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CD REVIEW: AC/DC – Rock Or Bust

| 19 December 2014 | Reply

CD REVIEW: AC/DC – Rock Or Bust
November 2014
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

ACDC Rock Or Bust

The thought of an AC/DC without Malcolm Young – the foundation and driving force of the band for most of their forty year career – was and still is inconceivable, yet here we are in 2014 with a Mal-less Rock Or Bust after degenerative dementia got the better of the guy that many call the best rhythm guitarist ever.

His presence still looms large over the new album – which at only eleven songs is somewhat more concise than its predecessor Black Ice, which weighed in with fifteen tracks (though they again include four songs with the word ‘rock’ in the title!) – with his style all over proceedings (of course), and all songs credited to ‘Angus Young & Malcolm Young,’ just like on Black Ice. A dedication on the booklet’s penultimate page also reads, in touching simplicity, ‘and most important of all, thanks to Mal, who made it all possible.’

Getting nephew Stevie Young to assume the position has, ironically, been a breath of fresh air for the veteran band who – let’s be honest – have made their share of stinkers, especially through the ‘80s. The band sound looser, more playful, than they have in years.

The first two singles, Rock Or Bust and Play Ball, kick off the album – and you’ve most likely heard these already. Good solid rocking fun, stompers that get the job done and get outta Dodge well before they outstay their welcome, they make a fine start.

Rock The Blues Away is a bit of a departure for Accadacca – a bluesy barroom groove like they haven’t tackled since the Bon Scott days, it’s great to hear them stretching the formula ever-so-slightly.

If there’s a couple of fillers in the middle of the album (Dogs Of War, Baptism By Fire, Rock The House) then we shouldn’t be too upset – they’re nothing horrible, just AC/DC-by-numbers, and no album of there’s since the early ‘80s has been exempt from them.

Got Some Rock & Roll Thunder is better, a good one to punch the air to, and with an almost KISS-like vibe to it. Closers Sweet Candy and Emission Control end the album on a high note.

Let’s be pragmatic: Rock Or Bust exists primarily to pave the way for AC/DC to mount another money-reaping world tour, and with the loss of Malcolm Young from active duty, alongside the legal hassles drummer Phil Rudd has embroiled himself in, it’s also a watershed time for the band. That they’ve risen above that to produce an album as good or better than Black Ice – and certainly better than at least five or six of their catalogue – is practically a triumph for a group of guys that range from 59 years old (Angus) to 67 (singer Brian Johnson.)

Category: CD Reviews

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