AC/DC Barrel On Down The Road

noah | October 7, 2008 12:00 pm

ARTIST: AC/DCTITLE: Black IceRELEASE DATE: Oct. 20, 2008WEB DEBUT: Oct. 7, 2008

ONE-LISTEN VERDICT: The first thing you notice about AC/DC’s maiden effort for Wal-Mart: It’s long–15 tracks, four of which utilize the word “rock” in their title. (Never let it be said that the folks in Bentonville weren’t all about maximizing value.) As a result, Black Ice, while enjoyable cock-rock at the outset, can be a bit wearying as a long-player. Most of the songs are firmly cast in the basic AC/DC mold: A stomping 4/4 beat, a chorus marked by a lot of barroom-ready shouting from the other members, and a hyperactive Angus Young guitar solo. So thanks to that overarching sameness, the length of the album, and the fact that some of the songs seem just a smidge too long, Ice hits a patch about midway through where a torrent of razor-sharp guitar licks and Brian Johnson caterwauls just starts to flow over the listener. There’s a little experimentation here and there–the spindly, almost ballad-like (well, for AC/DC anyway) “Rock N’ Roll Dream,” the Southern-rock swaggering “Decibel”–but the AC/DC formula is in full effect. And it’s so effective on most of the album, in fact, that one’s left wondering if the more casual fans of the Aussie hard-rockers will feel like they really need to pick up Black Ice while on a deodorant run–or will their copy of Back In Black suffice, particularly in these hard economic times?

THE BEST TRACK: “Decibel” has a twitchiness about it that is pretty endearing. Plus I bet that lead guitar part is going to be awesome to play on the AC/DC-branded Rock Band.