AC/DC - Black Ice
Sony Music
Hard Rock
15 songs (55'40)
Release year: 2008
AC/DC, Sony Music
Reviewed by Marty
Major event
After touring for their 2000 album Stiff Upper Lip that included their legendary appearance at the SARS benefit in Toronto in 2003 as well as a few dates opening for the Rolling Stones, AC/DC all but disappeared from the map. The Young brothers Angus and Malcolm, who are (and always heave been) the driving force behind AC/DC simply needed a break and wanted to spend time with their families. As the years went by, many began to wonder if the AC/DC machine would ever roll again. A couple of years ago, news finally broke that Angus and Malcolm were in fact writing for a new album and only when the material was ready, did they even let the other band members hear what was going on. Taking many years to write, record and perfect, the Young brothers initially set out to try to produce another masterpiece along the likes of Back In Black with their long awaited new album Black Ice. Although there are similarities between the two albums, Black Ice will not likely reach the same legendary status as Back In Black but it's still an excellent AC/DC album and easily their best since Razor's Edge (or maybe even further back) and one that is surely to please the fans.

Most have no doubt heard the lead off single Rock 'N Roll Train. With it's classic power chord riffing, big chorus and classic Highway To Hell like pace, this one was an instant hit and announced to the world that the band is back with a vengeance. The big difference with Black Ice over previous albums is the return of the bigger and fatter power chord guitar sound. The guitars have more balls and it's good to hear the "raunchy" AC/DC sound once again. Skies on Fire once again features massive power chord riffing as well as the more ominous sounding Razor's Edge flavored War Machine that even borrows a bit from the tempo of Givin' The Dog A Bone. Stormy May Day features some great slide guitar work by Angus Young and continues with the classic "lazy" tempo of many AC/DC songs. The arpeggio guitar work and bluesy feel of Money Made give this track an almost Led Zeppelin vibe and more straight-ahead pop rock is explored with Anything Goes. Brian Johnson's voice on this one sounds very much like classic Nazareth from the 70's.

Much like Stiff Upper Lip, there's a stronger blues based feel to many of the tracks on Black Ice. Big Jack, Sporting For A Fight and Wheels all bear the strong blues influence yet the big power chords and anthemic choruses still prevail. A little ZZ Top is thrown into the mix with Decibel including an opening riff very similar to Waitin' For The Bus and the more "soulful" aspects of Brian Johnson's voice really shines on Rock 'N Roll Dream, a very different sort of track than expected from the boys. She Likes Rock 'N Roll is another catchy track with a big gang chorus with others like Smash 'N Grab, Rocking All The Way and the title track all having their catchy moments as well even if they don't quite match the energy level of the rest of the album.

Brian Johnson's voice sounds as strong as ever and he delivers an amazing vocal performance. The rest of the band cruises like the well-oiled machine that they are and Black Ice is an album that is full of very strong songs that are simple yet effective; testament to the fact that the Young brothers are true masters of their craft. Several things seem to be lacking with this album however. Firstly, there really aren't any memorable/barn-burning solos by Angus Young. He does an adequate job but nothing really outstanding. Secondly, tempo-wise, there's nothing here that matches the driving intensity of Shoot To Thrill, Shake A Leg or What Do You Do For Money Honey. Much of this album is mid tempo paced with huge repetitive power chord riffing by Malcolm and Angus Young. The album does flow very well yet dips a bit energy-wise in the middle and certainly doesn't finish strong with the trio of Rock 'N Roll Dream, Rocking All The Way and Black Ice. Overall, Black Ice is a very "safe" album and one that doesn't stray all that far from the tried and true formula that the Young brothers use to crank out new material each and every time. The one big difference is that it's evident that they have taken a lot of time to develop the songs and make this album the best that they could possibly do at this point in time - I think they have achieved that. Although new albums from fellow classic rockers like Nazareth, Uriah Heep and Whitesnake I feel are better all round albums, Black Ice was pre-destined to literally fly out of the stores and be a multi-million seller upon it's arrival no matter how it sounded.

Killing Songs :
Rock 'N Roll Train, War Machine, Sportin For A Fight, Stormy May Day, She Likes Rock 'N Roll and Money Made
Marty quoted 80 / 100
Jeff quoted 86 / 100
Other albums by AC/DC that we have reviewed:
AC/DC - Let There Be Rock reviewed by Phil and quoted 97 / 100
AC/DC - Highway To Hell reviewed by Aleksie and quoted CLASSIC
AC/DC - Stiff Upper Lip reviewed by Danny and quoted 90 / 100
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