Black Ice

AC/DC

Review score: 76%

Review Date: April 2013
Reviewer: Paul Jack
Source: Rock Hard Reviews
(www.rockhardreviews.com)

Amazon UK: Buy CD / Amazon US: Buy CD

Was it really as far back as 2008 when this gem from Aussie rockers AC/DC came out? Black Ice is AC/DC’s sixteenth album, and boy it’s a cracker. It’s a bit longer than we have come to expect, but is it a must-have for DC fans?

Well, the album certainly attempts to recapture the band’s legendary sound from their earlier work. Somehow it feels as though the innuendo and sleaze have been toned down a tad, leaving us with a cleaner tasting album this time around. Black Ice is also chock full of quality tunes, so let’s check out a few suggestions for your playlist...

Rock n Roll Train

This was the first single released from Black Ice in 2008, Runaway Train might have been a better title, but every musician and his dog have used it, hence Rock N Roll Train instead. Opening with an expectation fulfilling big riff, this is the bluesy hard rock sound which AC/DC love to bring us, only here’s that slightly cleaner sound I mentioned when compared to the band’s older work. The single did rather well at the time, and deservedly so.

Big Jack

Ah yes, here’s that throbbing bass sound and catchy classic rock sound. Brilliant riff work from Angus, as usual, and Brian delivers vocals with aplomb. Listen to this tune a few times and the chorus might stick in your head for hours.

War Machine

Originally released as the B side to single Rock n Roll Train, War Machine builds up slowly into a big bombastic chorus. Great rhythm, good beat, classic hard rock. Not everyone likes War machine, but I rate it. Listen and decide for yourself.

Spoilin' For A Fight

Perfectly embodies the AC/DC sound from their popular heyday album Back In Black. This throbbing number would fit in perfectly what with its excellent riffage and all.

Stormy May Day

Love that guitar work. An almost Southern sounding slide guitar intro blooms into a slower paced bluesy track. Arguably a bit commercial sounding with quite a bit of repetition, the track closes with Brian providing some gentle vocal work as we fade out.

Black Ice

The title track kicks off with the crisper- than-usual AC/DC riff work to which we have become accustomed by the time we reach this, the closing track. It’s another classic by-the-numbers AC/DC track which sums up the tone of the entire album with memorable guitar work from the Youngs. Slightly bombastic, very listenable. Recommended.

Cover Art

...Is nice. Different colours abound, (four I think) depending which version you opt for. Background is slightly reminiscent of the Back In Black style cover, but with hugely more colour and contrast and the band logo clearly and boldly coloured. The background would make a cool if complex tatt, and I love the guitar hero pose at the top.

Conclusion

There’s a reason that Black Ice did so well in the album charts across so many countries, which is why you should check it out.

As an album, Black Ice may be a bit lacking on the innuendo front and the mix is a bit light and crisp rather than the rough, angry and dirty sound that long time AC/DC fans might have come to expect. However, the band have matured and Black Ice is chock full of tidal wave sized riffs and quality hard rock.

After so many years had passed since the previous album Stiff Upper Lip in 2000, it was a delight to see Black Ice surface in 2008. However, that was five years ago guys... Come on boys, let’s have a follow-up, its overdue!

Buy Now! Amazon UK: Buy CD / Amazon US: Buy CD


Track List (may vary)

  • Rock N Roll Train
  • Skies On Fire
  • Big Jack
  • Anything Goes
  • War Machine
  • Smash N Grab
  • Spoilin' For A Fight
  • Wheels
  • Decibel
  • Stormy May Day
  • She Likes Rock N Roll
  • Money Made
  • Rock N Roll Dream
  • Rocking All The Way
  • Black Ice