shows that the hunger has not diminished over the years and that they are still worthy of the title - legend.  "Rock The Blues Away" is a brilliant rock blues number that keeps the good times running, since it has been played in my house it is one of those songs that has been on constantly in my house.  I know I keep banging on about this at the moment, but it is simple - just pure rock & roll, no added bass groove, no strange production effects, it is just fantastic!

"Miss Adventure" is the fourth track on off here; the lyrics are a little bit (how should I say), old school male boy fantasy.  This is the sort of this that you will expect from an old school song, I mean this is coming from the band who made a song called "Whole Lotta Rosie".  The music is very good, but the lyrics are so old school that I expect the BBC to band them on the grounds that even Frankie Boyle would dis-own them.  I reckon the rest of the world will love it, but it is not for me.  "Dogs Of War" is the only song in the album to have backing vocals from Angus Young and once again the band are back with this simple tune which is as incredible as it is effective.  The slow starting number is ready made to have the crowd chanting the title in the build up towards the main riff kicks in.  Once again it is just simple, effective and well played.  The band just sound so well honed band that know what is working for them.  The effortless nature of the riff on offer is brilliant, it is not in a hurry to get anywhere, but it is over far too soon.  "Got Some Rock & Roll Thunder" is a brilliant number; honestly it is just a fun, simple and fantastic number that makes this blogger feel like he is young again.  Honestly, it is once again another simple number that does not try to do anything other than simply rock, make the audience feel like it has some energy left in it bones before it shuffles out into the next realm.  Next it is "Hard Times" which starts with a bass tone that I am sure I have heard before (sadly it was on a Take That song, but I know I heard it before that as well).  I would be lying if I said I had not heard this type of track from AC/DC before, it is just done so well.  You really do not want them to unload on a Steve Vai solo and they do not disappoint.  They just keep it to the point and measured; this is a really good number.

"Baptism By Fire" is the eighth track on the album; you would be hard press to pick this song out of a pack of AC/DC numbers if it was held in a line up with its brethren from other records.  But once more, this is not the point of an AC/DC new song or records - they do not mess with anything here, you are just exactly what you want from the band.  I will get to that at the moment, but it is still a really good song and full of energy which will have the fans in raptor.  "Rock The House" is a beautiful riff, it is a riff which should have (and probably has been) done before.  It is just so easy in tone, but it sounds so effective on this album.  The number is an eye opener; it just has a swagger, a hint of blues and a huge dash of brilliance that makes rock the music for a lot of people.  The blues element of the song makes this number for me; it is the song of the album for me. Penultimate track "Sweet Candy" is another AC/DC classic rock/blues in the vein of "Back In Black", the lyrical content is once again questionable; but no more so that half the stuff in the top end of the charts these days.  Basically as we all know, sex sells; so why not make it sound as good as possible?  This has another killer riff and that steady pace which all rock songs should have.  Ending the album is "Emission Control", to be honest it is not the strongest song on the album, it is a decent rock/blues number that will go down well with the rest of the album.  It is not an essential number by any means, but it is still a good song to end the album. 

This is the shortest AC/DC album by a few minutes, there is no wasted part of the album; no notes or riffs that is not required, there is no wasted space on the album.  Whilst the wheel is not reinvented, you would have to have a heart of stone not to raise a smile or horns to this album.  It is by no means the best album they have ever created; it is a really good record that does exactly what it says on the tin.  Rock or bust?  I think we all know the answer to that question.

8.5 out of ten - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my money, time and heart

Top track - Rock The House

You can purchase the album from Amazon here

You can visit the AC/DC website here

AC/DC are pretty famous for not having their stuff on Spotify or Deezer - you'll have to purchase it if you want to hear it.  If this ever changes I will update with links

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